As California continues to grow, so do construction projects. As a result, many workers are at risk of construction accidents that can cause serious injuries and fatalities. In the event of a construction accident, victims and their families may be able to recover compensation via workers’ compensation.
They may also be able to recover more than what workers’ compensation covers, depending on the nature of the accident. With a helpful construction accident lawyer by your side, you may increase your chances of getting full compensation following a construction accident.
At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, our California personal injury lawyers handled a wide variety of cases for our clients in California.
Why Consult Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos?
If you or a loved one is involved in a construction accident, you may qualify for compensation if another party’s negligence led to the accident and subsequent damages. The experienced California construction accident attorneys at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos can determine if you have a case and may be able to seek compensation.
We understand the severity of construction accidents and how they affect victims and their families. We work to help our clients reach the settlements they deserve in these and other accident cases, with over 75 years of collective experience behind us. Our attorneys work with clients to gather evidence to support these claims, help navigate the insurance claims process, and take cases to trial if needed.
If you’re in need of a dependable attorney you can count on, the team at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos is here for you.
Types of Compensation Available in Construction Accident Cases
Workers involved in construction accidents in California may recover compensation for various damages. In many cases, workers’ compensation will cover these damages and compensate victims or their loved ones for medical expenses, disability, job replacement, and wrongful death. All employers in California must carry workers’ compensation insurance, which is the primary source of compensation in most work accident cases.
While workers’ compensation may be sufficient to cover the damages resulting from construction accidents and other work-related incidents, victims may be able to take legal action to pursue further compensation. Legal action may be possible if someone other than the employer contributed to a construction accident, the employer is without workers’ comp insurance, or if malicious intent was behind the accident.
While workers’ compensation benefits will cover medical costs and certain other economic damages, a construction accident could lead to litigation in an attempt to recover a variety of compensation.
These may include economic and non-economic damages, such as:
- Medical expenses, ongoing care, and prescription medications
- Lost earning capacity due to disability
- Lost wages for victims during recovery
- Psychological or physical distress
- Loss of companionship or consortium
More extreme cases involving egregious negligence may also result in punitive damages. The court may opt to award these to set an example and prevent similar conduct from causing a construction accident in the future.
5 Common Types of Construction Accidents and Injuries in California
California regularly sees too many construction accidents. Many of these accidents lead to fatalities, with the construction industry accounting for the second-highest number of occupational deaths, according to recent statistics.
Some of the most common California construction accidents include:
1. Height-Related Accidents
One of the most frequent accidents in the construction industry involves falls and other types of height-related accidents. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one-third of fatalities in the construction industry result from slips, trips, and falls, with most of them involving falls to lower levels.
In addition to lower-level falls, height-related accidents could involve objects falling from certain heights and striking construction workers below, collapsing scaffolds that crush workers, and other types of incidents involving falling people or objects. These accidents often lead to serious traumatic injuries and deaths.
2. Fires and Explosions
Another potential hazard in construction sites is a fire or explosion hazard. Certain environmental conditions may increase the risk of combustion, including malfunctioning machinery, leaking gas or chemicals, and electrical issues, among others. The injuries resulting from these accidents are often severe, resulting in first- to third-degree burns in many instances. They can also cause illnesses resulting from the inhalation of smoke and toxic chemicals, and they may lead to disfigurement.
3. Slip and Fall Accidents
Many construction accidents involve slip-and-fall incidents that result from debris, uneven flooring, defects, and other factors. People may sustain a wide range of injuries in these falls ranging from minor to fatal.
4. Forklift and Crane Accidents
Construction sites often use cranes, forklifts, and other heavy machinery. Improper operation or malfunctions could lead to accidents involving this equipment. The mass of these machines often results in serious injuries and fatalities in these accidents.
5. Electrical Accidents
Construction workers are frequently in the proximity of electrical wiring and other equipment that can cause an electric shock or, in extreme cases, electrocution. Failure to adhere to safety protocols and defective products could increase the risk of an electrical accident.
Following a construction accident, victims may sustain a variety of injuries.
Some of these injuries may include:
- Lacerations and cuts
- Fractures and broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Crushed limbs
- Hearing or vision loss
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
If an accident is serious enough, it could also result in the victim’s death, in which case the victim’s loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek full compensation following their loss.
Going Through Workers’ Comp Insurance After a Construction Accident in California
The majority of construction accidents go through the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company if the victim is an employee. Injured workers won’t need to prove that negligence took place, and workers’ comp insurance may cover economic damages such as medical bills and lost income during recovery. However, you may not be familiar with the claims process, or you may have a case that qualifies for a lawsuit against negligent parties.
If you suffered from a construction accident and believe another party’s negligence was involved, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover total compensation. After reporting your injury to an employer and taking other necessary steps, you should consult with a skilled construction accident lawyer in California to discuss your options. You may recover more than what workers’ compensation covers.
Construction Accidents Involving Non-Employees
If a non-construction worker sustains damages because of a construction accident, you may be able to file a third-party negligence claim. In many cases, victims of construction accidents could be passing pedestrians and others outside of the construction industry, with many of these victims suffering from injuries resulting from falling objects, slip-and-fall accidents, and other incidents.
A California construction accident attorney may be able to take on your case in these instances and help you prove that another party was liable for your injuries.
Steps to Take After a California Construction Accident
Following a construction accident in California, you must take the proper steps to make a recovery and build a case. The following are some of the specific steps to take to increase your chances of successfully recovering the compensation you deserve.
Seek Professional Medical Care
If your injuries are serious, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. An ambulance may arrive at the scene of the accident if injuries are severe enough to warrant it, but you should visit a doctor as soon as possible if you don’t require immediate care. Even if your injuries don’t seem severe at first, speak with a medical professional for a formal examination. Your doctor may identify underlying injuries that could worsen later and prescribe treatment to help you recover.
Seeking medical care also generates medical records, which will be critical for workers’ comp and third-party liability claims. If you don’t seek treatment when you should, you could compromise your ability to succeed in a construction accident case when seeking compensation. Also, be sure to adhere to your doctor’s advice and treatment plan. Failure to do as your doctor recommends could further hinder your ability to recover compensation.
When possible, take photos of your injuries and keep track of how you’re feeling. When visiting your doctor for any follow-up appointments, be honest about your symptoms and the nature of your injuries.
Notify Your Employer of Your Accident and Injuries
Once you’ve sought medical care, received a diagnosis, and begun treatment if needed, you should notify your employer of your accident and any injuries you sustained. When filing a workers’ compensation claim, it’s important to remember that you have a limited amount of time to notify your employer and file a claim. In California, you must report your injury within 30 days of the accident or upon discovering the injury. Otherwise, you will likely be unable to receive workers’ comp benefits.
Reporting your accident and injury to your employer will not only begin the workers’ comp claims process, but it will also help support any additional claims or lawsuits you wish to file.
Collect Sufficient Evidence and Information
If you want to build a solid case that maximizes your chances of recovering full compensation, you must gather enough evidence and information as you can to support your claim.
To build your case, we can collect:
- Photographic and video evidence
- Witness information
- Medical records and receipts
- Records of lost time at work and lost income during recovery or disability
If you need help with gathering evidence or taking the right steps to strengthen your case, speak with an experienced construction accident lawyer. An attorney may be able to help you gather and organize any relevant evidence that can support your claim.
California Construction Accident FAQs
For more information about construction accidents and what to do if you or a loved one sustains injuries, here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for California Construction Accident Claims?
If you get into a construction accident and want to take action by filing a claim, you will have to file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out. The statute of limitations in these and other accident cases is the specific amount of time you have before you are unable to file a claim or lawsuit.
The statute of limitations for construction accident claims in California is the same as in other cities in California. In this state, you have two years to file your claim from the date of the incident or one year from the time of discovering your injury. Failure to file your claim within this time will render you unable to pursue compensation and succeed with a case.
If the statute of limitations passes for your case, you have the option of proceeding to file your claim, but you will be far less likely to reach a favorable outcome.
Connect With Our Reliable California Construction Accident Attorneys
The injuries and other damages that construction accident victims sustain are often life-changing. As a construction worker or non-employee, you may be able to recover compensation in a construction accident case by taking the right steps. However, you don’t need to worry about going it alone with the help of the attorneys at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos.
Our team of experienced and knowledgeable construction accident lawyers helps injury victims recover the full amount of compensation they deserve following construction accidents. With over 75 years of combined experience backing us, our clients benefit from the trustworthy representation they need when building and presenting an accident case.