Anyone working on a construction site knows they are inherently dangerous places. Construction workers will witness their share of injuries throughout their careers despite careful site management, proper safety equipment, and supervision. Because numerous hazards exist on construction sites that can lead to permanent disability, serious injury, or death, construction work remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States.
Even though construction sites might do their best to keep workers safe, accidents that lead to devastating consequences continue to occur yearly. The cost of medical care and ongoing rehabilitation after a construction accident can be substantial. When you’re involved in an accident caused by the negligence of another person or entity, you should not have to pay a penny out of pocket for any injury-related expenses.
After a construction accident where you’ve suffered an injury, you may wonder if you should file a workers’ compensation claim or file a lawsuit against the negligent parties. One of our experienced San Francisco construction accident lawyers can review your case during an initial consultation and help you understand your rights and legal options.
At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, we know how dangerous working on a construction site can be. If you or a loved one were the victim of severe injury or death after an accident, don't hesitate to reach out and schedule an initial consultation with one of our construction accident lawyers as soon as possible.
What to Do After a Construction Accident in San Francisco
Document your accident: If you suffered an injury in an accident on a construction site, begin the process of investigating your accident and gathering all relevant evidence. Be sure to write down all relevant details of the accident and take photographs of any injuries you’ve sustained or the accident scene.
For anyone who witnessed the accident, you should gather their contact information. Witness testimony can benefit you if you file a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit.
You may also want to take photographs of the scene of the accident if you can; however, if you can not obtain photos of the accident or the names of any witnesses, you should ask a coworker to help gather this information for you as soon as possible.
Conducting a thorough investigation of the accident is crucial and can affect the outcome of your case. Make sure you document all accident-related medical expenses, including costs for medical treatments, hospital bills, paramedic bills, and ambulance bills. Create a safe place to keep all copies of documents you receive from medical or insurance providers.
When documenting what led to the accident, be sure to be as specific as you can, and describe the conditions that led to the accident and the outcome. You may also need to prepare a written report with more in-depth information about the accident and send it to OSHA or CalOSHA. After the accident, be sure to take note of the date you submitted the report and who accepts the report.
Should you decide to pursue legal action against the negligent party or parties in your case, keeping all relevant documents related to the accident can help benefit your claim. Call Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos before signing anything, whether accepting workers’ compensation benefits or a settlement, so we can ensure you get everything you deserve.
Report the accident: Following an accident on a construction site, make a report to your supervisor, foreman, or whomever else is in charge as soon as possible. File a formal report with your employer within 30 days of the accident. Failure to report the accident promptly can affect your ability to receive workers' compensation benefits. If your injury is not immediately apparent or develops gradually, report it to your employer as soon as you notice symptoms.
Reporting the accident is one of the most essential steps victims of construction accidents should take, yet many accidents go unreported. When construction workers aren’t legal residents, they may fear reporting the accident will jeopardize their job or immigration status.
Some companies fear that reporting an accident will lead to an OSHA investigation, penalties, or reflect poorly on their safety practices. Reporting an accident is essential because it’ll bring attention to potentially unsafe conditions and prevent others from being injured.
Seek medical care: In the aftermath of a construction accident, you should prioritize your health by checking for injuries and seeking medical attention as soon as possible. If your injuries are minor, your site manager should have basic medical supplies and a first aid kit. In case of a severe injury, call 911 or have someone take you to the emergency room. Time is of the essence with many injuries and having a proper diagnosis and treatment is essential to your health.
Seeking immediate medical treatment will also help your case by documenting that you sustained an injury that resulted from a work-related accident. In case the construction company attempts to deny the accident, a medical record will preserve crucial details of the accident and injury you’ve sustained, which may serve as a critical piece of evidence in your case.
Consult our construction accident attorneys: If you suffered an injury in an accident on a construction site, your lawyer must provide you with workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Benefits from workers’ compensation insurance should cover the cost of your medical treatment, lost earnings, or wages. To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must prepare and file a report with your employer.
Following the rules and filing your workers’ compensation claim within one year of the accident will increase your chances of receiving the full benefits you need to recover.
Contact a construction accident lawyer who can walk you through the process of filing a successful claim and advise you on the next best steps. The legal process can become complicated, even for lawyers, many of whom don't understand the construction industry or how third-party claims work.
Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos's experienced construction accident lawyers know how to pursue these claims how to investigate, file, and pursue third-party claims that can offer you substantially more in damages than standard workers' compensation claims.
What Are Some Common Injuries on Construction Sites?
A devastating construction accident can occur instantly when supervisors try to complete a job quickly by cutting corners like failing to provide proper safety harnesses or stable scaffolding. It is not uncommon for insurance adjusters who represent employers to deny legitimate claims or attempt to blame the accident on the worker.
Insurance adjusters might also offer an injured construction worker a quick settlement that is likely to be worth less than what they will receive with a personal injury claim. Our construction accident lawyers can walk you through every step of the legal process.
Here are some common injuries that result from construction accidents:
- Burns, scarring, or disfigurement
- Spinal cord injuries or paralysis
- Cuts and lacerations
- Traumatic brain injury
- Fractured or broken bones
- Head injuries
- Amputated limbs
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Stress injuries
If your injuries are severe and your medical bills become overwhelming, seek the advice of an experienced San Francisco accident lawyer. Our attorneys understand how complicated, technical, and difficult filing a claim can be, and we can guide you through every step of the complex legal process.
Most Common Causes of Accidents on Construction Sites
Serious accidents of all types happen on construction sites. Despite being dangerous work sites due to open wires, heavy building materials, power tools, and open structures, employers of construction workers must still maintain a safe work environment. Understanding the most common causes of construction accidents is a great way to prevent anyone from becoming injured or even killed.
Here are the most common causes of construction accidents:
- Falls: One of the most common construction site injuries, falls often occur from a structure to the ground, off ladders, roofs, cherry pickers, chimneys, scaffolding, and other high equipment. Depending on the severity of the fall and how far the construction worker is from the ground, these accidents may result in broken bones, concussions, abrasions, or even death.
- “Strike-by” accidents: When an object, unsecured equipment, building material, or a motor vehicle on a construction site strikes a worker, it is called a strike-by accident. Many of these accidents occur on highways and streets. Construction workers on these sites often must reroute or slow down traffic, leaving drivers with little access. If a driver becomes frustrated and drives recklessly, they may cause harm or death to a worker on the site.
- Electrocution: Construction work often occurs around open or unfinished wiring, near power lines, and power sources. If a worker comes in contact with an active wire or mistakenly hits a power line with a piece of equipment, it may result in electrocution injuries. Despite signs that remind workers to take care and other safety precautions, electrocution accidents still happen on job sites.
- Caught between accidents: Caught in/between accidents happen when a worker becomes caught between two objects. Typically, one of these objects is moving, and the other is stationary, but a construction worker can become caught between two moving objects. These accidents can involve trucks, collapsing structures, or walls, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers them some of the most dangerous workplace accidents.
- Equipment-related injuries: A construction worker may suffer severe injuries from an equipment-related accident involving heavy machinery. For instance, when workers don't have the proper training to use heavy machinery, they risk hurting someone. You can pursue a product liability lawsuit and seek compensation for your injury if an equipment malfunction or failure caused it. Dropped tools or other unsecured building materials and equipment may cause a construction worker to sustain a head, brain, or spinal cord injury.
Our San Francisco construction accident lawyers know that construction sites present many potential hazards to workers. When workers or their employers fail to act responsibly, they risk causing serious injury to others. If you suffered an injury while working on a construction site, contact us as soon as possible and let us protect your right to compensation and fight for your best interests.
Construction Accident FAQs
What type of compensation can I receive after a construction accident?
If you were in an accident on a construction site and injured, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Under workers’ compensation law, an injured worker may deserve compensation for the cost of medical care, temporary and permanent disability benefits, and supplemental job displacement benefits.
If your doctor determines that you’ve sustained a disability that prevents you from performing your previous job, you may be entitled to receive supplemental job displacement benefits.
When an accident results in the death of a construction worker, their spouse or dependents can receive death benefits. A pedestrian walking by or visiting a construction site who becomes injured in an accident will need to file a personal injury suit to receive compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and emotional pain and suffering.
What are third-party claims in construction accidents?
When a third party is at-fault for your accident, you can bring a third-party claim against them. Examples of third parties include individuals or businesses. Benefits awarded through third-party claims can go to an accident victim in addition to workers' compensation insurance.
Suppose you’re working under a subcontractor, for example, who operates under a general contractor. In that case, you can bring a claim against the general contractor for the negligence that led to your injuries.
Our lawyers know what evidence to look for and will help you file a third-party claim against a negligent person or entity apart from your employer.
Can I still receive benefits if I suffered an injury and my employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance?
If your employer does not have workers' compensation insurance, you can sue the company you work for. Filing a civil lawsuit means you must prove that your employer failed to carry worker's compensation insurance at the time of your employment. Additionally, if you decide to pursue this type of claim, you must prove that your employer failed to carry workers; compensation insurance at the time of your employment.
How Can Our San Francisco Construction Accident Lawyers Help You?
After a construction accident, the first thing you should do is seek immediate medical attention. Until you’ve had a chance to speak with one of our skilled construction accident attorneys, do not sign anything given to you by your employer or from the insurance companies. Put your trust in our experienced construction accident lawyers.
Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos can help you seek justice and the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us at (650) 345-8484 or contact us online to learn how we can help you recover from your construction accident.