The town of Taunton, Massachusetts, lost one of its own when a local construction worker for Skyline Contracting and Roofing suffered fatal construction injury from tilting over of an aerial lift that had been stationed on uneven ground. The worker was 48 years of age.
A safety advocacy group, MassCosh, or Massachusetts Coalition for Safety and Health, seized on the accident to emphasize that contractors need to institute stronger and more comprehensive safety measures and programs to protect workers in such accidents. Construction is one of the deadliest industries in the US, accounting for more fatalities and serious injuries than any other vocation. Although the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards only recommends that aerial tilts be placed on stable ground, a MassCosh representative commented that workers need to be trained in any event for aerial tilts that are on slopes or inclines and to recognize when it is too steep or presents an unnecessary hazard.
What to Do if Injured in a Construction Accident?
If you are a construction worker and were injured on a construction job, there are some things you can to preserve your claim and possibly other claims against negligent third parties:
- Your first priority is to seek medical care.
- As soon as practicable, inform your supervisor if the company has not been made aware of your injury. If you are out more than 5 full or partial days due to your injury, your employer must file an Employers’ First Report of Injury or Fatality with the DIA and insurer within 7 days from the 5th day of your full or partial absence.
- You do have a right to your own health care provider rather than the one suggested by the workers’ compensation insurer.
- Go to all appointments and follow your doctor’s advice.
- Promptly retain a construction accident lawyer.
Issues that may arise that will require legal representation from an attorney include:
- Being denied medical treatment that your doctor recommends
- You are unable to return to work but the insurer thinks otherwise
- A dispute over the nature and extent of your injuries and if you are permanently disabled
- A dispute over the full extent of the benefits to which you are entitled
- You are offered a settlement agreement
Regarding the latter, an experienced workers compensation attorney will review the offer and advise you of what other benefits you may be waiving.
Further, your lawyer can investigate whether a valid third party claim exists against a manufacturer, architect or other party so that you can collect additional compensation.
If you were injured in the performance of your job, you may collect certain benefits from your employer without having to prove that your employer was negligent. The only exception is if you were intoxicated or were engaged in a criminal act when injured.
You are entitled to:
- Payment of medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and retraining costs
- Compensation for temporary total incapacity
- Compensation for permanent total incapacity
- Permanent loss of function and disfigurement benefits
- Mileage reimbursement to and from medical appointments
- Death benefits to your family
Pain and suffering or compensation for emotional trauma is not available in a workers’ compensation claim.
If a general contractor, engineer, architect, designer or manufacturer was negligent and produced a flawed or defective product that was the substantial cause of your injuries, then you may have a third party action. You do have to prove either negligence, breach of warranty or strict liability in tort to recover. Compensation for pain and suffering is available in these lawsuits.
Premises Liability Accidents
For pedestrians, motorists or bystanders who were injured on someone else’s property or
premises such as on a construction site, the duty of care owed to you depends on your status:
- Business or Commercial Property
For instance, if you are on business or commercial property, you are considered a business invitee. The owner has a high duty of care to routinely inspect the premises for unreasonably hazardous conditions and to either repair them or to warn you.
- On a Construction Site
Should you be a pedestrian, bystander or motorist who was injured by a falling object or hit by a truck or vehicle at a construction site, the responsible party or parties are typically the general contractor and whatever subcontractor was responsible for the falling object or for the driver of the vehicle. Similar to the duty owed by business and retailer owners to customers, contractors have a substantial duty to ensure that pedestrians who are lawfully on or passing through the property are not injured and to inspect and remove any unreasonable hazards or they will be held civilly responsible and liable for damages.
Construction zones do offer considerable hazards to motorists or pedestrians such as failure to have adequate signage or to properly detour traffic or pedestrians around known dangers. Leaving construction materials on the road, allowing objects to fall or causing slippery road or sidewalk conditions are other hazards to motorists and pedestrians in these areas.
- Residential Property
If you are on residential property, the owner only has to remedy or repair hazardous conditions that are known or which the owner should reasonably have been aware of. Dog attack cases are a form of premises liability matters though strict liability applies regarding these cases. Claims are generally presented under the homeowner’s liability insurance policy. However, if a contractor doing work on the residence does not adequately protect you from a hazardous condition, you may bring a claim against the contractor.
If you are injured on someone else’s property, preserving evidence may be a problem. Besides getting medical attention as soon as possible, you or someone should return to the accident site to take photographs of the site. If a defective step, slippery floor or other object was the cause, you need the services of a highly experienced premises liability lawyer to fully investigate your case.
- Damages in a Premises Liability Case
If injured because of the homeowner’s, business owner’s or contractor’s failure to use due care that led to your injuries, you are entitled to damages. You may collect:
- Reasonable medical expenses including future medical
- Lost earnings
- Lost earning capacity
- Diminution in your quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
Your premises liability lawyer can explain how these damages are calculated and what evidence is needed to support them.
Retain Injury Lawyer Neil Burns
Contact The Law Offices of Neil Burns if you were either a construction worker injured in the performance of your work, bystander, motorist or individual otherwise injured on someone else’s property or premises. With over 30 years of experience in these areas of injury law, Neil Burns will see that your interests and legal rights are protected and that you receive the most compensation available for your injury based on the facts and circumstances of your claim.