Construction sites present countless hazards to workers and passersby.
Despite the inherent risks of working in the construction industry, workers have the right to a safe work environment.
If you suffered injuries in a construction accident, you would likely have workers’ compensation benefits available to you.
You may also have the legal right to bring a personal injury claim against a negligent third party in limited situations.
The steps you take following a construction accident in California are important for both workers’ compensation benefits as well as a potential personal injury case.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Construction-related injuries tend to be severe or catastrophic in many instances.
Seeking immediate medical attention is crucial to your health, especially if the accident was severe.
You or a coworker should call 911 and have emergency personnel respond to the scene. You may require transport to the hospital.
Or, you may be instructed to follow up with a physician in the coming days.
Even if you don’t think your injuries are that severe, it’s imperative to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after a construction accident.
You could have internal injuries that are not visible or obvious. Any delay in treatment could hinder both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.
Report the Construction Accident to the Proper Supervisor
Reporting your accident may be the first or second thing you do, depending on the severity of your injuries.
Of course, getting medical assistance is your top priority if you have life-threatening injuries. If your injuries are minor, you can start the reporting process first.
This will help get things started with a workers’ compensation claim.
Understandably, some workers fear reporting an accident due to immigration issues or fear of reprisal from their employer.
However, you risk putting your benefits at risk if you don’t report the accident right away. Failure to file a timely report means the company can deny your benefits.
To protect yourself, always put your report in writing and ask for a copy.
Get Scene Photos and Witness Information
If your injuries are severe, you likely don’t have the time or ability to document the accident scene.
If possible, ask a coworker to take photos of the construction accident scene and what caused your injuries.
This documentation can be crucial, especially if a negligent third party should be held responsible for your injuries and other damages.
If any witnesses are generally not present at your job site, get their name and contact information as well.
Follow All Instructions from Your Treating Physicians
When presenting a workers’ compensation claim, it’s imperative to follow the instructions given to you by the medical professionals.
If you don’t follow the treatment regimen or fail to show up for your scheduled appointments, you could put your workers’ compensation benefits and liability claim at risk.
If you fail to follow medical advice, the third-party’s insurance company will likely argue that your injuries were not that severe.
They could also argue that you failed to “mitigate your damages” by failing to follow doctor’s orders.
Keep All Documentation
One of the best things you can do is create a folder with all your claim-related documentation.
You can keep copies of the accident report, your medical records, and any correspondence with your employer or the workers’ compensation company.
Document how much time you are losing from work and how the accident has impacted your daily life.
While you cannot collect pain and suffering in a workers’ compensation accident, you could be entitled to receive it should you file a personal injury claim for a construction accident in California.
Contact a Construction Accident Attorney in Los Angeles
You might be wondering why you should contact an attorney for a construction accident in California if your only recourse is workers’ compensation benefits.
In some cases, workers’ compensation carriers unfairly deny benefits to injured workers. Don’t assume that is your only legal recourse without speaking first with an experienced California personal injury lawyer.
Numerous situations could give rise to a third-party liability claim as well. Examples include a motor vehicle accident while working or faulty equipment malfunctioning.
At Weinberg Law Offices, we have years of experience assisting injured California construction workers to pursue the benefits and compensation they deserve.
We can help you appeal a workers’ compensation denial, identify whether you have a third-party personal injury claim, file a disability claim, and more.
Contact our office today to schedule a consultation. Let us review the circumstances of your construction accident and help you determine the best course of legal action.