What is Construction Accident Law?
Common claims and legal options
on December 15, 2016
Updated on January 27, 2023
Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. If you are a construction worker, you likely know someone who has been injured in a construction site accident. In the unfortunate event you are injured on a construction site, you might be wondering what your legal options are.
If you have experienced a construction accident, you don’t have to figure out your next steps alone. But hiring a construction accident attorney might seem like a daunting task. The following is designed to give you an overview of common claims that arise, so you feel confident speaking with a construction accident lawyer.
Construction sites are full of dangers and knowing what to look for can help prevent accidents. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), common types of construction accidents include falls, getting struck by moving or falling objects, getting caught in between objects, and electrocutions. These causes are sometimes called “the fatal four.” Common types of injuries include broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and brain injuries. Even with safety precautions in place, accidents are sometimes not prevented and injuries result.
If you are involved in an accident on a construction site, you may consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. If the accident was a result of your employer’s negligence or a piece of equipment, you might also consider a personal injury claim. In many cases, filing a workers’ comp claim could prevent you from filing other claims.
Under state workers’ compensation laws, it is the employer’s—not the employee’s—responsibility to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp benefits are available to employees whose injuries arise from their employment with their construction company. Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to mitigate the medical bills and medical expenses of construction site injuries so that accident victims can ultimately get back to work.
The availability of workers’ comp can vary by state—some states do not allow employees to file claims if the employee’s own negligence contributed to their injury, and some states don’t extend protections to agriculture workers. Before filing a claim, you will want to make sure you are covered in your jurisdiction. Learn more about workers’ comp.
Personal injury is a complex area of law that often involves agencies like OSHA or large manufacturers. This area of law is also highly state-specific. There are two common claims that usually arise from construction accidents: negligence and products liability.
If you believe your employer caused the accident at your construction site, you may want to consider a negligence claim for your personal injury lawsuit. Negligence is a legal theory that is used when one person did not act reasonably or carefully and thereby caused harm to another person.
To prove a negligence claim, you will need to show that your employer breached the duty of care they owed to you and that the breach caused your serious injuries. In some jurisdictions, if you show that there was an OSHA violation at the worksite that caused your accident, then you will not need to show anything else to prove your employer was negligent. Get more information about personal injury law.
If you were injured by a piece of equipment at work, you may want to consider a products liability claim for your construction accident case. These types of claims are used to determine the responsible parties for dangerous or defective products. Product liability claims are based on state law, but fault is often proved using strict liability. In many cases, you can recover from the manufacturer of the product and the seller of the product. Learn more about products liability.
Common Questions for an Attorney
Below are some common questions you may be thinking of right now or questions you might want to consider when meeting with an attorney for the first time. Many personal injury lawyers provide free case evaluations, allowing you to get advice on your legal rights and option without upfront costs.
- Will an OSHA inspection change my case?
- If I file a workers’ compensation claim, can I still sue my employer for damages?
- Can both general contractors and subcontractors be at fault for my injuries?
- What kind of financial compensation can I receive after construction accident injuries?
- Can I recover compensation if I contributed to my construction accident, such as by not using safety equipment?
- How will my union membership affect my construction accident claims?
- How do I determine who is liable for my injury?
- Can loved ones bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased construction worker?
Finding the Right Attorney for Your Needs
It is important to approach the right type of attorney—someone who can help you through your entire case. To do so, you can visit the Super Lawyers directory, and use the search box to find a lawyer based on your legal issue or location.
To help you get started, you may want to consider looking for a lawyer who specializes in construction accident law.
Why Should I Talk To a Lawyer?
An experienced lawyer will have the resources to access your medical records to evaluate the extent of your injuries and conduct depositions to determine liability. Your lawyer will be able to look at the facts of your case and help you decide what type of case you should bring. They will also know your jurisdiction’s rules about filing workers’ comp claims and whether you are protected.
A lawyer will be able to anticipate potential problems with your case and advise you on how to approach them. Your lawyer will also keep track of deadlines and file all the paperwork with the necessary courts and agencies, giving you one less thing to worry about.