Thousand Palms Construction Accident Attorney
Construction is one of the most inherently dangerous industries operating in the United States. Every year, thousands of construction company employees, subcontractors, and other construction workers suffer severe injuries on the job, many of which lead to expensive medical bills, lost income, and even permanent medical complications. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in a construction accident, you need to know your rights and the available legal options that may assist in your recovery. A Thousand Palms construction accident lawyer is the best resource to consult in this challenging situation.
Legal Representation for Thousand Palms Construction Accident Claims
The attorneys at English, Lloyd & Armenta have years of experience providing comprehensive legal counsel to injured construction workers and others injured by construction accidents. We know the medical, financial, and psychological challenges these individuals often face due to the severity of their experiences.
Why Should I Hire a Thousand Palms Construction Accident Lawyer?
Suppose you have been injured while working a construction job. In that case, you likely face a painful recovery process, expensive medical bills, and lost income from the inability to work while you recover. In addition, most construction accidents result in serious injuries, some of which can pose long-term problems for the victim and their family. While fault for your injury may seem straightforward, or you may believe you have grounds for a workers’ compensation claim, navigating the legal proceedings necessary to secure the compensation you deserve is more complex than you may initially expect.
A Thousand Palms construction accident lawyer is the best asset you can have in this challenging situation. California state law requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, so most injured construction workers will have the ability to file claims for workers’ compensation benefits. However, navigating this process can be very difficult without legal representation, and an injured construction worker may have additional legal options outside of the workers’ compensation system. It’s also possible for bystanders and those not covered by workers’ compensation insurance to suffer construction accident injuries.
Working with an experienced Thousand Palms construction accident lawyer is the best way to ensure a complete recovery after a construction accident. Your attorney can assist you in filing your workers’ compensation claim and help you address any unforeseen issues that might arise with the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) investigation and processing of your claim. In addition, your attorney can also help you determine whether you have additional legal options outside of the workers’ compensation system that may increase your overall recovery. Ultimately, you stand the best chance of making the fullest recovery possible when you have an experienced attorney on your side.
Most Commonly Reported Construction Site Accidents in California
Construction work often requires dangerous machinery, heavy equipment, and specialized vehicles. Workers must also handle heavy materials and work in dangerous places like unfinished buildings. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tracks reports of workplace injuries across all industries operating in the US, and OSHA has identified several significant injury risks in the construction industry. Some of the most commonly reported construction accidents include:
- Falls. The most commonly reported construction industry accidents are falls, resulting in devastating injuries, expensive medical bills, and missed time from work. The effects of a fall typically depend on the height of the fall and the location. However, many falls result in broken bones, traumatic brain injury, and damage to the spinal cord. As a result, falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims in the US and the top-cited cause of missed days of work.
- Crushing injuries, or “caught in/between” injuries. When a construction worker becomes stuck or crushed between large objects, vehicles, or debris, these injuries occur. Crushing injuries can be devastating, resulting in permanent disability and requiring extensive restorative treatment.
- “Struck by” injuries. These incidents occur when an object hits a construction worker. A struck-by incident may occur from a falling object or a piece of material flung by an improperly configured machine.
- Electrocutions. Construction work often requires working near exposed electrical wiring and unfinished electrical systems. Electrocutions are not only painful but easily capable of inflicting life-threatening injuries. Electrocutions can cause burns, nerve damage, and interrupt cardiovascular functions.
- Amputations and severe lacerations. Many construction tools are capable of inflicting traumatic physical damage unexpectedly. For example, saws, drills, automatic hammers, machine presses, and various other tools can cause injuries that result in extreme bleeding. Some such injuries can amputate parts of the body.
- Injuries from toxic exposure. Construction work sometimes requires working with or near toxic and corrosive substances. Direct contact with some of these substances can cause injury or illness, and consistent close exposure to these chemicals can cause severe medical problems over time.
- Repetitive motion injuries. While repetitive motion injuries take time to manifest, these injuries can be incredibly debilitating and are a commonly cited cause of workers’ compensation claims in the US.
- Soft tissue injuries. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, and the other soft tissues of the body can experience strains and sprains from heavy physical labor. Some soft tissue injuries can require months of rehabilitation and extensive restorative treatment to correct.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Virtually every construction site in California requires the use of hard hats, even for visitors. However, even the best hard hats may only mitigate head injuries, not prevent them entirely. A traumatic brain injury is a severe, unpredictable injury that is easily capable of causing long-term medical complications for the victim. Some traumatic brain injuries result in permanent disabilities.
- Spinal cord injuries. Falls, crushing injuries, and vehicle accidents can easily damage the victim’s spinal cord. This thick bundle of nerve tissue carries neurological signals from the brain throughout the body. When the spinal cord sustains a physical injury, it cannot repair itself the way the rest of the body can. Spinal injuries can result in diminished sensation, lost range of motion, even paralysis.
- Broken bones. Many construction accidents can result in painful bone fractures. While some injuries may heal with appropriate care, others require invasive and painful surgical correction. For example, a shattered bone may require the placement of steel plates and pins to hold bone fragments in the correct positions until healed. In addition, severe fractures can result in chronic pain, nerve damage, and other lasting complications.
Can I Sue for a Construction Accident Injury?
It’s common for injured construction workers to wonder whether they have grounds for legal action beyond the workers’ compensation system after sustaining injuries at work. Generally, the workers’ compensation system shields employers from civil liability for injured workers’ damages, so most injured construction workers will not be able to sue their employers directly for their workplace injury-related damages. The only exceptions to this will be if an employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance as required by state law or if the employer intentionally caused the worker’s injury. The injured construction worker would need to file a personal injury claim against their employer in these situations. The employer would likely face criminal penalties and liability for the worker’s civil damages.
It is also possible for a construction accident victim to file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for their injury if they are not a construction worker and sustained their injury as a bystander. It’s also possible for a construction worker to file a personal injury claim against a third party responsible for their injury. For example, if a construction worker were driving materials to a worksite and suffered injuries from a drunk driver hitting their car, they would be permitted to file a workers’ compensation claim for relief from their medical expenses and lost income resulting from the incident, but they would also have grounds for a civil claim against the drunk driver for their other damages.
Proving Liability for Your Construction Accident
When an injured construction worker files a workers’ compensation claim for a construction accident injury, they do not necessarily need to prove fault to secure workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, it’s possible for an employee to still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits even if they caused their own injury. However, suppose the victim intends to pursue legal action outside the workers’ compensation claim system. In that case, they must identify the party or parties they believe to be responsible for their injury and prove the full scope of their damages.
Proving liability in any personal injury claim involves four distinct elements:
- Duty of care. The plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant owed a duty of care in the situation in question. For example, drivers have a duty of care to obey speed limits and posted traffic signals.
- Breach of duty. The plaintiff must show how the defendant breached their duty of care or acted outside the typical boundaries of “reasonable care” in the situation in question.
- Damage. The plaintiff only has grounds for a personal injury claim if they suffered actual harm, meaning they must be able to provide evidence of material losses resulting from the defendant’s negligence. These damages may include medical bills, proof of lost income, and more.
- Causation. In a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must also prove their damages resulted solely from a defendant’s actions and not some other cause. The plaintiff and their attorney must offer evidence showing that their damages would not have occurred but for the defendant’s negligence.
Success in any personal injury claim will require establishing these four elements of negligence. If you believe you have grounds for a civil claim following a construction accident injury, your Thousand Palms construction accident attorney can provide valuable guidance as you work toward establishing liability for your damages.
Damages and Compensation Available From a Successful Personal Injury Claim
Workers’ compensation generally offers expedient compensation for a workplace injury, but the types of compensation available through a successful workers’ compensation claim are somewhat limited. For example, a successful claim can yield coverage for all of the injured employee’s medical expenses and weekly benefits for their lost income, typically amounting to about two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages.
The length of time these benefits continue depends on the employee’s injuries. For example, the California DWC typically caps temporary disability payments at 104 weeks, and these payments can be spread out over five years. However, if an injured employee receives a very high disability rating from their workers’ compensation doctor indicating permanent damage, they may qualify for permanent disability benefits.
A personal injury claim can provide more expansive recovery to the injured worker. Workers’ compensation can cover their medical expenses to a degree, but any outstanding medical costs incurred by the employee are typically claimable through a personal injury action. Additionally, a personal injury claim can help the victim secure various other forms of compensation, including non-economic damages like their pain and suffering. For example, workers’ compensation may cover all the injured employee’s medical costs but will not cover compensation for their physical pain and emotional suffering.
Suppose another party is responsible for your construction accident injury, and you have grounds for a personal injury claim against them. In that case, your attorney can help you determine an appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation to include with your claim. There are several methods for calculating pain and suffering. The most commonly used are per diem and lump sum. With a per diem calculation, your attorney will determine a set amount of pain and suffering compensation for each day their client spends recovering from their injury. This method is most appropriate when the victim is expected to make a full recovery. A lump sum calculation is more suitable when the victim has developed some permanent disability or medical condition from their injury and is likely to experience a diminished quality of life and ability to live independently due to their injury.
Comparative Negligence in California Personal Injury Claims
If you have grounds for a personal injury claim in Thousand Palms, it’s vital to understand how California’s pure comparative negligence may apply in your case. While fault isn’t necessarily a factor for a workers’ compensation claim, it does play a significant role in a personal injury claim. If an investigation reveals that a plaintiff is partially responsible for causing their claimed damages, they lose a percentage of their case award to reflect their comparative negligence.
For example, if a plaintiff seeks $500,000 in compensation for a construction accident injury, but the judge overseeing the case determines the plaintiff is 10% at fault, the plaintiff loses 10% of their case award, receiving $450,000 instead. Depending on the plaintiff’s fault percentage and the overall value of the case, even a few percentage points of comparative negligence can lead to a substantially lower case award. Your Thousand Palms construction accident attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to minimize your potential fault percentage and maximize your compensation.
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