Thousands of people in the U.S. are injured or killed at work every year, and many of them work in the construction industry. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that one in five workplace fatalities occurred in the construction industry.
Most construction accidents fall under one of the Fatal Four categories, which include falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught in or between objects. But, these are far from the only ways that an accident on a construction site can occur.
Because construction sites are so dangerous, it is important for every construction worker to know what to do if they are ever injured while at work. If you are ever in this position, follow these steps:
Get Medical Attention As Soon As Possible
After a construction accident, it’s important to prioritize your wellbeing. If you are seriously injured, call or ask someone else to call for emergency medical assistance. If you are not seriously injured, it’s still in your best interest to seek medical attention as soon as possible after leaving the scene of the accident. In fact, it’s best for everyone involved in a construction accident to seek medical attention even if there are no noticeable signs of an injury. Why? Some symptoms will not appear for hours or even days after the accident. By this time, the injury could have worsened, making it harder to treat. Don’t wait for the injury to worsen–seek medical attention right away so a doctor can diagnose and treat your injuries.
If other people were involved in the accident, don’t forget to check on them to see if they need emergency medical assistance. Remember, they could be seriously injured and unable to call for help on their own.
Let Your Employer Know
It’s strongly recommended that you let your employer know about the accident as soon as possible. Many people who are injured on construction sites are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. But, they could lose their right to obtain these benefits if they fail to notify their employer of their injuries within 30 days. Report the accident right away so you don’t forget to do it within this 30-day timeframe.
Document Important Evidence At the Scene
It’s in your best interest to document evidence from the scene of the accident. First, use your cell phone to snap photographs of the scene. Take photos of any equipment or heavy machinery that contributed to your injuries. Be sure to focus the camera on the specific parts of the equipment or machinery that caused you harm.
If no equipment or machinery was involved, photograph any other potential hazard that could have played a role in the accident. You should also take photographs of visible injuries on your body as well as the clothes you were wearing at the time of the accident. Try to photograph the clothing prior to washing it so it is in the exact same condition it was in when the accident occurred.
Did anyone see what happened? If so, ask them for their contact information. Witness testimony can be used to support your personal injury claim, so you will need to get in touch with these individuals later on. Do not discuss the accident with them–simply ask for their contact information and thank them for their cooperation. All of this evidence can be used to piece together the events leading up to the accident so you can prove liability and recover the compensation you deserve.
Document Your Recovery
Anyone who is injured in a construction accident should also document their recovery. Make copies of all of your medical records and keep them in a safe place until your case has been resolved. You should also hold onto receipts for prescription medications, walking aids, or any other items you need to treat your injuries.
Many construction accident victims keep health journals to document their recovery. Set aside time at the end of everyday to jot down notes about your injuries. How is treatment going? Are the injuries healing? What physical and mental symptoms are you experiencing today? How have the injuries affected your daily life? These questions should be answered in every entry within your journal. Jotting these notes down can help victims prove the extent of their injury-related pain and suffering.
Get In Touch With An Attorney
The next step is getting in touch with a personal injury attorney. It’s important to look for an attorney who has extensive experience representing clients who have been injured in construction accidents. If an attorney does not have experience in this area, they may not have the legal knowledge to tackle a case of this complexity.
Provide your attorney with all of the documentation related to the accident. This includes the photographs from the scene of the accident, the witnesses’ contact information, medical records, and your health journal. The attorney will use this information to investigate the accident and gather additional evidence so they can prove who is at fault.
What happens next will depend on who is liable for the accident. Many construction accidents are covered by the workers’ compensation system, which means the victims cannot file personal injury claims against their employers. However, a personal injury claim can be filed if an attorney finds that a third party such as a manufacturer or contractor is liable. The two processes are very different, but regardless of who is liable, an attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Have you been injured in a construction accident? Contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced team of knowledgeable personal injury lawyers. Our personal injury attorneys will fight tirelessly to recover compensation for your injury-related expenses and losses.