Every worker faces the risk of getting injured in the workplace. This explains why every state has laws in place to safeguard the rights of workers who get injured in their workplaces. Employers are required by law to maintain safe working environments for their employees, to minimize these risks. If you or your loved one works at a construction site, it is essential to note that the risk of getting injured in this environment is high.
The Workers Compensation Attorney Group in Orange County, a group of professional and highly trained attorneys, helps workers file compensation claims for workplace injuries. We handle workplace-related cases, especially when you want to know more about your rights, want to file a claim, or your employer or insurance provider is offering an unsatisfactory settlement, among others. Read on to get answers on your rights, the kind of compensation you can claim in a construction injury accident, how to file a claim, among other FAQs.
What is the Prevalence of Construction Injuries in the State?
Injuries can occur in any profession, but in the construction industry, there are more injuries experienced every day, and the kinds of injuries experienced here can be dangerous.
In the country today, construction injuries carry a more significant risk when compared to other workplace injuries.
There are many causes of construction injuries, and the types of injuries one can sustain in this industry vary greatly. Some of the causes are very easy to spot and stop while others are not obvious at all. It is essential for everyone working in the construction industry to familiarize themselves with the common injuries that they can experience the workplace, and then you may be able to identify some of those that you have already suffered. Familiarizing yourself with the rights of injured construction workers is essential too, to know the way forward in case you are injured at your workplace.
What Types of Construction Injuries Are Protected By Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance coverage that provides medical benefits and wage replacement to employees who are injured in their workplaces. The employer offers the insurance cover as a way to prevent the injured employee from suing their employer for negligence. The full medical and financial benefits an injured employee gets though workers’ compensation ensures that the employee does not incur extra expenses for the time they will be away from work recovering from the injury.
Most of the injuries that employees experience in their workplaces are protected by the Workers’ Compensation program, provided that the injuries were sustained while the employee was on the job. In this case, you will receive a total benefit if you:
Got injured when performing a task in your workplace. Whether you were at the construction site or not, you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation if you got injured when performing a work-related task. For Example, a construction worker who gets involved in an auto accident while picking up construction materials is eligible to receive compensation, similar to a construction worker who is injured at the construction site.
Developed a mental condition from psychological abuse you got from your employer, another employee, or job-related stress. For this case to be compensated, there must be proof from a psychologist or a doctor that you indeed have a mental disorder. This proof will help you file a strong claim from your workers’ compensation provider.
Have developed a disorder or a disease that could have been caused by continuous exposure to toxins in your workplace. In the country today, most workplaces have contaminants that sometimes go unnoticed and could affect the lives of people exposed to them for a prolonged time. For instance, a worker may develop cancers such as mesothelioma if they are exposed to asbestos for an extended period. Employers are expected to establish a safe workstation for everyone they hire, failure to which they cover their employees to enable them to get sustainable workers' compensation.
If you had a medical condition that got worse as a consequence of an unsafe working condition. For instance, you may be eligible to receive full compensation benefits if you had back issues that got worse or a knee injury that worsened,
Some of the most common types of injuries that are protected by the Workers’ Compensation include:
Falls are the most common types of construction injuries. Construction workers are always at risk of falling from the floors, cranes, ladders, scaffolding, and other heights in their workplaces. Dangerous conditions in the workplace cause most falls. If a dangerous situation was the fault of the property owner, a contractor or subcontractor, or the failure of another third party who is not an employee, an injured worker has a right to file a claim for workers' compensation or file a lawsuit against the responsible party for the sustained damages.
In addition to falling, construction workers are at an even higher risk of getting injured from falling objects. For instance, tools used above a worker or construction materials will hit one or many construction workers if not appropriately secured. While some of the objects fall over a short distance, thereby causing minimal injuries or no injuries at all, others are quite dangerous and can result in spinal and brain injuries. Note that these injuries could still occur even when a construction worker is wearing the appropriate safety gear, including a hardhat.
Accidents resulting from the use of equipment
There are all kinds of machines that are used in construction sites, including heavy machines that can be very dangerous. For instance, a forklift may fail to work correctly, causing severe injuries to a construction worker. There are dumpsters too, which can fall unexpectedly, injuring a construction site employee. Also, nail guns get misfired every day, leaving construction workers to nurse grave injuries. In case of unsafe equipment or a dangerous machine, injuries should be expected, leaving many construction site workers paying much money for medical care.
Crushed-betweens and backovers
Construction workers are also at higher risk of getting run over by huge trucks coming in and out of the construction sites. When such trucks are backing, there is always a chance that they will run over a worker who is already busy with something else on the site. Again, some workers get crushed in between these trucks, between a large truck and a wall or between a large vehicle and a concrete. Most of these accidents occur when a supervisor is not able to efficiently control a work site.
Building and trench collapses
A trench that is still under construction can collapse with the workers inside, causing severe injuries to the workers. Also, a building can collapse when still under construction or when it is being demolished. Some of these accidents cause severe injuries and sometimes death to construction workers. There are many reasons why this could happen, and for any reason, affected workers must be compensated fully for all medical expenses they incur as well as wages they lose while recovering away from work.
Explosions and fires
Explosions and fires are frequent in construction sites and can result from dangerous conditions such as leaking pipes, exposed wiring, and the presence of flammable chemicals in the construction sites. Even though they are less common in most construction sites, fires and explosions could occur, and when they do, they can be fatal and lead to severe injuries that could take a long time to heal.
Are There Injuries That Are Not Covered Under the Workers’ Compensation Program?
Like mentioned above, workers’ compensation only covers those injuries that have been sustained in the workplace, but only those that have been caused by factors in the workplace. If you have suffered an injury in your workplace, but you were liable for that injury, you may not get the compensation. There are instances when personal negligence is allowed when an injured employee is seeking compensation, but there are cases where compensation will be denied. For example, if you were intoxicated, or under drugs influence when you got injured at a construction site, your claim may be rejected because your actions will be seen as violating the code of behavior provided by your employer.
Other reasons your application could be denied include:
- If it is established that you inflicted the injuries on yourself
- If you were injured while playing games with a co-worker in the construction site
- If you were operating a piece of equipment or working while intoxicated
- If you violated the company’s safety at workplace policies and got injured as a result
- If you got injured while committing a criminal offense in your workplace
- You got injured outside your place of work while performing your tasks
The workers’ compensation insurance aims to ensure that trustworthy workers, as well as their relations, are well protected against any financial stress they could face in case a worker gets injured or dies at their workplace. It helps a lot if employees learn their company’s safety and all workplace regulations in place to avoid violating them, which could prevent them from getting compensated in case of an injury. Even with that, statistics show that the workers’ compensation insurance protects 99% of work-related injuries. Therefore, it is crucial to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that your claim is not denied.
What is the Procedure for Filing a Claim for Workers’ Compensation?
If you are injured in a construction site, there are mainly three steps you should take to get your workers’ compensation:
Gather enough records as proof that you suffered an accident on the job. The evidence will be used to represent your case and can include pictures of the injuries you sustained and the exact place where the accident occurred. An attorney will also help you get contact details from the people who were present at the time you got injured as they can be used as witnesses to corroborate your proof.
After that, you will ask for the workers’ compensation forms from your employer with the help of your attorney. Your employer should be willing and ready to provide you with all the documents and support you need during this time, but if you are unable to get the form from him/her, you can always download one online from the government’s website. Allow your attorney to help you fill the form to ensure that it is correctly filled as any mistakes could make it hard for you to get the compensation you need for your medical treatment.
Once the form is completely filled, send it to your company or employer for him/her to fill in the employer part of the claim form. After doing his/her role, your manager should send the forms to the company’s insurance provider. As soon as the insurance company receives the form, they have at least fourteen days from the date you filed the claim to reply to the claim through your address.
The state laws give the employer three months to either accept or reject the workers’ compensation claim from the date you filed for the applications. Before the claim is accepted, you can receive an amount not exceeding $10,000 for your medical care, which can be given to you a day after your claim has been filed. If your employer does not respond to the claim after the given 90 days, it automatically means that your claim was accepted and you can now expect to receive the full insurance benefits.
What Benefits Does a Person Get When Their Claim is Accepted?
Like mentioned above, most construction injuries are severe and could leave the injured worker disabled and incapable of going to work for weeks and sometimes months. For that reason, workers' compensation benefits must be provided to ensure that the worker has enough money to cater for their medical expenses and other personal expenses before they can get back to work to earn money. Some of the benefits of an injured construction worker can get through the workers' compensation program include:
The temporary disability benefits
With these benefits, the injured worker will have a form of income for the time they will be away from work, to cater for their bills and other expenditure.
In most cases, the worker will get two-thirds of their monthly pay divided and paid every two weeks. Remember that these benefits will only be paid if your claim has been accepted. The amount of money you get in temporary disability benefits is determined by:
The amount of work restriction that the doctor has given you and the amount of time you are expected to be away from work.
The benefits will be calculated based on your weekly earnings and will be paid on a set schedule.
Permanent disability benefits
A permanent disability is considered as any disability that is expected to last for a long time, acquired from a work-related injury or from an illness, and one that makes it hard for you to earn a living as you have always done. The types of benefits you receive in this case will provide you with a steady wage for a much longer time, and sometimes the injured worker may qualify for additional payments, depending on the nature of their injury.
Your permanent disability has to be proven by a medical practitioner or a doctor who is a qualified evaluator. Your inability to work will be expressed as a percentage, which will be used in calculating the amount of money you will receive as permanent disability benefits.
Medical expense coverage
Your workers’ compensation should cover every treatment you receive and the medical expenses you incur. Therefore, you receive an amount to enable you to seek the best medical care for the injuries sustained at work. However, the injured worker must be treated in an exclusive network called the Medical Provider Network to enjoy these benefits.
The state laws advocates for standardized medical care for all injured workers. The compensation you get in the end will be based on the duration, frequency, and the suitability of the treatment you received in your case.
Death benefits are paid to the family of the injured worker who has succumbed to his/her injuries. The money received can be used by the family to cater for any related expenses, for instance, to cover for the funeral and burial expenses and provide adequate financial support to dependents who have been left behind.
Supplemental job displacement benefits
If the employee was injured to the point of not being able to work as effectively as they did before the accident, supplemental job displacement benefits, or vocational rehabilitation benefits could be used to provide the employee with a chance to learn a different skill that will enable him/her to continue working in the company.
Can You File for Additional Benefits Than Those Provided Under Workers’ Compensation?
Yes. There are many causes of construction accidents, and not all of them are caused by negligence on the part of an employer. Much of what is covered under workers’ compensation is employer negligence, but if you feel that another person’s fault also caused the accident, you may be able to pursue additional benefits by filing third-party claims.
Again, construction sites are full of workers from all types of industries, each with their own set of tasks and their type of machine or equipment to handle. The construction site has all kinds of factors that could result in a work-related injury, and so, an accident in the workplace can be caused by several independent factors. For this reason, it may not be enough for an injured worker to pursue only one kind of benefit when there is a possibility of getting more in compensation.
For instance, if the injured employee was working with faulty equipment, they may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer to get other additional benefits. It is essential to work closely with an experienced attorney if you want to pursue more benefits.
How is Liability Determined?
In any work-related accident, the company or the employer is, in most cases liable to any injuries sustained by the workers in their workplaces. As long as you have been injured in your workplace, or elsewhere while performing your work-related duties, you may be able to pursue compensation with your employer or the company. State laws provide that every employer must ensure that all their employees are working in a safe environment. In addition to that, employers must train all their employees on how to operate heavy duty machines and equipment to minimize work-related accidents.
Employers are also required by the law to provide adequate supervision in their workplaces to ensure that all tasks are done without any form of workplace violation. Even in the case of employee negligence, the employer will be held liable as he/she has to hire workers who can follow all the safety guidelines provided in their workplaces. If an employee is injured in their workplaces, the liability falls mainly on the company or the employer.
Note that most plaintiffs are not required to prove that their employers are liable to the injuries. The worker will get compensation as long as there is enough proof that the injury occurred on-site, even when they are partly at fault.
Contact a Workers Comp Lawyer Near Me
Construction injuries can leave a construction worker incapacitated for life or even cause death. That is why everyone working construction or anyone with a loved one working on a construction site should be well informed about the kind of dangers they may be exposed to and how they can file for compensation after. There is much information that you can get from an experienced attorney, which is why The Workers Compensation Attorney Group is here to help and support you and ensure that you have successfully filed your claim. Call us today at 562-485-9694 if you have a case out of Orange County.