Many people work in construction sites that are in deplorable conditions and are managed by negligent contractors and property owners. Moreover, most construction equipment is usually of low-quality. People who work in such conditions and use low-quality construction equipment are prone to be involved in construction accidents, and they may suffer from construction injuries. The Workers Compensation Attorney Group is a dedicated team of attorneys in Orange County who help construction workers who have been involved in construction accidents get compensation for the physical injuries and the emotional pain they incurred due to the accident. The Workers Compensation Attorney Group will assist you to institute your personal injury claim and to build a strong lawsuit with credible facts and evidence so that you can be appropriately compensated for your injuries.
Who Can File Construction Accident Lawsuits?
Persons who have been involved in accidents at construction sites can file lawsuits so that they can receive compensation for their injuries. Such compensation may extend to the medical costs incurred during the treatment of the injuries, the physical and emotional pain, and the amount of future income or wages which are lost. These lawsuits should be filed against the people or companies who caused the accident as a result of their negligence.
If a person dies due to construction site injuries, the family of the deceased can institute a civil action against the people or companies responsible for the construction site’s injuries which caused the person’s death. In this case, the deceased family is entitled to compensation because they lost their loved one due to the negligence of another person or company.
If a person is a worker at a construction site and he or she gets involved in an accident while at the construction site, it is the employer who would be liable for the employee’s injuries. However, employers in California are typically covered by the Workers Compensation Claim; and they may not incur personal liability in the accident of the employee. The Workers Compensation Claim will enable the injured employee to be compensated for the medical costs he or she incurred due to the site accident and the income which the employee would have earned during the time he or she was involved in the accident. Even though such an employee is held to have been duly compensated under the Workers Compensation Claim, he or she can still file a suit and get additional compensation from the third party who caused the construction site accident. Here is a complete guide on how to go about a construction site lawsuit;
Who is Liable in a Construction Site Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a site accident, you will have to file a civil lawsuit against the person who is deemed to be responsible for causing the construction site accident. If your lawsuit is successful, the person who caused the site accident will be ordered by the court to compensate you in the form of monetary damages.
Californian law has a distinct and specific criterion to determine the persons who should be deemed responsible for a construction site accident. This criterion is dependent on the type of construction site accident and the persons who were involved in the accident. Using this criterion, persons who may be deemed responsible for a construction site accident include the property owners, government agencies, construction workers, contractors, subcontractors, construction companies, engineers, machine manufacturers, and architects. For you to institute a civil lawsuit to get damages due to construction site injuries, your suit must be founded on either negligence, product defects, an employee’s vicarious liability, or premises liability.
Most civil lawsuits involving construction site injuries are usually based on negligence. For a plaintiff to assert that the defendant was negligent, he or she must prove three factors before the court. Note that the burden of proof in a civil lawsuit always falls on the plaintiff, and the plaintiff must prove his case to a standard of a balance of probabilities.
The first factor which the plaintiff must prove to assert negligence in a construction claim lawsuit is that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. Next, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached that duty of care; and it is as a result of the breach of that duty of care that the plaintiff sustained grievous physical injuries.
In essence, the plaintiff must prove these factors conclusively so that he or she can win his case. It is only when the plaintiff has fully asserted these three factors before the court in a negligence construction site lawsuit when the defendant will be obliged to compensate the plaintiff.
The owner of a particular premise is held to be personally liable for accidents that occur in his or her property. In essence, the owner of the property owes a duty of care to any person who visits that property. In case any third party visits the property and gets involved in an accident within the premises of that property, then the owner will be held liable.
In a construction sites premises liability civil claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owned or controlled the premise in which the plaintiff had an accident. Also, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant did not take the due care to maintain the property as is required by law; and due to the defendant’s negligence – the plaintiff was involved in an accident which led him to suffer serious physical injuries.
If a building is under construction, then the owner of that building is required by law to take appropriate measures to warn other people that construction activities are going on in the building. For instance, the owner may put up a banner which informs other people that the building is under construction so they should stay away from it or exercise due care if they intend to go inside the building. Some of the accidents that can occur in a building under construction include individuals tripping on wet surfaces, falling from elevated areas, or being toppled down by temporary stairs.
Employee’s Vicarious Liability
Sometimes, the employees of the construction company can cause an accident in a construction site. Such employees will be held by the court to be vicariously liable, and they will have to compensate the plaintiff. However, it is the plaintiff who must prove that the accident at the construction site occurred due to the employee’s negligence. In such instances, the employer will be expected to pay for the negligence of his employees under the concept of vicarious liability. For instance, John is walking to his office, and he passes through a building under construction. Tim is working as a casual laborer in that construction site, and LG Constructions Ltd has employed him. However, Tim does not secure his hammer in his tool belt. This hammer slips and falls on top of John’s head, making him have severe physical injuries. John later goes for medical treatment and institutes a construction site lawsuit against Tim. Tim will be held liable by the court, but he may not be in a position to compensate John. In such a situation, LG Constructions will have to compensate John since employers are held to be vicariously liable for the negligent actions of their employees.
Many construction accidents typically occur due to product defects. In such cases, the people who manufactured, designed, or sold the product will be held to be liable for the occurrence of such accidents. In a product defect construction lawsuit, the plaintiff need not prove that the individuals who sold, designed or manufactured the product were negligent.
There are three main types of product defects; inadequate warning, design, or manufacturing defects. Some examples of product defects include extremely heavy machinery, electrical machines that can cause electrocution, defective ladders, and leaking machines that can bring about explosions or fires. For instance, Mary who is an architect; is reviewing a particular construction project. Mary uses a metallic ladder to reach the roof of that building, but unfortunately, she trips from the ladder and falls down to the ground, and she ends up breaking her leg. It is later found that the metal used to make that ladder was weak because it was made of fake steel. In such an instance, the person or company who manufactured this ladder will have to compensate Mary.
What Can Be Awarded as Damages in a Construction Accident Civil Claim
If your construction accident lawsuit is successful, you will be awarded monetary damages. These damages are meant for compensation and restitution. There are two types of damages, special damages, and general damages. Special damages will be awarded by the court in reference to the nature of your physical injuries which you suffered due to the construction site accident.
The court assesses the special damages which are due to you because of your physical injuries by looking at your medical reports and bills to determine whether you are under continuous physical therapy or long-term care. These special damages may also cover your lost wages and future income. Therefore, when instituting a construction accident civil claim; you must present your attorney with all your medical reports and documental proof of what you would have earned in terms of wages had you not been involved in the accident and also what amounts of money you may not be able to make due to the injuries you sustained from the accident. If you give your attorney all the relevant documentation, then the attorney will be able to calculate the exact amount of special damages he or she should plead before the court.
Besides special damages, the court can also award you with general damages. These general damages are given by the discretion of the court in reference to the emotional distress, suffering, and pain you went through because of the physical injuries you got from the construction site accident.
Furthermore, the court can also award you with exemplary or punitive damages. Punitive damages are usually meant to punish the defendant for his or her reckless acts or to deter other people from committing similar actions to those of the defendant. In most cases, punitive damages are usually awarded by the court if it is found that the defendant caused the construction site accident intentionally. However, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant caused the accident as a result of malice, oppression, fraud, or extreme recklessness before he or she is awarded exemplary damages.
Am I Fully Protected by the Workers’ Compensation Laws?
Workers in a construction site are typically protected by the Californian Workers’ Compensation laws. Therefore, if you work in a construction site and you suffer physical injuries while working; you will be entitled to compensation under the workers’ compensation laws. However, you can still institute a personal injury claim in a California court.
Your legal rights may be limited if you file a worker’s compensation claim to be indemnified of the loss you suffered due to your injuries. California’s workers’ compensation laws are specifically tailored to safeguard the interests of the employers, and they offer more protection to employers than the employees. In fact, when you institute a workers’ compensation claim; you may not be able to expose the negligent actions of your employer. Also, a workers’ compensation claim will only cover for your medical bills, and the wages which you would have earned had you not been injured – and you won’t get any general or exemplary damages.
If you have been injured while working due to the negligent actions of a third party, you can file a construction accident lawsuit against the third party. Moreover, if you are an independent contractor and you’ve been injured in a construction site while working; you are legally allowed to file a personal injury civil claim. However, if you are unsure whether you are legally permitted to file a construction accident lawsuit; you can always consult your attorney for advice.
Third Party Negligence or Independent Contractors
Many people who work in a construction site are categorized as independent contractors. Such people are permitted by Californian law to file personal injury lawsuits to seek compensation for the injuries they suffered due to the negligent actions of a third party. These third parties may include the manufacturers and sellers of the construction equipment, the owner of the property under construction or, the contractors in charge of the construction project.
Can Family Members of a Deceased Person Institute a Wrongful Death Civil Claim After a Construction Accident?
If you have a relative who died due to a construction accident, then you can institute a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of lawsuit enables the deceased family to be compensated for the loss of their loved one due to the negligent actions of a party who may have caused the construction site accident.
A wrongful death civil claim is quite similar to a personal injury construction accident lawsuit. In a wrongful death civil claim, the family of the deceased person will still have to prove negligence, liability, or product defects on the part of the defendant so that they can be awarded damages.
Extended families and distant relatives are not entitled to file wrongful death claims on behalf of the deceased. In fact, the only relatives who can file a deceased person’s wrongful death lawsuit according to Californian law include surviving spouses, children, domestic partners, or any other person who is entitled to inherit the property of the deceased. Typically, the damages which are awarded in a wrongful death civil claim cover the burial expenses of the deceased, the deceased’s value to his or her family members, and the loss of support, affection, and companionship suffered by the members of the deceased’s family.
Can I File a Lawsuit if I Partially Contributed to the Occurrence of the Construction Accident?
Even if you partially contributed to the occurrence of the construction accident, you can still institute a lawsuit against other people who may have also caused the accident. In such cases, you will be compensated in due regard to the percentage proportion of the negligence of the other people who caused the accident in accordance with the comparative fault laws of California.
If more than one party is held by the court to have caused the accident which led to the injuries of the plaintiff, the court will determine what percentage each individual contributed to the occurrence of the accident. The court will then award damages to the plaintiff, and each person who is held to be liable for the accident will contribute to the payment of the plaintiff’s damages according to the percentage proportion that has been determined by the court. For instance, Walter is mixing concrete in a construction site, and Robert confuses Walter by throwing a small pebble towards him. In this confusion, Walter lets go of the spade which then lands and injures Robert’s toe. Robert pays medical bills worth $1000, and he institutes a civil construction accident lawsuit against Walter. In such a case, both Walter and Robert are responsible for the occurrence of the accident. The court may determine that Walter is 70% responsible, while Robert is 30% responsible. If the court awards $2100 in damages, Walter will have to pay Robert only $1470.
What are the Common Causes of Accidents in Construction Sites?
There are many construction accident lawsuits in Californian courts. In fact, construction accident lawsuits are deemed to be the most common personal injury claims. In a research paper issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it was found that the construction industry is the most fatal working environment in the United States; and at least one in every fifteen Americans has died because of a construction accident.
Some of the typical safety citations and hazards illustrated by OSHA in construction sites include scaffolding, electrical wiring, fall protection, hazard communication, excavations, head protection, and ladders. If you have been involved in a construction accident because of these health hazards and you have suffered some physical injuries, you should file a construction accident lawsuit to be compensated.
There are four main types of construction accidents in California. These types include accidents that occur due to machinery, electrical hazards, moving objects, and falls. Machinery accidents occur when workers become injured due to faulty machinery, or when they are trapped between moving machinery and a wall or any other flat surface. Accidents due to moving objects usually occur when a moving object such as stone or a hammer hits an individual in a construction site and injures him or her. Electrical hazards and falls are deemed to be the most serious construction accidents since they usually result in either death or grievous physical injuries. Falls may be caused due to scaffolding, weak ladders, and inappropriate railings. Accidents due to electrical hazards may be brought about by poor wiring, power surges, and unclear marking of power lines.
Find a Construction Site Injury Attorney Near Me
Don’t suffer in silence if you have been recently involved in a construction accident and you have sustained grievous physical injuries. Filing a construction accident lawsuit will enable you to recover all the medical costs which you incurred, and you may also be additionally compensated for the emotional pain you have gone through due to the accident. You can institute a construction accident lawsuit with the help of our team of attorneys.
Our team is made up of attorneys who are well dedicated, experienced, and skilled in workers’ compensation claims. Therefore, if you have any questions about construction accident lawsuits or you would like to file a personal injury claim; you can reach out to us. With our help, you will have a strong, credible case against your employer and in the end be compensated for all your injuries and emotional pain. Moreover, we will make sure that the individuals who caused the construction accident pay dearly for their negligent actions. Call our Orange County workers compensation attorney at 562-485-9694 and start your compensation journey today!