The Process of a Construction Accident Case [Step by Step]

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The Steps of a Construction Accident Case

On this page, we’ll explain the process of a construction accident case in steps, the benefits of hiring a construction accident attorney, how injured construction workers can seek compensation, and much more.

Construction Accident Claims and Personal Injury Lawsuits for Injured Construction Workers

Construction accident injuries can significantly impact a worker’s life, often leading to long-term physical disabilities and the inability to return to work.

The emotional and psychological toll of such injuries can also be profound, affecting not just the injured worker but their family as well.

The financial burden of medical expenses and lost wages can create a challenging situation, highlighting the need for adequate compensation and support.

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Following an accident on a construction site, injured workers must take action through the proper legal and procedural channels.

With the help of an experienced construction accident lawyer, injured workers can navigate the legal process with confidence and maximize the chances of receiving fair compensation for their injuries.

If you have been injured in a construction accident, we may be able to help you seek justice and compensation.

Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a construction accident lawsuit instantly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Immediately after a construction accident, the initial steps that should be taken include:

  • Seeking immediate medical attention for any injuries
  • Reporting the accident to a supervisor or employer
  • Documenting the accident scene with photographs
  • Collecting contact information of witnesses
  • Consulting with an attorney experienced in construction accident cases

Following these steps will protect one’s legal rights and explore potential avenues for compensation.

The process of gathering evidence is crucial in a construction accident case because it helps establish liability and the extent of damages.

Typical evidence includes:

  • Photographs of the accident scene
  • Medical records
  • Accident reports
  • Witness statements
  • Construction site safety records
  • Equipment maintenance records
  • Expert testimony

All of which can help prove negligence and support the injured party’s claims for compensation.

In a construction accident, potential liabilities and responsibilities can vary among parties involved.

The construction industry

The construction company may be responsible for overall site safety and adherence to regulations.

Subcontractors may bear responsibility for specific tasks or areas of the site, and equipment manufacturers may be liable if a defective product contributed to the accident.

Liability is often determined based on the specific circumstances of the case and contractual relationships among the parties.

There are often statutes of limitations that vary by jurisdiction and type of claim, typically ranging from one to several years after the date of the construction accident.

Missing these deadlines can result in the loss of the right to file a lawsuit, making it crucial for individuals to consult with an attorney promptly after an accident to ensure they meet all legal deadlines and preserve their legal claims.

The legal standards for proving negligence or liability in a construction accident case are generally similar to other personal injury cases and often rely on demonstrating the defendant’s breach of a duty of care, causation, and damages.

Construction accident cases may involve additional complexities related to workplace safety regulations and multiple potentially liable parties, such as construction companies, subcontractors, and equipment manufacturers, which can make them distinct from typical personal injury cases.

Table of Contents

An Overview of Construction Accidents

Construction sites are dynamic environments where various hazards pose risks to workers and bystanders alike.

The frequent use of heavy machinery and the presence of high structures increase the likelihood of serious accidents, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities.

Inadequate safety measures and failure to adhere to regulations can exacerbate these risks, emphasizing the importance of stringent safety protocols and continuous monitoring on site.

Common Accidents on Construction Sites

Construction accidents vary widely due to factors such as the diversity of construction projects, the materials used, the complexity of the tasks, the proficiency of the workers, and the fluctuating environmental conditions.

Here are some of the most common types of construction site accidents:

  • Falls from heights: These accidents often happen due to unstable scaffolding, ladders, or lack of fall protection measures.
  • Scaffolding accidents: Collapse or instability of scaffolding can lead to severe falls and injuries.
  • Electrical accidents: Contact with exposed wiring or malfunctioning electrical equipment can cause serious injuries or fatalities.
  • Machinery malfunctions: Defective or improperly maintained machinery can lead to accidents such as crush injuries or amputations.
  • Struck-by accidents: These involve being struck by falling objects, heavy equipment, or vehicles on-site.
  • Trench collapses: Workers can be trapped or injured in trenches or excavation sites due to collapses.
  • Crane accidents: According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, these fatal construction accidents can lead to several kinds of injuries ranging from crushing injuries to traumatic brain injuries.

Typical Injuries a Construction Worker May Sustain

Construction injuries range from minor to severe and can have long-lasting impacts.

It is crucial for workers to seek immediate medical care and report their injuries to the appropriate authorities.

Here are some examples of common construction site injuries sustained by workers:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Resulting from falls, collisions, or object strikes from falling objects, TBIs can have long-term effects on cognitive functions.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: These injuries are debilitating and are often caused by falls or heavy object accidents, leading to paralysis or impaired motor functions.
  • Fractures and Broken Bones: These are common in accidents involving falls or crush incidents.
  • Burns and Electrocution Injuries: Exposure to fire, explosions, or faulty electrical systems can cause severe burns or electrocution.
  • Internal Injuries: Blunt force trauma or crush injuries can cause internal bleeding or organ damage.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: These include strains, sprains, and muscle tears, affecting mobility and causing chronic pain.

Injured workers who have sustained these injuries often require serious medical attention.

Initial Steps To Take After You've Sustained Construction Accident Injuries

For injured construction workers, taking the appropriate steps following an accident is vital to ensure the best possible outcome in terms of compensation, whether through workers’ compensation claims or personal injury lawsuits.

Following these steps correctly can significantly impact the ability to secure adequate financial support for medical expenses and lost wages.

1. Seek Medical Care

Seeking immediate medical attention after sustaining a construction injury is crucial, particularly for serious injuries such as broken bones, lacerations, or chemical exposures.

Timely medical care not only ensures proper treatment and potentially prevents complications but also serves as a critical first step in the recovery process.

For injuries that may seem minor initially, professional evaluation is important as some symptoms can take time to manifest fully.

Receiving immediate medical care creates an official record of the injuries, which is essential for any subsequent claims.

Documentation and medical bills play a pivotal role in substantiating claims for workers’ compensation or personal injury lawsuits, providing concrete evidence of the extent and impact of the injuries.

2. Consult an Experienced Construction Accident Attorney

Hiring a construction accident attorney is crucial for navigating the complexities of compensation claims, as they can advocate for damages that go beyond what workers’ compensation typically covers.

An experienced attorney can help ensure that all potential avenues for compensation, including those not immediately apparent, are thoroughly explored and pursued.

Construction accident attorneys are pivotal to a successful workers’ compensation claim and personal injury lawsuit.

A construction accident attorney can assist you by performing the following tasks:

  • Assessing Your Case: An experienced lawyer will meticulously examine the circumstances surrounding the construction site accident.
  • Clarifying and Protecting Your Legal Rights: One of the primary roles of the attorney is to clarify your rights. This encompasses explaining the legal entitlements concerning compensation, the liability of multiple parties involved, and the critical aspects of the legal process.
  • Planning Legal Strategy: Armed with a comprehensive understanding of the case, your lawyer develops a strategic plan tailored to the specific incident. This strategy is aimed at pursuing rightful compensation for the injuries sustained, factoring in the unique circumstances of the accident and the applicable laws.

If you’ve been in an accident on your construction site, contact us at TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you’re eligible for a claim.

Documentation and Evidence Gathering

Once you’ve consulted with a construction accident attorney, it will be crucial to gather and present compelling evidence to support your case effectively.

Evidence will be in the form of documents, some of which you’ll have already gathered after seeking medical care.

The necessary documents will vary from one construction accident lawsuit to another.

You can expect your construction accident lawyer to ask you for the following:

  • Accident reports: It is crucial to obtain official accident reports that comprehensively document key information such as the incident’s date, time, location, witnesses, and initial assessments, which are typically held by relevant authorities or construction site management due to occupational safety regulations.
  • Medical records: Medical records are vital evidence for establishing the connection between injuries and the accident, helping assess their severity, impact, and related expenses, including treatment costs.
  • Witness statements: Witness statements are valuable as they can confirm the series of events leading up to the accident, offering firsthand accounts that support your claims.
  • Photographs and scene documentation: These documents serve as important evidence, demonstrating the conditions that played a role in your accident and potentially establishing management’s responsibility for your injuries by highlighting unsafe areas and existing safety hazards.

Together, these documents bolster the legal team’s ability to construct a robust case by:

  • Substantiating the sequence of events
  • Establishing liability
  • Demonstrating the extent of the injuries suffered.

Filing Your Construction Accident Lawsuit

After gathering sufficient evidence and understanding the incident completely, a construction accident attorney will begin the official legal process to secure compensation for injuries and damages.

Filing a construction accident case typically involves three tasks — all of which will be carried out by your attorney:

  1. Drafting legal documents
  2. Submissions to the appropriate courts
  3. Filing your lawsuit within the statute of limitations

Drafting Legal Documents

With your lawyer, you’ll draft several documents, including your complaint.

The complaint is a comprehensive document that outlines details surrounding the accident, your injuries, and parties whom your attorney has deemed liable.

Crafting the complaint and other documents demands precision and clarity since they serve as the foundational basis for the legal proceedings ahead.

Submitting to the Appropriate Court

Once the necessary legal documents are compiled and refined, they are submitted to the relevant court.

The choice of court typically hinges on the jurisdiction overseeing the location where the accident occurred or where the liable parties are situated.

Submitting these documents formally starts the legal action and signals the commencement of the case within the judicial system.

Filing Your Lawsuit With the Statute of Limitations

Lawsuits for construction accidents are typically civil cases, which means that they are initiated by the injured party (plaintiff) against the responsible party (defendant) and aim to seek compensation for damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses resulting from the accident.

These cases are typically resolved through negotiation, mediation, or litigation in a court of law.

This means that these claims are subject to a statute of limitations.

Statutes of limitations are essentially time limits for filing your lawsuit or worker’s compensation claim.

Statutes of limitations vary from state to state.

For example, in New York, construction accident lawsuits are civil cases that have a three-year statute of limitations.

A New York construction accident lawyer can file a claim up to three years after a client’s accident.

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for construction site accidents is four years from the date of your accident.

The statute of limitations in Missouri is five years from the date of an accident.

This means that if your accident took place in St. Louis and you sustained injuries, you’ll have five years to file your claim.

Failure to adhere to these time constraints can jeopardize your ability to pursue compensation for any injuries sustained.

It is crucial not to delay in consulting an attorney promptly after your accident, as legal representation can help you navigate the complex process of gathering evidence, understanding your rights, and pursuing the compensation you may be entitled to in a timely and efficient manner.

Acting quickly can also help preserve critical evidence and meet any statutory deadlines for filing a construction accident lawsuit.

Discovery Phase

The statute of limitations for most states begins on the date of a victim’s accident.

The starting date usually begins on the day when injuries are discovered.

The discovery phase is a stage in a construction injury lawsuit where parties exchange information.

The exchange of information enables parties to ascertain the exact time a victim or plaintiff sustained injuries.

During the discovery phase, you and your construction accident lawyer will take part in three processes:

  1. Information Gathering: Both parties exchange pertinent information that’s crucial to the case at this stage. This includes documents, reports, witness statements, and expert opinions relevant to the accident.
  2. Further Evidence Collection: Besides exchanging information, both sides conduct independent investigations to gather additional evidence that might strengthen their respective arguments. This could involve revisiting the accident site, gathering expert opinions, or conducting further evaluations to support their claims.
  3. Depositions: Depositions — which are integral to this phase — are where key witnesses or involved parties provide sworn statements under oath. These depositions are recorded and can be used as evidence during the trial phase.

The discovery phase enables each party to gain insight into the other’s case.

The information gathered can help legal counsels evaluate the strength of evidence and gather crucial information pivotal for constructing and fortifying their legal strategies.

Negotiations and Settlement Discussions

After both parties are made well aware of the construction accident, the injuries caused, and the damages, the parties will enter into negotiations and settlement discussions.

The negotiations and settlement discussion is the stage where both parties will agree on compensation amounts.

During this stage, construction accident lawyers will argue for how much a victim should receive.

In construction accident cases, negotiations and settlement talks often become critical junctures preceding a trial.

This phase can make or break a case’s resolution and is crucial for multiple reasons:

  • Seeking Settlement: Both parties engage in discussions aimed at reaching an agreement outside the courtroom, avoiding a lengthy trial process.
  • Evaluation of Options: Assessing the case’s strengths and weaknesses aids in determining favorable terms for a settlement that benefits all involved parties.
  • Mediation or Arbitration: Sometimes, a neutral third party — like a mediator or arbitrator — facilitates discussions to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.
  • Settlement Recovery Without Trial: Trials can be drawn out and expensive legal proceedings, so attorneys and construction companies do their best to settle without matters escalating to court litigation.

In workers’ compensation and personal injury claims arising from construction accidents, having legal representation is key.

With a construction accident lawyer representing you, you’ll significantly increase the likelihood of achieving fair compensation through effective negotiation and settlement discussions.

Also, your attorney’s knowledge of civil and labor law ensures that your rights are protected throughout the process.

Trial (If Settlement Negotiations are Unsuccessful)

Most civil claims — like construction accident lawsuits, workers’ compensation claims, and personal injury lawsuits — settle outside of court.

There are times when settlement negotiations will break down.

This happens when a construction company doesn’t recognize its liability or when the company’s insurance provider disagrees with the negotiated compensation amount.

When negotiations don’t yield a favorable result, the next step is trial.

During the trial, evidence presentations and cross-examinations occur.

The result is a verdict that can rule in favor of either you, the plaintiff, or the construction company (the defendants in your construction accident case).

Presenting Evidence

The proceedings commence with opening statements, which is when both parties outline their case’s key elements and the evidence they plan to present.

Witness testimonies follow, providing sworn accounts that support each side’s arguments.

This phase includes the presentation of crucial evidence, including documents, photographs, expert opinions, and other substantiating materials aimed at reinforcing the presented claims.

Cross-Examinations and Verdict

Attorneys engage in cross-examinations by challenging or clarifying testimonies and evidence presented by the opposing party.

This phase is essential for strengthening arguments while scrutinizing and possibly weakening the opponent’s case.

An attorney’s knowledge of labor laws, personal injury laws, and construction accidents is extremely important during this part of the trial proceedings.

The representation of an experienced attorney is vital if the claim escalates to a trial.

After cross-examination, attorneys make their closing statements, and the court arrives at a verdict.

It is crucial not to delay in consulting an attorney promptly after your accident, as legal representation can help you navigate the complex process of gathering evidence, understanding your rights, and pursuing the compensation you may be entitled to in a timely and efficient manner.

If the court finds your case to be compelling, you may prevail, and as a result, you could be awarded compensation for your injuries.

Compensation can encompass various factors, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and possibly even punitive damages if the responsible party’s actions were particularly negligent or reckless.

It’s important to note that the outcome of a construction accident case can depend on the strength of your evidence, the applicable laws, and the effectiveness of your legal representation.

Potential Appeals

If the court rules against you, your construction accident lawyer can appeal the court’s decision.

Appealing must follow a structured procedure:

  1. Filing an Appeal: Submit detailed paperwork outlining grounds contesting the trial’s outcome to the appropriate appellate court.
  2. Review by Appellate Court: The appellate court meticulously reviews the trial record and arguments presented by both parties.
  3. Assessment, Not Retrial: This phase involves an assessment of the trial’s fairness and adherence to legal procedures rather than a retrial.

After the assessment, one of four things can happen:

  • The court may affirm the trial decision and uphold the initial judgment.
  • There may be a retrial, and the court calls for a new trial process.
  • Courts may modify the judgment to adjust the trial’s decision based on the appeal.
  • The court’s initial decision may be overturned entirely. This is rare and involves nullifying the trial outcome.

Resolution and Compensation

The outcomes of a successful construction accident case can vary widely, ranging from settlements covering medical expenses and lost wages to more significant compensation for long-term disability, pain and suffering, and other damages.

The resolution and compensation phase marks the end of the legal process.

This chapter of a construction accident lawsuit involves several steps:

  • Settlement or Verdict: After negotiations or trial proceedings, the case culminates either in a negotiated settlement or a court-rendered verdict. A settlement denotes an agreement reached between parties outside the courtroom, often based on negotiations facilitated by legal representatives. Conversely, a verdict results from a trial, where the court or jury determines liability and the compensation amount, if applicable.
  • Compensation Determination: Upon reaching a settlement or verdict, the determination of compensation commences. This phase involves evaluating various factors to ascertain the appropriate compensation amount. The factors considered include medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and any anticipated future care needs resulting from the accident.
  • Receipt of Compensation: After the compensation amount is established, it is disbursed to address financial losses and future needs arising from the construction accident. The financial compensation aims to address immediate financial losses incurred due to the accident, cover ongoing medical expenses, and provide for any future needs arising from the injuries sustained.

As with the previous steps in the construction accident lawsuit process, the representation of an attorney is highly recommended.

Hiring an attorney after a construction accident is crucial, as they protect injured workers’ legal rights, work to maximize compensation, and allow individuals to focus on recovery while they navigate the complexities of the legal process.

How a Construction Accident Lawyer Can Help

A construction accident lawyer plays a pivotal role in helping injured workers seek justice and compensation, addressing damages not typically covered by workers’ compensation.

Construction accident attorneys provide support to victims through their recovery by handling the legal process, allowing them to focus on their health and rehabilitation.

Here are the different tasks a construction accident attorney will carry out during the proceedings of a case:

  • Initial consultation and guidance: Before initiating a claim, it is essential to meet eligibility criteria, a task your attorney will initially address by carefully assessing the accident’s specifics. If you qualify, your lawyer will provide valuable guidance on your legal rights.
  • Documentation and evidence-gathering: Construction accident attorneys go beyond legal proceedings and excel at the vital task of collecting and organizing essential evidence, including reports, witness statements, and medical records. This process helps build a strong case, increasing your chances of success both inside and outside the courtroom.
  • Filing and trial representation: Attorneys handle a wide range of tasks, from intricate document preparation to courtroom representation, as they guide clients through the complex process of filing lawsuits. Their role involves crafting persuasive legal arguments and strategically presenting a compelling case during trials.
  • Negotiation and settlement maximization: In addition to their legal expertise, an attorney’s negotiation skills are crucial. Negotiation skills are used to pursue favorable settlements, aiming to expedite the resolution process, avoid protracted trials, and ensure fair compensation for their clients. Attorneys can also use evidence, such as medical records and statements, to enhance settlement outcomes, including calculating non-monetary damages like pain and suffering. This approach helps maximize compensation to cover more than just medical expenses.
  • Appellate process and resolution: Your attorney plays a crucial role, especially if the court rules in favor of the opposing party, as they can manage the appellate process on your behalf. During this phase, attorneys work on constructing persuasive appeals to address legal errors or potentially change the trial’s outcomes. They also guide clients through the resolution process, making sure any compensation obtained is distributed fairly to address the financial consequences of the accident.

TorHoerman Law: Construction Accident Attorneys

The construction accident lawsuit process is a complicated series of proceedings — but it doesn’t need to be.

At TorHoerman Law, we specialize in civil torts, including construction accident cases.

Our firm has won over $4 billion in settlements and is continuing to provide clients with results-based and reliable legal representation.

If you or a loved one were injured in a construction site accident, you may be eligible to pursue legal action.

Contact us for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a construction accident lawsuit.

Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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