With three of the nation’s 10 largest cities, a population aching for more housing and real estate prices skyrocketing, construction is a very profitable industry in California. Construction, though, is also one of the most dangerous industries worldwide, and California is no exception: Only two other states suffer more construction accidents on an annual basis. That’s why if you are injured in a Los Angeles construction accident, you can benefit from the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Because of California’s progressive politics, most construction workers in the state are protected by a robust workers’ compensation system. In the rare cases when workers’ compensation does not apply, injured construction workers can file a third-party personal injury lawsuit to cover damages.
If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of a Los Angeles construction accident, Conexion Legal can help. At Conexion Legal, we can offer you free legal advice, and we can connect you to an extensive network of Los Angeles personal injury attorneys who are experienced in cases like yours. Call us at at 1-800-201-1220, or write to us through WhatsApp to schedule your free consultation.
Construction: A dangerous profession
The construction industry accounts for one out of every five worker deaths in the United States, mostly due to four main causes.
Dubbed the “Fatal Four,” the vast majority of construction site deaths are caused by falls, electrocutions, being struck by an object or getting caught in or between equipment.
While not all construction site accidents are fatal, many can leave the victims severely injured, maimed, disfigured or disabled. In a 2011 study conducted by the Center for Construction Research and Training, researchers found that over a 45-year career, a construction worker has a 75% likelihood of experiencing a disabling injury.
The most common of these non-fatal construction site accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Respiratory disease
- Spinal cord injuries
If you work in construction, it is not a matter of if you will be injured, but when. When that day comes, having a personal injury attorney by your side could help you and your family get the compensation you deserve.
Injured in a Los Angeles construction site accident? Here are your legal options
Due to the hazards of a construction site — heavy machinery, dangerous equipment, elevated workspaces, sharp tools and building materials, slick surfaces and open pits — construction site injuries can be very serious. Victims can incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, and be unable to work because of their injuries.
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to employees who are injured or ill while performing a work-related task. In California, all employers with at least one employee are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
In California, workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Medical costs: Doctor visits, tests, medications and physical rehabilitation
- Temporary disability: These benefits are paid if your injury prevents you from working while you recover.
- Permanent disability: These benefits are paid if you will never recover completely, no matter how much rehabilitation or treatment you receive. Examples include loss of limbs or organs, loss of sight, lung damage and loss of cognitive function.
- Supplemental job displacement benefits: If you are eligible to receive permanent disability benefits, but your employer does not offer you work and you don’t return to work for your old employer, you can receive vouchers to help you pay for retraining or skill enhancement.
Because California is a no-fault state, you do not need to prove that your employer (or anybody else) was at fault for your injury, in order to receive benefits. To receive workers’ compensation, you must prove that:
- The injury occurred while performing a work task,
- The injury is covered under California workers’ compensation laws,
- You did not intentionally cause your own injury, and
- The injury was not the result of your use of drugs or alcohol.
In California, you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits and sue your employer or co-worker for your work-related injury. However, if you are injured by a third party (someone other than your employer or co-worker), you can — in most cases — file a workers’ compensation claim and file a separate third-party lawsuit against the person or entity who caused your injury.
While you do not have to prove that your employer did anything wrong to receive workers’ compensation, if you decide to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit, you do have to prove that the third party was negligent.
Proving negligence means proving that the third party did something wrong in order to cause the injury, or created the unsafe conditions that allowed the injury to occur.
Third-party personal injury lawsuits in cases of construction site accidents are appropriate when an employee is injured by a defective piece of equipment (the equipment manufacturer would be the third party), when a motor vehicle accident occurs while the employee was working, or when a third party has created a dangerous condition on the property where the employee is working.
Steps to take after you have been injured in a Los Angeles construction accident
In the state of California, you are required to report your injury to your employer within 30 days of the injury. You also need to provide your employer with a filled-out workers’ compensation form (called the DWC 1) within one year of the date of the injury.
If you are filing a third-party lawsuit based on negligence, you have two years from the date of the injury to file.
Workers’ compensation has its limits, and can be denied. Employers and insurance companies will try to underpay or offer less to injured employees than they deserve.
After you receive medical treatment for your injuries, contact Conexion Legal as soon as possible. Call us at at 1-800-201-1220, or write to us through WhatsApp to receive free legal advice. If, after your free consultation, you determine you need to hire an attorney, we can connect you to one in our network.
An experienced Los Angeles construction site accident attorney will be able to guide you as you gather evidence of negligence, file the correct forms on time, and help you determine which legal path fits your case best.