Working in the construction industry is one of the most inherently dangerous jobs a person can take. If you’ve been injured while working your construction job, it’s vital to have some understanding of your rights as a construction worker and obtain fair compensation for your injury. Depending on the circumstances, your process for obtaining compensation will vary.
Employers have a legal duty to provide their employees with a hazard-free workplace. Due to the nature of construction, some hazards are simply unavoidable. In light of this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have strict requirements when it comes to construction workplace safety. OSHA conducts regular inspections to ensure compliance, and anyone has the ability to report an employer for failing to adhere to OSHA standards.
Some injuries are the result of honest accidents. In most situations, an injured construction employee can file for workers’ compensation after an injury. Workers’ compensation provides relief for the immediate medical expenses from an injury and typically covers lost wages from any time the employee must spend away from work due to an injury. While workers’ compensation exists to help injured employees, it rarely provides enough to cover the total losses an injured worker incurs after a construction injury. If you were hurt at work and believe that your employer was negligent in any capacity, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against your employer to cover your additional losses.
You can only file a personal injury lawsuit if your employer was negligent. For example, if a safety issue existed at a job site and employees reported the concern to a supervisor, but that supervisor failed to take adequate steps to correct the hazard or did not address the situation in a timely fashion, the court can hold the employer liable for any resulting injuries.
Other Avenues of Compensation
Depending on your incident, you may need to look outside your employer for fair compensation. In some situations, you may be able to file a product liability claim against a product manufacturer if you defective piece of equipment caused your injury, or an item of safety equipment did not perform as intended. For example, imagine you purchased a pair of heatproof gloves meant to withstand up to 1,000°F. You are working with hot materials only ranging between 500 and 600 degrees, and suffer burns through the gloves. Since the gloves did not perform as advertised, you can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Every case will be different, but this is one common thread in any construction accident: Your first priority should be to seek medical attention for your injuries. It’s crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible, even if your symptoms appear mild at first. A doctor can detect problems sooner rather than later and save you time, pain, and money. Once you finish addressing your immediate medical concerns, you’ll need to report the incident to your employer. Most employers require a drug and alcohol screening after a workplace accident to ensure the injured employee did not suffer the injury due to working while under the influence.
After you complete your report, you can file for workers’ compensation if your injuries are severe enough to prevent you from returning to work for any time. It’s crucial to remember that the law prohibits your employer from interfering with a workers’ compensation claim for any reason. If you suffer any adverse actions from your employer after filing, or your employer prevents you from filing or delays the process, he or she can be held accountable for retaliation, a serious legal offense.
Contact an Attorney
After you’ve addressed your immediate medical concerns and filed a report, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a reliable Philadelphia construction accident attorney. An attorney will not only help guide you through the workers’ compensation claim-filing process, but also provide legal counsel should you need to file any type of lawsuit against your employer or another party.