There is no denying that construction plays a vital role in the economy. Unfortunately, it is one of the most dangerous industries in the US, with an average of 9.7 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers annually. Heavy equipment, high elevations, electricity, and hazardous materials are some of the risks construction workers face each day.
While the state of New York has laws in place to protect workers, construction companies don’t always implement the mandated safety measures. The good news is that if you or a loved one suffer a construction accident, you can take the following 10 steps to protect your rights.
1. Get Medical Care
The most crucial step you can take after a workplace injury is to seek medical care right away. If you are unable, let a coworker dial 911 to ensure your safety and health. You want a doctor to examine the extent of your injuries, regardless of how minor you think they are.
You must keep all of the information regarding your treatment, including imaging scans, diagnostic tests, and medical reports. This documentation will serve as accurate proof of your medical care for accident-related injuries. Last but not least, be sure to keep all of your doctor’s appointments.
2. Fill Out an Incident Report
You must fill out an incident report and inform your superiors of the accident as soon as possible. This is a crucial step if you hope to get worker’s compensation, a type of insurance that provides medical care and/or cash benefits to injured workers. You must report the accident even if it seems minor. The seriousness of an injury may not be obvious right away.
It’s in your best interest to notify your superior as early as possible (no later than 30 days). Waiting too long may render your report unreliable. Make sure you make the report in writing and retain a copy for your records.
3. Call a Brooklyn Construction Accident Lawyer
More often than not, construction accidents result in serious injuries and sometimes death. Workers are left unable to work and fend for their loved ones, leading to frustrations and financial hardships. Worker’s Compensation can put some of your worries to rest, but hiring a lawyer to get you through the claim process is your best bet.
Contacting an experienced construction accident lawyer as soon as possible can help your case. The hours and days following an accident present the best opportunity to establish a case. With good legal representation, you can focus on your recovery and let the lawyer take care of everything else for you.
4. Don’t Talk to the Insurance Adjuster
An insurance adjuster will try to talk to you as soon as possible after a workplace injury. And while they will sweet talk you with promises of having your best interests in mind, the fact is that they work for your employer’s insurance company. Their job is to save the insurance company money by finding reasons to justify a minimal settlement.
A rule of thumb is to assume that anything you say can and will be used against you. Don’t talk about the specifics of the accident or your injuries with an insurance adjuster until you’ve consulted a Brooklyn Injury Lawyer.
5. Take Notes
If you are physically capable, take note of when, where, and how the accident happened. Documenting your recollection of the accident can be vital to your compensation claim. It can also prove beneficial if you are denied worker’s compensation and decide to sue the responsible third party such as the equipment manufacturer or subcontractor.
6. Note Any Witnesses
It’s not common, but some construction cases end up in court. If that ever happens with your case, the judge and jury will rely on evidence more than logic during the hearing to make a decision.
Sworn statements from witnesses will play a vital role in this, especially if considered admissible. For this reason, we recommend collecting the contact information of bystanders, co-workers, and anyone who was at the scene of the accident.
7. Gather Evidence
Preserving evidence quickly could prove beneficial to the claims process. It will ensure that the investigation runs smoothly and there won’t be doubts about the evidence down the road.
Return to the scene of the accident as soon as you can and take photos. Other types of evidence you may need to collect include emails, witness lists, and security videos. You may not be able to talk to the subcontractor but maintaining a sizeable stack of evidence can aid your case greatly.
8. Keep Documents of Everything
From employer’s accident reports and medical treatment to communications with your insurance agent, every document is important. Insist on putting things in writing and keeping your copy. Your Brooklyn personal injury lawyer will use these documents to win your case and get you the settlement you deserve.
9. File a Worker’s Compensation Claim
Employers and construction companies in the United States are legally required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. The cover protects the rights of employees. It also protects employers from liability.
To get the financial relief you need after a workplace injury, filing a worker’s compensation claim as soon as possible is paramount.
Fill out the Employee Claim Form within 2 years of the accident or getting the medical report. Keep in mind that you can also pursue further compensation from any responsible third party, but talk to an attorney before proceeding with this.
10. Contact OSHA
Some construction accidents are more severe than others, resulting in hospitalization. Such a serious incident needs to be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within 8 hours of fatality or hospitalization. The organization investigates the safety of workplaces among other responsibilities.
We Handle All Types of Construction Accidents
There are many ways to get hurt on a construction site including electrocution, falls from scaffolding and other devices, and crane accidents, to name a few. Whatever your circumstances, the team at the Law Offices of Mitchell Ozeri can help determine strict liability and pursue maximum settlement.
Call us today to talk to an experienced construction accident lawyer in Brooklyn. We offer free consultations and don’t require payment unless we win your case.