Protecting Your Rights After a Construction Accident
Workers on construction sites are at risk for a wide variety of injuries. Some of these injuries, such as minor cuts and bruises, can often be treated with first aid. Others, however, require emergency medical attention.
The majority of injuries sustained in construction accidents are in this latter category. Accidents on the job frequently send construction workers to the hospital and render them unable to work – sometimes permanently.
The construction accident lawyers at the Whitley Law Firm can help you protect your rights and pursue compensation if you were injured on a work site. Keep reading for more information on how to preserve your claim, or contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Steps You Should Take After a Construction Accident
Getting injured on the job raises a number of difficult questions. How did this happen? When can I get back to work? How will I support my family?
Accidents on a construction site can happen in the blink of an eye. Though it is difficult to think clearly after being injured, what you do after the accident can have a major impact on your ability to recover compensation.
The most important things to do after being hurt in a construction accident include:
1. Get Medical Care
From power tools to heavy equipment, construction sites are home to a number of hazards. Whether you fall, get struck by an object, or suffer some other injury, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Generally, you should have a coworker or supervisor take you to the hospital instead of driving yourself. In the event of serious injury, somebody should call an ambulance to the construction site.
At the emergency room, doctors and medical staff can assess your injuries and determine the best course of treatment. Along with a physical exam, they may order X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other tests to evaluate the seriousness of injuries such as:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Injuries to the neck
- Injuries to the back
- Injuries to extremities such as arms, hands, fingers, legs, knees, and feet
- Damage to soft tissue and internal organs
Some symptoms of these and other serious injuries are not always immediately apparent. Without timely intervention, you may experience severe complications.
If you work in construction and suffer injury in an accident, it is important not to try to “tough it out” and avoid seeing a doctor. Getting medical care is crucial for your well-being, as well as your legal rights.
2. Report the Accident to Your Employer
Notifying your employer that you were injured in an on-the-job accident involves two steps.
First, you need to inform someone in authority (such as a supervisor, manager, company owner, etc.) that you have been hurt. This should be done as soon as possible. If you are too injured immediately following the accident and remain incapacitated afterward, a family member, friend, or trusted coworker should make the notification on your behalf.
Second, you are required to submit a written statement to your employer concerning the accident and your injuries. Written notification must be made within 30 days of the accident.
When a worker reports an injury, the employer must promptly notify its workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This represents the start of your workers’ compensation claim, but the state has additional requirements for reporting workplace accidents.
3. Provide Notice to the North Carolina Industrial Commission
The North Carolina Industrial Commission administers the state’s workers’ compensation program. You have two years after an accident to notify the NC Industrial Commission that you were hurt at work. However, it is in your best interest to complete and submit Form 18 to the Commission as soon as possible.
You may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits covering medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses. But, if you wait to file a claim, you will have to shoulder these costs on your own. You might also miss out on disability benefits that can provide additional financial support if you are partially or totally unable to work due to your injuries.
Read More: Should I Get a Lawyer for Workers’ Comp?
4. Keep Up with All Medical Appointments and Advice
If you suffer serious injury in a construction accident, you may visit an authorized physician and one or more specialists in the course of your treatment. Following the recommendations of medical professionals is crucial for your recovery.
Your ongoing eligibility for workers’ compensation is also contingent on your adherence to medical advice. Employers and insurance companies have the right to select physicians and direct the medical care for injured workers in North Carolina. If you miss a doctor’s appointment or disregard other aspects of treatment and rehabilitation authorized by your employer or its insurer, you run the risk of losing your workers’ compensation benefits.
5. Speak to a Lawyer
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. To be eligible for benefits, you have to show that your injury is work-related. You do not have to prove that your employer, a coworker, and/or another party caused you harm.
Unfortunately, workers in construction and other industries often struggle to get the full benefits they deserve. If you have been injured in a construction accident, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Hiring legal counsel can help you overcome common issues in workers’ comp claims, such as denial or underpayment of benefits. An experienced attorney can also investigate the accident to determine if you have additional claims against one or more negligent third parties (e.g., the owner of the property where you were working, a general contractor, the manufacturer of a defective tool, etc.). If negligence was a factor in the construction accident, you may be entitled to damages beyond what you can get through workers’ compensation.
Injured in a Construction Accident? Our Attorneys Can Help
Construction accidents create a number of hardships for workers and their families. You may suffer severe pain and disability after the accident, potentially leaving you unable to work and live the life you had before the accident. Workers’ compensation covers some of your expenses and losses, but it is not uncommon for workers to struggle to get the benefits they deserve. In addition, you may be entitled to more than what workers’ comp can offer.
The Whitley Law Firm has extensive experience helping clients with workers’ compensation claims involving construction accidents. We thoroughly investigate to identify all of your options for recovery . Our team provides knowledgeable guidance and compassionate support at every point in your case.
For a free case evaluation, please call the Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 today. Our construction accident attorneys serve clients throughout North Carolina, including Raleigh, Kinston, New Bern, and other areas.