Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Construction Accidents and Workers' Compensation

Working in the construction industry can be risky. From falling objects and heavy machinery malfunctions to trench collapses and electrocutions, the job site can become a scene of serious accidents that lead to grave injuries or even fatalities. Construction workers must understand their legal rights in case of a construction site accident. This includes how to pursue workers' comp benefits or a personal injury claim.

If you have been injured while working at a construction site, workers' compensation laws may affect any resulting legal claim. This can depend on your employment situation and how much your employer is responsible for your injuries.

The following briefly examines workers' compensation in the construction industry.

The Construction Industry and Workers' Compensation

The construction industry is filled with dangers that can lead to severe injuries. Despite strict safety rules, construction work is often unpredictable. Accidents happen. Construction workers can count on workers' compensation to provide financial help when they do.

There are many causes of construction accidents. For one, construction sites are often filled with heavy machinery. Large vehicles and building materials are present that, if mishandled, can cause harm. A piece of equipment might malfunction. A worker might lose control of a forklift, causing an accident. Falls are also another major cause of accidents. Workers might slip off a scaffold, tumble into a trench, or fall from a roof.

Given the high risk of injuries in construction injury, workers' comp benefits are significant for construction workers. These individuals often operate heavy equipment and work at heights. This increases the risk of broken bones, spinal cord injuries, or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). For more information on the different types of construction accidents, visit FindLaw's Common Construction Injury Types page.

Safety regulations established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) aim to protect workers. Nevertheless, accidents still happen due to causes such as defective equipment or inadequate safety equipment. There may be cases caused by negligent parties like general contractors or subcontractors. Sometimes, the fault lies with the construction company. Maybe they did not provide proper training, or they failed to enforce safety rules. Workers are more likely to suffer a construction site injury when a construction company does not prioritize safety.

In the case of a fatal worksite accident, the loved ones of the victim may file a wrongful death claim where they can seek compensation for their loss. Workers' compensation can also offer benefits in these cases, although they are usually limited. If you have been injured while working at a construction site, you should know that workers' compensation is there to support you. Read on to learn more about workers' compensation.

What Is Workers' Compensation?

Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that benefits workers who become injured, ill, or die due to their work. If injured workers accept these benefits, they typically give up their right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. The benefits can cover medical expenses and lost wages. The benefits can sometimes provide compensation for permanent disfigurement or disability.

Workers' compensation is an important safety net for employees. Under the law in every state but Texas, every business must have workers' compensation insurance to cover its employees. Filing a workers' compensation claim is similar to filing any other insurance claim. It is not a lawsuit against an employer. Instead, it is a request for benefits.

Under most state workers' compensation programs, an injured employee is entitled to:

Medical Care

The accident victim has the right to all reasonably necessary treatments to cure or relieve the effects of the injury. Medical care includes medical bills for treatment and prescriptions. It can also include roundtrip mileage to the hospital. Under workers' compensation benefits, a patient might have to use the company doctor. This is usually only for a maximum of 30 days. After that time, a patient may choose a different doctor but must submit a written request.

Temporary Disability

If the injured party must take time away from work due to medical reasons related to the injury, they might be entitled to temporary disability payments. That would provide partial compensation for lost wages. The pay rate has specific maximum and minimum limits, which typically equal about two-thirds of the average weekly gross pay. It is usually paid out every two weeks. After the doctor verifies an inability to work, the first temporary disability check should arrive within a few weeks.

Permanent Disability

If a worker cannot completely recover from the effects of the injury, they could be entitled to a monetary award. Permanent disability means that the injured party has lost some ability to compete in the open labor market of uninjured workers. The amount and rate depend on how many limitations the injury places on activities. Other elements considered are age, occupation, and earnings at the time of injury.

Vocational Rehabilitation

If the injury prevents a return to the former job, assistance in getting another job might be included in the benefits. A partial income is distributed during vocational rehabilitation, similar to temporary disability. The vocational rehabilitation benefit usually has a maximum monetary limit. It may be replaced by an employer's offer of modified or different work.

A No-Fault System

Workers' compensation is usually a no-fault system. This means that you can receive benefits no matter who caused the accident. You are still eligible for workers ' compensation even if you made a mistake that led to your injury. Of course, this depends on your particular case. Moreover, while workers' compensation can provide much-needed support, it might only cover some of your losses. This is especially true if your injury is severe and affects your ability to work long-term. That is why, in some cases, you may need to explore other legal options, such as a personal injury case.

What To Do If You Are Injured

Here are tips for filing workers' compensation claims if you are injured on the job:

  • Immediately seek medical attention. Keep all medical records and receipts related to your injury. These documents will be vital if you file a workers' comp claim or personal injury lawsuit.
  • Report the injury to your supervisor. If possible, report the injury in writing. Ensure that everything is documented. Keep a copy of the report for your records. It is also wise to gather evidence about the accident, such as photographs of the accident scene or the piece of equipment that caused your injury. You can also take photos of any visible injuries.
  • Complete a claim form. No matter how the employer learns of the construction accident, they must immediately offer the injured party a claim form. Until this claim form is completed, the employer has no obligation to provide benefits. Make sure it has been filled out entirely and precisely. Keep a copy of the claim. It is then the employer's responsibility to immediately notify the workers' compensation insurance company.
  • File the claim as soon as possible. Those seeking to claim workers' compensation benefits should do so quickly. Any delay on the injured party's part could lead to potential snags or delays. Quickly reporting injuries and filing a claim as soon as possible increases your likelihood of benefits. Delays in reporting could lead to delays in benefits.
  • Consult an attorney. Consulting with a construction accident attorney or a personal injury lawyer is wise in many situations. They can offer legal advice, help with case evaluation, and navigate the complexities of personal injury law. If you've suffered serious injuries or your workers' compensation claim is denied, this can be crucial.

Pursuing a Third-Party Claim

Sometimes, injured construction workers may have the option of a third-party claim. This means that if someone other than their employer was responsible for their injury, they could file a lawsuit against that party. This party might be a product manufacturer or subcontractor. This would be a separate case from the workers' compensation claim. A construction attorney can help evaluate your claim.

Talk to a Lawyer About Your Workers' Compensation Claim

Workplace accidents can have life-altering consequences for construction workers. Understanding workers' compensation, personal injury law, and your legal rights is vital. Getting legal help from construction accident lawyers or a personal injury attorney can ensure that you or a loved one receives fair compensation for your injuries. They can also advise you about the statute of limitations. Remember, every construction accident case is unique. It is crucial to take steps that best match your circumstances.

Talk to a workers' compensation attorney about your construction accident case today. Many law offices offer free consultations.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps

Contact a qualified workers' compensation attorney to make sure your rights are protected.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Help Me Find a Do-It-Yourself Solution

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options