Construction Accident Lawyer Houston, TX
Construction Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas
A construction accident lawyer in Houston, TX from John K. Zaid & Associates knows that every day you work at a construction site you may be putting your life in danger because you work around heavy machinery and equipment that can be quite dangerous. Construction workers are known for having one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. They are responsible for performing tasks that can put their bodies at serious risk. If the work environment is not well maintained or an employer is negligent in providing safety equipment, the construction worker can sustain a serious or fatal injury. Have you Been Involved in a Construction Accident?
Because of how dangerous it is, construction workers must wear the proper safety gear, must be thoroughly trained in how to use the equipment and tools, and must know what to do in emergency situations. However, accidents can still happen, and a construction worker’s injury can range from minor to life-threatening. When this is the case, you may be wondering what your legal rights are. Who should be held accountable for your injury? Who caused your injury and was there any way that you could have avoided it? Below you will find more information and frequently asked questions regarding construction accidents and how an attorney from John K. Zaid & Associates can help you with your claim.
If you are suffering from a work injury, you can rely on a lawyer from John K. Zaid & Associates for legal counsel. It is important that immediately after your injury happens you notify your employer, file a workers’ compensation claim, and then contact us for representation. We may be able to negotiate a substantially more attractive settlement than what the worker’s compensation board offers you. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of construction workers. Call us right now for a free consultation with a construction accident lawyer who will consider your best interests. Check out our FAQs About Construction Site Accidents.
Why are construction sites so dangerous to work in?
Unlike other work sites, construction sites are usually dangerous because they have many workers, loud tools (that make warning calls hard to hear), extremely heavy equipment, and even hazardous materials. Similar to the rules of driving, there is a certain duty of care owed to your other co-workers when you get on the job of a construction site because of how innately dangerous it is. You are responsible for maintaining your own safety and in turn maintaining the safety of other workers.
Common Construction Accident Injuries
A construction worker can experience a wide range of injuries, ranging from mild to severe, life-threatening or fatal. If you suffered a serious injury of any kind, contact a lawyer from John K. Zaid & Associates. Common construction accident injuries include but are not limited to the following:
- Traumatic head injuries
- Fractures of the skull
- Electrocution or shock
- Chemical burns
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Eye injury
- Broken bones
- Torn knee ligaments
- Sprained ankles
- Brain injury
- Internal bleeding
Common Examples of Injuries on Construction Sites
Understanding why construction workers have highly dangerous jobs can help you to avoid needing a construction accident lawyer. It can also help you understand why the Bureau of Labor statistic is tracking construction work deaths and accidents. The work environment is extremely high risk and that means that people working in this environment need to understand these risks.
Falling from heights or scaffolding is an extremely common risk as construction workers are required to work at very high heights on ladders or scaffolding. They may be required to work on windows or on roofs, and in this type of accident actually accounts for 34% of all on-the-job deaths of construction workers.
Slips and falls of the second most common. From stray tools or materials on the ground to uneven ground or holes, construction sites are full of hazards that could lead to slipping and falling and other serious injuries.
Electrocution’s come in third and this is due to the fact that construction works are a work site in progress. There often expose flower lines, unfinished electrical systems and wiring that is exposed. Coming in contact with these two electrocution or even a worse shock.
Falling debris’s materials or objects comes in fourth. On projects that have multiple levels which is very common for construction site workers to deal with falling tools or building materials can be a real danger, or beams can even break free of the chains and ropes.
Workers can also get caught in between objects or materials such as having machinery, tools and materials. Often times workers will not be able to get out from under these things without a lot of help even from the fire department.
Because of unfinished piping, gases that may leak, incomplete electrical systems and explosives fires and explosions are extremely common in construction sites.
Overexertion because of long hours of hard labor in hotter human conditions can make workers fall victim to heatstroke and other issues related to over exerting themselves. Machinery accents come in close after overexertion because they use a lot of every machinery and they must be trained. From cranes bulldozers jackhammers and no guns an error accident with these tools can happen in a split second,
Getting hit by a vehicle is dangerous and a dangerous valid concern for concession workers at construction sites are often located near roads or highways and are often busy. Workers and drivers may be distracted by the work at hand and depending on if it’s daylight or dark out the worker might be hit by a passing vehicle.
Last but not least, trenches may collapse. Chances are often necessary on construction sites and the trench collapses with the worker and sciatica cause them to be hit with machinery, tools or materials even bury them alive. The reality is when construction workers are injured affects their health and their livelihood as well as posing an immediate risk to their families’ finances. Construction work is often paid well the hours are long and extensive and if you can’t do your job you lose that income.
How is safety regulated at a construction site?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a government agency that enforces construction site safety with various laws and regulations. When workers are compliant with these regulations, a certain level of safety is easier to maintain.
The Necessity of Protective Equipment
An employer may be held responsible for a construction worker’s injury if they failed to provide sufficient protective gear or uphold strict safety protocols. This is not an issue in a workers’ compensation claim, but it can be held against them if you decide to pursue a civil lawsuit against them. A lawyer from John K. Zaid & Associates can provide you with more information about this. Every construction site should have enough safety equipment for all employees and, depending on the circumstances, might consist of:
- Safety glasses for eye protection
- Face shields to deflect flying debris
- Slip-resistant shoes to trek across slippery floors
- Steel-toed boots to help prevent breaking of toes
- Shoes that are well-fitted and free of tears and wears
- Reflective vests or attire for easy visibility
- Hard hats without cracks
- Earplugs or other gear to protect eardrums from damage
How does “fall protection” equipment increase my safety?
Because so many construction workers are performing various duties at extreme heights, falling is a huge hazard. Thus, the OSHA created regulations that require a company to provide their construction workers with certain fall protection gear, such as:
- Controlled-access zones
- Personal fall arrest systems, and
- Hand and guardrails
Construction Accident Scenarios
There are many ways in which a construction worker can suffer an injury or illness while on the job. Some of the most common scenarios for construction accidents include:
- Objects falling on top of construction workers from ceilings or roofs.
- A worker falling from a high location on a crane, ladder, or scaffolding.
- Fires or explosions due to working around hazardous materials.
- Worker being hit by a truck carrying heavy material used for construction.
- Malfunction of equipment, such as forklift, nail gun, excavators, etc. (Learn about Legal Options if Injured on a Construction Site Due to Faulty Equipment)
- Illness due to a single or frequent exposure to hazardous chemicals.
- Excessive noise from power tools which can lead to hearing loss.
- Illness due to inhaling a gas, substance, or dust irritant.
- An employee slipping and falling due to a loose cord or slippery floor.
- Burns from working with harmful chemicals or hot machinery.
Despite the Risks, Construction Workers Deserve Safety
Working in construction can be one of the riskiest jobs in America, as thousands of construction workers are injured or killed each year. Statistically, it is estimated that one in five workplace fatalities are due to construction-related accidents. These injuries or deaths can arise when the construction company has failed to provide proper safety training or protective equipment for workers. Regardless of how the company was negligent, a worker deserves compensation for the incident. The following are some of the most common questions that are asked of a lawyer:
Is it better to apply for my workers’ compensation benefits or should I file a lawsuit?
This will depend on your injuries, and a lawyer from John K. Zaid & Associates can help you determine which one is right for your situation. If your injuries are not extensive, for example, it might be beneficial to pursue a workers’ compensation claim to recover your medical bills and any lost time at work. On the other hand, if you believe a third party is responsible for your injuries or your injuries are extensive and life-threatening, we can advise you on how best to pursue a lawsuit.
Can I just sue my employer if I believe they were negligent?
In this scenario, you may be legally limited to pursuing a workers’ compensation claim over a lawsuit even if your employer was negligent. However, a member of our team can go over the details of your case to determine the best course of action.
Can I sue my employer for a construction accident?
In most cases, a construction worker cannot sue the employer for injuries related to the job and must have their case handled through workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are states that permit the worker to file a personal injury lawsuit for third party claims. Depending on where you live, you may have more or less options when it comes to legal action. A third party such as a manufacturer or supplier may be liable for the accident if the injury was caused due to malfunctioning machinery or tools. A Houston, TX construction accident lawyer can evaluate your case and determine the best legal options.
Can I also file a lawsuit and pursue workers’ compensation?
Yes. If you have already filed for workers’ compensation with your employer but believe a third party is also responsible for your injuries, we can pursue a lawsuit to recover more damages for your injuries.
What if my benefits are not enough?
Benefits may be awarded to the construction worker for the injury accident on a weekly or regularly scheduled basis. But, more often than not these payments are not nearly enough to cover the costs associated with the condition. Weekly payments may be based on a set percentage of the worker’s earnings and severity of the injury. A company may have limitations, such as only necessary treatments related to the work injury are covered. If your benefits are not enough, you may want to meet with a lawyer for advice on what you can do to increase the amount.
What do I need to know about safety provisions?
There may be an instance where a third party is liable for construction-related injuries. Building owners, architects, equipment manufacturers or contractors may be responsible for accidents occurring as a result of insufficient safety provisions. General contractors, in addition to subcontractors, may be held accountable if they failed to:
- Warn workers of potential hazards on the job site
- Hire workers who agree to use caution while performing job tasks
- Check that safety protocols are being followed
- Replace old protective equipment and machinery that no longer works as it was intended
How may a manufacturer be responsible for a construction accident?
Manufacturers who make construction equipment have a duty to design and maintain products that are safe for use in the intended setting. Items produced that become defective, are dangerous and can lead to serious injury. The risk of personal injury happening on a construction site is higher than most other jobs. But, the likelihood can be greatly diminished if safety measures are employed during equipment production.
How do I know whether it is time to meet with a lawyer?
If you feel as though you are not getting enough benefits to cover your injury costs, your employer has wrongfully denied your claim, or you want to know more about your legal options, it may be time to meet with a lawyer.
What To Do After a Construction Injury
A construction site is a risky place, as there is heavy equipment, high elevations, electricity and dangerous materials. In fact, the fatal injury rate for workers in construction is larger than average compared to anyl other industry out there. Each year, thousands of construction workers suffer serious injuries because of the type of work they do. Anyone who has become the victim in a construction accident is advised to do the following and then get legal help in the matter:
Seek Medical Care
A serious injury accident on a construction site necessitates calling 911 for emergency attention. Do not hesitate to call for yourself or let a coworker call for you. You may be tempted to wait and see how the injury does over the next few days or weeks, but by that time it can complicate your claim if you need to pursue compensation in the near future. The best way you can protect your health and interests is by getting an exam by a doctor and any injuries the treatment they need right away. Most construction accidents are going to result in some degree of injury, so being proactive is a reasonable step to take.
Notify Your Employer
Some workers don’t report an injury to their employer because they are afraid to lose their jobs. A company may not want to report the incident because it highlights an aspect of the job that lacks safety measures. If your employer is not going to prioritize your wellbeing, then you should not put their interests before yourself. Notify your employer shortly after the injury accident, and ask for a copy of it for your own records. It is a good idea to speak with a lawyer who is experienced in handling personal injury accident cases prior to signing agreements or accepting a monetary settlement.
Take Video and Pictures
If you are able to capture the scene of the accident through video and photographs, then do so immediately before anything can be altered or cleaned up. In emergency situations, this may not be possible. But if you or a coworker is able to, is it strongly advised that you document the scene. Your statement will be impactful, but it will be difficult to debate a photograph, which says more than words. If you preserve evidence, it is almost guaranteed that it will come in handy at a later time.
Who is Responsible for My Construction Site Injury?
When an injury accident happens at a construction site, the priority after getting medical attention is to determine liability. A construction accident lawyer in Houston, TX can assist you with your worker’s comp claim, identifying the responsible party, and if warranted, filing an injury lawsuit.
How do Construction Accidents Happen?
There is no shortage of hazardous conditions at a construction worksite. Scaffolding, power tools, heavy materials, large vehicles, exposed electrical wires, and gas lines can all present dangers. Under Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) rules, your employer is obliged to provide safety equipment and minimize worksite hazards as much as possible.
Can I Sue My Employer?
Injury victims can file a lawsuit against anyone they wish, but suing an employer can be difficult for a couple of reasons. First of all, it is necessary to prove that your employer was negligent and failed to follow all safety protocols and OSHA regulations. Secondly, it can create an adversarial situation if you plan to continue working for the company after your recovery. This is not to say that a construction company is never responsible; even if an individual foreman forgot to ensure safe conditions if he or she is on the clock, the company is responsible (the legal term is “vicarious liability”). However, this rarely happens.
Who’s to Blame?
Usually, when an injury accident happens at a construction site, the liability rests with a third party. In this case, it may be appropriate to file a complaint against one or more of the following:
- an equipment or materials manufacturer
- the architect or design firm
- the property owner or leasing agent
- a subcontractor
If you have reason to believe a third party is responsible, a construction accident lawyer in Houston, TX can help in gathering evidence, witness statements and other support for your case.
I’m a Small, Independent Contractor. What Can I Do?
OSHA rules do not apply to individual contractors hired by a general contractor for specific tasks. However, the general contractor may require the subcontractor to follow said rules in their written contract. Again, you would need to prove that the general contractor’s negligence contributed to your accident in some manner. Otherwise, you would need to pursue a claim against one of the parties listed above.
You may also pursue a claim against your insurer if they act in bad faith or you are unsatisfied with the settlement they offer.
4 Questions To Consider If You’ve Been Injured at Work
Work-related injuries have declined since the technology era began in the 70s. With modern technology, personal protective equipment and the general shift toward safer work cultures, there’s no excuse for having an accident in the workplace anymore. If you’ve been hurt in the field, consider hiring a construction accident lawyer in Houston, TX, to investigate the issue from a standpoint of negligence, safety protocol or the lack thereof. You may qualify for income separately from worker’s compensation benefits. Here are four important things to consider if you have been hurt on the job.
1. Will I Get Paid My Usual Salary While Not Working?
If you find yourself sent home by the foreman at the work site or left off the schedule for a few weeks while you recover from an injury, there should be an understanding about your pay. Hiring an attorney from a firm like John K. Zaid & Associates is a solid option if you believe you’re entitled to more benefits than what you are receiving. Even if you are eligible for worker’s compensation, you could get more.
2. What Paperwork Do I Need To Show My Lawyer?
It’s vital to document everything after your injury so you can eventually show a construction accident lawyer in Houston, TX. Be sure to save the documents and emails you receive after first notifying your employer about the injury. When you see the doctor, ask for copies of your charts, X-rays and other relevant information. Sign a medical release to legally share your records with your attorney. Keep track of co-workers who witnessed the injury and those who were around during your communication with the boss afterward. Witnesses can be key for your case.
3. Just Exactly Who Am I Supposed To Sue?
Construction sites are filled with lots of personnel, tools and contractors. Things can get tricky while tracing back the cause of the injury and determining which company is responsible. A construction accident lawyer in Houston, TX, can help you retrace the steps and hold the correct parties accountable.
4. Doesn’t Worker’s Comp Say I Can’t Sue My Boss?
Receiving worker’s compensation does NOT mean you can’t also hire a construction accident lawyer in Houston, TX, to sue on your behalf. Other responsible parties may be at fault for your injury or for particular damages resulting from that injury. You may receive worker’s compensation from your boss, but you may also be eligible to sue a different company for faulty equipment. These details are best left with the attorneys from John K. Zaid & Associates.
How a Construction Accident Lawyer Can Help
A lawyer from John K. Zaid & Associates can provide you with the legal guidance you need. Our law firm offers a free initial consultation for potential new clients. Call us today to schedule your appointment. Learn about: How to Choose the Right Construction Accident Lawyer? Contact us now to hear about how a construction accident lawyer in Houston, Texas from John K. Zaid & Associates can protect your best interests.