Construction sites can be hazardous places. They pose a significant risk not only to construction workers, but also to innocent passersby. Although there are many rules and regulations to ensure safe construction sites, accidents happen quite often. If you have suffered an injury at a California construction site, you should know how much your accident settlement is worth.
Common Construction Accident Causes
While injuries are typical, California construction fatalities are also common. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in five worker deaths in 2018 were in construction. OSHA has deemed the four most common causes of construction site injuries and fatalities as the “fatal four.” They are:
- Struck by objects,
- Electrocutions, and
- Caught in/between equipment or objects.
There are a wide variety of reasons for construction accidents. While safety is a top priority on construction sites, accidents can still happen.
Common Construction Site Injuries
Construction site accidents can lead to many different injuries, including:
- Broken bones,
- Neck and back injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries or paralysis,
- Head and brain injuries,
- Amputations, and
- Severe burns.
In some unfortunate cases, as previously mentioned, construction accidents may also result in death.
When Can I File a Personal Injury Case?
Your ability to file a personal injury claim after a construction accident depends on the circumstances. There may be instances where filing a personal injury claim is the obvious remedy, but others may depend on certain factors.
Construction companies in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. If you are an employee covered by workers’ compensation and are injured at work, you can file a claim to receive benefits. These benefits will cover specific expenses and lost wages.
Employees covered by workers’ compensation insurance are not allowed to file a personal injury claim against employers. However, if a third party was at fault for your accident, you can file a personal injury claim against them.
Independent contractors not covered by workers’ compensation insurance are allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible.
In many cases, non-workers suffer injuries at construction sites. Innocent victims are injured for a variety of reasons, from being hit by falling objects to suffering a fall at sites not clearly marked. Non-workers injured at construction sites have the right to file personal injury lawsuits against those at fault, including the construction company.
How Much Is My Settlement Worth?
You will need to calculate the actual value of your case if you can file a personal injury claim against the construction company or a third party. Your costs and losses will help determine the value of your case.
There are two types of damages in construction accident cases: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are easily calculable. These may include:
- Medical treatment,
- Medical expenses,
- Rehabilitation, and
- Lost wages.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are not as easily calculated. These include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress, and
- Loss of consortium.
Punitive damages may also be available in construction accident cases. These damages do not serve to compensate the plaintiff but, rather, to punish and deter the defendant. Punitive damages are not available for every case—only for those where the defendant’s reckless or intentional actions caused the injury.
The value of your case will also depend on who is liable for the accident. Many parties are involved in construction, so multiple parties can share liability. The injured party may also play a part in the accident.
California operates under a pure comparative fault law. While the injured party can still recover damages, the amount they are able to recover will depend on their percentage of fault. For example, if the injured party is awarded $100,000 and it is determined they are 30% at fault, their award will be reduced by 30%, leaving them with $70,000.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
With so many moving parts, construction injury cases can be challenging and complicated. If you have been injured at a construction site and qualify to file a personal injury lawsuit, you must contact a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can review your case and give you the best legal options in an effort to obtain just compensation.
The Wakeford Law Firm, a premier Bay Area law firm, focuses on helping clients injured in unfortunate accidents. Wesley Wakeford is an experienced and decorated trial lawyer, passionate about advocating for clients and fighting for just compensation. Contact us today, and let’s see how we can help you.