Riverside Construction Accident Lawyers
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Riverside Construction Accident Attorneys
Construction sites have many opportunities for injuries. There can be many hazards on a site at a time: electrical hazards, high spaces that both workers and visitors have to climb, and heavy equipment that can cause serious injury when operated improperly. Those hazards can lead to injuries with long-term ramifications for both workers and visitors on the site.
Did you suffer injuries due to hazards on a construction site? Do you need to file a personal injury claim? Contact the Riverside Construction Accident Lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys today at (619) 237-3490 to schedule a consultation.
COMMON CONSTRUCTION SITE HAZARDS
Riverside construction sites must adhere to strict safety regulations that are meant to reduce the risk of injury. Unfortunately, even minor negligence can lead to severe injuries on a construction site.
EXPOSED ELECTRICAL WIRES
Many construction sites include work on or around electrical wires. A general contractor may even bring in an electrician to work specifically on those areas. Exposed wiring can present a serious hazard, especially if live wires are exposed and other workers do not know that power is still running to them. Contact with those wires can cause severe electrical burns.
Unlike traditional burns, which leave damage at the immediate site of the injury, electrical burns not only cause severe pain and damage to the skin and underlying tissue, they can leave damage throughout the body.
Victims with electrical burns may suffer from:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Breathing problems
- Muscle pain
- Heart rhythm problems
Many of the products used on construction sites include dangerous chemicals. On a safe construction site, these chemicals get stored carefully and labeled to ensure that everyone knows what dangers those chemicals can pose. However, mislabeled chemicals or failing to store them properly can lead to severe illness and injury. Some chemicals can cause chemical burns immediately upon contact. Others may cause breathing difficulties or even long-term lung damage if not treated properly. Some chemicals can also cause blindness.
On many construction sites, workers must conduct their business at significant heights. Proper safety precautions, including harnesses and safety rails, can help reduce the risk of a fall. Some workers, however, may still fall despite these precautions.
Falls can lead to these severe injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury. If the falling worker or site visitor strikes his or her head, a traumatic brain injury may result. Even victims with mild traumatic brain injury, or TBI, may not show symptoms until a year or more after the accident. Traumatic brain injury can cause serious complications to the victim’s life. Immediately after the accident, victims may show signs of confusion and disorientation. Often, victims suffer from intense headaches, ringing in the ears, or sleep disturbances. Victims with a TBI may have trouble focusing and concentrating on the task at hand. They may also have severe emotional disturbances, including immense overreactions or inappropriate emotional reactions to given stimuli. Some victims of TBI note changes in personality, related to their injuries.
- Spinal cord injury. Victims with spinal cord injury can suffer from full or partial paralysis, depending on the location and severity of the injury. While incomplete spinal cord injury causes some loss of mobility, complete spinal cord injuries can cause full paralysis below the site of the injury. In addition to limb paralysis, spinal cord injury victims may also suffer from a loss of function below the site of the injury.
- Broken bones. Victims with multiple broken bones may struggle with self-care tasks. Many cannot return to their usual job responsibilities, especially immediately after the accident. Some victims struggle with ongoing pain and weakness related to those broken bones, even if they otherwise make a full recovery. During recovery, victims with multiple broken bones may need aid with self-care tasks.
Heavy equipment on a construction site can pose a serious hazard to workers, especially if it malfunctions. Often, construction equipment has a weight measured in tons.
Workers injured by malfunctioning or improperly-used equipment may suffer lifelong consequences.
- Amputations. Construction equipment can generate enough force to lead to the immediate removal of a limb during an accident. After a construction accident, amputees often must relearn how to perform familiar tasks, including self-care tasks. Some cannot return to construction work after suffering severe injuries. Many victims choose to use prosthetic devices to help restore some independence and function; however, prosthetics cannot fully replace the functions of a healthy limb, especially the victim’s arms and hands. Amputations may also prevent the victim from returning to work after their injury.
- Crushing damage. Heavy equipment can cause severe crushing damage if it lands on or runs into someone on the construction site. Crushing damage can lead to severe mobility concerns and ongoing pain for the victim. In some cases, crushing damage can create such severe injury that the victim requires limb amputation after the accident.
Workers on construction sites often complete their job duties while on a building. Unfortunately, this poses a hazard for falling objects that can impact visitors and other workers passing by beneath them.
Falling objects can cause serious injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
Not only do power tools pose a risk of amputation or electrocution, many tools can cause items to fly through the air—the chuck key if someone forgets to remove it from a drill press, for example. Sometimes, these hazards can cause puncture wounds. Other times, if they fly into the eye, they can cause eye injury or blindness.
CLAIMS FOR RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
Following an accident on a Riverside construction site, many victims have serious questions about their legal rights and the compensation they could receive. Consult an attorney to learn more about your specific claim. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today to get more information.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS VERSUS PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS IN RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS
If you suffered an injury on a construction site as a worker, do you have grounds for a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim—and how can you tell the difference?
A workers’ compensation claim arises when any worker suffers an injury while performing his or her daily job responsibilities, regardless of who caused the injury. Unless you deliberately injured yourself, you can collect workers’ compensation benefits for your injury if you suffered an injury at work.
Workers’ compensation benefits usually include:
- Coverage for a percentage of your income during your recovery.
- All of your medical bills.
- Compensation for permanent losses and injuries suffered as a result of a construction site accident.
A workers’ compensation claim, unlike a personal injury claim, does not include compensation for pain and suffering. In some cases, even if you suffered injuries as a worker on a construction site, you may have grounds to file both a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim. Your workplace, however, may require you to pay back some or all of the funds from your workers’ compensation claim out of a personal injury settlement.
WHO BEARS LIABILITY FOR A RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT?
Accidents can happen regardless of how safety-conscious construction sites are. Construction workers deal with substantial hazards every day. Many of these hazards can lead to severe injury after even a moment’s negligence or inattention.
Most often, the primary construction company working on the site bears liability for construction site accidents. If the accident involves a worker on the site, that worker has the right to file a workers’ compensation claim for compensation. On the other hand, if someone who does not work for the construction company suffers an accident with serious injuries, that party may file a personal injury claim.
However, more parties than just the primary construction company may bear liability for a construction site accident. Consult an attorney to learn more about whether these circumstances apply to your claim and how it can impact the compensation you may ultimately receive.
Contact the attorneys at Gomez Trial Attorneys today to see if you can hold any of the following responsible for your Riverside construction accident.
- Subcontractors. On many construction sites, the primary contractor will bring in subcontractors to take care of specialized tasks, from handling electrical wiring to pouring concrete. Construction sites may have multiple subcontractors working at any given time. Sometimes, the subcontractor may commit an act of negligence that leads to severe injuries. In this case, they may bear liability for the injuries suffered in that accident.
- Equipment manufacturers. Construction workers regularly work with heavy-duty equipment that can cause severe injury if it malfunctions. If the company properly maintains the equipment and uses it according to its specifications, but it malfunctions anyway and leads to serious injury, the company that manufactures that equipment may bear liability for the accident and for any injuries caused by that accident.
- The property owner. Most of the time, construction workers carefully walk over the property before they begin work, to identify any potential hazards. Construction workers may work on dangerous or hazardous properties, bringing them back up to code and making them safe for other visitors. If, however, the property owner fails to disclose a potential hazard, including a dangerous facet of the property or a part of the building with known safety concerns, and that hazard ultimately causes injury to workers or visitors to the site, the property owner may bear liability for those injuries.
- Equipment rental companies. Not every construction company owns and maintains every piece of equipment the company uses regularly. Sometimes, the company may choose to rent specific pieces of equipment, especially those needed only for specialized jobs. If those pieces of equipment malfunction and lead to severe injury, the company that owns the equipment may bear liability. This is especially true if the company failed to properly maintain that equipment or failed to note any problem with it.
DETERMINING COMPENSATION FOR A CONSTRUCTION SITE INJURY CLAIM
If you suffer injuries on a Riverside construction site, how much compensation should you expect? The answer can depend on the extent of your injuries and the party that bears liability. If you suffer injuries as a worker, you may not have the right to file a personal injury claim against your company unless the company committed a clear act of negligence.
For instance, if the company failed to provide proper safety equipment but insisted that you move forward with those responsibilities anyway, they may hold liability. On the other hand, if you suffer injuries due to another party’s negligence, or if you suffer injuries as a visitor to a construction site, you may file a personal injury claim. An attorney can give you a better idea of how much compensation you should pursue in an action.
Despite the numerous differences in the specific damages sought, many people include the same elements in their personal injury claim.
- Medical expenses. Medical expenses include the cost of any medical care related to your accident, from emergency care to long-term physical therapy following your injuries. Keep track of your medical bills so you can include them as part of your claim. Medical bills form the foundation of many construction accident claims.
- Lost wages. Following a construction site accident, you may lack the ability to immediately return to your usual job duties. You could include the cost of that lost time at work as part of your personal injury claim. If you suffer an injury that permanently prevents you from accomplishing job tasks, you may choose to include lost earning potential as part of your claim.
- Pain and suffering. Severe injuries not only cause immense physical pain, they can also cause ongoing emotional anguish related to the injury. Consult an attorney to learn more about how to include pain and suffering as part of your claim.
Keep in mind that the construction company’s insurance agent may contact you soon after the accident. The company will often offer a settlement designed to look appealing on the surface. Consult an attorney before accepting this offer, since it may not reflect the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.
RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT FAQ
If you’re a Riverside construction worker, you understand that construction is sometimes a dangerous job. With so many workers, machines, vehicles, and critical operations coming together on a single site, injuries are often inevitable.
It’s the employer’s duty to implement safety precautions and furnish protective gear and equipment. Harnesses keep workers safe if they fall from elevated work areas. Shoring protects workers while they’re performing jobs in deep trenches. Unfortunately, sometimes employers see safety compliance as inconvenient or too costly. As an employee, you usually have no choice but to work anyway.
If you sustain an injury at work, you are eligible for California workers’ compensation benefits. Sadly, that’s not always enough, but you may have additional options. You may have the legal right to file a claim against a non-employer.
If you were injured at work, we recommend that you consult with an attorney to review your legal rights. We’ve also created this Riverside Construction Accident FAQ to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from construction accident clients.
WHAT TYPES OF ACCIDENTS OCCUR ON RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION SITES?
Many circumstances lead to injuries on construction sites. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finds that the circumstances known as construction’s “fatal four” cause construction site injuries most frequently.
The “fatal four” are:
- Falls: Many construction site injuries occur when workers fall from a height. These incidents often involve roofing projects, glazing, steelwork, and other elevated operations. OSHA requires that employers supply harnesses and other fall protection for construction workers performing jobs at six feet off the ground or higher.
- Electrocutions: Construction workers frequently sustain severe burns and fatal injuries due to contact with exposed or poorly-insulated electrical lines. Electrocutions also occur when scaffolding, cranes, and other metal construction equipment makes contact with live electrical lines.
- Struck by objects: On a construction site, workers often perform multiple operations in adjacent areas. When a worker drops tools, construction materials, or other items, they sometimes injure nearby workers. Nail gun incidents and job site vehicle accidents also present injury hazards. Hardhats prevent some injuries, but they can’t provide complete protection.
- Caught-in/between: Workers sustain crush injuries when they’re caught in or between heavy construction equipment, mismanaged or mishandled materials, or malfunctioning machinery. OSHA also includes trench collapses and cave-ins in this category.
Every day, construction workers sustain injuries due to these and many other types of accidents.
WHAT TYPES OF INJURIES DO RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION WORKERS SUSTAIN?
The most recent full-year statistics from the California Department of Industrial Relations show that 71 workers sustained fatal injuries while working on a construction site. Twenty-seven of those injuries occurred during building construction. Twenty-nine workers sustained fatal injuries due to falls, slips, or trips.
Some of the most common types of injuries include:
- Brain damage: Brain damage occurs due to gas exposure, fires, chemical exposures, and burials when trenches collapse. A serious head blow or body trauma from a fall can also cause traumatic brain injury.
- Fractures: Broken bones occur during falls, crush accidents, machinery malfunctions, and other incidents.
- Lacerations and cuts: When construction workers use electric saws, power cutters, finishers, and other equipment, a simple mishap easily causes extensive lacerations.
- Burns: Workers sustain severe burns due to electrocutions, chemical accidents and exposures, concrete exposure, welding, and other operations.
- Vehicle accident injuries: Some vehicle accidents occur on construction sites. Others happen on the road while construction workers are delivering equipment, industrial tools, and machinery.
- Sprains and strains: Some construction jobs include daylong heavy lifting. The overexertion sometimes injures backs, muscles, joints, and soft tissues.
- Internal injuries: Falls, vehicle accidents, machine malfunctions, and exposed electrical wires sometimes cause internal injuries.
WHO PAYS MY MEDICAL BILLS IF I WAS INJURED ON A RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION JOB?
Under California’s workers’ compensation law, your employer must pay your medical expenses if you sustain an injury in a Riverside construction accident while on the job.
To retain their license, all contractors (with limited exceptions) must provide a Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or Certification of Self-Insurance to the Contractors State Licensing Board.
- Insured contractors: Contractors may purchase a workers’ compensation policy through traditional insurance channels. Their insurer must be licensed through the California Department of Insurance. When an employee sustains a job-related injury, the insurance company sets up a claim to pay the required benefits.
- Self-insured contractors: California’s Office of Self-Insured Plans certifies employers who qualify to pay benefits out of their own funds. Self-insured companies usually hire a plan administrator to manage employee workers’ compensation benefits. When an employee sustains injuries on a construction site, the employer directly pays their medical bills, wages, and other benefits.
- Exempted contractor: Out-of-state contractors licensed to work in California may receive an exemption from workers’ compensation requirements. If you are an out-of-state employee working for an exempted contractor, your employer must provide WC coverage that originates in your home state. A contractor cannot qualify for exemption status if they have any of the following: C-9 roofing license, license qualified by a Responsible Managing Employee, or any employees subject to California workers’ compensation code.
HOW SOON WILL I RECEIVE A WAGE LOSS BENEFIT FOR MY RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT IF I CAN’T WORK?
You qualify for workers’ compensation wage benefits if your treating physician confirms that you can’t work for at least three days or if you were hospitalized. The claim administrator must send your first disability payment within 14 days. The administrator owes a 10 percent penalty if they don’t send your payment out in time, as long as you filed your claim more than 14 days before your payment was due.
WHAT TYPES OF DISABILITY PAYMENTS WILL I RECEIVE WHEN I’M TEMPORARILY DISABLED DUE TO A RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT?
You will receive payments based on your ability to work during your recovery. If your doctor confirms that you can’t perform your normal job duties, you can receive disability benefits.
Payments are subject to minimums and maximums that change periodically, and generally fall into the following categories:
- Temporary total disability: If you can’t work at all, you receive payments equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum amount.
- Temporary partial disability: You receive TPD payments when you can’t do your job but you can perform less demanding duties.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I CAN NO LONGER WORK IN CONSTRUCTION?
When your doctor concludes that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, your condition won’t likely improve regardless of treatment. If you still have impairments that restrict your work capacity, you receive lifetime payments based on your level of disability.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR REPORTING MY RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT?
If you sustain a construction site injury, you must report your claim to your employer. Your employer must provide you a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1). When you turn in your completed form—which we can do for you—this initiates the claim process. Your employer then completes their portion of your DWC 1, gives you a copy, and forwards the report to their insurance company. If your employer is self-insured, they forward your report to their claim administrator.
Workers’ compensation coverage pays benefits for sudden and accidental injuries. It also covers work-related injuries or medical conditions that progressed over an extended period. These sometimes include chemical, asbestos, or other substance exposure injuries. In either case, you must report your claim to your employer as soon as you realize that your injury is work-related.
WHO CAN HELP ME IF MY RIVERSIDE EMPLOYER WON’T TURN IN MY CLAIM REPORT?
The California Division of Workers’ Compensation Information and Assistance Unit guides employers, employees, unions, and other parties with an interest in the workers’ compensation claim process. You may also wish to consult our attorneys for legal advice and guidance about compensation or legal actions against responsible parties.
CAN I SUE MY EMPLOYER FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING AFTER MY RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT?
Under most circumstances, when your employer purchases a workers’ compensation insurance policy or self-insures, they owe only for economic damages. These include lost income, medical bills, mileage to and from the doctor, and other medical or disability-related costs. Even when workers’ compensation coverage makes payments for permanent or temporary disabilities or death benefits, they base those payments on lost wage calculations.
You may file a lawsuit against your employer if:
- Your employer assaulted you.
- You sustained an injury due to a hazard your employer concealed.
- You were not performing job-related tasks when you sustained an injury.
- You sustained a non-work-related injury because of a product your employer manufactured.
CAN I FILE A LAWSUIT FOR DAMAGES IF SOMEONE ELSE CAUSED MY RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT INJURIES?
To recover damages from someone other than your employer, you must prove that their negligence caused your injuries.
You have a legal right to file a liability claim or lawsuit for a job-related injury if:
- A non-employer or someone who was not your coworker injured you.
- A subcontractor injured you and they aren’t an employee as defined by worker’s compensation laws.
- A defective or malfunctioning product injured you and your employer did not manufacture the product.
- Another driver caused a vehicle accident in which you were injured while driving a company vehicle or doing job-related work.
- You were injured by a hazard or defect on someone else’s property.
California Labor Code gives your employer subrogation rights for any payments they have made to you and on your behalf. This allows them to make a claim against the other party who caused your injuries. Your employer may either join your lawsuit or file a separate action. We can help you understand all of this and protect you throughout the process.
HOW DO I FILE A LIABILITY CLAIM FOR MY RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT INJURIES?
You or your legal representative must investigate the circumstances that caused your injury. If someone other than your employer injured you, you must identify the responsible party and determine their role in causing your injury. You must then place them on notice of your intent to make a claim.
Construction contractors usually provide a certificate of insurance before they perform their job duties. If they have a general liability or contractor’s liability policy, their insurer will handle your claim. Once an insurer receives notice of your injury claim, they investigate. If they determine that their insured is responsible for your damages, they may make a settlement offer.
DOES OSHA INVESTIGATE RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT INJURIES?
In California, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) conducts OSHA activities. They can’t investigate every incident.
Investigators respond to workplace situations based on:
- Imminent danger: Cal/OSHA investigates situations with the potential to cause serious accidents.
- Severe injuries/illnesses: The agency requires that employers report any severe accident that led to injuries.
- Worker complaints: Cal/OSHA provides a complaint process for workers who feel endangered at work.
- Referrals: The agency sometimes conducts an investigation when they receive a report from another agency or the media.
- Targeted: Cal/OSHA regularly visits sites with known hazardous operations.
- Follow-up: If Cal/OSHA issues a citation, they may follow up to make sure the business complies.
Cal/OSHA reports are available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act.
DO I NEED A RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TO HANDLE MY CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT CLAIM?
Yes. Construction accidents are complicated. They often involve multiple contractors and numerous liability issues. When you work with our construction accident attorney, you receive the benefit of their claim and litigation history. A seasoned attorney can assist you with workers’ compensation issues and initiate appeals on your behalf. They can conduct a liability investigation to gather all the available evidence and wade through the legal complications. When appropriate, an attorney can deal with liability insurers and negotiate an injury settlement.
Your initial consultation with Gomez Trial Attorneys is free. You don’t have to commit to a liability claim or lawsuit. A consultation is an information-sharing session. You have an opportunity to tell your story and learn more about your legal options.
CONTACT A RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TODAY
If you suffered injuries on a construction site, a Riverside personal injury attorney could help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Many accident victims find that working closely with an attorney increases the compensation they pursue and receive, while simultaneously providing them peace of mind throughout the claim. While no result is guaranteed, the team at Gomez Trial Attorneys is here to help.
Do you need a Riverside construction accident attorney? Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today at (619) 237-3490 to learn more about your legal rights.
Gomez Trial Attorneys
11840 Pierce Street STE 200
Riverside, CA 92505
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