Some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others—construction being one of them. It’s not uncommon for injuries to happen to those who help construct the buildings, roads, and infrastructures in Chicago and throughout Illinois. When a worker is injured because of someone else’s negligence, a Chicago construction accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help them recover compensation for their losses.
As a laborer, you may be aware of your right to workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured at work. However, if those benefits are not sufficient, or you believe the at-fault party should be held responsible for the harm they caused you, you have the right to file a personal injury claim.
At Thomas Law Offices, we believe that injured workers have the right to the compensation they need to make a full recovery and reestablish order in their everyday lives. We understand how challenging filing a claim can be while you’re focusing on recovering physically, which is why our Chicago attorneys are prepared to provide you with the legal representation you need to file a successful claim.
Construction Site Accidents in Chicago
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of February 2020, 161,400 workers were employed in construction in the Chicago metropolitan area and its component. Depending on the line of work and what the project is, workers could be plumbers, electricians, pipefitters, carpenters, equipment operators, or laborers.
Every year, nearly 5,000 workers lose their lives in workplace accidents. Approximately 20% of those fatal accidents occur in construction. If you’re injured in an accident, it’s essential to understand the type of accident you were in. This will make it easier to discover why it happened in the first place. In addition, if you’ve lost a loved one in a work accident, our attorneys can help your family file a wrongful death claim.
Types of Construction Accidents
Construction laborers are often tasked with working in extreme conditions, including high temperatures, towering heights, and with powerful machinery. Therefore, when negligence results in someone else’s injury, it’s crucial to determine why the accident happened. To do so, you first need to conclude what type of accident you were in. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the most common accidents include the following:
- Transportation incidents. The majority of accidents are related to transportation. Whether workers are struck by a vehicle on the job site or a piece of equipment hits them, transportation accidents usually result in broken bones and crushed limbs.
- Violence by persons or animals. There’s the potential for workers to be around hostile people or animals. Injuries can be severe if someone tries to harm a worker or an animal attack occurs.
- Contact with objects and equipment. When laborers are near equipment that’s being operated improperly, they risk getting stuck in between objects.
- Slips, trips, and falls. While any slip or trip can result in serious injuries—especially to the back, spine, neck, or head, the most dangerous fall accidents happen from significant heights. When working on roofs or scaffolding, the workers need to access the proper safety equipment to keep them from falling.
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments. It’s not uncommon for construction workers to be exposed to dangerous chemicals. If this happens over a long time, and they do not have the proper protection, they could develop an occupational disease.
- Fires and explosions. When working with wiring or any situation involving flammable substances, all workers must understand what precautions to take to avoid starting a fire or getting burned.
While the accidents above are the most common, that is not where the list ends. No matter what type of accident you’ve experienced, a Chicago construction accident attorney can evaluate your situation and determine if there are grounds for a claim.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured at Work
If you suffer injuries on a job site from a fall, structural collapse, electrocution, or any other construction site hazard, there are steps you should take to protect yourself and your future. First, it’s imperative to seek a medical evaluation. Do not refuse medical care if it’s offered at the job site. Whether you receive treatment at the job or not, you should still go to the hospital to ensure all injuries are properly documented and you know what your treatments and recovery will look like.
You’ll also want to report the accident to the construction site supervisor. They will file a report, and the company will have an official record of the accident that their insurance company can refer to. The information could also be used to determine what the company needs to do in the future to ensure worker safety.
Once you’ve sought medical treatment and reported the incident to your supervisor, you’ll want to get in touch with an attorney and have them fully explain your legal rights and options. Then, depending on who was at fault, you may file a claim with the insurance company. That is typically your first outlet for recovery.
When you follow the steps outlined above, you’ll improve your chances of receiving full and fair compensation for your accident-related losses. In addition, once you contact a Chicago construction accident attorney from Thomas Law Offices, we can begin the investigation process and determine who to hold accountable for your accident.
Understanding the Injury Claim Process
There are several steps involved in filing a successful construction accident claim. First, when you schedule a consultation with our firm, we’ll evaluate what you’ve been through and determine how we can help. Then, if filing a claim is the right call, we’ll start by gathering all records related to your lawsuit. This could include medical records, medical bills, and insurance policy information. Essentially, those documents will help your attorney understand the severity of your injury and establish negligence.
Once your lawyer has the necessary documents, they’ll start investigating your accident. This could mean gathering dashcam footage, security camera footage, and police records. That information will be used to build your case.
Finally, your legal representative can focus on negotiating with the defense to help get you the compensation you deserve. While most claims do settle, it’s important to note that in the event that is not possible, your attorney can help you prepare for trial and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Determining Liability for a Construction Accident in Illinois
Because construction site accidents arise from different factors, there is a possibility that multiple parties could be held accountable for your injuries. Therefore, when you work with a construction site accident lawyer, they will conduct a thorough investigation to determine who caused your accident and why. Some of the most common liable parties include:
- Construction companies
- General, sub, and prime contractors
- Property owners
- Insurance companies
If you were able to preserve any evidence from the accident or know of a witness who is willing to speak on your behalf, we’d use that information to begin determining who to hold responsible. It’s likely your claim will also rely on the rules and regulations your construction company is supposed to abide by.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration Regulations
OSHA is the government agency responsible for protecting workers and workers in other industries from unsafe conditions. The agency has specific regulations pertaining to commonly and uncommonly performed tasks on small and large construction projects.
OSHA keeps track of violations and citations when someone is injured, or a report is made. Common violations include lack of fall protection, hazardous communications, dangerous scaffolding, improper respiratory protection, inadequate control of hazardous energy, and improper use of machinery and machine guarding.
If you’ve been injured on the job and believe your site violated an OSHA regulation, you have the right to file a confidential safety and health complaint. OSHA inspectors will visit the workplace to determine if the hazard is real and what should be done in response.
Compensation Eligibility for an Accident on a Construction Site
If you’ve been involved in an accident, you’re likely experiencing physical, financial, and psychological pain. Depending on your situation, your family could be dealing with the ramifications as well. Fortunately, the justice system allows victims to seek compensation for their losses.
When you file a claim, your lawyer will evaluate what you’ve been through and the future implications of your accident to determine how to value your case. In most personal injury claims, you’ll be able to seek economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are calculable and can cover lost wages, medical bills, physical therapy, counseling costs, property damage, and ongoing living expenses. Non-economic damages are more challenging to calculate, as they’re based on subjective forms of suffering, like physical pain and mental anguish. In addition, it’s likely your non-economic damages will be more significant if you’ve suffered a permanent impairment.
It’s important to remember that your claim is subject to a statute of limitations. According to Illinois law, you only have so long to file your claim. In the event you fail to file in time, you’ll render yourself ineligible for any amount of compensation.
While every situation is different, your lawyer will be able to determine just how long you have. If, for example, a local government is responsible for your injury, you will only have one year from the accident’s date to pursue your claim. However, if a private person’s negligence is what caused your injury, you’ll likely have up to four years to get your lawsuit filed. On the other hand, if the accident was not the fault of a specific person or entity but rather something more general like unsafe working conditions, you’d only have two years to file.
Get Help From a Chicago Construction Accident Lawyer
If you’re ready to get your life back in order after an accident on the job, contact a Chicago construction accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices today. Depending on your situation, we may be able to help you understand your workers’ compensation rights and collect additional compensation for future medical bills or lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Schedule a free consultation with our office today to learn more.