Seeing as the construction industry accounts for roughly 10% of all workplace injuries, it’s easy to see that it can be a dangerous, challenging career. However, construction is a vital part of our workforce and economy. The construction industry is currently home to over 733k employers and 7 million employees, which is about 4% of the U.S. workforce. So how do we ensure that workers receive all the help they need following a workplace injury? The answer is workers’ compensation.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation—also known as workers’ comp or workman’s comp or compensation—is a form of insurance that is implemented to protect both businesses and their employees in the event of a serious or catastrophic workplace injury or work-related illness. The insurance helps by providing compensation for wage replacement, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation, funeral expenses, and other non-punitive damages. In short, they protect a worker from the devastating loss of income during a time when they may be suffering from a serious or catastrophic injury.
Keep in mind that upon accepting workers’ compensation, you forfeit your right to sue your employer for negligence in the future. This means that the correct information must be gathered and assessed before moving forward with a workers’ comp claim.
Common Types of Construction Industry Accidents
Below are some examples of accidents that can occur while working in the construction industry. These accidents can range from a mild injury to a serious injury to a catastrophic injury.
Falls: falling from advanced heights such as scaffolding, ladders, other levels, etc., or slipping on materials, tools, spills, etc.
Struck-By: being hit by falling tools or materials, nails from a nail gun, shrapnel from a saw or drill, moving vehicles, swinging items, etc.
Caught-In or Caught-Between: being pulled into moving machine parts, being crushed under collapsing walls or materials, pinned between two vehicles or one vehicle and a wall, being trapped in a collapsed trench, etc.
Electrocution: burns, shocks, and more from exposed wires, damaged tools, unfinished electrical systems, miscommunication with on/off utilities, making contact with power lines, etc.
Hazardous Exposure: exposure to asbestos, acids, boiling materials, toxic chemicals, sudden blinding lights, noxious fumes, burning materials, heatstroke, hypothermia, etc.
Overexertion or Overuse: repetitive stress injuries, strains, sprains, overextensions, breakdown of joints or cartilage, tarsal or carpal tunnel, spinal injuries, nerve compressions, tendonitis, chronic pain, hearing or vision loss, etc.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): sudden collisions to the skull or extreme acceleration and deceleration of the head causing concussions, brain contusions, intracranial hematomas, skull fractures, diffuse axonal injuries (DAI), anoxic brain injury, etc.
Fatalities: anything that causes or contributes to a lethal injury
What To Do After a Construction Workplace Injury
If you are been injured while on the job, here are the steps to take next.
1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Seeking immediate medical attention could save your life and prevent additional injury. It’s important to note that many injuries may appear minor at first when they are not. Determine whether personal transportation or emergency transportation is the best option, and then get yourself in front of a medical professional as soon as possible.
2. Notify Your Employer
Formally report the accident in writing (by hand, print, or email) to your employer immediately following your medical care. This will increase your validity as well as jumpstart the workers’ compensation claims process. Ensure that you always keep a copy of the report in your records, as it will be needed during the claims process.
3. Gather Information
This step cannot be skipped in order for your workers’ compensation claim to be successful, as it will serve as evidence in your case. You will need to collect all medical records, witness reports, photos from the scene of the accident, and employer correspondence. This will serve as an ongoing process, especially if you continue to need additional medical treatment or if the conversation with your employer is ongoing.
4. Proceed With the Insurance Claims Process
As a direct result of Step Two, your employer should have provided a list of accepted in-network medical professions covered under their insurance for any future treatment you may need. If your employer has refused to provide this list or has refused to process your claim, your employer must provide you with a written explanation for their denial.
5. Contact an Experienced Attorney
There is more than enough to worry about following a workplace injury without having to stress over securing the finances needed to survive while you heal. And navigating the confusing maze of legalese surrounding workers’ compensation claims to ensure that you’re following the right processes, filing the proper paperwork, and hitting the correct deadlines can feel impossible. That’s where an experienced attorney comes in. They will have the experience necessary to handle everything on your behalf so that you can focus entirely on healing. You can find more information on how an attorney can help in the following section.
How Can an Experienced Attorney Help in a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
As mentioned in Step 5 of the above section, hiring an experienced attorney can make the process of receiving workers’ compensation infinitely easier and less stressful for the injured party. Here are a few additional ways an attorney can help in workers’ comp claims:
Experience. We know what to expect and how to navigate the process to your advantage. We can guide you through each step with minimal effort on your part to ensure that you are hitting every necessary timeline.
Reliable advocate. We will always fight for the best possible outcome for you. This results in an effortless process in which we will personally gather all necessary information and deliver it where it needs to go. If we believe you are being shorted in any way, we will always take the proper recourse to protect your best interests,
Avoiding delays. Employers and their insurance companies will often attempt to delay the workers’ comp process or even wheedle out of paying the full extent of owed benefits. They may feel comfortable doing this when dealing directly with an inexperienced, injured party, but not so much when dealing with an experienced attorney. We will always work hard to get you your compensation as quickly as possible.
FAQs About Workers’ Compensation
Here are answers to some common questions you might have about workers' compensation.
Will I be able to claim workers’ compensation for my workplace injury?
There are two answers to this question, depending on the situation. Workers’ compensation will cover any workplace injury or work-related illness sustained while employed. It will not cover any injuries received from violence initiated by the employee, injuries sustained due to intoxication while working, intentional injuries, or mental trauma.
What if the workplace injury was my fault?
Workers’ compensation is actually a no-fault system, meaning that you can pursue a claim even if the injury is partially or fully your fault.
Aside from my employer, what if there are additional responsible parties concerning my workplace injury?
If there are other parties involved aside from your employer, you can consider filing a third-party lawsuit. Your attorney can help you file for both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party suit if necessary.
Can I lose my job by filing a workers’ comp claim?
No, you cannot be fired for filing a worker’s comp claim. You are protected by various legislatures depending on which state you are employed in. A firing would be seen as retaliatory, which means you would have grounds for legal action following attempted termination.
Get Help With Your Claim Today
At Cooney & Conway, we are experts in all areas of personal injury, including workers’ compensation claims. Sign up for a free case evaluation today to see exactly how we will help you receive the compensation you deserve.