Lakewood Construction Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured in a construction accident, the personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs are here to help. Construction jobs involve a lot of heavy lifting and heavy equipment. It should come as no surprise that construction is one of the industries with the highest rates of workplace injuries. According to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, in 2016, there were 6.4 recordable cases of workplace injuries for every 100 full-time construction workers statewide. Employers should be expected to take reasonable steps to keep their workers from being hurt, but all too often, they cut corners or bring in contractors who cause serious injuries.
At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, our Lakewood construction accident attorneys believe that negligent construction companies and contractors should be held accountable for the injuries they cause to their workers. Our firm has been fighting for injury victims in Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, and Bremerton for over sixty years. Contact our Lakewood injury lawyers today at (253) 588-6696.
Types of Construction Accidents
Any construction job can include a number of moving parts and strenuous activities, any one of which can result in an injury. Here are some of the common types of accidents that occur on construction sites:
- Ladder and scaffolding accidents regularly lead to dangerous falls. But proper use and scaffold construction could prevent them.
- Being hit by falling objects. On a construction site, all tools and equipment need to be secured before, during, and after use. When they aren’t, they could easily hurt you.
- Fires or explosions. Safe chemical use and storage is a vital part of any construction site. Failures by site managers can result in burns and permanent harm for workers.
- Equipment malfunctions. A poorly manufactured, designed, or maintained tool can hurt you, even when you’re following all the rules.
- Being hit by vehicles. Construction vehicles are built to move heavy loads. If the driver is careless, accidents can easily result.
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals and substances, such as asbestos. Site planners and managers should know what chemicals will be present on a site and have a plan for dealing with them safely.
- Building collapse. Unstable structures can come down without warning, but the right planning and procedures can prevent accidents and injuries from occurring.
Federal and state safety regulations are meant to keep any of these or other types of accidents from occurring, but sometimes employers and contractors fail to follow these guidelines and therefore put workers in danger. When an accident does occur, it can sometimes be difficult to assign the blame.
Common Types of Construction Accident Injuries
Construction sites can be dangerous places, but the right procedures and equipment can prevent accidents from ever happening. Unfortunately, some construction companies cut corners and don’t take the steps they should to protect you. That could result in permanent and even life-threatening injuries. These could include:
- Head injuries. Falling objects and falls from heights can cause fractured skulls, concussions, and other serious injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries. An impact can do more than break bones or fracture a skull. It can seriously damage brain tissue, causing long-term problems that may never fully heal.
- Spinal cord injuries. A construction accident could damage your spinal cord, resulting in paralysis, numbness, and losing your ability to earn a living. Although medicine is getting better every day, spinal cord injuries are often permanent and irreparable.
- Broken bones. Broken arms, legs, ribs, and other bones can keep you out of work and cause lasting pain. A bad fracture could even prevent you from doing your job in the future.
- Burn injuries. Many construction workers regularly work with dangerous or flammable chemicals. When an accident takes place, they could be left with life-threatening and disfiguring burns that can turn their lives upside down.
- Lung damage. Workers who are exposed to dangerous chemicals and substances can suffer lasting lung problems, have trouble breathing, and even develop cancer or other potentially fatal illnesses.
- Hearing loss. Jackhammers, power tools, and heavy equipment can make a construction site a dangerously noisy place to work. But the right equipment can help. When workers are forced to work in a loud environment without protection, they may suffer permanent hearing loss.
- Cuts and bleeding. Threats are everywhere on a construction site, and a small mistake by someone else can result in dangerous cuts and bleeding for you.
- Eye injuries. Power tools and flying debris can quickly damage a worker’s eyes. Employers must adequately train workers and provide the safety equipment they need to protect themselves.
- Joint and muscle damage. Repetitive motions such as hammering can result in pain and permanent injuries for workers.
Who Is Liable for My Construction Accident?
In many construction accident cases, the construction company is liable for its workers’ injuries. However, this does not mean that you can file a personal injury suit against the company, even if its actions were obviously negligent. Under Washington State law, employees are typically barred from suing their employers or co-workers for workplace injuries. Instead, they will have to file a workers’ compensation insurance claim, either through the State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), or through their employer’s private insurance. This will be your only option if your employer or co-worker caused the accident.
However, if a third party — that is, someone who is not employed by your construction company — caused your accident, you may be able to hold them liable in a personal injury suit separate from the workers’ compensation insurance process. These types of cases are more common than you might think in construction accident cases, with independent contractors being brought in for a number of tasks and heavy machinery sometimes malfunctioning due to manufacturer error. Whatever the cause of your accident, the Lakewood, Washington construction accident lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs can help you chart the best course of action for your case.
The Insurance Claims Process
For most injured construction workers in Washington State, fighting for fair compensation means fighting their employers’ workers’ compensation insurer, typically L&I. If your employer uses L&I for its workers’ compensation insurance, you can expect coverage for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Prescription medication costs
- Travel expenses
- Property damage
- Permanent partial or total disability
In theory, you should be covered for any of these costs that you incur in the recovery process. However your company’s private insurer may try to deny all or part of your claim. If you believe your claim has been denied unfairly, you can formally protest the denial to the insurer and/or appeal to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. If you are still unsatisfied with the results, you can appeal your case further in court. The further you get along in this process, the more necessary it becomes to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help with your construction accident case.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Lawyers can help with more than just lawsuits. They can let you know your rights and your options for pursuing the compensation that you deserve. Whether you need to pursue a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party claim, they can help. They could even assist you in cases where your claim has been denied.
Filing an insurance claim for a construction accident is one thing, but fighting a denied claim is another entirely. In order to get your insurer to pay you the compensation you need and deserve, you will need to know what documentation to give and how to best present your case. For construction workers who are not well-versed in insurance claims, this process can be confusing and intimidating.
A workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs can help you get all of your paperwork in order and present your medical and other costs in a way that is more likely to be accepted. That could increase your chances of winning fair compensation. From answering your questions and taking care of the paperwork to negotiating with those responsible and fighting for you in court, a worker’s compensation lawyer could help with everything that your claim needs.
Suing a Third Party for Damages
If your construction accident was caused by a third party not employed by your construction company, a lawyer can help you to file an actual lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you might sue a contractor, manufacturer, or another party for damages including:
- Medical costs
- Past and future lost wages
- Damage to your property
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Other miscellaneous expenses
Remember that this option is only available to those injured by parties other than their employer. If you are unsure exactly whom to take action against, an experienced Washington construction accident lawyer from The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs can help you decide which course to take.
Recovering from a construction accident can be a difficult time in your life. In addition to painful injuries and sky-high medical bills, you may be unable to return to work and provide for yourself and your family. Fortunately, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you recover the compensation you need.
If you or someone you love was injured in a construction accident in Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, or Bremerton, The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs is ready to fight for you. Our Lakewood, Washington construction accident lawyers have the experience and know-how to assist in your insurance claim or lawsuit — experience our firm has been building for over sixty years. For more information on how we can help, call us now at (253) 588-6696.