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Chicago Construction Accident Attorney

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Construction site accidents often result in serious injuries or wrongful death. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death for construction workers. Workers are most likely to fall from scaffolding, ladders, and roofs. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 65% of construction accidents occur while workers are on scaffolds that were not erected or used properly. Other construction-related accidents happen when objects strike workers when workers get caught between objects and from electrocutions, or slips and falls. If you were injured in a fall accident, the Chicago slip and fall attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve on the job site. 

OSHA manages the regulations and standards that all construction workers face. You can request a review of the job site or submit an anonymous complaint if you feel your employer is not providing safe working conditions. Even if your working environment is safe, accidents still happen.

Common Injuries in Chicago Construction Accident Claims

Chicago construction accident attorneys

Because construction sites are filled with heavy equipment, scaffolding, ladders, sharp tools, and chemicals, accidents happen even when employers keep the required safety measures in place, but sadly, sometimes safety is pushed aside in favor of fast results or due to lax safety protocols or negligent project managers. Serious injuries can be life-altering either temporarily or permanently. As noted by our personal injury attorneys in Chicago, injuries in construction accident claims include:

  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Crush injuries
  • Burns
  • Electric shock injuries
  • Toxic exposure
  • Eye injuries
  • Knee and ankle injuries
  • Sprains, strains, and torn ligaments (soft tissue injuries)

Even less severe injuries from construction accidents can take a long time to heal and require expensive medical treatment and long recovery times. More serious injuries like spinal cord injuries and brain injuries can cause catastrophic changes in circumstances that impact not only the individual but their entire family. It’s important to speak to a construction accident attorney about the best strategy for recovering financial compensation for the damages associated with the injury, including medical expenses, lost wages, and more.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Chicago

Most employers in Illinois are required to carry a workers’ compensation policy for the benefit of their employees who suffer job-related injuries or death. To be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, two conditions must be met: the injury must have arisen from the victim’s employment and happened during their employment.

These two conditions can sometimes be difficult to prove. The availability of workers’ compensation benefits is no guarantee that a claim will go through. The employer may refuse a claim on the victim’s pre-existing condition. The victim must prove that their injury was caused by a risk connected with their employment, to create a causal connection between their job and their injury. Depending on the type of injury you sustained, proving such a causal connection may not be easy.

Can I Sue My Employer for My Chicago Construction Accident Injury?

The objective of workers’ compensation is to avoid the costs associated with filing a lawsuit against an employer for injuries suffered on the job. If you have workers’ compensation through your employer, your benefits will cover your medical expenses and a portion of wages lost as a result of any injury you suffer while on the job.

There are circumstances under which you may be able to sue your employer for your injuries. If you can prove that your employer acted in an exceptionally egregious manner and failed to create a safe construction site, you may be able to sue. You may also have the right to file a lawsuit if your employer did not purchase workers’ compensation coverage as required by law.

If your injury was caused by a third party, like the manufacturer of defective machines and equipment, you may be able to sue the manufacturer in a product liability case. Seeking the advice of a Chicago product liability attorney can help you understand if you have a case.

What is a Third-Party Construction Injury Claim?

Even when an employer follows all OSHA injury prevention regulations, sometimes workers suffer serious injuries caused by negligence on the part of third parties involved in the construction project. In these cases, an injury victim could benefit from filing a third-party injury claim rather than claiming benefits through workers’ compensation which doesn’t allow compensation for pain and suffering. Third-party claims are an option when the injury occurred due to factors outside of your employer’s immediate control, so liability for the accident lies with another party such as:

  • A driver who caused a collision while a construction employee was driving on the job
  • A property owner who negligently let construction begin on a site with a safety hazard
  • The manufacturer of a defective product or equipment used on the job
  • A subcontractor such as an electrician or plumber
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Food vendors on or near the construction site

When an employee suffers an injury at work and the responsible party was someone other than their employer, a third-party injury claim may be the best way to fully recover damages including compensation for pain and suffering and other damages that aren’t covered by workers’ compensation benefits. 

When Should I Retain a Chicago Construction Accident Injury Lawyer?

Determining who is responsible for your construction accident injury can be tricky. On a construction site, there could be contractors and sub-contractors working side by side. Determining which employer or entity is responsible for your injury will require an investigation into how your work was performed and which party exercised control over your work.

Generally, if a company exercises any control over the way you perform your work, including supervising you, then they could be held legally responsible for the injuries you suffered on the construction site. A general contractor can be directly responsible for sub-contractors if they retain sufficient control over the construction project’s safety; that is, if they are contractually responsible for the safety of the project, for designating a competent supervisor and a person responsible for preventing accidents, for coordinating the work, and for the methods and procedures used on the site.

If you are confused about the legal aspects of your situation, an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney can help you get clarity. At Smith LaCien, we can help ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation, and our personal injury claims are handled on a contingency fee basis. In other words, you pay nothing if your case does not yield results.

Liability in Chicago Construction Accident Claims

Whether the party at fault for a construction site injury is a negligent employer, a subcontractor, or a manufacturer, proving liability in a construction accident claim requires gathering evidence and demonstrating the following legal points of liability:

  • That the at-fault party owed a duty of care to those at the construction site to prevent injuries, such as a site manager’s duty to follow safety regulations or an equipment manufacturer’s duty to produce safe equipment
  • That they breached this duty of care through an act of negligence
  • That the negligent breach of duty directly caused the injury
  • That the injury victim suffered significant damages due to the injury

Once a Chicago construction accident attorney investigates the circumstances of the accident, determines the party at fault, and gathers evidence to prove liability, they can craft a compelling claim for damages. Compensation is usually paid out from the appropriate insurance company.

What Damages Can I Recover in a Chicago Construction Accident Claim?

Construction accident lawyer in Chicago

Because construction site injuries tend to be serious or even catastrophic, medical costs and other damages can add to the life-altering trauma the victim and their families face. Damages recovered in typical construction accident claims often include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses for any ongoing treatment or care related to the injury
  • Lost income
  • Future lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity if the injury left caused a disability 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other non-economic damages that might apply to your unique injuries, such as disfigurement, loss of limb, loss of pleasure in life, or PTSD

While compensation for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages can’t erase the pain or undo the harm, it can help open doors to better medical care and relieve the financial burden on the victim and family members.

Will I Have to Go to Court for a Construction Accident Claim?

Nearly 95% of personal injury claims—including construction accident claims—settle out of court through an attorney’s negotiations with the insurance company on the victim’s behalf. Cases only become lawsuits in court when insurance companies use bad-faith policies to deny valid claims or seriously undervalue them. Often they use tactics to attempt to deny claims, but an experienced personal injury attorney anticipates these methods and knows how to counteract them.

What Tactics Do Insurance Companies Use to Deny Claims?

Insurance companies exist to make profits and often try to deny valid claims in order to protect the company’s bottom line. Some common tactics they use include:

  • Calling you very soon after the injury with a low settlement offer before you know the full scope of your damages and asking you to sign away your right to a lawsuit before they’ll give you the settlement
  • Recording phone calls and then taking your innocent remarks out of context to use against you
  • Obtaining medical authorization from you, ostensibly to review your injury report, but then combing through your medical history to find a pre-existing condition to blame for your pain
  • Denying that you really need the treatment your doctor recommends
  • Claiming their policy wasn’t in place at the time of your injury
  • Assigning you part or all of the blame for the injury to lower the amount of a settlement

It’s best to hire a Chicago accident attorney right after an injury and then direct all communications with the insurance company to your lawyer.

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Construction Accident Claim in Illinois? 

Ilinois places a two-year limit on personal injury claims, including construction accident claims. This allows enough time to identify all of the damages associated with the injury, and to make every attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company of the liable party. If the insurance company doesn’t offer an ample settlement for damages, you and your attorney can choose to file a lawsuit as long as it’s still less than two years from the date the injury occurred.

Contact A Chicago Construction Accident Lawyer Today

Our attorneys are committed to helping you navigate the complicated legal system. Our reputation for results, now totaling more than $2.5 billion, is proof of our commitment to helping people throughout Illinois get the justice they deserve. When you work with us you can expect honesty, professionalism, and attention to detail every step of the way.

Call our office in Chicago today at (312) 509-8900 or fill out our contact form online.

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