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Chicago Construction Accident Lawyer

ConstructionAccident

Chicago Construction Accident Lawyer

Construction sites contain dozens of unavoidable hazards, and employers have a legal duty to protect workers from these dangers as much as possible. From fall protection gear to safety training, employers must minimize–if not eliminate–the risk of injury or death to construction workers.

Failure to meet this obligation can result in devastating construction accidents. But unfortunately, accidents can happen even when no negligence is at play.

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a construction accident, you are entitled to financial compensation for your losses. The Chicago construction accident lawyers at Injury Lawyers Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, can help you pursue damages and maximize your settlement, regardless of whether someone is to blame for the accident.

Contact our construction accident attorneys today for a free consultation.

Prevalence of Construction Accidents

Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the US. One in ten workers suffer injuries on a construction site yearly, ranging from mild injuries to severe impairments.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that over 150,000 injuries occur on construction sites annually. Many of these injuries arise from slip and fall accidents.

In 2020, the BLS recorded 1,024 fatalities in the construction industry, accounting for 1 in 5 workplace deaths among all sectors. Over a third of these fatalities resulted from trips, slips, and falls.

Unfortunately, the rate of fatal and non-fatal construction injuries shows no significant decline in recent years.

Types of Construction Accidents

Construction accident injuries and deaths can occur in many ways. The following are the most common construction accidents our lawyers have seen:

  • Falls: Fall accidents are the leading cause of death and injury in the construction industry, accounting for more than a third of fatalities. Due to insufficient fall protection and safety gear, workers can fall from scaffolding, ladders, windows, and roofs.
  • Struck-By Accidents: These construction site accidents occur when an object strikes a worker’s body and creates an injury. Construction workers can get hit by a falling, rolling, or swinging object, such as a crane or loader truck.
  • Caught-in Accidents: When a construction worker gets caught, crushed, or pressed between two or more objects, the incident is a caught-in or caught-between accident.
  • Slip and Falls: Workers can trip, slip, and fall due to stray tools, uneven grounds, puddles, and other workplace hazards.
  • Electrocution: Construction sites often have exposed wiring and power lines. If a line or electrical component is left lying around, a worker may come in contact with it and suffer an electric shock.
  • Fires and Explosions: While rare, fires and explosions on construction sites still occur and are extremely dangerous. Common causes include leaking gasses, unfinished piping, and unfinished electrical systems.
  • Machinery Accidents: Construction workers often use a lot of heavy machinery to get work done. Mishandling tools like jackhammers, bulldozers, and nail guns can result in catastrophic injuries. Similarly, malfunctioning or broken machinery puts workers at risk.
  • Overexertion: Workers usually have to endure hot or humid conditions during work hours every day. Unfortunately, some suffer heat strokes, loss of consciousness, and soft tissue injuries due to overexertion. A worker losing consciousness while on the job can be highly hazardous, posing a risk of falling from a great height.
  • Exposure to Toxic Substances: Construction projects on old buildings can lead to exposure to several hazardous chemicals, such as asbestos, lead, and formaldehyde. Constant exposure to these substances can lead to severe and long-term health complications, including respiratory problems, brain damage, and cancer.

Common Construction Accident Injuries

Severe and life-altering injuries are all too common in the construction industry. Construction accident victims often suffer serious injuries, such as:

  • Head Injuries: Falling from a great height or getting struck by an object can lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a concussion, contusion, or brain hemorrhage. Severe impacts to the head can cause the skull to break, increasing the risk of severe complications, such as brain damage, leaking of cerebrospinal fluid, and seizures.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Injury to the spinal cord can cause permanent changes in strength, sensation, and other bodily functions below the injury site. Severe cases of spinal cord trauma can lead to permanent disability due to the loss of movement.
  • Lacerations: Coming into contact with sharp objects can cause deep cuts on the skin, also known as lacerations. These injuries are common in accidents that involve broken glass, sharp tools, and twisted metal.
  • Fractures: Some construction accidents involve a severe blow to the body, strong enough to break bone. Common causes include struck-by accidents, falls from great heights, and machinery mishaps.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Overexertion and repetitive movements increase the risk of sprains, strains, and other injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Crushing Injuries: When a worker gets caught between two or more objects, the immense pressure on the trapped body part can damage the muscle, break bones, and cause irreversible nerve damage.
  • Amputation: Severe injuries may require amputation of affected limbs, especially when they are infected beyond repair. In the worst accidents involving severe damage to the body, a construction worker may suffer instant dismemberment.
  • Sensory Issues: A construction worker may lose hearing due to constant noise exposure. Similarly, construction activities like welding and cement mixing may produce dust and grit that can harm the eye.
  • Burns: Flames, electrocution and caustic chemicals can create painful burns on the skin. In severe cases, burns can lead to shock and even death.

Causes of Construction Site Accidents

Most construction site injuries result from non-compliance with construction site safety regulations, such as:

  • Lack of Safety Gear: Failure to provide safety equipment to workers could directly lead to accidents (e.g., a fall due to lack of harnesses) or cause more serious injuries (e.g., traumatic brain injury due to lack of a helmet).
  • Inadequate Training: Employers must provide proper training regardless of a construction site worker’s experience level. Otherwise, an employee has an increased chance of making a mistake, which could prove fatal in certain circumstances.
  • Lack of Safety Inspections: Regular safety inspections are crucial to ensure that construction sites are free from hazards that could lead to an accident or injury, e.g., unkempt wiring, faulty heavy equipment, and missing guards on power tools.
  • Inadequate Scaffold Safety: Some employers fail to mitigate the risks associated with scaffolding, such as excess loads, cluttered platforms, lack of guardrails, flawed foundations, and much more. This negligence could lead to devastating construction accidents, primarily falls from a significant height.
  • Poor Equipment Maintenance: Employers must maintain all equipment regularly, including heavy machinery, industrial tools, personal protective equipment (PPE), and vehicles, to reduce the risk of a construction accident.

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Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Construction Accident Victims

Illinois law requires businesses to have workers’ compensation coverage if they have at least one full-time or part-time employee. Exceptions include sole proprietors, corporate officers, business partners, and limited liability company (LLC) members.

Workers’ compensation provides benefits to employees who get injured or sick on the job. These benefits may include:

Medical Expenses

Workers’ compensation law states that employers must cover the costs of all reasonably necessary medical treatment for work-related injuries or illnesses.

Medical expenses may include:

  • Hospitalization
  • Doctor visits
  • Surgery
  • Emergency transportation
  • Medication
  • Medical devices or equipment
  • Physical therapy

Wage Replacement Benefits

A work-related injury may prevent you from returning to work, either temporarily or permanently. Workers’ comp protects you from financial hardship by replacing some of your lost wages. The value of your disability benefits will depend on the nature of your disability:

  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): A worker may be paid TPD benefits if they cannot return to their complete duties but can do part-time or light-duty work. TPD benefits equal two-thirds of the difference between pre-injury and current wages.
  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD): A worker may receive TTD benefits if they cannot return to work for at least 14 days. TTD benefits include two-thirds of a worker’s average weekly wage during the year before the injury or impairment occurred, lasting until the worker reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI).

After a doctor determines that the worker has attained maximum medical improvement, they will evaluate the worker to see whether they have a permanent disability. The doctor will identify the percentage of the worker’s body that has been permanently damaged and create a permanent partial impairment (PPI) rating. The PPI rating will be the basis for how much the injured worker should receive.

  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): A worker who lost some part of their body may receive compensation for the scheduled or non-scheduled loss of a body part, pre- and-post injury wage differences, and disfigurement.
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD): A worker who cannot perform any reasonable work due to their injuries may receive PTD benefits based on the PPI rating or a permanent disability award, whichever is greater. These benefits may be limited to the maximum established by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

These benefits are not taxable.

Death Benefits

The surviving family members may receive death benefits if a worker dies due to a work-related illness or injury. These benefits are two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage and may include up to $8,000 in funeral and burial expenses.

Vocational Rehabilitation

An injured construction worker unable to return to their regular job may receive job counseling, education, training, and other assistance to help them find a new job.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Chicago, IL

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning you don’t have to prove fault against whoever is responsible for your accident to recover compensation. However, you cannot file a workers’ compensation claim if you sustain an injury in certain situations, such as:

  • Driving to and from work
  • Intoxication
  • Self-inflicted injury
  • Horseplay
  • Illegal activities
  • Policy violations

If you sustain an injury from a construction accident, report it to your employer or supervisor as soon as possible. Your employer’s insurance provider may deny your claim if you wait more than 30 days to report your incident.

After you notify your employer of your accident and injuries, they should guide you through the required paperwork and subsequent steps. Once you finish the paperwork on your end, your employer will report the injury and submit the claim form to their insurance provider.

The insurance provider will evaluate the claim and either approve or deny it.

If the claim is approved, you and your lawyer may:

  • Accept the compensation offer
  • Negotiate the settlement value or structure (lump sum or structured settlement)

If the claim is denied, you and your lawyer may:

  • Request the insurance provider to reconsider
  • File a formal appeal through Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission

When Legal Help is Necessary

You may need a construction accident lawyer if:

  • The insurance company denies your claim, withholds benefits, or refuses to authorize necessary medical treatment
  • The workers’ comp settlement will not cover all your medical expenses and lost wages
  • Your employer retaliates against you for filing a claim, e.g., firing, demoting, reducing pay, etc.
  • Your workplace injury was caused by another entity’s negligence or gross misconduct

We understand that workers’ compensation laws can be confusing. If you are unsure how to proceed with your claim, our construction accident attorneys will guide you through your options during your free case evaluation.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim 

Aside from protecting workers from financial hardship caused by work-related injuries, the government created the workers’ compensation system to avoid civil lawsuits for work accidents. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation benefits do not cover non-economic damages, such as emotional trauma and loss of quality of life.

You have the right to file a personal injury claim if a third party causes your construction site injuries. In doing so, you could recover financial compensation for:

  • Lost income or medical costs not covered by workers’ compensation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Additional wrongful-death-related damages

Liable Parties

Our construction injury attorneys can help you recover fair compensation from at-fault parties, which may include:

  • Construction companies
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Property owners
  • Contractors or subcontractors
  • Other construction workers

Your lawyer will help you determine liable parties in your case if multiple parties are responsible for your construction site injury.

Evidence

Injured victims must prove that someone else’s negligence caused their accident. Your Chicago construction accident lawyer will help you collect evidence to establish the liability of responsible parties, such as:

  • Incident reports
  • Police reports
  • Photos of the accident scene
  • Surveillance footage
  • Witness accounts
  • Autopsy reports, in case of wrongful death

In addition, your construction accident attorney will need to prove the extent of your damages using:

  • Medical bills
  • Photos of injuries
  • Financial records to prove lost income
  • Psychological evaluations

We recommend gathering as much documentation of your damages as possible to recover maximum compensation.

Reaching a Settlement

After filing a construction accident case against a negligent third party, their insurance company may offer you a settlement.

Our lawyers advise against accepting settlement offers immediately. Insurance companies rarely offer fair settlements to claimants for personal injury cases, and accepting the payment too soon may prevent you from receiving full compensation. Remember that once you take the offer, you can no longer obtain compensation for additional damages.

Let your construction accident lawyer negotiate a fair offer with the defendant’s insurance provider.

Filing a Construction Accident Lawsuit

Filing a personal injury claim is the easiest and fastest way to recover compensation for negligence-related injuries. However, not all claims settle out of court.

Your Chicago construction accident attorney can help you file a lawsuit if:

  • The insurance provider refuses to make a fair offer
  • Negotiations have stalled
  • The insurance provider denies your claim without a proper reason
  • The defendant refuses to take responsibility for your construction site injury

When you file a lawsuit against a negligent third party, your case will go to civil court. A judge or jury will hear evidence from both parties and determine a verdict. Personal injury lawsuits can take several months or years to resolve and often require substantial evidence.

Your personal injury lawyer could also help you seek compensation through other options if you want to avoid litigation. Our lawyers handle construction injury cases through mediation or arbitration, which are less expensive, less formal, and less time-consuming than court trials.

Our team will discuss all viable options for your construction accident case during your free consultation.

Statute of Limitations

According to Illinois law, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the underlying incident. For wrongful death cases, the clock starts running on the date of death.

You must file your personal injury lawsuit as soon as possible to avoid missing the two-year window. Otherwise, the court will refuse to hear your case. Even if you manage to file a lawsuit outside the statute of limitations, the defendant will likely file a motion to dismiss it.

The Role of Chicago Construction Accident Attorneys

An experienced construction accident attorney will help ensure you receive maximum compensation for your losses. To win your case, they will:

  • Investigate how and why the accident happened
  • Establish the liability of responsible parties
  • Gather evidence to support your claim
  • File a claim against at-fault parties on time
  • Negotiate settlements with insurance companies
  • File a case in civil court, if necessary

In addition, your Chicago construction accident attorney can help you appeal your workers’ compensation claim if you receive an unfair denial.

How to Avoid Construction Accidents

Your construction company is responsible for maintaining your safety. Nevertheless, you can reduce your risk of serious injury by following these safety tips:

  • Always wear your personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Follow instructions carefully; if you are unsure what to do, ask whoever is supervising the construction project
  • Keep your work area clean and organized
  • Use the right equipment and avoid using makeshift tools
  • Know the emergency response plans
  • Report issues to your supervisor immediately

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Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Chicago Construction Accident Lawyer Today

Being a construction worker is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. No matter how careful you are, the risk of sustaining a construction injury is always present.

Were you or a loved one injured while working on a construction site? If so, you have the legal right to seek compensation, even if you are to blame for the accident.

The Chicago construction accident lawyers can help you obtain compensation through workers’ compensation benefits or a civil claim (if another party caused your accident). We help injured workers recover full and fair compensation for medical bills, lost income, emotional trauma, and other losses resulting from construction injuries.

Contact our construction accident lawyers today for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.

Our lawyers in Chicago, IL, handle all accepted construction accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay for our services unless we win your case.

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