Indianapolis Construction Accident Lawyer
A construction worker faces more risks than an average laborer every day. Unfortunately, the inherent dangers of the job make construction one of the most hazardous occupations in the country.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that 150,000 construction accidents occur annually. Victims often suffer serious injuries or death and significant losses in income and quality of life.
Did you suffer injuries or lose a loved one in a construction accident? If so, you have the right to pursue damages through workers’ compensation. Our Indianapolis construction accident lawyers at Injury Lawyers Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, are here to help you maximize your compensation benefits, appeal a denied claim, or file a lawsuit.
Contact us today for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
How Often Do Construction Site Accidents Occur?
In 2020, more than 1 in 5 workplace fatalities occurred in the construction industry. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1,034 construction site workers died in fatal accidents in 2020, over a third occurring due to slips, trips, and falls.
The BLS also estimates that 150,000 fatal and non-fatal accidents occur on construction sites yearly. Unfortunately, the rate of fatal and non-fatal construction injuries shows no significant decline in recent years.
Types of Construction Accidents
Construction sites pose many different risks to workers. Hence, construction accidents can occur in many different ways, including:
- Falls: Fall accidents are the leading cause of death and injury on construction sites, accounting for more than a third of fatalities in the industry. 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 falling debris, a swinging crane, or a moving vehicle.
- Caught-in Accidents: When a 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 gas, unfinished piping, and unfinished electrical systems.
- Machinery Accidents: Construction site workers often use heavy equipment to get work done. Mishandling power 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 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 workers may be exposed 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.
Causes of Accidents in Construction Sites
Most construction site accidents stem from violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Common causes of construction injuries and fatalities include:
- 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 severe 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 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.
Common Construction Accident Injuries
A construction site accident can lead to severe and potentially life-altering 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: Serious 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 site 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 damaged beyond repair.
- Sensory Issues: A construction site 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.
- Burn Injuries: Flames, electrocution, and caustic chemicals can create painful burns on the skin. In severe cases, burns can lead to shock and even death.
Compensation for Construction Site Accident Cases
Indiana law requires most employers to have workers’ compensation coverage except for a few exceptions (independent contractors, corporate officers, etc.). Workers’ compensation insurance benefits workers who become sick or injured due to their occupation.
Your worker’s comp coverage starts on your first day of work. Once you get injured or sick, you could file a claim to your employer’s insurance provider to receive benefits. You do not have to prove fault in a construction site accident and may be entitled to compensation even if you caused the accident.
The Indiana Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to pay for all medical treatment that is “reasonable and necessary” to treat workers’ injuries or ailments. The employer must pay for the injured worker’s medical bills until they attain maximum medical improvement. Afterward, the employer must pay for necessary care to limit the injured worker’s impairment.
Medical expenses may include:
- Doctor visits
- Emergency transportation
- Medical devices or equipment
- Physical therapy
Wage Replacement Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits help replace some or all of an injured worker’s lost income during recovery. Payments will depend on the extent of the impairment and whether or not the worker can return to work:
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): A worker may be paid TPD benefits if they cannot return to their complete duties. TPD benefits will cover the difference between the worker’s wages before and after their injury for up to 300 weeks.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD): A worker may receive TTD benefits if they cannot return to work because of temporary impairment. TTD benefits include two-thirds of a worker’s average weekly wage during the year before the injury or impairment occurred, lasting up to 500 weeks (or until the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement).
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): After a doctor determines that the injured 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 Total Disability (PTD): A worker who cannot perform any reasonable work due to their injuries may receive PTD benefits, either based on the PPI rating or a permanent disability award, whichever is greater.
These benefits are not taxable.
If workers die from work-related injuries or illnesses, their beneficiaries may be entitled to death benefits. These benefits are two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage and last up to 500 weeks.
Indiana also includes vocational rehabilitation benefits for injured workers unable to return to work for which they already have training and experience. Vocational rehabilitation can help workers build new skills and look for a job that they can do given their conditions.
Filing a Worker’s Compensation Claim
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, the employee and their lawyer may:
- Accept the compensation offer
- Negotiate the settlement value or structure (lump sum or structured settlement)
If the claim is denied, the employee can:
- Request the insurance provider to reconsider
- File a formal appeal through Indiana’s workers’ comp board or commission
When Legal Help is Necessary
You may need a construction accident lawyer when:
- 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 injuries were caused by another entity’s negligence or gross misconduct
If you are unsure how to proceed with your claim, our lawyers can guide you through your options during a free case evaluation.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
The workers’ compensation system was designed to help avoid civil lawsuits for work-related injuries and losses. However, a worker still has the right to sue for personal injuries if the accident resulted from another person’s negligence or intentional actions.
Filing a personal injury case against your employer could also help you recover damages for things that workers’ compensation will not cover, such as:
- Lost income or medical care not available through benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Additional wrongful-death-related damages
If you are an independent contractor and not an employee, you could pursue damages personally if you are injured by the employer or another worker’s negligence. Your lawyer could discuss this matter further during your free consultation if it applies to your case.
Your personal injury lawyer can help you file a claim against at-fault parties, which may include:
- Other workers
- Your employer
- An equipment manufacturer
- Property owners
You must prove that the negligent third party caused your accident. Furthermore, you must have evidence to demonstrate the extent of your damages. Your personal injury attorney will help you gather relevant documents to support your construction accident case, such as:
- Photos of your injuries
- Medical records
- Incident reports
- Surveillance footage if available
- Documentation of the accident scene
- Witness accounts
- Expert testimony
- Medical bills
- Autopsy reports, in case of wrongful death
Our attorneys will help you learn more about the evidence you need to acquire during your free consultation.
Reaching a Settlement
After filing a personal injury claim against the negligent third party, their insurance company may offer you a settlement. If the defendant is your employer, they might use their general liability insurance. Contractors and subcontractors, on the other hand, may use their professional liability coverage.
In any case, do not accept payment without legal representation. Insurers often make lowball offers to claimants to avoid paying more than necessary. Allow our construction accident attorneys to handle communications with the defendant’s insurer to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Other Legal Options
An experienced attorney can help you file a personal injury lawsuit when:
- The insurer denies your claim without proper reason
- The insurer refuses to make a fair offer
- The defendant denies responsibility for your accident or blames you for it
Your case will go to civil court, where a judge or jury will hear evidence from both sides. Personal injury cases usually take several months to resolve. Your lawyer will discuss the implications of going to court during your free consultation.
Alternatively, your lawyer could help you pursue damages through out-of-court processes, such as arbitration or mediation. These alternative dispute resolution methods are often less formal, less expensive, and less time-consuming than a court trial.
Our construction accident lawyers will discuss your legal options during your free case review.
The Role of Indianapolis Construction Accident Lawyer
Our personal injury attorneys help protect the rights of Indianapolis construction workers. To recover fair compensation against negligent parties, our attorneys conduct the following steps:
- Conduct a thorough investigation of the incident
- Determine the extent of the injured party’s damages
- Establish the liability of the at-fault parties
- File a legal claim against the defendant’s insurance provider
- Negotiate the settlement value
- File a lawsuit, if necessary
Your lawyer will discuss these responsibilities further during your free case evaluation, so you know what to expect.
Schedule a Free Case Review with Our Indianapolis Construction Accident Attorneys
In most instances, the injuries suffered in construction accident cases are often severe and life-altering. Victims may suffer disabilities that prevent them from returning to work, serious injuries that require life-long care, and other significant consequences.
You are legally entitled to worker’s compensation benefits if you are injured on a construction site. Unfortunately, these benefits may not be enough to cover all your losses. If this is the case, an Indianapolis construction accident attorney can help you appeal your claim or pursue damages through other means.
Our personal injury attorneys can also help you recover additional financial compensation if someone else’s negligence caused your accident.
Contact our affiliate attorneys at Injury Lawyers Team for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our attorneys handle all accepted construction accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay attorney fees unless we make a recovery for you.