While almost any type of workplace can offer accident risk or cause a work injury, an employer must take action to keep the risk as low as possible. It is the responsibility of the employer. Thousands of horrendous injuries and deaths occur at work and construction job sites across this country each year. Construction work is one of the most dangerous ways there is to make a living. Workers are unfortunately often subjected to unsafe work practices, defective equipment, and other unsafe job site conditions.
Workers should be properly trained in the operation of machinery, and the site properly managed according to legal standards.
Unfortunately, the list of potential construction site dangers is endless. Generally, most construction site accidents could have been prevented by the proper enforcement of safety practices. But our Arlington Heights construction accident lawyers help victims that have been injured by:
- Defective or collapsing scaffolds
- Ladder injuries
- Collapsing of walls or floors
- Crane accidents
- Defective hoists
- Conveyor malfunction
- Tractor injuries
- Forklift accidents
- Mining accidents
- Elevator shaft falls
- Defective ropes or cables
- Other Heavy machinery mishaps
- Being struck by an object
- Other Construction Accidents
Claims for injuries that occur at construction job sites are both complex and expensive to prosecute. Typically on any job site, multiple companies perform work or are otherwise involved on that job site. A personal injury lawyer who frequently handles job site cases will be familiar with various personnel typically involved in different projects, their function, and the possibility of their involvement in the particular activity involved in your case. Also, there are various agreements and other documents that must be obtained and reviewed in order to determine who may be legally liable in any given case. A personal injury lawyer who handles construction accident cases will be familiar with standards from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute), as well as other related standards, practices, and procedures.
I Filed For Workers Compensation. Do I Still Have a Claim?
The one party that you cannot bring a lawsuit against for a construction accident is your direct employer. This is because of the workers compensation laws, which have been enacted in all fifty states. Workers compensation laws provide that a worker may only bring a worker’s compensation claim against his direct employer, and cannot file a lawsuit against the employer in the court system. We may also be able to help you and represent you in your worker’s compensation claim, but this is a separate claim outside of the court system, prosecuted instead at the industrial commission.
The worker’s compensation claim, if one is brought, generally is resolved first and the employer then has the right to recover a portion of the worker’s compensation benefits that have been paid in any lawsuit that is brought on your behalf against other, non- employer, Defendants. This is called a claim for reimbursement, lien, or subrogation. While you as the injured worker cannot sue your employer directly in a court of law, any of the Defendants whom we make a party to the lawsuit can sue your employer if your employer was partially at fault in causing your injuries. At least in Illinois, this is an allowable practice, and is called a third party action.
However, it is not uncommon for those who are harmed on the job to require more compensation to cover their expenses than their benefits provide. Our construction accident lawyers can help you make up he difference if we are able to identify the exact cause of your injuries and make a case for negligence against the responsible party. When the workers compensation benefits are not sufficient to cover your expenses, our attorneys will determine whether you can file a construction accident lawsuit for negligence or product liability against a company who may have played a role in your injury.
What Is Your Fee?
We handle construction accidents cases on a contingency fee basis. Although the percentage may vary slightly, most of these cases are handled on a one-third contingency fee percentage. This does not include litigation expenses that are incurred in prosecuting your case, such as court filing fees, investigator fees, expert witness fees and court reporter fees. Once a case is accepted, we will usually advance these expenses, which are then reimbursed to us out of the client’s share of any recovery.
When Must I File A Claim for a Construction Accident?
As is the case with any personal injury claim, there are strict, and relatively short, time limits in which a claim must be filed, known as statutes of limitations. Basically, a suit must be filed against all proper parties within the statute of limitations time, or the claim against any party not sued will be lost forever. Generally, any potential defendant who is not made a party to the lawsuit within the statute of limitations time period cannot be brought into the case later, assuming that a lawsuit is filed within the limitations period. The general statute of limitations for personal injury cases in most states is two years; however, in some states the limitations period is one year. Also, shorter limitations periods apply for many governmental agencies. Do not think that you can wait until the eleventh hour to file a lawsuit in a construction accident case. It is very important that you contact our office or another law firm that handles these types of cases early on in order to protect your rights.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a construction accident, you need a law firm that is experienced in litigating these cases. The Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. is qualified to handle this type of complex case and provide you with the level of legal representation you deserve.