Construction sites are one of the most dangerous places you could possibly work. Of course, if you’re in the construction industry, you already know that.
Yet we usually go through our daily life without worrying about injuries beyond taking normal and routine safety precautions. When you get injured on the job, the injury itself pre-occupies you.
So it’s vital to know exactly what to do if you are injured. Taking certain steps can strengthen both your eventual workers’ compensation case and your eventual personal injury case.
Step 1: Seek Immediate Medical Attention
No action you could possibly take is more important than seeking medical attention. Your health and well-being are always the top priority.
If you’re awake and alert enough to do so, give accurate details to your healthcare provider about the nature of the injury and how it happened. This will help your doctor treat you better and can help ensure that another party documents vital evidence that may help you later.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter, both the initial ER doctor’s and the instructions given to you at subsequent medical visits. Insurance companies will use any failure against you and often claim that deviations from the doctor’s instructions prove that you aren’t as injured as you say you are.
Step 2: Report the Accident
You must report the accident to your employer in writing, even if your manager witnessed the incident and you think they know.
Insurance companies will use a failure to report against you.
Most construction employers have a formal reporting process in place, and they usually have forms you can use.
If the accident occurred at a construction site governed by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), you should also report the accident to them. This will prompt an investigation into the facts of the accident.
The resulting report can help your case later. It may also ensure that your employer is forced to run a safer construction site in the future. If your employer was breaking the law by failing to take appropriate safety measures, the DOB will also uncover this fact, and they may become subject to hefty fines.
#3) Gather Evidence at the Scene
Some injuries are so severe that gathering evidence at the scene is impossible. For example, if a limb has been crushed, you might pass out from the pain. Electrocution can leave you disoriented. If you’re bleeding out, you may simply have more pressing and terrifying concerns.
Nevertheless, if you can gather evidence at the scene, it’s a good idea to do so. You should take photographs of the area where the accident occurred, documenting hazards or unsafe conditions. You should document your injuries. You should also collect contact information from any witnesses that were present.
Some employers may try to discourage you from taking this step, but remind them that you may have grounds for a third-party lawsuit. And if you’re injured enough to never work again, your employer’s feelings are the last thing you should be worried about.
#4) Obtain Legal Representation
Most construction injuries are major and catastrophic, so they’re also often expensive. Both your employer and any liable third parties will likely try to avoid responsibility.
Fortunately, New York Labor Law Sections 200, 240, and 241 provide significant protections to construction workers, and many of those laws can help you recover compensation after an accident or injury.
Involving a lawyer early ensures that evidence gets gathered, the proper paperwork gets filed, and the proper steps are taken to keep your case as strong as possible. We will also work to hold every party accountable. In New York, that could mean a third party that is responsible for your injuries, but it may mean that your own employer can be held accountable both for workers’ compensation and for a personal injury lawsuit if they were especially negligent.
Our team has extensive experience with construction accident cases. We’ve helped construction accident victims recover millions of dollars after catastrophic and often preventable accidents. We can help you get reimbursement not just for your medical bills and lost wages but for your pain and suffering as well. And it’s almost impossible to file a construction injury lawsuit alone. Contact us to get help today.