Los Angeles is a city that is constantly transforming its infrastructure and spaces for residents. Construction sites are numerous and workers are exposed to numerous risks while operating vehicles or engaging in other types of activities on the site. Individuals who have been the victims of a construction accident in Los Angeles are entitled to compensations for their sufferings, the medical expenses and the lost days or work due to the accident.
Our Los Angeles construction accident attorneys have worked with many types of cases over the years and they can help you if you have been involved in a construction accident in California.
What are the hazards of construction work?
Most construction sites, especially important ones, have a designated safety manager or an individual who oversees all of the activity on the site. However, even when observing all of the precaution measures, accidents can happen and, due to the nature of the work, they can result in serious physical injuries and in extreme cases, even death.
Accidents that take place on constriction sites can be roughly described in the following manner:
Individual falls: when an individual falls from a considerable heights, from a ladder or from scaffolding;
Objects falls: injuries caused by falling objects, such as bricks or even tools or equipment;
Defective machinery: this category includes all types of injuries that occur as a direct result of defective tools, equipment or other machinery used on the construction site;
Others: electrocution, welding or chemical burns as well as being stuck by a moving vehicle.
All of these types of accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries, from broken bones to spinal cord or brain damage as well as internal injuries or paralysis.
How can you prove a construction accident?
One of the main causes of construction accidents in L.A. is negligence, either on the part of the worker who handles the equipment in an inadequate manner or on the part of the construction site manager if he is unable to provide all of the safety features for the employees required by law. Some of the most common types of accidents that can occur on construction sites are those caused by faulty machinery, unsafe tools, power lines, various collapses, electrical and elevator accidents, heavy equipment accidents, slip and fall accidents, explosions, unsafe work or supervision errors.
In order to prove that the injury took place during a construction accident, the victim will need to show that another party, or the manufacturer of the equipment, was negligent. This means that the burden of proof falls onto the plaintiff and he will be the one who needs to gather the needed evidence to show prove (during the negotiation phase or in court) that the standard of conduct was not observed by the defendant.
Our Los Angeles construction accident attorneys can help you with complete information on how to draw up and submit a claim and can also prepare the documents in your name, as needed.
The following information is relevant when proving a construction accident:
the time and date of the accident as well as the location/address of the construction site;
any eyewitness statements and/or contact details;
photographs or videos of the construction site that show the work conditions as well as other relevant details;
medical records and the medical treatment received up until the moment the claim is submitted;
the contact details of the superior to whom the accident was reported, official company information on how the accident was recorded.
What is the worker’s compensation plan?
Construction companies in California are required by law to provide their workers with a worker’s insurance or compensation plan as it is usually known. In the State of California, the Division Worker’s Compensation office is the authority dealing with labor law and worker’s compensation issues.
Who has access to the worker’s compensation plan?
Individuals who work in the construction business and are injured in a construction accident can address their employer and inform him of the injury. This is available not only for unpredicted accidents and injuries but also for those injuries developed over time, caused by the work conditions or the nature of the work.
In order to receive worker’s compensation, you will need to fill out a special form and hand it over to your employer. Only then you will be able to receive the benefits you qualify for under the state law. One of our Los Angeles construction accident attorneys can help you fill in the claim form.
Self-employed workers can still submit a claim for a personal injury that occurred on a construction site. Our Los Angeles construction accident attorneys are able to help you in this situation by showing that the victim was a de facto employee, or, as may be the case, that the equipment or machinery was defective and the manufacturer can be accused for the accident that would not have happened otherwise. Self-employed construction workers in California can reach out to our lawyers for detailed information on independent contracting and the manner in which the employment status can influence the personal injury claim.
Can victims be compensated with more than just the worker’s compensation?
Yes. The worker’s compensation plan will not always cover all of the damages, it is primarily focused on medical damages and disability payments. Some plans will even cover part of the legal fee. As far as medical costs are concerned, the plan should cover both the immediate costs and those associated with ongoing care after the accident.
Understanding the workers’ compensation benefits is important as these cam focus on two types of disability: temporary or permanent. The first category offers partial compensation for the lost wages and there are minimum and maximum rates that can be awarded, however, it is common for the compensation to cover almost two-thirds of the average gross pay per week (and it is paid out according to a pre-determined frequency, for example every two weeks). The first payment is dependent on the physician’s verification of the victim’s state (to prove the inability to work). The permanent disability plan is awarded to those workers who will not recover completely from the accident. Permanent disability usually means that the individual has lost opportunities and a competitive advantage in front of uninjured workers and for this, he is compensated with an amount depending on the severity of the injury and the limitations it has on his ability to work. The permanent disability compensation is also calculated according to the worker’s specific qualifications as well as the amount he was earning at the time of the injury.
In some cases, the injured individual may also receive assistance for vocational rehabilitation, if the injury prevents him from returning to the former occupation.
It is advisable to talk to your employer and obtain clear information about the coverage of the worker’s compensation insurance.
What types of damages are available in case of construction accidents?
Victims of construction accidents can be compensated for the hospital and medical bills, both present, and future, lost wages due to the inability to work, property damage and non-economic damages such as those for pain and suffering.
How can you calculate the settlement?
Our personal injury calculator is useful for determining the settlement amount. You can include all of the expenses you know of on the date you choose to calculate the amount. However, victims should remember that the calculator is not professional legal advice. Talking to a lawyer about your case is the surest way to know that you are receiving the right settlement for your injuries.
How can a Los Angeles construction accident attorney help me?
If you have been involved in a construction accident in L.A., you are entitled to start the necessary legal proceedings to obtain the legal amount of compensation for your injuries. A specialized personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles can help you file a complaint and acquire any necessary evidence to help you sustain the case. We can help you build a solid case and help you obtain the rightful compensation for your physical injuries and any losses that might have come as a result of the accident.
Liability in construction accidents
Determining who is liable for an accident that occurred on a construction site, and that hurt one or maybe more workers is a very important step when making a claim for a construction accident in Los Angeles. One or more entities may be held liable, according to their specific tasks and responsibilities during the project.
The construction site owner has the duty to control the premises as the work that takes place. Contractors, either general, prime contractors or subcontractors also have a duty of care towards their employees in ensuring safe working conditions. Architects and engineers are also entrusted with providing safe project in line with the applicable construction codes and rules, and, if applicable, they are also entrusted with on-site inspections.
One of our Los Angeles construction accident attorneys can help you determine liability and file a personal injury claim. Most of these claims are settled outside of court but if needed one of our attorneys can also represent you in court.
The following video highlights the main aspects related to construction accidents, presented by our Los Angeles construction accident attorney:
Proving negligence in construction accidents
The construction company can be accused of negligence if it fails to provide a safe work environment, free of all known or foreseeable dangers.
If needed, our lawyers can use the help of an expert witness. An expert can inspect the workplace and provide an informed opinion regarding the hazardous nature of the work environment. Construction accidents can be fatal and in this case, the family of the victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
A worker’s compensation can include, apart from the expenses associated with medical care, those related to lost wages and future lost income.
Construction accidents often result in life-altering injuries and many of them are unfortunately fatal for those involved. Preliminary data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, part of the United States Department of Labor shows us the following:
thus far in 2020 there have been 4 worker fatalities throughout California; the accidents took place in Oakland, Whittier, Cupertino and Alturas;
120 work fatalities were recorded in 2019 and 2018 and more than 100 also occurred in 2017;
the main cause of construction fatalities are falls, occurring in more than 30% of cases; the second cause is being struck by an object, in more than 11% of cases.
Reporting the injury to your employer and talking to a personal injury attorney who specializes in these types of accidents are two important steps after the initial injury. Filing the claim as soon as possible and seeking the workers’ compensation plan benefits is in the victim’s advantage and our team of lawyers can help you handle these steps.
Marc Y. Lazo is specialized in personal injury cases as well as in complex business and commercial litigation. He has tried numerous cases to successful verdict and has obtained multiple six-figure judgments in both state and federal court.