If you were hurt on a construction site, there is no time too soon to reach out to a construction site accident lawyer. Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in Massachusetts, and victims often face severe physical injuries that require extensive recovery time. However, when someone else is at fault for the accident, you can use the civil court system to seek compensation for your losses. A construction site accident lawyer will ensure no one violates your rights.
What Was Your Position at the Construction Site?
Several factors affect how you can recover compensation after a construction site accident. First, consider your position at the site. If you are an employee of the contractor assigned to the job, you can file a workers’ compensation claim and receive coverage for medical expenses and lost wages during your recovery. Liability does not play a role in a workers’ comp claim, so you would not need to prove who was at fault for the accident. This also means you cannot sue your employer for negligence.
However, if you suffered an injury while visiting as a consultant or bystander, you could hold the at-fault party liable for damages. Some potentially responsible parties include:
- A project manager, engineer or architect
- A general contractor or subcontractor
- A construction management agency
- A third-party consultant
- A materials supplier
If your injuries resulted from a malfunctioning machine, you might have a product liability claim against the manufacturer. These cases are often challenging and require an extensive understanding of product liability law in Massachusetts. Personal injury lawyers handle any case involving bodily harm caused by another party’s negligence and can help you understand your case.
How Can a Construction Accident Lawyer Help You?
When you hire a construction accident lawyer to help you build a case for your tort claim, they represent you in all aspects of your case, from completing and filing all the paperwork to the day you receive your settlement or award. Some specific duties they handle while you heal include:
- Discussing your claim with the insurance company
- Investigating the accident, including interviewing eyewitnesses and talking to your employer
- Identifying all losses available for recovery and collecting the evidence necessary to prove them
- Preparing your case for trial if necessary and representing you in trial
- Gathering evidence to support your negligence claim
Your attorney will conduct an investigation independent of the police and the insurance company. When necessary, they may access experts to help evaluate the situation and validate your claim. During that time, they collect all the evidence needed to draft a demand letter, which they send to the insurance company. In that letter, they will detail how the accident occurred, who was responsible for the cause and what losses you suffered as a consequence.
For the moment your attorney makes your demands, the negotiation process can start and will carry on throughout every phase. If the insurance company fails to offer a settlement to reflect your losses accurately, your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit. More often than not, the insurer will choose to avoid court and extensive legal fees by settling. Another advantage of having an experienced attorney is that they can better advise when to settle and continue negotiations.
What Damages Can You Recover From a Construction Site Accident Case?
Given the dangerous nature of construction work, injuries are often severe. More severe injuries typically result in more substantial losses. Massachusetts tort law refers to these losses as compensatory damages because the purpose of recovering them is to make you whole again. While no amount of money can fully heal some physical and emotional damages, personal injury claims allow you to hold the at-fault party accountable and avoid financial struggles caused by someone else’s negligence.
Specific damages are also known as economic damages. These include the ways the at-fault party’s actions and your injuries impacted your life financially. Every construction site accident case has unique circumstances, but most have some of the following economic losses in common:
- Lost wages, including current and future missed income opportunities
- Medical bills, including ambulance expenses, inpatient and outpatient care, surgeries, medications, necessary medical devices, physical and occupational therapy and all ongoing treatments
- Property damaged during the accident
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries, including transportation, childcare and household replacement services needed during recovery
Proving these losses requires documentation of your injuries and treatments, proof of lost wages and receipts or estimates for replacement services and damaged property. You can provide medical bills, tax returns and pay stubs. It often helps to keep track of these documents as you undergo treatment.
General damages refer to the emotional impact of your accident. For example, if you slipped and fell from a high location, a typical construction site injury, that is a traumatic experience. Many victims report severe mental health issues following a construction site accident. Some recoverable non-economic damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering from physical injuries and medical treatments
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression
- Loss of the enjoyment you once had for life
- Loss of an intimate relationship with your spouse
Proving non-economic losses is more complex than proving specific damages. Your attorney will likely ask you to keep a journal during your recovery and will interview people in your life to gather statements about changes they noticed in you. They may also ask doctors and mental health professionals to testify to the emotional impact they commonly see in patients with a similar situation.
Can You Still Recover Damages if You Are Partially Responsible?
Massachusetts applies the modified comparative negligence rule to cases involving shared fault. Therefore, if you are partially liable for the accident and your injuries, you could still recover a portion of the damages minus a deduction equal to your percentage of fault. For example, if your total compensatory damages amount to $10,000 and you are 10% liable for the accident, you can still receive $9,000. However, the threshold for recovering compensation is 51%. Therefore, if you are 51% at fault or more, you are ineligible for compensation through a personal injury claim.
What Happens During Your Initial Consultation With a Construction Accident Lawyer?
During your initial consultation with a construction accident lawyer, you will review the accident’s details and discuss your legal options. This is your chance to ask questions about the accident and determine whether you should work together. In addition, you can bring all the evidence you already have to give the attorney a clearer understanding of what happened, so they can better assess your recoverable damages.
When Is the Right Time To Contact a Construction Accident Lawyer?
Construction site accident cases can be confusing if you do not have experience in Massachusetts personal injury law. If you have any questions about your case, you can speak to a construction accident lawyer for free. At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we know the devastation a construction injury can cause to your physical, emotional and financial health. To help alleviate some of the financial struggles, the first element of the Stone Cold Guarantee states that we only get paid if we win your case. Contact us at (800) 577-5188 to schedule your free consultation today, and remember, There’s No Obligation, Just Information (R).