What to Do If You Are Injured in a Work Accident
Accidents in public work zones are sometimes inevitable, even if all safety protocols and precautions are in place.
Work zones, where there is heavy traffic and dangerous equipment being used, create a higher risk and likelihood of accidents occurring, anywhere from minor to severe. Anyone in proximity can be affected, whether they’re employees working on-site in an active traffic zone, or passing motorists and pedestrians in the wrong place at the wrong time. The latter have the right to make a claim, regardless of whether there’s any dispute over who was actually to blame for the incident. If a worker, pedestrian, or motorist is injured and there is negligence on part of the responsible entity or company, legal action may become necessary.
When An Accident Occurs
In the event of a severe incident resulting in one or multiple physical injuries or property damage, especially in a public environment, a road construction work accident lawsuit can come into play. This occurs in order to hold someone accountable for the damage and affiliated costs incurred as a result. It usually involves some form of liability insurance claim, and entails legal processes that will vary depending on the local laws of where the accident occurred.
If you are accidentally injured while working as an employee in a construction or road work zone, you have employment rights that should be protected by law. The company that employs you should be responsible for covering any of the medical expenses related to the accident. They should also provide workers’ compensation. This does, of course, depend on the integrity of your employer, your employment contract, and the nature of your work. Most employers are legally required to provide workers’ compensation insurance in case an injury is caused to an employee that impairs their ability to work. The exceptions to this are agricultural workers, independent contractors, and domestic employees.
There are at least four certain sequential steps you should take right after you’ve been involved or injured in a work zone accident, depending on your status as a worker or bystander.
The company that employs you should be responsible for covering any of the medical expenses related to the accident.
1. Don’t Leave The Scene
Never abandon the scene of an accident you’re involved in, regardless of the circumstances. If you’re an employee, report the incident to a supervisor without delay. If you’re a motorist, pedestrian, or were in the vehicle involved, contact authorities immediately, and medical aid if necessary. This way, they can file an official report at the scene with all the important details, eyewitness accounts, and anything else that could be relevant to the case.
Additionally, driver construction tips as seen on this video may also help minimise accidents:
2. Get Legal Help
If you’ve been injured, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A simple online search for local attorneys will render the appropriate results, usually specific firms identified by attorney surnames, such as Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A. (P.A. is the legal abbreviation for a professional association). Seek medical help even if you’re not critically injured or in pain. Some injuries can have delayed physical symptoms, and may be more serious than they appear. You’ll need documentation of all medical attention that you receive following the incident.
3. Gather Evidence
Take photographs of the scene, the road conditions, any property damage, and anything else that could become important and valid evidence in a legal case.
Also, have insurance information ready, regardless of who may be at fault, and exchange information with whoever else has been impacted or involved. Additionally, obtain a copy of the police report for your records, and for your lawyer, just in case.
If you’re an employee, you’ll need all the previously listed information and evidence to support any workers’ compensation claims, or to have your medical expenses covered by your employer. Filing for workers’ compensation is similar to insurance claims, and should be fairly straightforward. It’s not a lawsuit, but it can come to that if your employer disputes the claims, and denies benefits requested by or owed to you as an employee.
4. Keep All Your Records
Keep records of all medical appointments, missed work, and loss of income as a result, and any other expenses related to the accident. This will help you and your lawyer calculate all financial losses for legal purposes.
Not all work zone accidents are the direct result of negligence or lack of responsible safety measures. There are many contributing factors of an accident in a construction work zone, the primary and least controllable ones being weather conditions and heavy traffic congestion. If a construction company is found at fault, the reasons could be one or a combination of many, including improper signage, inadequate training of construction crews, unsafe working conditions or malfunctioning equipment. On the other hand, it could be related to the motorist’s impaired driving due to fatigue and exhaustion, vehicular malfunction, speeding or a lapse in attention.
Whatever the cause or reason for the accident, anyone involved has a legal right to be represented by an attorney who specializes in such affairs, and to have their case investigated for potential injury and work compensation, plus reimbursement of consequential expenses.