Construction Site Injuries
San Bernardino Construction Injury Attorney
Thousands of people in the San Bernardino area face significant risks in their workplaces every day. However, while most people imagine acute traumatic accidents when they think of work-related injuries, the reality is that most of the workers’ compensation claims filed in California each year pertain to acquired medical conditions or injuries that appear over time. These wear and tear injuries may gradually worsen until the worker is left unable to work and earn income. They may face expensive medical bills and wonder how they can recover from this kind of deteriorating injury.
Helping Construction Site Injury Victims Recover in San Bernardino, CA
When a construction site accident occurs, the victim likely faces substantial damages and a very difficult recovery process. California law requires virtually every employer in the state to have workers’ compensation insurance, and this insurance can be crucial for them to recover as fully as possible. It’s also possible for an injured worker to have grounds for additional legal action depending on how the accident occurred and who caused it.
If you or a family member recently suffered a construction site injury, the attorneys at Kampf, Schiavone & Associates can assist you with your recovery efforts. Our team has extensive experience handling the toughest work injury cases in San Bernardino, and we are ready to apply this experience for you. In addition, we can guide you through the workers’ compensation claim filing process and determine whether you have grounds for additional legal recourse.
Common Injuries Caused by Construction Accidents
Every day, construction workers face many different risks as they perform their job duties. Some of the most commonly reported types of work injuries among construction workers in the San Bernardino area include:
- Injuries from falls. Falls account for most of the workplace injuries reported in the United States each year. Construction workers are often required to work on unfinished buildings, use ladders and scaffolds, and face many other falling risks every day. The height and location of a fall typically determine the scope of the injuries the victim might sustain.
- Caught in-between accidents. Construction requires the use of various materials, heavy equipment, and specialized vehicles. As a result, when large objects are moved through a construction zone, it is possible for workers to become caught in between and suffer severe injuries. These may include crushing injuries that cause multiple bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and more.
- Whenever a person contacts a high-voltage electrical discharge, they can potentially suffer extreme injuries. Electrocution can cause burns, nerve damage, and even interrupt cardiovascular functions.
- Injuries from heavy equipment. Construction workers often need to use various forms of heavy equipment and inherently dangerous tools to perform their work duties. These tools can potentially cause life-threatening injuries in many ways, including causing severe lacerations, amputation injuries, puncture wounds, and crushing injuries.
- Injuries from falling objects. If a construction worker drops a tool or if materials or debris fall on top of a worker below, the victim can potentially suffer catastrophic injuries. Even if they are wearing an appropriate hard hat, they might suffer a traumatic brain injury and additional injuries from the force of the impact.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the hazards construction workers face, just a few of the most commonly cited causes of construction site injuries. If you or a loved one experiences any work injury, you must report the incident to your supervisor within 30 days, or you lose the ability to claim workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, many construction accidents result in severe injuries that need emergency care, and the victim should know what to expect in the aftermath of such an event in terms of their employer’s responsibilities and how they can recover compensation for the injury.
It’s important to remember that acquired injuries are also covered by workers’ compensation. You do not need to suffer an acute traumatic injury to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you developed a repetitive stress injury or some other degenerative condition due to the nature of your work, you would also have grounds to seek workers’ compensation benefits. However, it would be necessary to prove that your medical condition directly resulted from performing your job duties.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in San Bernardino
Construction companies, like most other employers, are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance protects both employers and employees when workplace injuries occur. In addition, it prevents employers from facing liability for injured workers’ damages while providing injured workers with financial compensation that helps them recover. Therefore, if you suffer any work injury in San Bernardino, you can likely file a workers’ compensation claim through your employer.
This process is like filing any other insurance claim. However, the claimant could also face difficulty because of their employer’s role in the claim. Most employers uphold their legal responsibilities to their injured workers and facilitate their injured employees’ claims, but some do not, and a few even go as far as to directly interfere with their employees’ claims for workers’ compensation benefits.
Once you notify your supervisor of a workplace accident, they must write a report about the incident and provide you with any material you need to file a workers’ compensation claim. Employers are legally prohibited from firing injured workers on the basis of their injuries or engaging in other unlawful retaliation. If you encounter any such treatment from your employer, it is vital to consult an attorney as soon as possible. They can help file your workers’ compensation claim and help you with legal recourse against your employer.
If your employer upholds their responsibilities and provides you with your claim forms, you will need to undergo a medical review from a physician approved by your employer’s insurance carrier. They will give you a list of local physicians you can visit for your disability rating. This is a numerical indicator of the severity of your injury and will play a crucial role in your determination of benefits. If you disagree with the first doctor’s assessment of your injury, you can seek a second opinion from a different doctor.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Injured workers in San Bernardino and throughout the state can expect two forms of benefits when their workers’ compensation claims are approved. First is medical expense coverage. Most workers’ compensation insurance carriers will pay for any medical treatment an injured employee needs to reach maximum medical improvement from their injuries. This includes immediate care following the incident, such as hospital bills and the cost of necessary surgeries. However, the claimant can also have their future medical expenses covered if they sustained a severe injury that needs ongoing treatment. Your San Bernardino construction injury attorney can help ensure that you receive full compensation for all your medical expenses resulting from your work injury.
The second form of compensation available is income replacement in the form of weekly disability benefits. For example, if an injured construction worker cannot perform their job duties due to their injury, they can receive weekly benefits payments to offset the impact of their inability to earn income during recovery. When a claimant qualifies for total disability benefits, they will receive about two-thirds of their average weekly wage each week in disability benefits. If they can still work but cannot earn as much income, they may qualify for partial disability benefits.
If you are awarded partial disability benefits while you recover from your construction injury, you will need to provide the insurance carrier with updates on your recovery and report your income. In addition, failure to meet your obligations under a partial disability benefits determination could mean losing your eligibility for continued payments or prosecution for workers’ compensation fraud.
When a claimant qualifies for weekly total disability benefits, California law allows these payments for up to 104 weeks. However, the claimant may elect to have these payments spread over a five-year period if necessary. In addition, some claimants could qualify for expanded benefits if they suffered severe injuries that entail long recovery time. Your San Bernardino construction injury attorney can help maximize your benefits determination from your employer’s insurance carrier.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim for Your Construction Site Injury in San Bernardino
Workers’ compensation insurance generally protects employers from civil liability for their injured employees’ damages, but there are situations in which an injured worker could have grounds for civil action against their employer. The clearest example of this would be if an employer did not purchase legally required workers’ compensation insurance. If they do not, they face legal penalties from the state and full liability for all their injured employees’ damages. Similarly, the employee could have grounds for a civil claim against their employer if the employer caused the injury intentionally somehow or if they failed to enforce applicable workplace safety regulations that directly caused the injury.
It’s more common for injured employees to have grounds for third-party personal injury claims. For example, if your construction site injury occurred because of some party outside of your work, such as a subcontractor, vendor, or any other third party, you can proceed with your workers’ compensation claim through your employer just like you would after any other workplace injury. However, you could also file a third-party personal injury claim against the specific party responsible for causing your injury.
A third-party claim can allow you to receive compensation for damages not normally covered by workers’ compensation insurance. For example, you may be awarded disability benefits equal to two-thirds of your typical weekly pay, but you will only receive these benefits for a limited time. You can claim compensation for the remainder of your lost income as well as your lost future earning capacity in your third-party claim. You would also be able to seek pain and suffering compensation from the defendant, which is not available through workers’ compensation insurance.
Under California’s personal injury statutes, the party responsible for causing your injury is liable for the scope of the damages they inflicted with their actions. Economic damages are typically proven with the appropriate documentation, but making a case for pain and suffering compensation is more challenging. Your San Bernardino construction injury attorney can be invaluable for maximizing the pain and suffering compensation you win from the defendant.
What to Expect From Your San Bernardino Construction Accident Injury Attorney
Finding the right legal counsel after a workplace injury in San Bernardino can make a tremendous difference in the quality of all the recovery efforts you make after the accident. Your attorney can help file your workers’ compensation claim and reach an acceptable settlement offer as quickly as possible. This includes resolving any disputes that arise between you and your employer or their insurance carrier.
When you have grounds for further legal recourse with a personal injury claim, your attorney can be even more valuable. An experienced lawyer can help their client uncover every available channel of compensation, enhancing their recovery beyond their initial expectations. In addition, your legal team can help meet all applicable deadlines as you seek full accountability for the harm you suffered, and you are more likely to secure maximum compensation for your damages with their assistance.
Ultimately, every injured worker can face unique challenges as they seek compensation for the losses they suffered in a construction accident, and the right attorney is an invaluable asset for anyone in this position. Your construction accident has likely caused a host of serious damages, and it’s easy to feel lost and uncertain in the aftermath of the event.
When you choose Kampf, Schiavone & Associates as your legal team, you can approach these proceedings with greater confidence and peace of mind. There is no need for you to worry about overly expensive legal fees with our firm, as we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you only pay a fee after we win your case, and your fee is a percentage of the total compensation we secure on your behalf. If you are ready to learn how our firm can assist with your recovery efforts after a construction site injury, contact us today and schedule a consultation with our team.