Workers’ compensation laws describe the benefits that injured employees are entitled to, like lost wages and medical expenses.
Construction work is one of the most dangerous professions. Every year thousands of construction workers suffer injuries or death while working on construction sites. While it is an inherently dangerous job, injuries can be caused by employer’s negligence. Even in dangerous professions, employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of workers and managing the dangers and risks of the job.
If you are working at a construction site and become injured, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Your legal rights for recourse are limited by workers’ compensation, but if you have questions about your rights and the accident, you should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney. Your lawyer can help to determine whether or not there are third parties who can also be held liable for the accident. These third parties could be property owners, contractors, equipment manufacturers, etc. If another party is liable, you may be able to recover damages from them as well and that will not be limited by the workers’ compensation laws.
Some common injuries that occur on construction sites include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Accidents caused by defective machinery
- Falling objects
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Accidents involving heavy equipment
- Safety device failures
- Accidents due to inadequate training
- Ladder and scaffold accidents
Workers’ compensation laws describe the benefits that injured employees are entitled to, like lost wages and medical expenses. Most states require that employers have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. It is important to note that filing a workers’ compensation claim is not a lawsuit against an employer, rather it is similar to filing any other insurance claim, requesting benefits.
Injured employees, under the law in most states, and depending on the situation and severity of the injuries, are entitled to medical care, temporary disability, permanent disability, and vocational rehabilitation.
Workers who are injured on the job have the right to receive medical care and have all medical expenses related to the accident and injury paid for. This should include all medical bills, prescription medications, and even round trip mileage to the hospital.
In the first 30 days following the accident, you may initially be required to see a doctor designated by your employer or their insurance company. After 30 you should be able to submit a written request to see your own doctor.
Temporary disability benefits are benefits for those who are unable to return to work for a while due to their workplace injury for medical reasons. Workers who are temporarily disabled may be entitled to temporary disability payments, which provide partial compensation for the wages that you lose during the period where you are unable to work. Usually the temporary disability payments you receive amount to about two-thirds of your normal weekly wages, but this can differ. You will need to have a doctor verify your inability to return to work.
Permanent disability is when a worker is unable to fully recover from a construction injury and is no longer able to “compete in an open labor market of uninjured workers”. In this case workers may be entitled to a monetary award. Taken into account are age, occupation, skill, and earnings at the time of the injury.
Some workers may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation as well. If a workplace injury leaves you unable to return to your previous job, you might be entitled to assistance with retraining and finding another job. Sometimes this can be covered under workers’ compensation, depending on the circumstances.
If you are injured while working on a construction site you should follow these steps:
- Report your injury in writing to your employer right away.
- Submit a claim form. This is an important part of the process. You should immediately be offered a claim form. Without a completed claim form your employer does not have to provide benefits. So to get the ball rolling, make sure to fill this out right away and then keep a copy of the form. Do not delay in reporting and filing a claim. Failing to report your injury immediately can hurt your claim.
- If your claim is disputed or if problems arise, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer for advice regarding your claim. Workers’ compensation laws vary greatly from state to state and it can be a great benefit to have someone working for you who understands the laws in your area.
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