Everything you need to know about liability and how to recover after a work injury
Construction is a dangerous industry, and injuries and accidents are more common with this career that many others. Despite the possible safety threats, your employer must do everything possible to protect their employees. If you’re injured in a workplace accident at a construction site in Georgia, you’re entitled to compensation via a workers’ comp claim.
The role of OSHA in construction site accidents
The government agency known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the organization responsible for ensuring the safety of employees at their workplace. OSHA handles construction site safety and drafts regulations that are intended to protect employees. Despite their best efforts, injuries and fatalities do still happen.
When a construction worker is injured, it’s OSHA’s responsibility to investigate the employees’ workplace to see if the facility or work site had dangerous conditions. OSHA also checks to see if an employer was using questionable business practices or cutting corners to keep costs low. Though OSHA’s main goal is to protect employees, the agency also checks to see if the accident occurred as a result of the injured employee’s mistake or wrongdoing.
If OSHA finds that your employer used unsafe practices, they’ll impose a fine on your company. Serious safety violations can receive a penalty of over $12,000 and intentional or repeated wrongdoings face a $129,000 penalty. Unfortunately, that penalty doesn’t contribute to your workers’ comp claim.
OSHA’s Fatal Four
OSHA lists the “Fatal Four” as the most common causes of construction worker deaths. These are:
2. Being struck by an object
4. Getting caught-in/between equipment, materials or machinery
Common construction accidents
Working with heavy equipment, machinery and other dangerous materials could cause many different workplace accidents, in addition to OSHA’s data. Some of the most common construction site accidents include:
- Scaffolding accidents and falls
- Explosions and fires
- Building collapse
- Toxic chemicals
- Falling objects
- Crane accidents
- Car and truck accidents
- Welding accidents
- Shoring accidents
- Dangerous or defective equipment
- Exposure to dangerous substances such mold, asbestos, fumes, and hazardous waste
- Falls caused by poor equipment placement or organization
All of the above accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries such as brain trauma, spinal cord injury, paralysis and loss of limbs. Death is also possible. If you’re an accident survivor or you lost a loved one in an accident, you should speak to an experienced construction accident attorney to learn what recovery options are available to you.
Benefits available for constructions workers’ comp claims in Georgia
Georgia workers’ compensation laws allows for the coverage of approved medical expenses and reimbursement of lost wages. The benefits fall into the following categories:
- Temporary total disability (TTD): temporary but total disability, unable to work
- Temporary partial disability (TPD): return to work with modified job duties, reduced hours and wages
- Permanent partial disability (PPD): permanent loss of function of a body part or bodily system; treating physician will assign a percentage of permanent impairment, which affects benefits
- Permanent total disability (PTD): totally and permanently disabled; benefits based on impairment rating system
Don’t assume you know what option is best for you as many factors contribute to the financial assistance you receive. Consult a Georgia workers’ comp lawyer to see which category best applies to your injury.
Who is liable in Georgia construction accident claims?
Part of what makes construction accident claims a bit trickier to navigate is the fact that several parties could be liable for your claim. Depending on what caused your accident, some of the responsible parties include:
- Construction site owners
- Contractors and subcontractors
- Equipment manufacturers
- Construction management companies and supervisors
Your accident may have occurred due to many contributing factors. As a result, you should consult a construction accident attorney to make sure that the responsible parties are doing what’s required of them for you to receive compensation.
What to do after a construction accident in Georgia
Georgia’s requirements following an accident are a bit stricter than other states in terms of reporting your accident.To make sure you receive the maximum amount of workers’ compensation benefits, you should do the following if you’re injured in an accident:
- Your main goal is to protect yourself. Call out for help and ask for an ambulance in any situation where you feel as though you’re trapped, can’t move or suspect that you have a serious injury.
- Report the injury to your employer immediately since Georgia requires you to notify your boss within 30 days. Typically, your employer will have an accident report form you must complete, but keep record of whatever documentation you provide.
- Consult with the physician specified by your employer. If there isn’t one, you’re free to schedule an appointment with your family provider.
- Follow-up with your employer if time has passed and you haven’t heard from the insurance company.
The steps above are critical to your chances for receiving workers’ comp. Nevertheless, you may want to follow up with your primary care physician if you saw the company doctor in case there are conflicting medical reports.
Why hire a construction accident attorney to help oversee the investigation?
Construction site accidents often require the expertise of a Georgia construction accident attorney due to the complexity of the case. In short, your case may require more extensive evidence as the cause of the accident and responsibility of all parties involved may not be easy to see.
A deeper background check of the construction site may be necessary, and a private investigator may be needed to interview witnesses and research the ownership of the site—including the names and job titles for the responsible parties. Your attorney may need to demand access to the facility for a reconstructionist.
Lastly, you may need an agreement with the site owner to preserve the accident site until it has been inspected by your attorneys, law enforcement or any other consulting witness. A refusal by the site owner could trigger an immediate lawsuit or injunction to obtain a court-ordered inspection.
The above may sound complicated and overwhelming, but an experienced construction accident attorney is familiar with these aspects of workers’ comp cases. The faster you hire your attorney, the more likely your evidence will be preserved.
Resources for help with hiring the best Georgia workers’ compensation attorney
- Choosing a personal injury attorney – interview questions
- Preparing to meet with a personal injury attorney
- When do you NOT need an attorney after an accident?
- How to talk to a lawyer
- How to hire a GA workers’ comp lawyer
- How damages are calculated