Why it is Important to Hire a Construction Site Accident Attorney
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
You don’t need to look at statistics to know that a construction site is a dangerous place but they do make sobering reading. In fact, construction sites saw 23 fatalities in 2018 though this was a drop from 31 in 2017. The construction industry can see a wide range of causes of workplace injuries and fatalities, from slip and fall incidents (especially from heights) to defective equipment.
But while a lot of construction workers who submit a claim receive the benefits they are entitled to, many more face problems, from the insurance company or from the construction companies who employ these workers.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Michigan state law requires that all employers carry this insurance to cover any financial losses – including medical treatment – in the event of an injury claim. But low settlement offers from insurance companies and other hurdles mean that in many cases, hiring a construction accident lawyer can be crucial to a positive outcome in your case.
Why are There Problems?
There are three main problems that often arise with claims made for a construction injury, or other workplace injuries. The main problem encountered is with the insurance company making an initial low offer. Insurance companies do not like paying out money and they know that in the early stages, you may be feeling vulnerable and worried (not to mention still recovering from injuries) so they nearly always make a low offer.
A second problem often encountered is when the insurer raises a dispute over your claim. This could be regarding the seriousness of your injury or, in cases where you have developed a workplace-related condition, whether it was caused by your workplace.
The other dispute often raised is regarding the timeframe the injury was reported in. The regulations governing workers’ comp state that you have 90 days to report a work injury to your employer.
Yet despite that rule being there, a dispute may be raised if you report it later in those 90 days rather than in the early part. This can seem a little unfair if the effects of an injury do not show until weeks after the accident.
Always report any workplace accident – no matter how minor – as soon as possible. And while the regulations only require you to report any accident verbally, we recommend that you submit any report in writing to create a paper trail.
If you have a workplace-related illness or condition, the 90-day period starts from the day you the condition was identified as being linked to your workplace. Many employers have poor records when it comes to collecting reports on workplace accidents as they want to avoid any scrutiny from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Many Michigan workers, especially in the construction industry, are submitting claims for personal injuries received at work only to find their employer has classified them as an independent contractor rather than an employee. This can save an employer having to pay workers’ comp and overtime benefits but it also costs the state many millions in unpaid tax.
Although this misclassification represents a major hurdle, if it is not resolved easily, it does open the door to suing your employer. Normally, entitlement to workers’ compensation precludes you from being able to file a claim against your employer but if they are liable and have listed you as an independent contractor, then there is nothing to stop you pursuing legal action against them.
Third Party Liability
Even in cases where you receive your workers’ compensation with no issues, if any liability lies with a third party, then you can still pursue legal claims against that party without it affecting your workers’ comp benefits.
This could happen if a subcontractor on the site (and independent of the main employer) is negligent and that negligence leads to your actions. As with similar cases, we must prove that if any third party had a duty of care towards you, they failed in that duty of care, and caused your injury.
The Benefits of a Lawyer
Of course, in many cases people wait and see if their workers’ comp is awarded with no issues. But as soon as you encounter any problems it is time to hire Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.
A good construction accident attorney can negotiate with the insurance company for a better settlement offer, they can counter any disputes with medical evidence and testimony, and they can represent you in any litigation arising from third party claims or misclassification.
Injuries received on your job site can be serious and your main focus should be on recovery without the worry of battling poor decisions.
Some Final Thoughts
The last thing you need after a construction site accident is the stress of fighting for what you are entitled to. With the potential of so many hurdles to achieving those benefits, having someone in your corner with experience of fighting – and winning – can take a huge load off your mind.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. have been representing construction site accident clients for many years and can make a real difference to your case. We offer a free consultation so we can evaluate your circumstances and advise you on the best way to proceed. You can book a free appointment by calling us today at 866-MICH-LAW.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.