Construction Accident Attorney
Our Construction Accident Lawyers are Here to Discuss Your Case for Free
Our Law Office has been litigating personal injury accident lawsuits for over twenty years. We have settled thousands of personal injury cases successfully. If you have been injured on a building site, you need a good construction accident lawyer to represent you.
Give our Law Office a call today and get the experience and success on your side to help you in your case. Our consultation is free and so is the call. Get in touch with us now toll-free.
Wherever you look in Texas it seems, there is some type of construction being done. Whether it is working on the roads or new houses going up in a new subdivision, there is no shortage of construction projects in Texas. And with that kind of building and repair taking place, there is always the potential for construction accidents. It’s not a question of if, but when they will happen.
So what takes place if it is you who gets injured on a job-related construction site? You should be aware that many factors are involved. For example, some of these things are whether or not a company carries workers’ compensation insurance, and if you are an employee or only a contract laborer. Inexperienced lawyers will have a hard time navigating the legal waters of construction site accidents, especially when considering the potential complexity of each situation. Even more so will you have difficulty if you try and work your own personal injury claim.
That is why you need to hire an experienced, construction accident lawyer to litigate your case. Our legal team has over twenty years of experience in resolving workman’s compensation insurance problems for those injured on work sites. We stand ready to help you understand the options you have before you when dealing with this sort of situation if you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident on the job. In addition, we want you to be aware of the obstacles that await you if you decide to take this legal journey to right your wrong.
In the following article, we will discuss some of the issues involving building location work accidents and what you need to know if you have been injured while working on a construction site.
Subscribers to Workman’s Compensation
Workman’s compensation insurance is government-subsidized insurance that is set up to help companies to insure their workers in case of an accident. In theory, it is supposed to protect workers against companies that will not or cannot pay for the worker’s lost wages and injuries. However, arguments could be made that it does more harm than good, and although we will not enumerate all of the reasons workman’s comp is ultimately a hindrance to the injured worker, we will say, in general, that it does limit the injured worker’s rights to sue and the amount that may be collected for damages received.
There are basically two kinds of employers regarding potential lawsuits- subscribers to workman’s compensation insurance and non-subscribers to workman’s compensation insurance. The state of Texas does not require companies to carry worker’s compensation insurance.
If a company does subscribe to worker’s compensation, they are more protected against potential lawsuits than a non-subscriber is. In addition, there is no reimbursement for pain and suffering and there are limits set on monies recovered in most cases. Only in cases that gross negligence has been proven, can a company subscribing to workmans’ compensation insurance even be sued. And this is important to note, especially since gross negligence is very hard to prove in court. For these reasons, one would think that most companies would opt to purchase workman’s compensation for all of their employees. However, many companies simply do not subscribe. In Texas, around forty percent of all companies are non-subscribers to workman’s compensation insurance. Some choose to not subscribe because of the high cost, others choose not to sign up because they want to be self-insured or because they do not want excessive government intrusion.
Although for the most part when dealing with subscribers of workman’s compensation insurance you may not be able to sue them for your injuries, there are two exceptions to the rule. One is the employer’s gross negligence that led to the injury or death of a worker; the other is when another party’s gross negligence led to the injury or death of a worker.
An example of gross negligence of an employer is found in a case we tried at our Law Office. In this instance, a worker was asked to perform his work hanging high in the air from a crane without a properly working safety harness. The company was aware that the harness was not functioning properly, but thought it would be ok. However, the worker’s strap did not hold him and he fell to his death. The company then tried to cover its tracks by purchasing a properly working harness and fitting it on the dead man’s body. Later it was shown through testimony, research and forensics, that the company was grossly negligent and that they had to pay heavily for the damages caused to the person and to their family.
In other situations, the company may not be held liable, but another third party may. Other construction contractors or the manufacturer of equipment that malfunctioned are examples of this. The negligence may not be because of the irresponsible behavior of the company itself, but because of the actions of other parties. And sometimes, there can be a combination of all the above- the company, and the third party.
Whatever may be the cause, you need a seasoned construction accident lawyer to represent you and your interests when dealing with such situations. Because of the complexity and the difficulty in proving such cases, it is unwise to go it alone. Please give us a call today toll-free and let us go to work for you. The consultation is free.
Non-Subscribers to Workman’s Compensation
Non-subscribers of workman’s compensation insurance have a different set of variables involved in their lawsuits. When dealing with non-subscribers, you are much more likely to get a company that will not settle immediately for the fact that they are protecting their own money and resources. They are more likely to aggressively defend themselves against such accusations that may be levied against them. When a claim is filed against a non-subscriber, they have the chance to settle out of court, but if they do not, the injured party, or plaintiff, has the burden to prove that an injury did occur at the hands of the company. Fortunately, the level of proof is much lower than that of subscribers to workman’s compensation insurance.
Defining Sole Proximate Cause
The main obstacle to overcome regarding non-subscribers is the lone defense that they can legally employ sole proximate cause. Sole proximate cause is when a person is one-hundred percent responsible for their own injuries. In such cases, the company, or defense, will hire specialized attorneys who are skilled at shifting the blame to the injured worker. They will try and show that the cause of the accident was completely due to the actions of the injured individual and not because of the company. This of course can be a difficult proposition for the defense, since they have to prove one-hundred percent. This makes non-subscriber cases advantageous for the plaintiff. If you have been injured in a construction site accident, it is important to have the advice of a qualified construction accident attorney to help you decide if you have a viable case against a non-subscriber. Give our Law Office a call today toll-free and receive your free consultation.
Contract Labor Versus Company Employer
Although the sole proximate cause defense is the only legal defense afforded to a non-subscriber, it is not the only defense period. Often companies in an attempt to avoid lawsuits in the first place will hire contract labor. With contract labor, there is not the same legal liability involved in the case of an on-the-job accident. This allows the construction company to avoid its responsibility more easily.
By definition, contract labor is labor that is hired on a per-job basis and in which no tools are provided and no specific times to work are given. In addition, no supervisor is supposed to give direct orders on how to complete the task. These definitions along with several others make up the contract employee–company relationship. By contrast, the employer of a company is legally more protected and the company has much more legal liability in regards to him. The employer is usually provided his tools, told the time to work, and given instructional supervision of some sort.
However, companies will try and stretch the definition of a contract laborer to fit their needs. This is where the knowledge and know-how of a veteran construction accident attorney come in handy. Our Law Office can do the investigative research that will reveal the actual nature of the relationship between the company and the injured worker so we can help you develop a solid case.
Below is a list of definitions of which any will constitute an employer-employee relationship.
Withheld taxes on check
Important equipment or tools provided by the company
Set work hours
Direct inspection and oversight of work done
Taking a drug test or limiting your rights
Being employed for not only a single project but for an undetermined amount of time
You are not paid on a per-job basis but by the hour
If any one of these is applicable to your situation, you may actually be an employee of the company, even though they claim you are not. If this is the case, you may be entitled to sue and receive compensation for your injuries. Our Law Office can help you make that important determination. Give us a call today toll-free.
The Problem With O.S.H.A.
O.S.H.A. stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is a government agency that sets the standards for the workplace and levies fines against companies that break those standards. But because the standards were put in place in the 1960s, they are outdated and sometimes inadequate in protecting workers. In addition, the fines given to companies breaking them are so small that they amount to nothing more than a slap on the wrist. These companies sometimes will go on paying O.S.H.A. fines instead of the cost of making their work environments safer.
Therefore, do not expect that you will not need an attorney just because big brother O.S.H.A. is there. In addition to being ineffective in dealing with non-compliant companies, O.S.H.A. will not get compensation for injured workers. They will not collect medical expenses, pain and suffering, or lost wages on your behalf. O.S.H.A. only deals with the company at large to help prevent future problems. They are only interested in keeping documentation that states that a company is in good stead with its procedures and standards.
For these reasons, it is extremely important to have a qualified construction accident attorney like our Law Office on your side. You need to have solid legal counsel to represent your real needs so you can get the reparation you legally are entitled to receive.
If you have been injured in a construction site accident the first thing to remember is not to sign anything without first consulting a qualified construction accident lawyer. They will make sure you do not end up signing away the potential settlement that you really deserve, not the first lowball offer that your company will make.
Second, you must remember the importance of immediate action. Evidence on any construction site begins to be lost immediately after the accident occurs. Numerous workers, machines, and weather all can change crucial evidence that may help prove your case. If you hesitate you may regret it later. Our Law Office is extremely skilled at the art of investigation and can take swift action on your behalf that can save important evidence from being lost. Every minute you wait will make it more difficult for you to potentially make a viable and robust case for yourself.
So do not hesitate to take advantage of our twenty-plus years of experience. We are here twenty-four hours a day, ready to answer your questions. We are qualified and we know we can help. Call us toll-free for your free consultation.
Gross Negligence Defined
The only way you can sue a company that is a workers’ compensation subscriber is by proving its gross negligence led to the death of your family member. Instances such as momentary lapse of focus or reason, or an isolated error, are considered standard negligence and are protected by workers’ comp. But if either an employer or one of its employees habitually displays recklessness or carelessness in the performance of their duty to protect others, that is considered gross negligence. Say a fellow worker accidentally knocks a cinder block off the roof of a building and crushes an employee standing below. This is an example of standard negligence. But if the construction company habitually allows a construction site to pose a hazard due to debris constantly lying around, and other objects have repeatedly been knocked from the building, then that is gross negligence. The worksite’s foreman should have been reasonably able to anticipate the possibility that a fatal accident could have been a consequence of that hazardous environment.
One of our clients was the family member of a construction worker who died when his boss ordered him to work on a crane without a properly functioning safety harness. Not only did the worker’s harness malfunction and cause him to fall to his death, but the owner of the company also had the sheer audacity to race to a nearby hardware store, buy a new harness, and attach it to the corpse before the death was even reported. But because we undertook an investigation and interviewed other workers who were at the scene, we were able to expose the owner’s callous attempt at a cover-up.
In order for your family’s wrongful death lawsuit to be successful, you need to have an experienced attorney on your side who can strategize a rock-solid case that can meet the high standards necessary to prove gross negligence.
Because a non-subscribing company did not purchase workers’ comp insurance, the only way to gain restitution is through a lawsuit. In this case, however, the plaintiff needs only prove the occurrence of standard negligence to win restitution, and standard negligence has a much lower standard of proof.
The State of Texas, in effect, punishes non-subscribers by making it easier for a plaintiff to win a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the litigation involved in such a case can be much more intricate and emphasizes, even more, your need to have an experienced attorney on your side. Not only must the plaintiffs in this kind of case prove their loved one’s death was due to the company’s standard negligence, but they must also prove the amount of compensation they are trying to obtain is fair and just.
The compensation associated with wrongful death damages include:
Medical and funeral expenses as a result of the construction fatality.
Financial support provided by the victim lost as a result of his or her death.
The mental and emotional trauma as a result of the family member’s death.
The consortium and love provided by the deceased that cannot be replaced.
Restitution for survival damages include:
Medical expenses arising as a result of the construction site accident.
Salary lost while the victim would have been hospitalized, or salary that would have been lost by the victim because of long-term disabling injuries caused by the accident.
The mental and emotional turmoil that the deceased would have experienced had he or she survived.
The physical pain and suffering experienced by the deceased.
Hurdles in Obtaining Wrongful Death Case Compensation
Non-subscribing companies have very few options in trying to avoid paying a construction wrongful death claim, because, as stated above, the State of Texas designed workers’ compensation laws to try and reduce the number of lawsuits, and thus strongly encourage companies to subscribe. But even a non-subscriber has a couple of tools it can try to utilize to defeat a wrongful death claim. These are described in detail below.
Sole Proximate Cause
The only true defense a non-subscriber can use to avoid paying a claim is the Sole Proximate Cause defense – that the deceased employee was 100 percent responsible for his or her own death. The only way an employer can successfully prove this defense is by making your family out to be a habitually incompetent employee who was negligent on a regular basis. If successful in proving Sole Proximate Cause, the employer will be able to keep from paying your family the compensation that you deserve.
While it’s true the company did not see fit to pay for workers’ comp insurance, you can guarantee that company will open its checkbook and pay big money to a defense lawyer who is adept at dragging deceased construction workers through the mud. It is imperative you have an experienced and effective attorney by your side to defeat those lowdown tactics and protect your loved one’s reputation.
The Employer/Employee Relationship
A few employers will try and skate the rules by claiming the deceased worker was never really a “true employee,” but a contractor. And in Texas, contractors are solely responsible for their own safety in the workplace. But merely making that claim does not mean that Texas law will view that worker as a contractor. Attorneys with our Law Office\s are very adept at proving that an employer/employee relationship existed by examining pay stubs and contracts and interviewing fellow workers in order to satisfy one of the several standards that prove an employer/employee relationship. These include:
The employer held back Social Security or taxes from the worker’s paycheck.
The employer was responsible for providing the equipment necessary for the worker to perform his or her job.
The worker was expected to follow a set schedule established by the employer.
Your family member either signed a document or performed a task, that limited his or her rights while working for that company. For example, he or she signed a document that stated he or she agreed to comply with an employee handbook or took a drug test.
The worker was not hired for an isolated, single job, but rather for an extended, undetermined amount of time.
Your loved one was paid via salary or hourly wage instead of job-by-job.
What Can You Do?
The first thing NOT to do is to ever, ever give up your right to sue by signing any sort of admission of your family member’s liability for the accident in exchange for a woefully inadequate settlement.
Next, you must act immediately to find a lawyer, or at least as soon as you can. It can be very difficult, and require a lot of proof, to protect the reputation of your deceased loved one.
Every minute you wait to hire an attorney is every minute that evidence disappears – witnesses’ memories become cloudy, and the physical characteristics of the accident scene itself begin to alter. The longer you wait to seek legal help, the more difficult time you’ll have unearthing the evidence that is crucial to prevailing in your case. A detailed investigation needs to immediately be launched; after all, the construction company, insurance provider, and defense lawyers will already be working for the other side. You need a tenacious and passionate attorney working on your side to match them stride for stride.
The wrongful death attorneys at our Law Office have helped the devastated families of construction fatality victims for two decades. We’ve won hundreds of wrongful death cases that resulted in millions of dollars in judgments for our clients. When hired, we will launch an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding your family member’s death and gather the evidence you will need to prove your case. And we will not hesitate to pursue legal action against any liable third parties if necessary in order to ensure all of those responsible for the death of your loved one are held accountable. Our attorneys have either negotiated settlements with, or won lawsuits against, every major insurance company in the United States, so their high-powered operatives are well aware of our courtroom acumen. As a result, there are many times and insurers will choose to make our clients a reasonable settlement offer rather than risk losing a much larger amount of money in a lawsuit. And if they choose not to engage in negotiations, we’ll be well prepared to face them in court and make them regret that decision. If you have lost a family member due to a fatal construction accident, call our Law Office as soon as you can (toll-free) for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney and find out how we can help you get the justice and fair restitution your family deserves.
Trench Collapse Attorney
Construction Injury Attorneys Of Our Law Office Discuss Trench Collapse Lawsuits
It is common knowledge that construction work is inherently dangerous, especially when workers and employers don’t proactively work together on job site safety issues. And one of the particularly dangerous types of accidents in construction is trench collapse.
The majority of trench collapse accidents are fatal, and if the victim happens to survive, he or she is often left with catastrophic, life-long injuries. The trench collapse attorneys from our Law Office compiled this article to highlight how trench collapse wrongful death accident lawsuits operate and how our competent attorneys can assist you in pursuing justice.
While this article explains these concepts in simple terms, trench collapse accidents are quite complex and usually result in highly technical lawsuits. A non-attorney would have a very difficult task if they attempted to file this lawsuit alone. Don’t fall for this trap. Call the legal experts at our Law Office to arrange a free consultation, and we will explain specifically what options you have available and what challenges you will likely face.
How Do Trench Collapse Accidents Happen?
Most trench collapse accidents result from construction site employers not following standard safety guidelines. OHSA, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration establishes clear guidelines that govern how trench walls should be reinforced, how far apart the support structures should be spaced, and how the trench should be dug. These regulations are set forth to make trenches much safer, but building a trench safely is a time-consuming and expensive task, and many construction companies are more focused on increasing profits than protecting the lives of construction workers. Trench collapse accidents also can result from faulty equipment used in reinforcing the trench. Despite the reasons why the accident occurred, odds are it was the result of someone’s negligence, and you are entitled to fair compensation.
Damages Commonly Found in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
We understand no amount of money can ever compensate you for the loss of your loved one. We also know when a loved one dies, in addition to the emotional upheaval, a family is often put under extreme financial stress and pressure. Our attorneys want to make sure you do not suffer under needless financial hardship and that you have the opportunity to seek justice for the loss of your family member. We will use all our knowledge and resources to help you receive the greatest possible settlement.
There are two different types of claims in comprehensive wrongful death lawsuits: wrongful death damages and survival damages. These claims must be filed separately and tailored for the specific plaintiff filing the claim. Plaintiffs seek wrongful death damages for their own suffering resulting from the victim’s death. Any eligible family member may file these claims and there is no limit to the number of wrongful death claims that can be filed. Wrongful death damages usually include the following:
Loss of financial support previously provided by the victim
Medical and funeral bills
Mental or emotional turmoil
Loss of companionship or consortium
On the other hand, survival damages, basically allow a family member to stand in proxy for the victim in a legal sense and seek compensation for the damages which the victim could have pursued if they survived the accident and were alive. Survival damages often include the following:
Lost potential income due to catastrophic injuries
Lost wages from time spent away from work
The victim’s physical pain and mental anguish
The Wrongful Death Attorneys From our Law Office is Ready to Help You
Wrongful death lawsuits are quite complex, and when they involve construction accidents, even more so. This is not the type of lawsuit you should attempt to file alone without legal representation. You need to enlist an experienced, competent attorney into the fray because workers’ comp insurance is very complex in these cases, and it can make the process much more involved. Overall, your case will be held to a higher standard of proof if the victim’s employer was a workers’ comp subscriber because you will have to convince a jury the defendant was grossly negligent in the death of your loved one.
Our Texas attorneys have won hundreds of construction accident cases. Call us today to discuss your case.
In addition, trench collapse accidents frequently involve multiple different defendants because of the use of defective equipment to build or reinforce a trench on the worksite. In this scenario, in addition to the wrongful death suit filed against your loved one’s employer, you will also be filing a product liability suit. This is a completely separate claim that must be filed employing entirely different legal techniques. For those without extensive legal experience, this process could easily become overwhelming.
For over two decades, the legal professionals at our Law Office have been helping families pursue justice in construction accidents that took the life of their loved one. We will conduct an extensive investigation at the accident scene to determine precisely what occurred and who was responsible. We’ll then build a comprehensive lawsuit and bring charges against all liable parties to hold them accountable for their negligent actions. We’ll do everything within our power to secure a fair settlement for you.
Our legal firm knows how to interact with insurance adjusters and converse with juries. We have handled hundreds of on-the-job accident cases and trench collapse mishaps. We are very familiar with Texas injury law and workers’ compensation insurance and its intricacies, so are not surprised by new developments. Insurance companies are familiar with our reputation and successful track record, and many times cooperate fully with our settlement demands so they don’t have to face our attorneys in court later. We can help you avoid the common pitfalls that many fall into and help you secure the justice you seek. If you’ve lost someone you love in a trench collapse accident or other work-related accident, don’t allow those responsible to go unpunished. Call the trench collapse attorneys at our Law Office toll-free for a free consultation. Our wrongful death lawyers can help you get the compensation you are entitled to and the justice you deserve so that you can move ahead with your life.