What to Do after a Construction Accident
Although most workplaces come with some inherent dangers, construction sites are especially hazardous work environments. While there are a variety of government bodies that attempt to regulate construction sites to ensure that they are safe places to work, accidents do happen. Many accidents are caused because of careless or intentional disregard for safety regulations. When these sorts of construction accidents occur, it is important to understand one’s legal options. Two potential options are filing a workers’ compensation claim or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
Immediately after the Accident
The most important thing a construction worker injured in a construction accident can do is seek medical treatment immediately. Workers should also make sure to keep all the records that they receive throughout the course of treatment, especially any bills that they may get. These sorts of records may ultimately be important for an injured worker’s legal claim.
After receiving any necessary medical treatment, a worker should be sure to provide notice to their employer that there was an injury. This sort of notice is mandated under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Failure to provide notice within 45 days of the accident is likely to interfere with an employee’s ability to recover workers’ compensation damages. Importantly, the law gives employees the right to provide this notice either through written or verbal communication to make it easier for the employee.
Workers injured in construction accidents may have a workers’ compensation case, a personal injury case, or both. Workers’ compensation cases are claims filed against an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance is heavily regulated by the state, and benefits are governed by a set of tables set forth by the legislature. Each worker is entitled to a certain amount of payment based on the body part injured, the severity of the injury, and the workers’ current salary.
In most cases, the workers’ compensation case is the only option available because it is an “exclusive remedy.” This means that in exchange for being covered by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, the employee loses the right to sue the employer for injuries suffered on the job. However, there are circumstances in which workers injured on construction sites can pursue personal injury lawsuits. This is because workers’ compensation insurance only operates between the employer and the employee. If a worker is injured on the job by the negligence of a third party, then Section 5 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act allows that worker to bring an ordinary personal injury lawsuit against the person who harmed them.
Construction accidents can cause serious injuries and may even interfere with workers’ future ability to earn a living. If you have recently been injured in a construction accident, contact an Elgin construction accident attorney at Woodruff Johnson & Evans today.