“Measure twice, cut once.”
Words to live by, especially in the construction industry, where both the rewards and the risks can be great. Construction accidents are sensational and often catastrophic. Injuries sustained in a construction accident can permanently affect your ability to work, and can also affect the welfare and financial security of those you support.
Construction accidents are, unfortunately, always going to be one of the risks of the industry, but you can help protect yourself and your loved ones if you keep these helpful, common-sense guidelines in mind and consult with appropriately qualified attorneys, such as those here at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, if you are injured in a construction accident.
Know where your job site is located.
The municipality where your job site is located may have permits on file that can provide either you or your attorneys with valuable information about the owners of the property where the accident took place, the name and contact information of the general contractor who oversees the work, and often the names and contact information of the various subcontractors who are also engaged at the job site.
This information may be of vital assistance to your attorneys if you are injured on the job site but do not know who may be liable.
Get to know your co-workers.
Every co-worker is a potential witness. Getting to know your fellow workers, whether they are in your work crew or not, can be of great help to you in the event that you are injured in a construction accident. This is especially true if you are involved in an accident where you lose consciousness, and might not have a clear idea of the events leading up to your injuries.
If you can recall any contact information for your fellow workers, even just their names, your attorney will be better able to contact potential witnesses, or to name potential defendants if your injuries were due to the negligent actions of another party, such as another subcontractor working on your job site.
Take some time to inspect the tools and machinery that you use.
This is a good rule of thumb no matter who you are, but it is especially true on construction sites. We have all heard horror stories about power saws, routers and other machinery that have had manufacturer-installed safety mechanisms tampered with, or even removed entirely, so that the individuals using them could work faster.
If you are faced with such a situation, exercise your best judgment in addressing it. Failure to tell somebody about such tampering or failing to ask that the machine be replaced or repaired may be used against you later if you are involved in a construction accident caused by mechanical error or carelessness.
Make good use of any available safety equipment.
You are in the best position to protect yourself. Use all safety equipment that is available, especially if it is provided for you at the job site. This equipment can mean the difference between a minor injury and one that is career or life-threatening.
In addition, your failure to use safety equipment can be used against you during construction accident litigation, as it would strengthen the opposing side’s argument that your injuries were due, at least in part, to a failure to take appropriate safety precautions.
Report any injuries immediately.
This is very important for both workers’ compensation purposes and construction accident litigation purposes. Reporting your injuries immediately ensures that you get appropriate medical care and puts both the employer and the general contractor at the job site on notice of the accident.
If you are injured in a construction accident on the job, you are entitled to bring a workers’ compensation claim in addition to any negligence claim that you may have. Your employer is required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance so that you can receive wage replacement (up to 70% of your gross average weekly wage) and medical treatment in the aftermath of your injuries. However, you have to let your employer know about your injuries. Failure to do so can result in the loss of benefits.