McAllen Construction Accident Compensation:
Can You Sue Over a Construction Accident?
Our McAllen construction accident lawyers can help you receive compensation after your accident. In Texas, you may be able to claim one of two types of compensation:
Elsewhere across the U.S.,a construction accident would be covered under workers’ compensation, as this type of insurance is mandatory. Workers’ compensation covers the medical treatment you need for your construction site injury and a portion of your lost wages, and you do not need to prove any particular party is responsible for your injury — only that it happened while you were at work.
However, Texas law does not require private employers to have workers’ compensation coverage, so your first step after an accident is to find out whether your employer has it. If they do, you must notify them of your injury and they will file a workers’ compensation claim directly. The Texas Workforce Commission states, “Injured workers must file the injury report within 30 days of the injury, must appeal the first impairment rating within 90 days of its issuance, and must file the formal paperwork for the workers’ compensation claim within one year of the injury.”
If your employer does not have this insurance, you can sue them for damages.
Claim Compensation Against Your Employer
If your employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to file a lawsuit. Unlike with a workers’ comp claim, it is not enough that your accident happened at work — you must also prove that they owed you a duty of care, breached this duty of care, and that this breach caused your injury.
A breach could range from providing you with defective equipment to not training you appropriately or failing to protect you from exposure to hazards.
However, with this additional burden of proof comes a potentially more substantial award. If you successfully file a compensation claim against your employer, you will be entitled to economic damages, such as the costs of medical treatment and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include compensation for loss of enjoyment, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship if you file a wrongful death claim.
Your claim will also account for your age. For example, if you’re younger and injured at work, and your injuries are severe, long-term, or even life-changing, you could receive a higher award, as you will have to manage your medical condition for the rest of your life.
To illustrate this additional burden, let’s take a look at a real case:
- A construction worker falls from an eight-foot ladder onto a concrete foundation, sustaining a fatal skull injury. The ladder’s locking arms were slightly folded and not securely locked.
In its investigation, OSHA determined that the employer, Arndt Construction Llc, violated the Safety and Health Regulations for Construction by failing to provide a training program for each employee using ladders and stairways, which would enable them to recognize hazards related to ladders and stairways and understand the procedures to be followed to minimize these hazards. OSHA further found that “on or about January 26, 2023, and at times prior to, employees were permitted to use ladders without training, exposing them to fall hazards”. The accident in question occurred the month before, on December 26, 2022.
Assuming the employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance, the victim’s family would be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. A McAllen construction accident lawyer would investigate the accident and secure the inspection report created by OSHA, which states the violation. This would prove vital evidence of the employer’s liability.
File a Third-Party Liability Lawsuit
If a third party is liable for your accident, you may be able to claim compensation. You can do this even if your employer has workers’ compensation. For example, if you are injured at work while using a defective tool, you can file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer to cover your medical bills and lost wages while you were unable to work. You can then hold the manufacturer of the defective tool liable for your injury, as it would not have happened if the tool functioned as intended. This means you could receive non-economic damages, such as for ongoing pain and suffering after your injury.
As with a personal injury claim against your employer, you have an additional burden of proof when filing a third-party lawsuit. You need to show:
- The third party owed you a duty of care
- The third party breached that duty of care
- That breach of duty caused your injury
If you can prove the above elements, you can potentially receive compensation for the pain and suffering resulting from your injury. To demonstrate the extent of your pain and suffering, you must be specific about your injuries. Ensure you have medical records and bills to support your injuries’ severity and show your conditions before and after the construction accident.
In a lawsuit for damages, a court may consider your age, the severity of your injuries, and other economic harms. If you’re younger, a court might determine that you should be entitled to more compensation since you will likely have to manage your pain and suffering for longer.
If the injury is severe, it may have a more significant impact on your ability to work and earn a living. If you can’t work for a lengthy time, the court might rule to compensate you more to make up for your more significant monetary losses.