Were you recently in a construction accident in San Antonio? You are not alone. Construction is one of the biggest industries in the United States. Construction site accidents cause fatalities and injuries to thousands of workers each year.
Maybe you need help applying for your workers’ compensation benefits, or appealing a denial. Maybe a third party—another contractor on the site, for example—injured you when they forgot to move or clean something up. Now you’re too hurt to go to work and need to pay medical bills on top of all of your other expenses.
At Patino Injury and Accident Attorneys, our San Antonio construction accident lawyers know how to help you. Give us a call to see what we can do.
We get plenty of construction accident claims here at our law firm, and here are some of the questions we frequently answer for our clients.
Should I hire a construction accident lawyer in San Antonio?
Definitely. If a construction site accident injured you or a loved one, you should seek the expert advice of an attorney. An attorney can help explain the legal remedies available to you and help you better understand the circumstances surrounding your accident.
Even if you or a loved one is still seeking medical care and recovering from a workplace injury, an attorney can begin investigating the incident and gathering more information about what actually happened. An attorney can also connect with OSHA and other state authorities to obtain copies of the official reports that they prepare in connection with their investigations.
If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance and you wish to proceed with a workers’ compensation claim, you may need legal support to start these processes. The workers’ compensation statute in Texas can be challenging to understand. An attorney can help you to understand better whether your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy will cover your injury and the specific benefits that may be available to you.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance and you wish to proceed with filing a lawsuit, an attorney can assist with preparing and filing a complaint in court. It is possible that after filing a complaint that your adversary decides that they want to settle the matter outside of court. Your attorney can help negotiate a settlement agreement with the other party and manage the case’s administrative components.
And most importantly, hiring an attorney will ensure you and your loved ones receive the compensation they deserve. Contact an experienced construction accident lawyer at Patino Injury and Accident Attorneys to learn your rights and how you can receive the compensation you need.
What laws protect construction workers in San Antonio?
To protect construction workers at construction sites, OSHA has specific guidelines that must be followed, including installing proper railings on large equipment, visibly marking unsafe conditions, and implementing strict welding and electrical procedures. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the construction site complies with OSHA’s requirements.
Moreover, the employer must implement training and other policies to adequately train construction workers on how to use equipment, and notify workers about unsafe conditions. Sadly, many employers are negligent and do not strictly adhere to these rules. This places construction workers are at a greater risk of injury.
What are the causes of San Antonio construction accidents?
There are many different causes of construction site accidents. Some common causes of truck accidents that cause fatal injuries include: (1) faulty equipment; (2) accidents involving large trucks; (3) improperly lifting oversized objects; and (4) having minimal safety equipment such as goggles. Per the USBOL, between 2011 and 2017, Texas had more fatal construction site injuries caused by cranes than the next three states combined.
OSHA reports that the four leading causes of construction site accidents are:
Falls: Construction workers frequently use ladders and scaffolding to work in elevated construction areas. Falling from a ladder or a high construction area can cause severe injury and can be fatal. Although companies and construction workers can prevent by implementing proper safety protocols, such as walkways, they account for over 33 percent of construction worker deaths.
Struck by an object: Construction sites typically have lots of equipment and other hazardous materials. Falling debris can fatally injure construction workers or other objects and equipment. Motor vehicles cause a handful of struck-by construction fatalities. In 2017, the San Antonio Express-News reported that a backhoe bucket crushed a 19-year-old construction worker. A similar incident was reported in September 2020 by KENS5 news. Struck by accidents account for over 11 percent of construction worker deaths.
Electrocutions: In addition to construction equipment and hazardous materials, construction sites also frequently contain exposed wiring, outlets, and even circuit grids. Construction workers can be gravely injured when exposed electrical wiring gets wet. Moreover, construction poorly maintained extension cords and power tools could electrocute construction workers, causing injury or death. Over 8 percent of construction accidents involve some type of electrocution.
Caught-in or caught-between: Trench or excavation collapses, and moving or rotational equipment that catches a worker, can fatally injure construction workers. If a collapsing structure crushes a worker, they can also be fatally injured. Caught in or Caught-between injuries account for nearly 3 percent of construction worker deaths.
What workplace violations can cause San Antonio construction accidents?
OSHA also cites workplace safety violations as the cause of a significant number of fatal and non-fatal workplace accidents. OSHA lists the ten most frequently cited safety violations on construction sites and in other workplaces on its website.
Failure to adequately create hazard communication standards
Failure to control hazardous energy (lockout and/or tagout violations)
Insufficient respiratory protection
Powered industrial truck safety violations
Inadequate fall protection training
Dangerous machinery and insufficient machine guarding
Deficient eye and face protection.
Who else do San Antonio construction accidents usually injure?
Construction workers are not the only ones injured at construction sites. A construction site accident can also seriously injure or kill bystanders.
Common bystander injuries related to construction site accidents include:
A construction vehicle strikes a bystander
Loud explosions or other noises rupture a bystander’s eardrums
Slipping and falling on construction tools or other materials improperly stored or left unattended
Inhaling dust, smoke, fumes, and other hazardous materials
Being struck by failing pipes, tools, and other debris.
No matter when you are an employee at a construction site or a bystander, if a construction site accident injures you, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
What should I do if I am injured in a construction accident in San Antonio?
If a construction site accident injured you or a loved one, immediately report the incident to you or your loved one’s supervisor. When an accident occurs, an OSHA employee will come to the job site, investigate, file a report, and offer recommendations. OSHA has the authority to render fines against the construction company.
If you receive any medical care immediately following the accident or in the proceeding months, keep a record of all of your medical bills, doctor visits, and prescription drug receipts. Having a record of all medical bills and expenses will help ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
What compensation can I receive if I am injured in a San Antonio construction accident?
You can receive compensation for these injuries if a construction accident injured you:
Medical bills and expenses;
Future medical bills and expenses;
Future Lost Income
Pain and Suffering
What are my legal options if a San Antonio construction accident injured me?
In a majority of construction accident cases, there are two potential legal options available.
File a workers’ compensation claim. What is workers’ compensation? Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to employees who experience work-related injuries or illnesses. Workers’ compensation insurance provides for medical costs, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs. Each state has a statute that regulates workers’ compensation; however, if you work for the government, the federal government has a workers’ compensation insurance program as well.
Texas passed its workers’ compensation statute in 1993. Unlike most states, Texas’s workers’ compensation statute does not mandate private employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, all public employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. For Texas’s worker’s compensation statute to cover your injury, the injury or illness must have been “sustained in the course and scope of employment.”
In other words, you must have been injured while working on the job. The workers’ compensation statute covers most physical injuries, such as broken bones and burns. Typically, workers’ comp will not cover injuries from an employee’s willful criminal acts, horseplay, or alcohol or drug use.
Under Texas’s workers’ compensation statute, these benefits are available:
Income benefits (or wage-loss benefits): These benefits are equal to a certain percentage, outlined in the statute, of the average weekly wages that an employee loses because of temporary or permanent illness or injury. Workers’ compensation insurance programs calculate the wage-loss benefits based on an employee’s injury or illness and how much time they have missed work due to the injury or illness. The workers’ compensation statute caps the total amount of wage-loss benefits.
Medical benefits: These benefits cover the necessary medical care required to treat an employee’s work-related injury or illness.
Rehabilitation benefits: These benefits cover expenses connected with an employee finding alternative employment.
Death benefits: These benefits are equal to 75 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage, which is paid to legal beneficiaries. Additionally, these benefits cover up to $10,000 in burial expenses.
If a construction accident injures you and your employer carries worker’s compensation insurance, there are specific steps you must follow to file a workers’ compensation claim. As a first step, you must seek medical treatment as soon as possible. You also must report your accident in writing to your employer within 30 days from the date you sustained your injury or discovered your injury. Once you complete these steps, you have one year from the date you suffered the injury or discovered your injury to file a completed Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease form with the TDOI.
The completed forms can be mailed to TDOI or filed online. Once you complete the form and submit it to the TDOI, the company’s insurance company will evaluate the claim and decide whether to pay or deny your claim. If the TDOI denies your claim, you do have a right to appeal the insurer’s decision.
The workers’ compensation process in Texas is highly complex, and you must take many specific steps when filing a claim. Therefore, it would be helpful to hire an attorney to assist with filing your workers’ compensation claim to ensure you receive the maximum benefits available to you.
File a third-party lawsuit. Suppose you suffer a workplace illness or injury, and your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance. In that case, an option is to file a personal injury claim against your employer and any other third parties who may have caused your injury. For example, if a defective power tool injured you, you can bring a personal injury suit against your employer, and the manufacturer, and even the supplier, of the power tool.
In construction workplace cases, a majority of personal injury claims claimants bring against employers and third parties are for negligence. While Texas is a “no-fault” state when it comes to workers’ compensation—that is, the employee can receive benefits without having to prove that her employer did something wrong—the same does not hold true in personal injury cases. To prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, you generally have to prove that your employer and other third parties were negligent. To prove negligence, a claimant must show that her (a) employer (or related third-party) owed her a duty of care, (b) employer breached their duty of care, and (c) the employer’s breach caused the claimant’s injuries.
Filing a lawsuit can be an overwhelming process. A licensed attorney can help you prepare your claims, filing paperwork in court, and negotiating potential settlements.
How common are San Antonio construction accidents?
As reported by USBOL, there were 123 fatalities in the private construction industry in Texas alone during the same period. Of the 123 deaths, exposure to harmful substances or environments caused thirteen of them, and motor vehicle accidents caused thirty-two of them.
In addition to the USBOL, the Division of Workers’ Compensation in the Texas Department of Insurance (TDOI) also publishes construction site accident data. There were 187,600 total non-fatal injuries and illnesses reported in 2019. Injuries and illnesses in the construction industry make up 6 percent of the state’s total, approximately 11,300 incidents.
Call Our San Antonio Construction Accident Attorneys Today
What happened at work that left you injured? Sometimes it’s hard to say, and proving it, legally, is even harder—but you need to do that to collect the benefits you need and deserve. That’s where we come in.
Patino Injury and Accident Attorneys can investigate your worksite, determine who or what caused your injury, and explain whether the best action for you is to file for workers’ comp or a third-party injury claim (or both).
Call us today at (210) 660-5230 or write to us through our contact page. We’ll get started right away with a free, no-obligation case evaluation and help you decide your next steps.