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Why Are Construction Site Accidents Different From Other Injury Cases?

One reason that comes to mind as to why construction site accidents are different from other injury cases is that they often involve multiple defendants owing different duties to the injured worker. They also typically involve worker’s compensation claims as well.


What Are Some Misconceptions About Construction Accident Injury Claims Process?


What we’ve seen is that many injured workers believe their only legal remedy is a state worker’s compensation claim. In a serious injury or death situation, that is often the smallest part of the claim.


What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Construction Site Accidents?


As with other bodily injury claims in the state of Washington, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the injury. Failure to file a lawsuit within that three year timeframe is fatal to the claim.


What Damages Can Be Recovered In A Construction Site Accident Claim?


As with other types of injury claims, an injured construction worker is entitled to recover for medical expenses incurred, lost income and his or her general damages. The term “General Damages” usually encompasses damages personal to the injured worker such as pain, suffering, disability and the loss of the ability and capacity to enjoy life. In the case of loss of life, Washington state’s wrongful death statutes apply. They describe which damages are recoverable by the estate of the person killed and which damages may be recovered by the decedent survivors such as a surviving spouse or perhaps surviving children.


Can You File A Lawsuit Even If You Are Collecting Worker’s Compensation Benefits?


You can absolutely file a lawsuit even if you are collecting worker’s compensation benefits. In fact, in Washington State if the Department of Labor & Industries recognizes a potential third-party claim, the Department will advise the injured worker to obtain counsel and file that claim. It’s important to understand that worker’s compensation claims and third-party damages claims are two separate entities. Typically they are managed together by your attorney. The attorney will work with both the Department of Labor & Industries Claims adjudicator as well as a third-party adjuster and attorneys. Where people get confused is that worker’s compensation claims are viable with or without the negligence of the injured worker himself. If there is negligence on the part of a third party, there may be two claims actually involved out of the same injury.


What Steps Should You Take If You Have Been Injured In A Construction Accident?


We recommend several steps you should take if you have been injured in a construction accident. First, contact your attorney as soon as possible so that he or she can preserve evidence, identify witnesses and prepare for potential defenses to your claim. We want you to obtain medical evaluation and treatment as soon as possible. Your injuries must be documented by a qualified healthcare professional. We also recommend you give no statements to any third-party insurance adjuster. Simply refer that person to your attorney for further information. You will, however, need to fully cooperate with the Department of Labor & Industries adjudicator in terms of providing information so that your L&I claim can be processed, your medical expenses timely paid and your temporary wage loss benefits be paid to you. This duty to cooperate is statutory in nature meaning that you have a legal obligation to comply.


What Kind Of Evidence Should Be Collected In Construction Accident Cases?


As in virtually all tort claims, evidence is key to a successful liability claim. Evidence can come in many different forms such as the identities of witnesses, witness statements given, scene photographs, accident investigation reports, product testing results and any other information which may not be available two or three years down the road when your case is ready for settlement or trial. Your attorney will anticipate what facts will be necessary to prove your claim and begin gathering that information immediately.


What Can I Do If The Company Denies Liability In My Construction Site Accident Claim?


You must expect that the third-party insurer will always deny liability. Many people are scared and many others feel overwhelmed and so they give up. I believe that for every 10 people with valid viable claims, eight or nine walk away from them. Only one person stands up and fights for his rights.


For more information on Construction Site Accidents vs. Other Injury Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (425) 451-8333 today.





© 2018 by William J. Carlson, Inc., P.S. All rights reserved.

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