Now more than ever, construction sites are popping up around Philadelphia. While that is good news for the City’s development, it also comes with risks. Almost 1,000 construction workers died on the job in 2021, and in 2020, there were 213.3 nonfatal accidents per 10,000 construction workers. Indeed, construction workers have one of the top ten most dangerous jobs in the United States. Be it a fall, falling object, electrocution, or an accident involving workplace tools, construction sites are dangerous.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a construction site, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia construction accident attorney about your options. Together, we can make sure you recover the financial compensation necessary to move forward.
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What About Workers’ Compensation?
Working on a construction site, you’ve likely heard about workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation generally provides the only remedy against an employer or coworker when you are injured in the course and scope of your employment. In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation is governed by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. The Act generally requires employers to maintain workers’ compensation insurance and defines the benefits available to injured workers and how injured employers can access them.
When does workers’ compensation apply?
You may have heard of a coworker seeking workers’ compensation benefits after an injury caused by a specific incident at work. But that’s not the only type of injury workers’ compensation will cover. An employee can also seek benefits when repetitive daily activities cause an injury. For example, carpal tunnel is caused by certain everyday work activities. Furthermore, if a preexisting condition is aggravated by work activities, workers’ compensation can kick in.
What does worker’s compensation cover?
Typically, workers’ compensation provides for lost wages and medical benefits to compensate employees suffering from work-related injuries or diseases. Workers’ compensation also provides death benefits to the dependents of workers who die as a result of a work-related injury or disease.
What should I do if I’m injured at work?
- Notify your supervisor or other designated person immediately. You should do this even if you don’t anticipate taking time off from work. You can give notice in writing or verbally, though it’s always better to have proof of notice. Also, make sure you complete any incident form required by your employer’s worker’s compensation policy.
- Get medical treatment. Be sure to ask your employer about approved care providers. If your employer doesn’t have a prepared list, make sure you inform your chosen care provider that the injury is work-related.
- Within 21 days, your employer or its insurance company should inform you whether they agree that you’ve suffered a workplace injury. If your claim is approved, double-check to make sure that your injury is described accurately and that your wages are correct. If your claim is denied, seek medical care from your own provider, and meet with a lawyer.
Can I still sue?
Workers’ compensation can be a quick and easy way to get some of your immediate expenses after an injury taken care of. But many times, these benefits will not fully make you whole after an injury. An experienced Philadelphia construction accident attorney can help you explore other options, such as a lawsuit.
Generally speaking, you cannot sue your employer or a coworker for a workplace accident at a construction site if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are exceptions. For example, if your employer does not have an insurance policy, or if you were harmed by an intentional act of your employer or coworker, you can sue.
Furthermore, it is possible that your injury was not caused by (or at least only by) your employer. A qualified Philadelphia construction accident attorney will help you explore whether any third party may potentially be liable for your damages; workers’ compensation does not prevent you from holding any additional parties liable. For example:
- a general contractor is generally responsible for making a construction site safe. If the general contractor fails to comply with OSHA regulations or follow certain other safety requirements, that person may be liable.
- A project engineer or architect may also act negligently, leading to injuries on the construction site.
- If a subcontractor acts negligently on the job site, and that causes injury to others working on site, you may have a claim.
- The property owner may also have acted negligently. For example, property owners generally have a duty to protect against known or obvious harm. A lawyer can help you hold careless owners responsible.
- If your injury is caused by a defective product or tool, you typically can sue the manufacturer of the product.
What do I have to prove in a claim against a third party?
To recover compensation from a third party, like an architect or general contractor, you must first prove that those parties (the defendants) were negligent. You’ve likely heard of “negligence” lawsuits. Negligence is a legal concept and has a special meaning in the law.
There are four elements of a negligence claim: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
To prove the duty element, a construction accident attorney must prove that the person who did wrong (for example, a subcontractor), owed you a duty not to cause harm. Whether a duty exists is a complex legal question. The lawyers at Munley Law are happy to discuss your case with you free of charge to determine whether a duty exists. But generally, under the law, a person owes you a duty to not cause foreseeable harm by their actions. That means that subcontractors, for example, have a duty to do their job in a way that does not cause harm to others on the construction site.
The breach element requires proof that the wrongdoer (the defendants) failed to act according to a specific standard of care. Generally, all people must act as a reasonable person would in a given situation. If an architect designed a building without following accepted industry standards, leading to your injuries, that architect might have breached their duty of care.
Causation is simple in theory, but often a difficult factual and legal issue. To successfully bring a negligence claim, there must be proof that the breach of duty, what the wrongdoer did, caused your injuries. This can sometimes be difficult when it comes to complex causes of construction accidents and medical injuries. That’s where expert witnesses come in.
The final element of a construction accident claim is damages. You must prove that the breach of a duty caused you financial or emotional damages. Said differently, this is where we must prove the amount of money involved.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
The right construction accident lawyer can be the difference between recovering compensation and being forced to pay for the damages caused by an injury at a construction site. No matter what happened, construction accidents have consequences for the victims, and you and your loved ones should be able to focus on getting medical care and dealing with any damage caused by the accident. Your lawyer can take some pressure off of you and your family by holding the wrongdoer, be it the general contractor, a subcontractor, or the manufacturer of a tool or product used on the construction site, accountable and getting you the financial relief you need to move forward.
You don’t have to go at it alone; here are just a few ways a Philadelphia construction accident lawyer can help:
Construction accidents are legally complex, given the number of players involved
Construction sites are complex ecosystems made up of many different players. There are numerous subcontractors working on the same job site, all managed by a general contractor. Throw in the property owner, designer, or architect, and the manufacturers of the many tools and products used on-site, who may not be physically present all the time but who have duties all the same, and you’ve got a truly complex web of a workplace. Many of these players are employed by different businesses. An attorney can make sure that you maximize your recovery by pursuing the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled while exploring your options against third parties that caused or contributed to your construction site injury.
It’s hard to know which of these parties is financially responsible for the injuries you suffered. In fact, multiple parties could be held responsible. And you don’t want your actions against one party to affect your ability to recover against another. A lawyer can help you get to the bottom of it.
A Philadelphia construction accident attorney can help resolve a dispute before it really starts
Of course, lawyers are familiar with fighting cases in court. But, sometimes, the best option is to resolve a dispute well before a formal lawsuit. Sometimes, lawyers can do this just by being involved in negotiations with your employer or its insurance company. After all, people can be more forthcoming if they know that you are armed and ready to take a dispute to court.
Other times, we can help by writing a formal demand letter, for example, to a third party who acted negligently. This is essentially a letter explaining your claim, the reasoning behind your entitlement to money, and the underlying law. Sometimes, all it takes is someone who can get through to the lawyers representing the at-fault party. These letters sometimes resolve cases long before a formal court case could.
Construction accident lawyers can investigate your claim and gather evidence
Because of the complexity of construction accidents, there can be a lot of groundwork to cover to investigate and prove your claim.
A lawyer can identify and interview witnesses. Many people could have seen the accident or the events leading up to it. These witnesses can have invaluable information. We can also figure out who was responsible for making sure the construction site was safe. We’ll find witnesses with information, interview them, and preserve their testimony for use in court.
We’ll also gather documents and other physical evidence. We can take pictures of the construction site, any machinery or products involved, and any documents created related to your workplace injuries and the injuries of others. Furthermore, we can track down surveillance video and other camera footage of the accident. We know where to look, and have experience tracking this evidence down for our clients.
Furthermore, sometimes you will need an expert witness. This could be a medical expert who can testify to your injuries and how they will impact your life. It could also be an expert tasked with calculating the different ways the construction site accident has cost you money. Experts can also explain the various complexities of the construction industry, including the relevant regulations governing a construction site. These witnesses can be the difference between winning and losing a case. Munley Law has worked with experts across Pennsylvania, and the country, to support our clients. We know how to do it effectively and efficiently.
A Philadelphia construction accident lawyer can help you estimate how much money you could recover and help you weigh your options
After a construction accident, you and your family will undoubtedly have questions, and it’s completely common to not know whether, and how, to seek compensation from the at-fault party. A lawyer can help. At Munley Law, we can help you estimate how much money you could recover and explain the next steps during a free initial consultation. We’re here to give you your options in easy-to-understand language.
Why Choose Munley Law for Your Personal Injury Case?
With so many personal injury law firms to choose from, how do you know who you can trust to fight for you and your family? Selecting a Philadelphia construction accident attorney is an important decision. But Munley Law sets itself apart, and we’re ready to prove it to you. Here are just a few reasons to let us fight for you and your family:
Experience – When it comes to a construction accident claim, experience counts. Each of our partners has decades of experience representing individuals and families who have suffered serious injuries or been denied benefits following an injury. Because we are a family firm, we often work closely together on our cases to achieve the best possible results for you.
Industry Leaders – The board-certified Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at Munley Law are among the highest-rated and most respected legal advocates in the country. All of our credentials (including Best Lawyers in America, Best Law Firms, Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates Forum) reflect the extremely high standards we’ve set for ourselves, and the recognition of our clients and peers.
Resources – Successfully recovering money after a Philadelphia construction accident is challenging. At Munley Law, we have access to resources that are typically available only to big law firms. We work closely with our network of engineers, investigators, experts, and in-house medical personnel to build your case. What’s more, unlike at other law firms, you aren’t on the hook for paying these professionals out of pocket.
Our No-Fee Promise – We do not collect a fee unless we win your case. If we do not produce results for you, you owe us nothing. Also, at no point will you ever pay anything out of pocket; even when we win, our fee comes out of the money we recover for you.
You can contact our attorneys by phone or by using the form or chat feature available on our website. Contacting us is free, and doesn’t obligate you to do anything. But the first step to getting you the recovery you deserve is to speak with one of your Philadelphia construction accident lawyers, who are ready to get results for you.
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Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
1617 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19103