Construction is a dangerous industry to work in — thousands of accidents occur every year, resulting in injuries ranging from mild to fatal. No matter the circumstances, there are certain steps to take after a construction accident for both health and legal reasons. As an important step, you should consider contacting the experienced construction attorneys at The Mark Casto Law Firm, PC at 706-450-7071 to discuss your legal rights.
What Should Be Done Immediately After an Injury in the Workplace?
When a serious accident occurs, the first thing to do is call for an ambulance. If necessary, someone who has not been injured should also take action to prevent further injuries at the worksite, such as by removing any hazards. Typically, it is safer to leave the victims where they are until the first responders arrive. In particular, it can be dangerous to move someone who is experiencing back or abdominal pain, confusion, or severe bleeding, whereas there is a minimal risk of moving someone who only appears to have minor injuries. It may be necessary to move a victim before paramedics arrive if there is a risk of fire, explosions, exposure to chemicals, or a structure collapsing.
When Is Medical Attention Necessary?
It is always necessary to seek immediate medical attention after a construction accident, including if injuries appear minor. This is because serious head, spine, and brain injuries (among other injuries) may not become apparent until later, but a doctor will be able to perform appropriate tests to check for these types of hidden injuries. Furthermore, receiving medical care will create documentation to link the injuries to the accident, which will be important if the victim decides to make a workers’ compensation claim.
What Are the Steps to Take After a Construction Accident?
After ensuring the injured employees receive medical attention and taking other immediate action, there are a few more steps to take after a construction accident.
Step 1: Inform a Supervisor
The supervisor, or whoever oversees the construction site, needs to know that an accident has occurred as soon as possible.
Step 2: Write an Account of the Accident
Although it can be traumatic to relive an accident, it is useful for injured workers to write an account of what happened while the details are still fresh. Reports should include:
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- Who was present
- The events leading up to the accident
- How the workers were injured
Step 3: Gather Evidence of What Happened
Evidence from the accident can help back up the victims’ account of what happened.
A key piece of evidence is photographs from the scene. Whenever possible, it helps to take photos of:
- Where the employees were injured
- The hazards that led to the accident
- Anything that exacerbated the victims’ injuries
- What safety equipment the employees were using
- Damage to personal property
Photos of the scene should not include any victims, although victims may like to photograph their injuries at a later date, such as at the hospital or at home.
Other evidence to gather includes:
- Footage from nearby cameras. Make sure to create backups.
- The victims’ medical records. Employees should keep documentation of their injuries and related medical care, including the treatment and prescription medications they receive.
- A journal. It is worth workers documenting how the accident is having an ongoing impact on their lives, including missed days of work, psychological distress, and lasting physical pain.
- Correspondence with the employer. Workers should save all the emails and letters they receive from their employer. They should also make notes about phone calls and in-person conversations.
Finally, it is useful to record the contact information of everyone who witnessed the accident. Victims who decide to work with an attorney will not need to reach out to witnesses to ask them to provide an account of the accident, as the law firm will typically handle this matter.
Step 4: Come to a Decision About Filing a Claim
Employees who are injured due to a construction accident may entitled to workers’ compensation. When a company is exempt from workers’ compensation, it may be possible for the victims to file a personal injury claim instead. However, since neither are automatic, victims will need to decide whether they want to pursue a claim. It is often possible to receive a higher amount of compensation by working with a personal injury lawyer.
Georgia typically has a one-year statute of limitations for workers’ compensation, starting from the date of the injury. However, there are exceptions. If the employer provided the victims with remedial treatment, the clock starts on the date of the last remedial treatment. If employees received weekly benefits, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the last payment. You can start the process of filing a claim now by talking to an attorney at The Mark Casto Law Firm.
What Are the Proper Steps for Processing an Injury or Accident on Site?
Employers must follow the correct procedure for processing an accident on site. The person supervising at the time of the accident is responsible for reporting the particulars to the employer. If the accident led a hospitalization, amputation, loss of an eye, or a fatality, the employer then must notify OSHA. Anyone who was injured should keep a record of who accepted the report of the accident and the date the report was submitted and should ask for a copy of the report.
Processing the accident does not require the injured parties to complete any paperwork the employer presents about workers’ compensation. In fact, workers should avoid signing any documents if they are considering filing a claim, especially if they feel that their employer is pressuring them to do so. The employer may be trying to encourage the victims to settle for less compensation than what they could receive after a full investigation.
Contact an Experienced Construction Accident Attorney Today To Learn More
It is important to note that many of the steps to take after a construction accident are time sensitive. For instance, if you intend to make a workers’ compensation claim, it helps to start as soon as possible. Consider having a consultation with a personal injury attorney to discuss your rights by contacting The Mark Casto Law Firm, PC at 706-450-7071.