The construction industry is one of the most important in Texas and the rest of the country. Construction workers help build houses, commercial structures, police stations, fire departments, hospitals, and many other important structures. At the same time, construction is one of the most dangerous jobs to hold.
If you suffer an injury as a construction worker, it is in your best interest to consult a Dallas construction accident lawyer at Domingo Garcia Law Office about your rights.
What to Do After a Construction Accident in Dallas
In the aftermath of your Dallas construction accident, you may be left feeling scared, confused, and unsure of what to do next. Your next steps will be critical and could make or break the outcome of your insurance and civil claims going forward.
With that in mind, here are some of the most important things you need to do following a construction accident in Dallas:
- Immediately contact emergency responders and law-enforcement officials. Police can write up accident and incident reports that can contain valuable information to support your case later. Being seen by emergency responders as soon as possible is imperative. You do not want to risk suffering invisible injuries or the defense being able to argue that your injuries occurred in another way.
- While you wait for emergency responders to arrive at the accident scene, try to document the incident and gather evidence if possible. This is a good opportunity to take photos of your injuries, video footage of the accident scene, and photos of the construction accident damages. You should also try to obtain statements from any witnesses, gather their contact information, and otherwise do what you can to obtain evidence that could support your case.
- Once emergency responders arrive, head to the hospital or your healthcare provider for an evaluation. Make sure your healthcare provider keeps thorough records of your injuries, your pain levels, your prognosis, and other medical information, as this could prove valuable when dealing with the insurance company or filing a lawsuit later.
For a free legal consultation with a construction accidents lawyer serving Dallas, call (214) 941-8300
How a Dallas Construction Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Whenever you suffer an injury caused by the negligent actions of someone else, you always need a personal injury attorney on your side. This is not a situation you should handle by yourself. A construction accident lawyer in Dallas can help you with your claim by doing the following:
- Collecting evidence of the accident
- Speaking with any and all witnesses
- Obtaining a police report or official report written by your employer
- Talking to the OSHA investigator assigned to your case
- Securing your medical records and speaking with the doctor who treated your initial injuries
- Securing expert witnesses to testify on your behalf at a deposition or at trial
Dallas Construction Accident Lawyer Near Me (214) 941-8300
Timeline to File a Construction Accident Claim
Under Texas law, you have just one year to file a workers’ compensation claim when injured during a construction accident. You then have just two years to file a lawsuit. Both of these timelines begin the minute you suffer the injury. The longer you wait to file a workers’ compensation claim or a lawsuit, the harder it will be to secure the evidence needed to succeed in those claims.
Your injury case could come to a sudden and disappointing end if you fail to comply with the statute of limitations. In most situations, bringing your case after the expiration of the statute requires the court to dismiss your case with prejudice. If your case is dismissed with prejudice, you may lose out on your last chance to seek compensation.
Compensation Available in a Construction Accident Claim
There are three compensation options available to you when injured in a construction accident in Texas: a workers’ compensation claim, a non-subscriber claim, and a third-party claim.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that helps pay your medical expenses and a portion of your salary while you miss work due to an injury suffered on the job. You have 30 days from the date you suffered the injury to notify your employer. Always make a notification in writing so that no one can deny you told them an injury occurred.
Filing a Non-Subscriber Claim
Texas allows employers to opt out of the workers’ compensation program, but it leaves those companies open to lawsuits from their employees who suffer injuries on the job. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) reports that as of 2018, 28% of employers in the state opted out of the workers’ compensation system.
An employee who files a lawsuit against an employer that is a non-subscriber can obtain compensation above what is provided in a workers’ compensation claim, such as the following:
- Excess wage loss
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Filing a Third-Party Claim
If your employer is in the Texas workers’ compensation system, you cannot file a lawsuit against them for an injury suffered on the job. However, you can file a lawsuit against any third party not related to the employer. For example, you will be able to file a lawsuit against any of the following:
- Equipment manufacturer
Third-party claims are quite common in construction accidents because of the multitude of entities involved in a project. Filing a third-party claim does not exclude you from acquiring workers’ compensation benefits. However, this is not a no-fault system. You will still need to prove negligence on the part of the defendant named in the lawsuit in order to recover compensation.
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Why You Need a Dallas Construction Accident Lawyer
As with any type of accident or injury, you need a Dallas construction accident lawyer on your side. A lawyer knows the law, studies it for recent changes, and can use precedents set in previous trials as an advantage when arguing on your behalf. An experienced lawyer does not shy away from going to trial if you cannot reach a settlement agreement with the at-fault party about the amount of compensation you are seeking.
The Texas Construction Industry
Texas is one of the leading states in the country when it comes to construction employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Texas is second in the country behind California for construction jobs, with 608,110 as of December 2021. All told, there are just under 6 million construction workers in the United States right now.
The Dangers of Working in Construction
While working in construction can be a very rewarding career because you get to work with your hands, it can also be quite dangerous. No matter how safe you are on the job, there is always someone else who might not be as safe as you. Aside from co-workers who engage in unsafe practices, you also have defective equipment, unsafe working conditions, and other hazards that pose a risk to your health and well-being.
The hazards construction workers face in Texas include the following:
- Being hit by a falling object
- Falling from heights
- Trench collapses
- Being struck by or stuck in between a piece of equipment
- Explosions and fires
- Hearing loss due to loud noises
- Respiratory diseases from inhaling debris
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Back injuries from repeatedly lifting heavy items
- Eye damage or loss of vision
- Skin diseases from exposure to too much sun or touching hazardous materials
- Crushing or amputation injuries
This is not an exhaustive list of dangers that construction workers face. If you or a loved one has been injured on a construction site, you need the experience of a Dallas construction accident lawyer on your side as you fight for compensation.
Culpability for Construction Accidents in Dallas
Establishing liability will be important if you are filing a construction accident lawsuit. Although worker’s compensation claims do not rely on establishing liability and are paid out regardless of fault, if you are seeking compensation through an insurance claim or the civil courts, establishing culpability is critical.
With that being said, your attorney will need to carefully examine the way in which your construction accident occurred to determine who is at fault. There are many parties who could share blame for your injuries, including:
- Equipment operators
- Machinery operators
- Machinery and equipment designers
- Machinery and equipment distributors
- Machinery and equipment suppliers
- Construction site owners
- Construction workers
- Government agencies
- Safety inspectors
- Other third parties
Only a thorough investigation into the cause of your Dallas construction accident will reveal who is responsible for causing your injuries and should be compelled to cover your damages in their entirety.
Sharing Fault Could Impact Your Injury Settlement
It is far more common than you might think for construction accident victims to be partially at fault for their injuries. In fact, this is one of the top reasons more construction accident victims do not move forward with their cases. If you believe you are not entitled to financial compensation because you share the blame for causing your injuries, you are not alone.
However, Texas does not operate under a contributory negligence system. Instead, Texas follows proportionate responsibility laws. Also commonly known as modified comparative negligence, the law allows injury victims to share up to 50% of the blame for the accident and still recover compensation for their damages. However, if you do share fault for your injuries, you should expect to have your injury settlement reduced.
This is meant to hold you accountable for your portion of the liability. The amount of compensation that will be deducted from your injury settlement will be based on your percentage of liability. For example, if you were distracted by your cell phone while working on a construction site and you were suddenly struck by a falling object, the judge might find you 10% responsible for your head injuries.
If the jury awarded you $500,000 for your damages, your injury settlement would be reduced by 10%, leaving you with a construction accident settlement valued at $450,000. If you are worried that shared fault could influence the outcome of your case, be sure to discuss your concerns with your attorney.
Understanding the Common Causes of Severe Construction Accident Injuries
The construction industry includes many of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Injuries are common among construction workers, with some of these accidents resulting in permanent consequences. While accidents can happen under any number of circumstances, some of the most common causes of construction accidents include:
- Lack of appropriate safety equipment
- Lack of proper training
- Missing or faulty guardrails
- Unguarded or uncovered hazards
- Unsafe scaffolding
When it comes to construction site injuries, the most common type of accident involves a fall. These falls could occur from great heights due to faulty scaffolding. However, serious fall injuries could also occur at ground level.
Other injuries occur due to struck-by accidents. These accidents occur when a person is struck by an object while on a construction site. This could include anything from an object falling from above or a motor vehicle driving through the site. Other common causes of construction site injuries include crushing injuries and electrocution.
The Grounds for a Construction Accident Case in Dallas
Many Dallas construction accident victims are unsure whether they have grounds for a claim. No one wants to be rejected when they reach out to a lawyer for help. When you are lying in your Dallas hospital bed wondering what your next steps should be, you may be looking for some clarity before you will feel confident in reaching out for legal representation.
With that in mind, if you are unsure whether you have grounds for a construction accident claim, it is important to consider whether someone else could be responsible for causing your injuries. Although establishing liability is not always essential to recover compensation depending on the details of your case, if another party’s negligence or misconduct causes your construction accident or subsequent injuries, you may have grounds for an insurance or civil claim against them.
It is also important to consider how impactful your injuries have been. If you suffered minor bumps and bruises and were able to return to work the next day, you may not have a need to move forward with a construction accident lawsuit. However, if you suffered critical head injuries, back injuries, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example, your injuries could have substantially affected your ability to support yourself and your family and otherwise live normally.
If you are unsure how impactful your injuries are or whether someone else is responsible for causing them, your best option is to contact a construction accident lawyer for legal guidance and support. An attorney can listen to the details of your case and offer advice on how to proceed. If we feel you may have grounds for a construction accident insurance or civil claim, we can further discuss how to move forward with your case.
How to Prove Liability
When your case goes to court, your attorney will need to be able to prove liability based on a preponderance of the evidence. The evidence your lawyer presents at trial will need to show the jury that the defendant is more likely than not at fault for causing your construction accident or resulting injuries.
There are countless types of evidence that could be used to prove fault in your case, but some of the more commonly seen in Dallas civil claims include:
- Chemical blood alcohol test results
- Video footage of the accident
- Photos of your construction accident injuries
- Photos of the construction accident scene
- Reports from accident reconstructionists
- Safety inspection logs and reports
- Police reports
- Accident reports
- Forensic evidence
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony
- Cell phone records
- Communication exchanges
- Social media posts
These are just a few of the more common types of evidence that could be used to support your Dallas construction accident claim. Your attorney will review all of the evidence gathered with you as we build a compelling case against the liable party.
Calculating the Value Of Your Dallas Construction Accident Claim
In the aftermath of your construction accident in Dallas, you may be wondering how much you could be awarded if you chose to move forward with your workers’ compensation, insurance, and civil clans. After all, after everything you have been through, you want to be sure that any extra effort you are putting in to get justice is going to pay off in the end.
With that being said, you have the right to be made whole following your Dallas construction accident. That does not mean we expect compensation to make up for what you have been through, but by recovering compensation for your damages, you may feel less of a financial burden going forward.
To ensure every loss is taken into consideration, your attorney will need to consider both your economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are fixed financial losses. They might include:
- Costs of prescription medications
- Costs of medical equipment
- Costs of mental health counseling
- Costs of occupational or physical therapies
- Home accommodation expenses
- Costs of increased insurance premiums
- Loss of income
- Diminished earning capacity, including the loss of 401(k) or retirement savings contributions, bonuses, and salary increases
- Transportation expenses
- Property damages
But financial expenses aside, your life may also have been significantly affected by your injuries in ways that have nothing to do with money. These are commonly referred to as non-economic damages. While they do not have a financial value, that does not mean they are not valuable.
Your attorney will need to review and quantify them accordingly to ensure they are taken into consideration. Some of the more common types of non-economic damages you could collect in your Dallas construction accident claim include:
- Skin scarring
- Loss of consortium
- Diminished quality of life
- Reputational damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of household services
The judge might also determine you should be awarded punitive damages depending on the details of your case. Punitive damages are not commonly awarded, but when they are, it could significantly increase the amount of your injury settlement. Punitive damages are not compensatory losses you have the right to recover. Instead, the court issues punitive damages when they find it appropriate to punish the defendant for gross negligence or reprehensible conduct.
You can learn more about how much your Dallas construction accident claim could be worth when you discuss your damages in great detail with your attorney.
Insurance Settlements May Not Meet Your Needs After a Construction Accident
You may have the right to recover total compensation for your damages, but that does not mean it is going to be easy to get the most out of your claim. You may be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, file a claim with the liable party’s insurance provider, or file a lawsuit against them.
However, if you are relying on an insurance settlement to meet your needs, you may be shocked to discover your insurance settlement offer is far less than you were expecting. Insurance companies are profit-driven above all else. They care more about their own financial profits than they do about making sure your family is compensated fairly for what you’ve been through.
Insurance companies are also only required to compensate injury victims based on the limits of their policyholder’s policy. You could have $500,000 in medical expenses, but if the defendant only purchased $50,000 in medical expenses coverage, the remaining $450,000 will need to be sought after through a civil claim.
If you hope to make sure the insurance company is held accountable for its financial obligation, be sure to have your attorney handle the negotiation process on your behalf.
Our Firm Has a Track Record of Success With Construction Accident Injury Cases
Our firm understands what goes into a winning construction accident case. We thoroughly investigate these accidents to identify the at-fault parties and fully understand how an accident occurred. Our goal is not only to advocate for the injured but also to ensure they seek the compensation they deserve. Over the years, we have secured numerous settlements on behalf of injured construction workers. Some examples include:
- $5 million for a scaffolding collapse that resulted in paralysis
- $4.35 million for serious injuries stemming from poorly maintained guardrails
- $3.83 million for a boom collapse that resulted in fatal injuries
- $5.5 million for an improperly-covered roof opening that resulted in a serious injury
- $4,000,000 for the family of a worker killed due to a lack of inspection of a dangerous condition at a construction site.
- $3,500,000 wrongful death settlement following a trench collapse on a construction project.
- $5,000,000 recovery when a worker was killed due to a falling object
Our approach is not one-size-fits-all, either. We tailor our legal strategies to suit each individual client’s needs. We will give your case the personalized attention it deserves.
Dallas Construction Accident FAQ
The construction accident claims process can often be daunting. You may have many unanswered questions about how to approach your case, who is at fault, what you could be awarded, and more.
With this in mind, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding construction accident claims in Dallas below. If you have additional questions that we did not answer on this page, be sure to contact our office to discuss your concerns in greater detail.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
Although you may be able to avoid going to court, you should always plan for the possibility of bringing your case before a judge and jury. Insurance settlements are rarely enough to cover an injury victim’s needs. By going to court, you have your greatest opportunity to recover maximum compensation for your damages.
With that being said, if the insurance company’s settlement offer meets your needs, you may not have to bring your case to court. You can find out more about what to expect when you discuss the details of your case with your construction accident attorney in Dallas.
What Types of Injuries Occur Most Often in Construction Accidents?
There are some types of injuries seen more frequently in Dallas construction accidents than others. Some of these injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Third-degree burns
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ failure
- Broken and fractured bones
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of limbs
How Much Will It Cost Me to Hire a Lawyer?
Hiring an attorney will not cost you anything upfront. Working with a construction accident attorney is generally based on a contingency agreement. This means your attorney covers all out-of-pocket expenses and the costs of building your case against the liable party. You will not be expected to cover any expenses unless or until we recover compensation in your case.
Can I Handle My Claim On My Own?
Construction accident cases are complex, and it might not be immediately clear what type of legal action you should pursue. Without an attorney, you could miss important deadlines or pieces of evidence. Our firm could provide you with the guidance you need to avoid the pitfalls and seek the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Dallas Construction Accident Attorney Today
Construction accidents frequently lead to life-altering injuries. These debilitating injuries could make it impossible for you to meet your basic daily needs, much less hold down a construction job in the future. The good news is that an injury at a construction site could entitle you to a monetary award.
Did you suffer an injury on a Texas construction site? You deserve to be compensated for your injury. Let the team at the Domingo Garcia Law Office fight for your right to compensation. Call a construction accident lawyer in Dallas or complete our contact form to access a free consultation today.