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 other important structures. Yet, at the same time, construction is one of the most dangerous jobs.
If you suffer an injury as a construction worker, consult a Dallas construction accident lawyer about your rights. We offer a free consultation where we’ll review the details of your case to determine if you have a case; call us today.
What to Do After a Construction Accident in Dallas
In the aftermath of your Dallas construction accident, you may feel 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.
With this in mind, here are 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 accident reports containing valuable information to support your case later.
- While you wait for emergency responders to arrive at the accident scene, try to document the incident and gather evidence. This is a good opportunity to take photos of your injuries, video footage of the accident scene, and photos of the construction accident damages. It would be best if you also tried to obtain statements from any witnesses and gather their contact information.
- Once emergency responders arrive, head to the hospital or your healthcare provider for an evaluation. Ensure your healthcare provider records your injuries, pain levels, prognosis, and other medical information. This could prove valuable when dealing with the insurance company or filing a lawsuit later.
How a Dallas Construction Accident Lawyer Will Help You
Whenever you suffer an injury caused by someone else’s negligent actions, you always need a personal injury attorney. However, this is not a situation you should handle alone. A construction accident lawyer in Dallas will help you with your claim by doing the following:
- Collecting evidence of the accident
- Speaking with any 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 trial
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. And you have two years to file a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death.
All 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 unfairly dismissed, you may lose your last chance to seek compensation.
Compensation Available in a Building Site Injury 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 injury date to notify your employer. Always make a written notification so 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 2022, 25% 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 unrelated 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 many entities involved in a project. However, filing a third-party claim does not exclude you from acquiring workers’ compensation benefits.
However, this is not a no-fault system. You must still prove the defendant’s negligence in the lawsuit to recover compensation.
Why You Need a Dallas Construction Accident Lawyer
As with any accident or injury, you need a Dallas construction accident lawyer. A lawyer knows the law, studies it for recent changes, and uses 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 compensation you seek.
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. In total, just under 6 million construction workers are in the United States.
The Dangers of Working on Building Sites
While working in construction can be a 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, someone else 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 risks 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. However, 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 Building Industry 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, establishing culpability is critical if you seek compensation through an insurance claim or the civil courts.
Your attorney must carefully examine how your construction accident occurred to determine who is at fault. Many parties could share the 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.
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. This is one of the top reasons more construction accident victims do not move forward with their cases. You are not alone if you believe you are not entitled to financial compensation because you share the blame for causing your injuries.
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 recover compensation for their damages. However, if you 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 compensation 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 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 Work Site Accident Injuries
The construction industry includes many of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Injuries are common among construction workers, with some accidents resulting in permanent consequences. While accidents can happen under any number of circumstances, the most common causes of construction accidents include the following:
- Lack of appropriate safety equipment
- Lack of proper training
- Missing or faulty guardrails
- Unguarded or uncovered hazards
- Unsafe scaffolding
Regarding 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 an object strikes a person 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 Building Site Accident Case in Dallas
Many Dallas construction accident victims are unsure whether they have grounds for a claim. So naturally, no one wants to be rejected when they contact a lawyer for help. However, when lying in your Dallas hospital bed wondering about your next steps, you may seek clarity before you feel confident reaching out for legal representation.
With this in mind, if you are unsure whether you have grounds for a construction accident claim, it is important to consider whether someone else was responsible for 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. For example, suppose you suffered critical head injuries, back injuries, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Your injuries could have substantially affected your ability to support yourself and your family and live normally; you likely have a valid claim.
Suppose you are unsure how impactful your injuries are or whether someone else is responsible for causing them. In that case, your best option is to contact a construction accident lawyer for legal guidance and support. An attorney will listen to the details of your case and offer advice on how to proceed. If you may have grounds for a construction accident insurance or civil claim, we’ll further discuss how to move forward with your case.
Ways to Prove Liability
When your case goes to court, your attorney needs 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.
Countless types of evidence 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 the evidence gathered with you as we build a compelling case against the liable party.
Calculating the Value of Your Dallas Personal Injury Claim
In the aftermath of your construction accident in Dallas, you may wonder how much you could be awarded if you chose to move forward with your workers’ compensation, insurance, and civil claims. After everything you have been through, you want to be sure that any extra effort you put in to get justice will ultimately pay off.
You have the legal right to recover all your eligible damages. 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 in the future.
Recovery of Economic Damages
To ensure we consider every loss, your attorney must consider your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are fixed financial losses. They might include:
- Medical bills
- 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
Recovering Non-Economic Damages for Construction Job Injuries
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 must review and quantify them accordingly to ensure they are considered. Common types of non-economic damages you could collect in your Dallas construction accident claim include the following:
- 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 award you 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.
This is because punitive damages are not compensatory losses you have the right to recover. Instead, the court issues punitive damages when it is 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 detail with your attorney.
Insurance Settlements May Not Meet Your Needs After a Construction Site Accident
You may have the right to recover total compensation for your damages, but that does not mean getting the most out of your personal injury claim will be easy. For example, you could file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, a claim with the liable party’s insurance provider, or a lawsuit against them.
However, if you rely on an insurance settlement to meet your needs, you may be shocked to discover your insurance settlement offer is far less than expected. This is because insurance companies are profit-driven above all else. They care more about their financial profits than about making sure your family is compensated fairly for what you’ve been through.
Insurance companies must only compensate injury victims based on their policyholder’s limits. So, for example, you could have $500,000 in medical expenses, but if the defendant only purchased $50,000 in medical expenses coverage, you’ll need to recover the remaining $450,000 through a civil claim.
Have your attorney handle the negotiation process if you hope to ensure the insurance company is held accountable for its financial obligation.
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.
We aim to advocate for the injured and ensure they seek the compensation they deserve. Over the years, we have secured numerous settlements for injured construction workers. Our notable settlements include:
- A $5 million settlement for a scaffolding collapse that resulted in paralysis
- A $4.35 million settlement for serious injuries stemming from poorly maintained guardrails
- A $3.83 million award for a boom collapse that resulted in fatal injuries
- A $5.5 million recovery for an improperly-covered roof opening that resulted in a serious injury
- A $4,000,000 settlement for a worker’s family killed due to a lack of inspection of a dangerous condition at a construction site
- A $3,500,000 wrongful death settlement following a trench collapse on a construction project
- A $5,000,000 recovery for when a worker was killed due to a falling object
Our approach is not one-size-fits-all, either. Instead, we tailor our legal strategies to suit each 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 stressful. 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 we did not answer on this page, contact our office to discuss your concerns in greater detail.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
Although you can 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. Therefore, going to court gives you the 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. However, you can learn 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?
Some types of injuries are 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. However, 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 the legal action you should pursue might be unclear. But, without an attorney, you could miss important deadlines or pieces of evidence. Our firm provides 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 Domingo Garcia fight for your right to compensation. Call a construction accident lawyer in Dallas or complete our contact form for a free consultation today.