Construction accidents often result in extensive physical and financial damage to victims and their families. However, Texas state and federal laws are in place to protect Houston workers from injury and help them recover after an accident.
You may be entitled to significant compensation when you are involved in a construction accident. The best way to hold the liable parties accountable is to secure assistance from an experienced Houston construction accident attorney.
Our personal injury law firm will help you with your insurance claim or construction accident lawsuit. We will investigate your injury, speak to witnesses, and hire experts to ensure you get the biggest settlement possible. Call us to discuss your case.
The Grim Reality of Texas Construction Sites
Those working in construction or visiting a job site may get exposed to hazardous substances, loud noises, and heights. All these factors make construction one of the most dangerous industries for workers across the United States.
In fact, according to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) 2021 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, the construction industry had the second highest fatality rate (after transportation and warehousing). There were 533 fatal occupational injuries, with 127 (about 24%) arising from construction accidents.
Leading Causes of Severe and Fatal Injuries
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of construction accident deaths nationwide. In 2020, out of 1,008 construction fatalities in the United States, 351 resulted from a fall from another level. These accidents often result from the:
- Lack of proper safety equipment like harnesses and lanyards
- Lack of fall protection training or proper safety protocols
- Lack or improper maintenance of guardrails
- Unsafe or faulty scaffolds (or other types of scaffolding accidents)
- Unguarded or uncovered holes or openings in the floor or wall
Other Causes for Construction Accident Industries
In addition to falls, OSHA names three other types of construction accidents leading to severe injuries and fatalities:
- Struck-by accidents: These occur when a vehicle, piece of machinery, or falling object hits a worker or construction site bystander. According to OSHA, about three-fourths of struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment, like forklifts, trucks, or cranes.
- Caught in or between accidents: This type of accident happens when a worker or individual is caught in a cave-in, caught by machinery, or compressed between shifting, sliding, or rolling objects (such as between a semi-truck trailer and a loading dock wall).
- Electrocutions: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 80% of contract worker electrocutions happen in the construction industry. Furthermore, around 60% of accidental electrocution injuries or deaths occur due to direct contact with electricity.
Other common incidents include heavy machinery accidents, defective equipment, explosions, and fires. Unsafe demolition operations and trench collapses also cause a high number of victims. In addition, hazardous gasses like sewer gas, carbon monoxide, or other dangerous fumes may lead to life-threatening illnesses.
However your injury occurred, our Houston construction site accident lawyers will investigate the incident’s circumstances and determine who is responsible. We will help you build a case proving liability and seek the financial compensation owed to you.
The Most Common Catastrophic Injuries
Construction accidents may result in permanent and disabling injuries that can change a victim’s way of life. A catastrophic injury might affect mobility, cognitive functioning, and mental and emotional well-being, changing how you live, work, and interact with loved ones.
Common injuries that result from life-altering construction accidents include:
- Back and spinal cord injuries: Construction-related back injuries can occur due to falls, struck-by accidents, and heavy lifting. While all back injuries may potentially limit your mobility, those involving the spinal cord might result in complete or partial paralysis below the injury site.
- Head injuries: According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, falls and vehicle accidents (commonly occurring on construction sites) are among the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Head injuries can lead to severe and disabling symptoms, including problems with balance.
- Broken bones: If you suffer an open fracture in which the bone protrudes through the skin, you may risk infection and scarring. Broken bones can result in high medical bills, time lost at work while you heal, and might cause permanent complications, such as pain and stiffness.
- Severe injury and illness due to harmful chemical exposure: Some gasses, like sewer gas, can overcome and kill a utility worker within seconds. OSHA has established standards to regulate workers’ exposure to harmful substances and working in confined spaces.
If you sustained these or any other construction site injury, you might qualify for compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost earnings, and more. Our Houston construction accident attorneys will help prove your injury is work-related or resulted from the negligent actions of an involved party.
Seeking Workers’ Compensation Benefits
According to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the state does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation. Although, those who opt out of providing coverage leave themselves open to civil lawsuits.
Under workers’ compensation, you do not need to prove your employer or anyone else behaved negligently to receive payments. Instead, you need only show that your injury occurred during the “course and scope” of your employment. According to Texas Labor Code § 401.011, workers’ compensation includes:
- Medical benefits: Medical payments cover all your necessary job injury-related treatment. This includes emergency transportation and treatment, diagnostic testing, medical procedures, prescription medications, doctor bills, hospital fees, and physical therapy.
- Partial wage replacement benefits: Workers’ compensation insurance provides a partial replacement for wages lost due to your work injury. How much you can receive and for how long depends on several factors, including whether you may work in any capacity during your recovery.
- Vocational rehabilitation: If you cannot return to your previous job, even after reaching your maximum recovery, you may qualify for a vocational rehabilitation program to assist with job training and finding new employment.
- Death benefits: If your loved one suffered a fatal workplace injury, surviving dependents are eligible for death benefits of up to 75% of the deceased’s pre-injury weekly wage and up to $10,000 in funeral and burial costs.
Our experienced attorneys will tell you more about the specific benefits available in your case. In addition, we will help determine your eligibility for different types of damages and help you access maximum compensation.
Report the Accident
According to the TWC, you must notify your employer and file an injury report within 30 days of sustaining your construction accident injury. In addition, you must file your workers’ compensation claim within one year. Finally, if you disagree with your impairment rating, you have 90 days to appeal.
Our legal team will help you file your workers’ compensation claim before time runs out. We will fight for the maximum available benefits and assist with necessary appeals.
Non-Subscriber Employers in Texas
When an employer does not carry workers’ compensation, they are referred to as a non-subscriber. In Texas, non-subscriber employers who negligently cause an injury through the employer’s or a co-employee’s act may be sued for all damages, including pain and suffering and physical impairment.
Moreover, a non-subscriber employer may not blame the employee for any or part of the accident (even when there is some fault on the employee). Many employees do not know that their employers are “non-subscribers” because they might receive benefits identical to workers’ compensation.
Seek legal advice on whether your employer is a subscriber or non-subscriber to workers’ compensation after an on-the-job accident; your rights to recover money damages will differ if they are non-subscribers. Our attorneys will also represent you in a non-subscriber workplace case.
Filing Lawsuits and Liability Insurance Claims
In most cases, you cannot sue your employer if they provide workers’ compensation insurance. However, you may pursue a liability insurance claim or civil lawsuit against your employer if they do not have coverage in a “non-subscriber” case.
Identifying the At-Fault Party
You may also pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent third party if they are a cause or contribute to your injury in addition to receiving workers’ compensation benefits, such as:
- A general contractor or other subcontractors at the construction company
- An architect, engineer, or designer
- A job-site supplier
- A property owner or manager
- An equipment manufacturer
- An equipment rental company
- The entity in charge of equipment or vehicle maintenance
- The driver of a private vehicle visiting or traveling through a construction site
- A reckless or negligent coworker
You can also pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit if you suffered injuries as a construction site visitor or bystander.
As with workers’ compensation, you can recover all your injury-related medical expenses. You may also seek additional damages not available through workers’ compensation. Depending on your case, you might recover:
- Complete wage replacement: A lawsuit allows you to recover the entirety of your lost income, including wages, benefits, bonuses, and retirement contributions. You can also seek awards for losing your future earning potential if your construction injury forces you to change jobs.
- Pain and suffering: If you suffered a devastating injury, your pain and suffering damages might be significant. You may seek an award for physical, mental, and emotional distress.
- Physical disability: If your injury has left you with future impairment, you may recover for this loss. If you are limited in how much you can walk, move, stand, or use any part of your body, these limitations are the basis for recovery.
- Medical bills: If you have incurred past medical bills or will have future medical, therapy, surgery, or life care bills, you may recover these in a construction accident lawsuit.
- Disfigurement: If your construction accident has left you with disfiguring scars, Texas law allows you to receive full compensation for this disfigurement.
- Miscellaneous damages: Our Houston lawyers will identify fair compensation for various other expenses, including the value of household services you cannot perform due to your injury (cleaning, cooking, driving, etc.) and medically necessary home and vehicle modifications.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation, the only way to recover your financial losses is through a lawsuit or claim against a third party.
The Texas Statute of Limitations for Work Injuries
According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, you generally have two years from when you suffered or discovered your injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, depending on the case details, you might have more time or less.
The court will likely bar you from pursuing compensation if the statute of limitations expires.
The statute of limitations will also affect your personal injury claim. Insurance adjusters may use an expired time limit to reduce or deny your settlement. Therefore, getting started on your case as soon as possible is always a good idea.
Pursuing Wrongful Death Damages
As mentioned, workers’ compensation provides death benefits. However, if you qualify to step outside the insurance system, we will help you seek additional awards with a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71, a deceased’s surviving family members can seek the compensation they could have pursued with a personal injury claimed had they lived. Wrongful death compensation may include:
- The deceased’s accident-related medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- The deceased’s lost wages, earnings, and benefits
- Lost inheritance (including savings the deceased would likely have earned and left) had they lived
- Loss of the deceased’s love, comfort, society, and companionship
- Surviving family members’ mental pain and suffering
The deceased’s surviving spouse, children, and parents can pursue a wrongful death accident claim. If a qualified family member does not bring a case within three months of the death, the deceased’s representative (executor) may take action.
According to the statute of limitations, you generally have two years from the incident that caused your loved one’s fatal injury to file suit. However, certain factors can influence the deadline.
If your spouse’s or parent’s employer carried workers’ compensation but is found guilty of gross negligence in causing their death, they may be sued for punitive damages. This right is protected by Texas’ Constitution and is in the Texas Labor Code.
Proving Liability for Your Construction Accident Damages
To collect workers’ compensation benefits, you must prove that your injury occurred in the workplace or is work-related. However, you do not need to prove that your employer or any other party acted negligently.
That said, you may need to defend yourself against allegations that could lower your injury settlement or disqualify you from receiving payment, including:
- Your injury is not work-related
- Your injury is not as severe as you claim
- Your medical treatment is unnecessary or not approved
- Your injury occurred because you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- You caused your injury due to gross personal negligence
- Your injury resulted from a willful criminal act or self-injury
- Your injury was due to an “act of God”
Construction Accident Negligence
If you are seeking compensation through a liability insurance claim or lawsuit, you will need to show that your injury resulted from an at-fault party’s negligent, wrongful, or reckless behavior.
Examples of construction accident negligence include:
- Failure to provide workers with proper job and safety training
- Failure to correct a dangerous condition or allow a dangerous activity to occur
- Failure to ensure subcontractors have the appropriate safety experience and record
- Failure to inspect or maintain equipment like scaffolding and guardrails
- Failure to provide safety equipment or adhere to safety regulations, including OSHA regulations
- Manufacturing defects in tools, equipment, or vehicles
- Failure to operate equipment safely, including forklifts, cranes, and job vehicles
How Will Our Houston Attorneys Help With Your Case?
You have enough on your plate dealing with your injuries. Our legal team will use our investigative resources, expert relationships, and 35 years of legal experience to help you secure the money you need to get back on your feet. We will:
Our attorneys will collect physical data, medical records, accident reports, witness statements, photographs, video, and other evidence to prove that your injury happened on the job and was not your fault.
We will use this information to build a robust case proving that another party is financially liable for your damages.
Calculate Your Losses
Our experienced team will review your wage records, medical bills, receipts, and other proof of expenses to calculate and pursue every dollar owed to you. We will also fight for a fair sum for your non-economic damages, including pain and suffering.
Consult With Experts
We may speak with your doctors (with permission) to understand the extent of your injuries and the cost of your treatment (including future medical needs). We might also speak with vocational experts and economists to understand how your injuries impact your finances and your ability to work.
Additionally, we may enlist the help of an accident reconstruction specialist to prove how and why your injury happened.
Communicate With Involved Parties
We will handle all phone calls, emails, and meetings with insurance representatives and opposing attorneys. This saves you the headache and protects you from accidentally saying or doing something that could hurt your case.
Fight for You During Negotiations
Our goal is to secure the maximum compensation possible in your case. Therefore, we will aggressively represent you and your best interests and work tirelessly to recover your deserved awards.
Offer Reliable Legal Support
While seeking compensation, our experienced team will stand by your side and defend your rights. We are here to handle issues as they arise, keep you informed, and answer your questions.
We will shoulder your insurance or legal burden, so you save your time and energy for healing. We will even help you with medical treatment and consultations until we win your case.
Represent You at Trial
We do not back down from tough cases and will not shy away from taking your case to trial if necessary. Our team of skilled professionals is committed to fighting for your rights and has extensive experience in handling cases involving workplace accidents.
Secure Multi-Million Dollar Awards at No Upfront Cost
Justice is for everyone, not just the wealthy. We want to ensure all Texans have access to legal representation, and we do not want the cost of an experienced construction accident lawyer to stand in the way.
We take cases on contingency. This means our fee comes from a percentage of your insurance settlement or verdict, and we do not get paid unless we win your case. We charge nothing upfront or out-of-pocket, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Our multi-million dollar successful construction accident settlements include:
- $4.35 million for a worker injured due to failure to maintain guardrails
- $3.83 million settlement for the family of a man killed due to a boom collapse on a concrete pump
- $5 million for a victim paralyzed when scaffolding collapsed
- $3 million for an injured worker who suffered severe fractures after being struck by a forklift
- $4.5 million settlement for a young worker killed by an improperly constructed door
- $5.5 million for a construction worker injured due to an improperly covered roof opening
How Can You Help With Your Case?
There are several things you can do to increase the chances of a successful case outcome, including:
- Seek medical care immediately if you have not done so already. This is important for your health and for creating a case record.
- Follow your doctor’s orders. Failure to do so could result in the denial of your claim.
- Do not speak to the insurance company. If an agent contacts you, be polite, but do not go into detail about your accident, injury, treatment, or damages. Do not agree to give a recorded statement. Instead, direct the insurance company to our construction injury attorneys.
- Do not discuss your accident or injury with anyone other than your attorney and family. Likewise, do not post about your accident on social media.
- Keep a daily diary detailing your physical health, pain levels, and emotional and mental well-being. You may also note how your injury interferes with your daily life. This record might help recover pain and suffering compensation.
Through close collaboration with your Houston construction accident attorney, you can build a strong case and increase the chances of a successful outcome.
Call Domingo Garcia for Assistance With Your Houston Construction Accident Case
Do not suffer further for an accident you did not cause. You deserve compensation if you sustained injuries on the job or due to another party’s negligence. Houston construction accident lawyers at Domingo Garcia will represent you with compassion, respect, and tenacity.
Your medical treatment, recovery time, and other losses should not come at the expense of your or your family’s comfort or financial stability. The same is true if you lost a loved one in a fatal construction accident.
Let us handle your case so you can focus on your health and your family. To learn more about our services and the potential value of your case, contact us today for a free consultation.