Construction sites are among the most hazardous areas to work in Texas. There are many different risks involved in working on these sites, so construction companies must take significant measures to mitigate them. However, these companies can fail their workers. When this happens, the results can be catastrophic.
You or a loved one may be a victim of a catastrophic construction accident. If so, Domingo Garcia can assist you. One of our Odessa construction accident lawyers can represent you in a third-party claim or a lawsuit against a general contractor, a non-subscriber, or your employer. In addition, if you have lost a loved one in an accident, we can represent your family in a wrongful death action. We can tell you more during a free consultation.
What Is a Third-Party Claim for Construction Accidents in Texas?
Suppose you’re employed by or working under a construction company that offers workers’ compensation. If you were injured on the job at a construction site in Texas, you might be considering filing a workers’ comp claim. You could file a claim, but there are many issues with workers’ comp claims. For one, the insurance company may not even approve the claim or might delay processing it. Additionally, you’ll be able to claim only basic financial damages, like your medical expenses and lost work earnings.
Another option that you have in addition to your workers’ compensation claim is to file a third-party claim or lawsuit. This kind of claim is basically a personal injury claim against a party other than an employer. For instance, a worker could file a third-party claim against a product manufacturer if a defective product they worked with caused the injury. Likewise, you may be able to file a third-party claim against a general contractor if they fail to correct job site hazards or another subcontractor if they or their employees contributed to your injury
With this kind of claim, you may be able to claim damages not offered by Texas Workers Compensation, including certain non-financial damages.
What Is a Non-Subscriber Claim for Construction Accidents?
Even though some Texas employers and contractors are not required to offer workers’ compensation insurance to their employees, Texas workers can still seek compensation for their injuries. If you are employed by or working for a construction company or other employer that does not provide workers’ compensation, you may be able to file a non-subscriber claim.
A non-subscriber claim is not a workers’ comp claim. Instead, it is a claim for negligence against your non-subscriber employer or contractor. Like a third-party claim, with a non-subscriber claim, you may be eligible for financial and non-financial damages due to your injuries. And even if you share fault in your injury, the non-subscriber employer cannot use this against you to lower your money recovery. Texas law takes this defense away from employers that choose not to provide workers compensation coverage.
Can I Sue My Construction Employer or General Contractor in Odessa?
You may not have to file any claim at all. Instead, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer or general contractor. However, you might not be able to sue your employer if they provide workers’ compensation coverage. So, it is essential for you to understand your company’s workers’ comp coverage.
The construction accident lawyers at Domingo Garcia can help you determine if your employer has workers compensation insurance or is a non-subscriber—your rights are different depending upon the answer to this question. Do not take your employer’s word on this! We have seen time and time again employee workers misled as to their rights.
Some insurance plans or policies that provide medical and income benefits to employees are NOT workers compensation plans. Employees have much greater rights under these plans—for instance, they can sue their employers for any pain, suffering, or disability they endure and can claim a longer period of loss of earnings or earnings capacity loss. Do not make this decision alone, consult with our expert attorneys who will provide you a free consultation.
In cases where a worker is killed, even if the employer has workers compensation they can be sued in Texas. The wife and children of a deceased employee may sue the employer for gross negligence. Family members can always file a wrongful death lawsuit if they lose a family member in a tragic construction accident due to the negligence of someone other than their employer including the general contractor, a product manufacturer or even another subcontractor.
One of our firm’s construction accident lawyers in Odessa can help you decide whether to file a lawsuit or claim. It may be your best option to file a lawsuit. In this case, you may recover more damages than would be available through a claim. Generally, in Texas, suing is the only way to recover certain “special” damages specific to an accident victim’s particular situation.
Filing an Odessa Construction Accident Claim Against Multiple Parties
Your employer or general contractor may be entirely responsible for your injuries. However, it may not be that simple. Another party or even multiple parties may be responsible. Regardless, one of our firm’s lawyers can help to identify the responsible parties in your case and hold them to account. You and your lawyer may be able to file a claim or lawsuit against each party.
Depending on the nature of your case, any of these parties may be responsible and accountable for your injuries:
- The construction company that employs you
- The general contractor who supervises you
- A subcontractor on the worksite
- An architect, engineer, or designer
- A construction vehicle maintenance provider
- A worksite supplier
- A construction equipment renter
- A construction equipment designer or manufacturer
- An electrician
- A colleague
- A motorist
How do Most Construction Accidents Happen in Texas?
Any of the parties we mentioned above can be negligent on a worksite. Generally, negligence (including gross negligence) is the underlying cause of most accidents, but it can come in many forms.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) states that falls are the leading cause of construction accident-related fatalities in the U.S. Generally, fall incidents happen when a worker falls through an unguarded or uncovered opening in a floor or wall.
OSHA says the other leading causes of construction fatalities and injuries are:
- Electrocutions: These incidents can happen when a worker contacts an energized source, such as a faulty piece of equipment or exposed wiring. Electrocutions can also occur with improper extension cord usage.
- Struck-by incidents: These occur when debris, a piece of machinery, or a vehicle strikes a worker. Most struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment and vehicles, such as trucks, forklifts, or cranes.
- Caught-in or -between incidents: When these incidents occur, a worker gets caught by machinery, caught in a cave-in, or caught between rolling, sliding, or shifting objects, such as a wall and a semi-truck trailer.
Additional Causes of Texas Construction Accidents
The cause of your particular accident may be something we haven’t mentioned yet, such as an issue with:
- Heavy machinery, like a forklift or crane or similar machines
- Hazardous gas, like carbon monoxide
- Piece of defective equipment
- Trench collapse
- Demolition operation
- Explosion or fire
How Are Construction Companies Negligent in Odessa Worksite Accidents?
Unfortunately, many construction companies can be negligent. Other companies, like subcontractors, can be negligent too. Some examples of negligence on construction sites are:
- An employer ignoring regulations, such as OSHA regulations regarding worksite safety
- An employer neglecting to fix machinery, like a crane
- A general contractor failing to provide proper safety equipment
- A construction company neglecting to train workers in worksite safety
- An equipment manufacturer failing to ensure their equipment meets manufacturing standards
- An employee operating equipment, like a truck, unsafely
A personal injury lawyer in Odessa can help provide answers to what can qualify as negligence in your Odessa construction accident. Providing additional details can help you understand when your employer, subcontractor, or company can be held negligent for your workplace injuries at a construction site.
How Are Texas Workers Typically Injured in Construction Accidents?
As a result of your construction accident, you may have severe or even catastrophic injuries. Unfortunately, such injuries are common in construction accidents. These injuries can impair mobility, cognitive ability, and emotional wellness and drastically change how victims live, work, and communicate.
Your injuries may include any of the following or any related injuries:
- Bone injury: Bone fractures can be severe, taking months to heal. Your bone injury may prevent you from working for many months.
- Back injury: Back injuries are common on construction sites. They can occur due to lifting, falls, struck-by accidents, and similar accidents. Your back injury may affect your spine or ligaments, limit your mobility, or lead to paralysis.
- Head injury: Head injuries are commonly caused by vehicle accidents and falls. Many of these injuries can be traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that impair coordination, cognitive function, speech, and even behavior. In some cases, a TBI can cause coma or lead to fatality.
Your injury may be an illness caused by chemical exposure. Hazardous substances, like carbon monoxide, are common in construction areas and can cause physical injury or illness. Due to this, OSHA has implemented certain standards to regulate workers’ exposure to hazardous substances.
What Damages Can I Claim in My Odessa Construction Accident Case?
Your injuries may be substantial, causing many different damages. In a workers’ comp claim, you won’t be able to claim all these damages, so you should consider a
third-party claim, non-subscriber claim, or personal injury lawsuit instead. In your claim or suit, you can demand:
- Complete wage replacement: With a workers’ comp claim, you won’t be able to demand all your lost wages, but you can demand them in another claim or a lawsuit. You may also be able to demand lost benefits, bonuses, and any retirement contributions. Additionally, you could even demand lost earning potential as damages.
- All your medical bills: Workers’ comp won’t necessarily cover all your medical bills. Another claim or a lawsuit can cover all of them, however. It can also cover bills for any medication, home care, surgeries, medical equipment, home alterations, or therapies you may require. It can even cover bills for occupational therapy.
- Your intangible damages: You can’t claim these through workers’ comp, but you can claim them through another claim or a suit. These damages can be pain and suffering, mental anguish, anxiety, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Additional damages: You may be able to claim many other damages, depending on your situation. Such damages may be paralysis, disability, disfigurement, loss of consortium, or even the cost of hiring a house cleaner if your injuries prevent you from resuming your personal care.
The Damages You Can Claim in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you lost a family member in a tragic construction incident, we’re very sorry this has happened. You and your family may be struggling a lot right now. However, by filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to recover many of the damages you’ve been experiencing and may experience in the future.
Such damages could be:
- Funeral and related costs
- The deceased person’s medical expenses
- The deceased person’s income and benefits for your family
- Lost inheritance
- Lost consortium
- Lost spousal companionship
- Lost parental companionship
- Your mental anguish
- Any physical pain your loved one may have experienced
What Is My Odessa Construction Accident Case Worth?
Your case is worth what all your individual damages are worth combined. If you can’t attribute monetary values to all your damages, you can’t determine the value of your case. It can be very difficult to attribute values to intangible damages.
An Odessa construction accident lawyer from our firm can evaluate your intangible damages for you and determine the overall value of your case. Your lawyer will have various methods of evaluating your intangible damages; insurance companies, lawyers, and judges usually recognize and approve of these evaluation methods. Therefore, getting your damages evaluated by one of our lawyers may prevent those entities from devaluing your damages and your case.
Your lawyer can also ask experts for their analysis. For instance, your lawyer could ask a medical expert for an evaluation of your injuries. The expert may be willing to provide a written statement or even court testimony about your damages as related to your construction site accident.
How does an Odessa Construction Accident Lawyer Prove a Case?
An expert’s testimony and a lawyer’s evaluation aren’t enough to prove a construction accident case. These things can help to bolster a case, but they aren’t enough to prove your personal injury case. You should also have evidence of your damages and the responsible party’s negligence.
Your lawyer can collect evidence for you. In your case, there may be many experts who can provide evidence. For example, one of our firm’s experts may be able to provide medical documents for your case. A construction safety consultant may be able to provide insight into how safe your construction site is and how your accident may have happened.
There could be many other sources of evidence for your case. Some of these sources may be:
- Pedestrians or colleagues who witnessed the accident
- A co-worker’s cell phone if they took pictures or video of the accident scene
- Footage from an onsite security camera
- Your construction company’s statement about the incident
- Your submitted injury reports
- The authorities’ incident reports
- Your medical bills
- The maintenance records for the vehicle, machinery, or equipment involved in the incident
How an Odessa Construction Accident Lawyer Establishes Negligence
Evidence of negligence isn’t enough to actually establish negligence in a construction accident case. Your lawyer will also need to show the elements of negligence in your case, which can include:
- The construction company had the responsibility of ensuring you weren’t harmed on your construction site (such as by preventing a fall)
- The company failed in this responsibility (such as by neglecting to cover an opening in a floor)
- The company’s failure led to the incident (such as a slip, trip, or fall)
- The incident led to your injuries and other damages (such as a back injury and paralysis)
Your Construction Accident Lawyer in Odessa Must Establish Other Details Too
There may be additional details your lawyer will have to establish, such as:
- Your damages are directly related to your construction work
- Your damages are as serious as you state they are in your claim or lawsuit
- Your medical treatments were needed and approved
- You were not engaging in any horseplay before the incident occurred
- You were not inebriated before the incident occurred
How Can an Odessa Construction Accident Lawyer Help Me Get My Damages?
Your lawyer will present your claim or lawsuit to the appropriate insurance company and lawyers to recover your due damages. Then, your lawyer will begin negotiating a settlement with them. If you and your lawyer decide to file a claim, you can file a lawsuit later at any point in your case, including during negotiations.
Negotiations are very complex. Often, the other side argues against the damages, evidence, and overall case presented to them. Sometimes, they even refuse to negotiate in good faith. These issues can stall or even stop negotiations.
However, an Odessa construction accident attorney from Domingo Garcia won’t tolerate any unfair or bad-faith behavior from the insurance company or lawyers in your case. If the insurance company isn’t negotiating and compromising, your lawyer can threaten to take them to court as a negotiation tactic. If the other side refuses to settle your case fairly for whatever reason, your lawyer will take them to court. There, your lawyer will negotiate for a fair verdict from a judge instead.
Your Lawyer from Domingo Garcia Can Explain OSHA Regulations
Certain OSHA regulations could be relevant to your case and damages. For example, if you suffered a head injury, OSHA regulations regarding head protection may be relevant.
Your attorney can explain relevant regulations to you and the other party. This may help the insurance company and lawyers understand the severity of your damages and your case. In turn, this may convince them to cover your damages.
How Can I Help Myself in My Odessa Construction Accident Case?
An Odessa construction accident attorney from our firm can take over your entire case from you so you can focus on other matters. You won’t have to worry at all about initiating a claim or resolving your case. However, there are still some things you can do for yourself and your case, such as:
- Get the medical attention you need: You should do this for your health and your family’s sake. It may also be important for your claim or lawsuit. The insurance company may need to know you’re doing everything possible to prevent your injuries from worsening. They can refuse to compensate you for your worsened injuries if they can prove you’re not doing your due diligence by seeking appropriate medical care.
- Get the follow-up attention your doctor recommends: Your doctor may recommend you get additional care beyond the necessary medical care. For example, the doctor might recommend seeing an occupational therapist if you suffered a back injury due to a fall.
- Avoid discussing your case with others: Discuss your case, your accident, and your injuries with your attorney and your family only. Don’t speak about these things with co-workers; avoid posting anything on a work-related forum or social media platform.
- Avoid speaking with the insurance company at all: If you speak with the insurance company, they might try to get you to misrepresent yourself and your case, which could diminish your case. Instead, your attorney can speak with them, represent you, and protect you.
- Begin your case right away: By hiring your attorney and starting your case right away, you’ll give your attorney more time to build up your case and meet any deadlines.
What’s the Deadline for an Odessa Construction Accident Lawsuit?
The main deadline you and your attorney may have to meet is the statute of limitations in Texas. The filing deadline for a personal injury lawsuit or the filing deadline for a wrongful death suit. These deadlines are outlined in Texas’ statutes.
For example, with a personal injury lawsuit, victims have two years to file from the date of an incident. Likewise, with a wrongful death suit, the deceased victim’s family has two years from the date of their loved one’s passing to file a wrongful death claim. Consulting with a construction accident attorney will help you meet important filing deadlines.
Our Odessa Construction Accident Attorneys’ Track Record at Domingo Garcia
For over 30 years now, our attorneys have had a great track record. Our lead attorney, Domingo Garcia, received a spot in the Texas Top 50 Settlement for 2019. Over the years, he and our other attorneys have also:
- Rectified a wrongful death case for $3.83 million for the family of a victim of a concrete pump-related incident
- Resolved a personal injury case for $4.35 million for a victim of an incident involving faulty guardrails
- Resolved another case for $5 million for a victim of a scaffolding collapse
About Our Odessa Construction Accident Firm
Our firm and legal team proudly serve the people of Texas. We serve by representing our clients who are fighting against large companies, like employers and general contractors in the construction industry and their insurance companies. We also represent the families of accident victims, including the families who lost a loved one in a tragic construction site accident.
With over 30 years of experience, we know how to help people who can’t rely on workers’ compensation for all their damages. We’re confident one of our construction accident attorneys in Odessa can help you toward a fair outcome to your case. We’re so confident about your case that we won’t charge you anything for your lawyer’s services unless we are successful with your case.
Since we won’t charge you any upfront or ongoing fees, you should have an easier time affording your medical care. Additionally, we may be able to put a delay on your medical payments until after your case resolves. We may be able to do this even if you’re uninsured.
Contact Domingo Garcia for Your Construction Accident Lawyer in Odessa, TX
If you believe you or your loved one should have our legal services, reach out to us. One of our attorneys can help you with a third-party or non-subscriber claim or lawsuit. We can also help you file a wrongful death suit. We’ll review your options with you during a free consultation and case review.
When you hire one of the construction accident attorneys at Domingo Garcia, you’ll be able to rely on them to fight hard for you and your family. Reach out to Domingo Garcia today for your free consultation and case review.