Charleston, WV Construction Accident Lawyer
Both residential and commercial construction help to keep our economy humming. Yet construction sites also present certain dangers, particularly when it comes to unsafe working conditions in and around jobs.
Employees who are hurt in construction accidents may be covered by their company’s workers’ compensation benefits. However, workers’ comp often isn’t enough to pay for the medical expenses and other losses that many construction workers suffer. In many cases, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of an experienced construction accident attorney.
At Johnstone & Gabhart, we represent injury victims who have been hurt in all types of accidents. We use our knowledge of West Virginia personal injury law to help our clients get the compensation that they deserve for their injuries. Our law firm offers free initial consultations, and we never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.
Who Is Responsible for a Construction Site Accident?
When a construction worker or another person is hurt on a construction site, they may be able to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party or parties. Depending on the facts of the case, the responsible party may be:
- The property owner;
- A construction company;
- A machine or equipment manufacturer;
- An architect;
- An engineer;
- A contractor or subcontractor;
- A fellow construction worker; or
- A city or government agency.
These cases are usually based on a theory of negligence, which means a failure to use the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation. For example, if a subcontractor on a job site failed to properly shore up a trench, leading to a collapse, then the contractor may be liable for any construction accident injuries that result.
The injury victim (plaintiff) will need to prove that the responsible party (defendant) was negligent in some way in order to recover compensation for their losses. The type of proof that a plaintiff will need is based on the type of negligence involved. In an ordinary negligence case, a plaintiff will need to show that:
- The defendant owed them a duty of care;
- The defendant breached (violated) that duty in some way;
- The defendant’s breach was the proximate or but-for cause of the plaintiff’s injuries; and
- The plaintiff suffered losses as a result.
However, there may be situations where an injured construction worker does not have to prove that the defendant was negligent. For example, a dangerous or defective product is a type of personal injury claim known as product liability. If a plaintiff can show that they were injured by a product because of a manufacturing defect, design defect, or inadequate warnings, then the defendant will be held strictly liable for their losses.
By contrast, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that you do not have to prove that your employer did anything wrong in order to get benefits – just that you suffered a work-related injury or developed an occupational disease related to your job. Although this system makes it easier for injured workers to get benefits, the compensation is often far more limited than what you may recover through a personal injury claim.
Liability in construction accident lawsuits can be complicated. The best way to ensure that you get top dollar for your injuries is to work with a seasoned WV construction accident lawyer.
What Compensation Can I Recover for My Construction Injuries?
After a construction accident, an injured worker may be limited to filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Most employers in West Virginia are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. It is generally considered an exclusive remedy, which means that employees who are hurt on the job cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer.
However, there are situations where an injured construction worker can file a personal injury claim. If an employer intentionally or deliberately places an employee in a dangerous situation, then the worker may be able to file what is known as a Mandolidis claim. This is a type of personal lawsuit that takes a case outside of the workers’ compensation insurance system.
Alternatively, if someone other than an employer was negligent in some way, then an injured worker may file a third-party claim against them. These lawsuits are typically filed in addition to any workers’ comp claims (unlike Mandolidis claims).
Through a personal injury lawsuit, an injured worker may recover compensation for their full range of injuries, including:
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Future medical treatment
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In rare cases, such as when a defendant acts intentionally or recklessly, punitive damages may be available. Punitive damages are meant to punish a wrongdoer, rather than compensate an individual for their losses, so they are not awarded in cases that involve negligence.
While workers’ compensation benefits can be incredibly important in providing medical care and cash payments in the immediate aftermath of a work-related injury, they often are insufficient to cover all of an injured workers’ losses. Our legal team will analyze every aspect of your case to determine if we can file a personal injury case in addition to or instead of a workers’ comp claim.
With more than 50 years of combined experience in personal injury law, our construction accident lawyers are well-equipped to take on insurance companies and large employers to ensure that our clients get the money that they need and deserve for their injuries. If you have suffered a construction site injury, reach out to our law firm today to schedule a free consultation with our WV workers’ compensation lawyers.
Types of Construction Accident Cases We Handle
In order to construct the buildings and infrastructure on which our society depends, construction workers bear a burden of risk on a daily basis. Construction workers are often on their feet for hours in unsafe and difficult conditions. Management and construction companies all too often focus on the bottom line while ignoring safety. Additionally, third parties may utilize negligent practices that cause serious injuries on job sites.
When construction workers are injured, workers’ compensation benefits may not be sufficient to cover long-term rehabilitation, recovery, and lifestyle changes. Our legal team closely examines construction accident cases to determine if an injured worker can pursue a personal injury lawsuit in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.
We represent individuals in all types of construction accident cases, including:
- Contractor negligence/subcontractor negligence
- Falls and falling object cases resulting from unbarricaded openings
- Scaffolding accidents
- Electric shock injury/electrical accidents
- Welding accidents
- Construction crane accidents
- Equipment failures
- Crane, bulldozer, forklift, and other vehicle accidents
- Hazardous material exposure
- Occupational disease
- Safety equipment failures
- Industrial accidents
- Heavy equipment accidents
When a construction worker dies as a result of their injuries, their survivors may pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault parties.
Each case begins with a free initial consultation. During this appointment, we will listen to your story and offer you advice about your rights and options for pursuing a claim. If you decide to hire our law firm, we will get to work right away to investigate the facts of your case and determine who may be liable for any injuries that you have suffered.
Hurt in a Construction Site Accident? We’re Here for You.
Construction accidents can lead to serious injuries, such as broken bones, paralysis, internal organ damage, and traumatic brain injuries. In some cases, accidents on construction projects can lead to fatal injuries. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a construction accident, our law firm is here to help.
At Johnstone & Gabhart, we are dedicated to helping accident victims get justice for their injuries. We will work directly with you to build the strongest possible case for compensation, whether through a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with our team of experienced construction accident lawyers, give us a call at 877-416-5457 or fill out our online contact form.