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Construction Site Accidents in Houston: Your Legal Guide to Compensation

Posted on March 18, 2024 in

Construction sites are dangerous places where accidents can happen, even with strict safety protocols. In Houston, where the construction industry thrives, workers can be at risk daily. If an accident occurs, it is essential to understand your rights and options for compensation.

The Nature of Construction Site Accidents

Common Causes

Various factors, such as falls from heights, electrocutions, machinery malfunctions, falling objects, and collapses, can cause construction site accidents. These incidents usually result from negligence, inadequate training, defective equipment, or unsafe working conditions.

Impact on Victims

The consequences of accidents at construction sites can be devastating, leading to severe injuries, disabilities, or even fatalities. In addition to physical harm, victims may endure emotional trauma, financial burdens, and prolonged rehabilitation periods, which can affect their quality of life and livelihood.

Legal Considerations in Houston

Worker’s Compensation

Texas law requires employers to provide worker’s compensation insurance, which covers medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation, and death benefits for dependents in fatal cases.

Benefits Covered

Worker’s compensation benefits typically cover the following expenses and losses:

Medical Expenses

Worker’s compensation covers the cost of medical treatment related to workplace injury or illness. Medical bills can pile up from doctor visits, hospital stays, surgery, medication, physical therapy, and other necessary medical services.

Lost Wages

If the injury or illness prevents the employee from working, worker’s compensation can partially replace lost wages. The amount of compensation is usually a percentage of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum limit set by state law.

Rehabilitation

Worker’s compensation may cover vocational rehabilitation costs, such as job retraining or counseling, to help the employee return to work or find new employment if necessary.

Death Benefits

In the unfortunate event of a fatal workplace injury or illness, worker’s compensation provides death benefits to the employee’s dependents, including compensation for funeral expenses and ongoing financial support.

Eligibility

To be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits in Houston, an employee must meet certain criteria, including:

Employment Status

The individual must be classified as an employee rather than an independent contractor.

Work-Related Injury

The injury or illness must have occurred in the course and scope of employment, meaning it must be directly related to the employee’s job duties or activities performed on behalf of the employer.

Timely Reporting

The employee must report the injury or illness to their employer within a specified timeframe, usually within 30 days of the incident or when the injury became apparent.

Medical Treatment

The employee must seek medical treatment for the injury or illness and follow the prescribed treatment plan to be eligible for benefits.

Third-Party Liability

Suppose an accident is caused by the negligence of a third party, such as a manufacturer of equipment, a property owner, or a subcontractor. In that case, the victim may seek additional compensation besides worker’s compensation. This compensation may include damages for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and punitive damages.

Steps to Take After an Accident

Seek Medical Attention

Priority should be given to seeking medical assistance for injuries, ensuring proper incident documentation, and medical treatment received.

Report the Incident

Notify your employer or supervisor immediately and ensure the accident is documented in writing. Include details such as date, time, location, witnesses, and a description of the incident.

Preserve Evidence

Collect and preserve evidence, including photographs of the accident scene, equipment involved, and any safety violations observed. Obtain contact information from witnesses.

Consult Legal Counsel

Seek guidance from an experienced Houston construction accident attorney to understand your rights, evaluate potential compensation options, and navigate the legal process effectively.

Factors Influencing Compensation

Extent of Injuries

The severity and long-term implications of injuries significantly impact the compensation amount, considering medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and loss of earning capacity.

Contributory Negligence

Texas follows a modified comparative fault system, where compensation may be reduced if the victim’s actions contributed to the accident. However, compensation is barred if the victim is found 51% or more at fault.

Insurance Coverage

The availability and limits of insurance coverage, including worker’s compensation and liability policies, influence the potential compensation recoverable by the victim.

Legal Recourse for Victims

Personal Injury Lawsuits

Victims can file personal injury lawsuits against negligent parties, seeking compensation for damages not covered by worker’s compensation, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, and punitive damages.

Wrongful Death Claims

In cases of fatal construction site accidents, surviving family members can pursue wrongful death claims against liable parties to recover damages for loss of financial support, funeral expenses, and emotional distress.

Statute of Limitations

Worker’s Compensation Claims

In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing worker’s compensation claims is one year from the date of injury or the date the injury becomes apparent.

Personal Injury Lawsuits

For personal injury lawsuits arising from construction site accidents, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the injury.

Seek Legal Guidance

Construction site accidents in Houston are capable of causing devastating consequences for the victims and their families. However, it is crucial to understand the legal options for obtaining compensation to access the necessary support and resources to aid recovery.

By taking prompt action, preserving evidence, and seeking legal guidance, victims can navigate the complexities of the legal system and secure the compensation they deserve. Call The Alfred Firm at (713) 470-9714 for a free consultation if you or a loved one has been injured in a construction site accident. We will advocate for your rights and help you rebuild your life.