Individuals working on construction projects are at high risk of accidents, including trips, slips, falls, electrocution, burns, back strains, and being struck by moving machinery. The rapid growth of the construction industry In Bakersfield has led to increased on-site accidents that triggered several high-profile cases. These accidents can happen for various reasons, but studying them further provides an overview of the legal process.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a construction site, consult workers’ comp lawyers in Bakersfield who can help you seek restitution by seamlessly navigating the legal process. The following section will dive into some of the broad issues that all construction workers should be aware of when it comes to filing claims.
Accidents Happen Regardless of Protection
These accidents sometimes occur even when the employer has taken all the measures to keep the work environment safe for workers. But in other cases, construction site accidents and injuries result from careless foramen, property managers, contractors, or even other workers.
Worker’s compensation provides benefits such as medical care and lost wages to workers injured or falling ill because of their job. However, just because you are injured at work doesn’t automatically entitle you to compensation. There are instances where the employer or their insurer may try to dispute your claim.
Operating Heavy Machinery Requires Training
Most construction projects employ heavy machinery, including residential homebuilding and road-building projects. There are risks associated with machinery operation, but the employer must provide workers with adequate training and protective equipment to work safely. This is part of the employer’s duty. Failure to comply will result in a clear case of fault.
Of course, astute employers and managers take precautions to reduce these risks. That said, it’s essential to be careful when using or moving around construction equipment. Anything can happen, including falls, electrocutions, being stuck between components, or being struck by equipment on construction sites.
Compensation May Be Denied for Intoxication or Deliberate Harm
California adheres to a no-fault worker’s compensation model. Injured construction workers must prove their firm’s negligence or liability to snag compensation. The amount an injured worker gets does not increase or decrease based on the employer’s degree of fault.
Also, the employer has no right to argue that the employee was at fault for the accident and their injuries or death. That said, a thorough investigation is always conducted to determine whether there’s a third-party responsible for the accident, too.
The investigator will examine OSHA reports, witness statements, video footage, and scene photographs. If the investigation determines that the worker suffered injuries because they were intoxicated or wanted to injure themselves or someone else, their claim will be denied.
Compensation Won’t Be Paid for Injuries That Are Not Work-Related
For an injured construction worker to be entitled to California’s worker’s comp benefits, the employer or insurer must agree that the injury occurred while the individual was on site.
Generally, construction employees are afforded more protection from these kinds of liabilities than employers in other industries. Claims are only successful if the employee was injured while actively at work or on the construction site during business hours and reported the incident within 30 days.
However, there are cases where the employer might argue that the injury or illness is not job-related. In these cases, compensation will be paid once a judge rules on the matter.
The injured worker may apply for disability benefits while awaiting the ruling. Any payments received under the Disability Program will be taken from the employee’s future workers’ compensation.
What Injuries Are Covered?
Under California’s worker’s comp laws, you are entitled to compensation if you are injured on duty. Commonly covered injuries include burns, back injuries, head injuries, spinal injuries, electrocutions, lacerations, hearing loss, etc. You can file a worker’s comp claim or even add a third-party claim if the individual at fault is not your employer. Adding a third-party claim increases the overall compensation.
Furthermore, some accidents are due to faulty machinery parts. In such cases, it’s possible to seek compensation from the manufacturer for the defective equipment and claim worker’s compensation benefits. All in all, it’s always wise to consult with an attorney for legal representation.
Even though California follows a no-fault model, construction site accidents are overly intricate and require a deep understanding of OSHA regulations, workers’ compensation laws, and personal injury laws.