You may be sabotaging your construction site injury claim without even realizing it. Even if you haven’t filed your claim yet, you might be making mistakes that could ruin your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. Many of these mistakes are made because corporations and insurance companies deliberately misinform you of your legal rights. If you were wondering who is on your side in a work injury, it’s not your employer or the insurance company. The good news is that when you hire a work injury attorney, they are on your side. The best way avoid sabotaging your claim is to consult a work injury attorney right away.
5 ways to sabotage your construction site injury claim
Construction site work injuries tend to be more serious than injuries in other industries. Because of this fact, companies and their insurance companies spend millions of dollars each year figuring out ways to avoid paying you anything for your injuries. That’s where we come in. Our extensive experience helping people injured working in the construction industry means we’ve seen every trick, every trap, and every tactic these companies use to try and get you to sabotage your own claim.
The top five ways these companies try to get you to sabotage your own injury claim include:
1. Tell you they have worker’s compensation insurance when they don’t.
In Texas and some other states, companies aren’t required to subscribe to the state’s worker’s compensation insurance program. The company may call their insurance plan “worker’s compensation,” or lead you to believe they have some sort of coverage when they really don’t have any. This tactic has caused many thousands of workers to file worker’s compensation claims with the Texas Department of Insurance, only to discover there is no worker’s compensation. This delay can be incredibly damaging to your physical recovery and your chances of being compensated fairly.
2. Tell you not to file an incident report.
Incident reports are crucial to your work injury claim, so if your company tells you to not worry about filing the incident report, you should take this as a major red flag the company is up to no good. We’ve helped clients who were told the company would fill out the report, that all they needed to do was sign at the bottom. They then discovered the company wrote a false report that placed all the blame on them. But their signature was on it, so the company used it to say they agreed with the fake report. We’ve helped clients who were told not to fill out an incident report. But when they filed their injury claim, the company denied the injury ever happened because there wasn’t an incident report on file.
The fact of the matter is that you are not legally required to sign an incident report – or any paperwork – in order for your claim to be processed. The incident report is important in proving your case in court, but the company and insurance adjuster are able to process your claim without one. If you’re stuck in a situation where the company said you didn’t need an incident report, write one yourself. If there were witnesses to the incident, you can ask them to either sign on to your report or write statements about what they saw.
3. Make you sign papers in order to see a doctor
Companies can’t prevent you from getting medical attention by claiming you have to sign forms first. Legally, companies cannot withhold medical care from you. This is a way to get you to sign away your legal rights.
We’ve had companies go into hospital rooms and tell patients still under the effects of anesthesia after emergency surgery that they had to sign papers right then and there. They were told to sign them in order for the company to pay for the very expensive emergency surgery that just happened. What the company was really doing was getting our client to sign away his right to file a lawsuit against the company. He had no idea what he was signing. He was just ordered to do it.
4. Don’t tell you about third party claims
A third party claim is when a company or an employee of another company is responsible for your work injury. For example, if you are working for a scaffolding company and a person drives a forklift into the scaffolding, causing you to fall and seriously injure yourself, you can pursue a third party claim against the forklift driver’s employer at the same time as when you file your work injury claim. Third party claims can be very valuable. Many construction site injuries are caused by third parties, so it is important that you consult an attorney about your case to make sure. You may be walking away from a lot of money if you don’t ask about any potential third party claims.
5. Try to say you can’t file a claim because you’re an independent contractor
Some companies will try to prevent you from filing an injury claim by calling you an independent contractor. However, if you truly are an independent contractor, the company’s effort has backfired. Independent contractors can file third party claims against the company responsible for their injuries. So if you truly are an independent contractor, you may have a very valuable claim on your hands.
The bottom line is that companies don’t want to pay you anything for your work-related injuries. They do not care about how loyal you are or how hard you worked for them. Their responsibility is to make money. And compensating you for your injuries reduces their profit margin.
Take these steps to protect your rights after being injured in a construction accident
First, seek medical treatment. Having your injuries documented is important to proving your case in court. The second step to take is to make sure there’s an accurate account of what happened. Whether it’s the company’s official report or your handwritten report, document everything. Third, consult an attorney right away.
Before you consult an attorney, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is responsible for my injuries? Did any other companies have employees working at my job site?
- What happened in the moments leading up to me being injured? Who did what and why?
- Was my supervisor on site when I got injured?
- How could the incident have been prevented?
- Was I given the right safety equipment for the job? The right training?
- Was any equipment broken? Defective?
- Was any paperwork completed or signed after I got hurt?
- Did the company violate safety rules?
Even if the answer to these questions is “I don’t know,” they will help prepare you for meeting with a work injury attorney. At the initial consultation, they will review your case with you. Having as much of this information as possible will help them analyze your case properly.
What if the company violated OSHA rules?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets and enforces standards and provides training, outreach, education, and assistance to companies and workers. OSHA rules are in place to protect you, but that doesn’t mean companies always follow them. If you were injured because your company ignored OSHA’s safety rules or if you lost a loved one because the company didn’t follow OSHA safety rules, you have a legal right to hold the company accountable.
One example of the consequences of violating OSHA safety laws is the result we obtained for 43 workers injured in a plant explosion. On February 8, 2011 an explosion occurred at a natural gas storage facility in Southeast Texas, injuring dozens of workers. 43 of the construction and refinery workers hired us to help them get the medical care they needed to recover from their injuries and to hold the responsible companies accountable. Multiple companies had employees at the site, which was owned by Enterprise.
OSHA obtained a warrant to investigate the explosion. The agency found that Turner Company failed to give its employees proper instructions and failed to supervise them properly. OSHA also found that Enterprise did not give workers the correct procedure to follow so that they could avoid over-stressing the pipe that ultimately exploded. Based on OSHA’s findings and our own independent investigation, our lawyers proved that the company had not taken measures to protect the workers even though there had previously been two accidents in the same area.
What damages can an attorney help you recover?
Many fatalities occur at construction sites which result in a serious injury or death. State and federal workplace safety rules and regulations protect construction workers. If you have been injured on a construction site, you may be able to be compensated for:
- past and future lost wages
- your medical bills and future medical expenses
- past and future counseling costs
- the cost of physical therapy
- mortgage and rent costs
- your pain and suffering
- loss of consortium for widows or widowers
Each case is unique, however getting the company responsible for your injuries to compensate you fairly can require the help of an experienced attorney. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to file a lawsuit and expose their unsafe practices in court in order for you to be paid the money you are legally owed for your injuries.
If you have been seriously injured in a construction accident or are confused on what to do next, contact our firm for a free consultation today. We will make sure have the information you need so you don’t accidentally sabotage your claim. Give us a call at 877-724-7800 now. We will answer all of your questions, help you understand your legal rights, and help you decide what your next steps should be.
Watch this video to find out why you should consult our attorneys about your case: