Construction remains one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. According to the most recent data published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction workers account for approximately 21.1 percent of all workplace fatalities — even though only a small percentage of American workers are employed in construction.
Injured workers need to know how to protect their legal rights and financial interests after a construction site accident. For injured workers, compensation may be available through a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury lawsuit, or, in some cases, through both. Here, our experienced Seattle workplace accident attorneys have put together a guide for injured workers to help them navigate the construction accident claims process.
What to Do After a Construction Accident in Seattle, WA
Following a construction site accident, injured workers must be prepared to take action to protect their health, safety, and legal rights. If you were hurt while working on a construction site, please be sure to do the following:
- Report the Accident to Your Employer: Under Washington law, injured workers must report their accident to their supervisor. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claims process.
- Get Professional Medical Attention: All injured workers should see a physician for a comprehensive exam. Seeing a healthcare provider is crucial to protect your health and safety. Your physician has a responsibility to assist you in filing your workers’ compensation claim.
- Gather Evidence, Document Your Injuries: To the best of your ability, you should take proactive steps to gather evidence related to the construction site accident and document your injuries. Among other things, it is recommended that you take photographs of your injuries, take pictures of the accident scene, get contact information for any eyewitnesses, and record contemporaneous notes related to the accident, your injuries, and your physical recovery.
- Get Help From a Seattle Construction Accident Lawyer: You do not need to go through the construction accident claims process alone. One of our experienced Seattle construction accident attorneys can to review the specific facts of your case and help you take the appropriate steps to get the maximum available compensation.
What is Covered By Workers’ Compensation?
In Washington, construction workers are covered by the state’s no-fault workers’ compensation insurance system. Through workers’ compensation, injured construction workers are entitled to receive financial compensation for:
- All medical costs and rehabilitation-related expenses that are reasonable and necessary; and
- Time-loss compensation or Loss of Earning Power benefits for the period of time the worker is unable to perform the job of injury.
In cases where construction workers have suffered severe injuries, workers’ compensation may also provide coverage for permanent partial disability (PPD), vocational retraining or pension benefits. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not provide compensation for certain losses — such as pain and suffering.
Injured Construction Workers May Have a Negligence Claim
Construction sites are usually complex, fast-paced environments. Often, there are many different contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers, property owners, and other companies involved in large construction projects. If a construction worker was injured as a result of the negligent action of any company or entity other than their employer, then they have the right to bring a third party liability claim directly against that defendant.
Through this type of personal injury claim, injured construction workers may be able to access compensation that is not available through workers’ compensation claims. For example, injured construction workers can hold negligent third-parties legally liable for their pain and suffering and additional wage loss. In some cases, it is advisable for injured construction workers to pursue both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit.
Get Help From Seattle’s Top-Rated Attorneys
At The Walthew Law Firm, our Washington construction accident attorneys have broad experience handling workers’ compensation claims and third-party liability personal injury lawsuits. We are committed advocates for hard-working construction workers and construction industry professionals.
If you or your loved one was injured in a construction site accident in Washington, please do not hesitate to reach out to our law firm to set up a free, fully confidential review of your legal claim. We have law offices in Seattle and Everett, and we represent injured construction workers throughout the region, including in King County, Snohomish County, Pierce County, and Skagit County.