Your Rights After a Fall Accident on a Construction Site
Fall accidents are among the most common causes of job-related injuries in the construction industry. If you have been injured in a construction site fall, you may be entitled to financial compensation. However, you will need to be very careful to protect your legal rights.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi has extensive experience handling construction accident claims. Our lawyers can identify all of your options for compensation after a fall or other workplace injury.
Can You Obtain Workers’ Compensation for a Construction Site Fall?
Depending on your employment status, you may have the right to workers’ compensation benefits. In New Jersey, workers’ compensation covers employees (not independent contractors). The law requires almost all employers to purchase coverage.
If you were seriously injured in a fall accident on a construction site and you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you may be entitled to benefits including:
- Medical Benefits – These benefits cover the cost of diagnosing and treating your fall-related injuries.
- Temporary Disability Benefits – If you are unable to work for more than seven days due to your fall-related injuries, you can receive temporary disability benefits calculated at up to 70% of your average weekly wage.
- Permanent Disability Benefits – If your fall-related injuries permanently limit your ability to work or prevent you from working in the future, you can also seek to recover permanent disability benefits.
Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system in New Jersey. This means that you do not need proof of fault to file a claim for benefits. If you fell from a roof, if you fell from a ladder or scaffolding, or if you slipped and fell on the ground, you can file a claim.
Can You See Your Own Doctor After a Construction Site Fall?
If you have a workers’ compensation claim, you do not have the right to see your own doctor – at least not right away. Under New Jersey law, your employer has the right to choose the doctor you see for treatment of your job-related injuries. However, there are some important exceptions:
- If you need emergency treatment, seek medical attention at the hospital without obtaining your employer’s approval first.
- If your employer refuses to refer you to an approved doctor, you have the right to see a doctor of your own choosing.
- If you have a construction accident claim outside of workers’ compensation (see below), you can and should see a doctor of your own choosing who specializes in treating fall-related injuries.
Except for emergency medical care, it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer before seeing a doctor selected by your employer. A construction accident attorney can advise you of your legal rights and options outside of workers’ comp, which may enable you to select a doctor of your choice.
Can You File a Lawsuit Against a Contractor, Subcontractor, or Property Owner?
Regardless of whether you have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may also have the right to file a lawsuit against construction companies other than your employer. For example, in cases involving fall accidents on construction sites with hazardous conditions, injured workers may have claims against contractors, subcontractors, and property owners.
Workers’ compensation does not cover all of the costs associated with job-related injuries. As such, it is important to determine if you have the grounds for a lawsuit against one or more third parties.
Potential scenarios where you may be able to sue for damages in the event of a fall on a construction site include:
- Failure to remove construction debris or other fall hazards
- Failure to prevent falls by repairing or replacing damaged ladders or scaffolding components
- Failure to provide safety equipment
- Hiring inexperienced workers or failing to adequately supervise workers
- Improper scaffolding construction
- Inadequate safety precautions (e.g., failure to install temporary guardrails)
Thorough investigation is essential to determine if someone else is liable for the injuries and damages you suffer from a fall. Unlike with workers’ compensation, you may be entitled to recovery of all of your losses in a third-party claim.
Can You Hire a Lawyer to Represent You?
You were injured as the result of a fall accident on a construction site. Can (and should) you hire a lawyer to represent you?
The short answer is “Yes.”
If you have a workers’ compensation claim, you have the right to hire a lawyer to handle your claim on your behalf. Your lawyer can deal with your employer and its workers’ compensation insurance company for you, and your lawyer can help make sure you receive the maximum benefits available.
If you have a claim outside of workers’ compensation, you will need a lawyer to fight for the compensation you deserve. Your attorney will need to investigate, determine what party or parties are liable for your injuries, file a lawsuit (if necessary), and calculate the damages you are entitled to recover. Your lawyer will then need to use his or her experience to negotiate for a fair settlement. If a fair settlement isn’t on the table, your lawyer will need to take your case to court.
Contact a Construction Accident Lawyer Today
Falls on construction sites often lead to serious injuries. They are also the leading cause of death among construction workers. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a construction fall accident, it is crucial to know the full extent of your legal rights.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi has extensive experience representing clients injured on unsafe work sites. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of workers harmed in falls on the job.
Please call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 today for a free consultation. Our construction accident lawyers serve clients throughout New Jersey and New York.