As a bustling state with a thriving construction industry, Indiana sees its fair share of construction accidents yearly. The sad truth is that there are over 1,000 construction deaths each year nationwide, and a construction employee has a 1-in-200 chance of dying during their career.
Fortunately, most construction accidents do not create lethal consequences, but they can change your life forever. If you’ve been involved in a construction accident in Indiana, it can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. Let’s explore what to do if you’re in a construction accident.
Step 1: Seek Medical Attention
Foremost among the steps to take after a construction site accident is to seek medical attention. Even if you feel fine immediately after the accident, it’s important to get checked out by a medical professional to make sure you don’t have any hidden injuries. Some injuries may not show up until days or even weeks after the accident. Getting prompt medical attention not only helps to ensure that your injuries are properly diagnosed and treated, but it can also create a record of your injuries. Obtaining a record of your injuries will be vital if you decide to pursue a legal claim.
Step 2: Report the Accident
It’s absolutely necessary to report the accident to your employer as soon as possible. All employers in Indiana have to carry workers’ compensation insurance. And as part of that legal requirement, your employer should have a protocol in place for reporting workplace accidents. This may include filling out an accident report or notifying a supervisor. Reporting the accident can help ensure that the appropriate parties are notified. In addition, it opens the door for you to collect workers’ compensation. If you wait longer than 30 days to report your accident, your claim may be denied.
Reporting the accident creates a written paper trail of the events. And a record of the accident is just as important in a negligence lawsuit as a record of your injuries. Another benefit of reporting the accident is that it puts your company on notice of a potentially unsafe condition. This will help your company improve its safety practices while keeping your co-workers safer.
Some workers are concerned that they will suffer work-related consequences if they report their injuries. However, it is illegal to retaliate against a worker in any way for reporting a workplace injury.
Step 3: Document Everything
If you’ve been involved in a construction accident, it’s important to document as much information as possible. This can include several actions, including:
- Taking pictures of the accident scene and your injuries;
- Getting contact information from any witnesses; and
- Keeping track of any medical treatment you receive.
You should also maintain a record of any expenses you incur as a result of the accident. Include not only medical bills, but also your rehabilitation expenses, prescription drug costs, lost wages, and property damage.
Step 4: Consult with an Attorney
Construction accident cases can be complex, and one of the most important steps to take after a construction accident in Indiana is to consult an experienced attorney. An attorney will help protect your rights and guide you through the legal process.
For instance, an attorney will explain that Indiana law prohibits you from suing your employer for negligence. Your attorney can help you strategize other ways to recover compensation for your losses. An attorney can also help investigate the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Finally, an experienced attorney can also help ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
Step 5: Determine Liability
Even if you can’t sue your employer under the workers’ compensation system, you might be able to pursue a claim against negligent third parties. Determining liability in a construction accident can be challenging. At any given construction site, there are multiple parties involved, including contractors, subcontractors, equipment manufacturers, and property owners. To determine who is at fault, you need to investigate the accident thoroughly. This can involve reviewing contracts, gathering witness statements, collecting photos or videos of the accident site, and analyzing other forms of evidence.
Step 6: Calculate and Pursue Your Compensation
Indiana state law allows injured workers to pursue several types of recoverable damages. First, there are compensatory damages. These damages attempt to compensate you for the losses you have incurred due to the accident. Compensatory damages include things like:
- Medical bills,
- Lost wages,
- Lost workers’ benefits, and
- Rehabilitation costs.
Compensatory damages can also include damages that are harder to quantify. Some good examples include pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and scarring.
An attorney can help you estimate your damages and help you maximize your recovery.
Step 7: Be Prepared for a Long Process
Knowing what to do if you’re in a construction accident is an essential first step. However, having the patience and strength to endure the legal process is critical. The hard truth is that construction accident cases are often lengthy and complex. It can take months or even years to resolve a construction accident case, particularly if it goes to trial. Furthermore, you may have to sit through long negotiation processes, court meetings, and respond to inquiries from the other party. However, all of this work is worth it. That’s especially true if you have an outstanding construction site attorney to manage your case.
Let Gerling Law Help After Your Construction Accident
Now that you know what to do if you’ve been in a construction accident, you should contact a quality law firm right away. With dedicated legal counsel on your side, you can maximize your chances of earning the compensation you deserve.
At Gerling Law, we go beyond just being legal representatives. We are zealous advocates for our community. Our highest goal is to bring more compassion, fairness, and justice to the lives of our clients. Through decades of experience, we have represented numerous clients and achieved outstanding results. Our approach has earned us high recognition from satisfied clients, who value the personalized attention and exceptional service we provide.
Additionally, we believe that justice should never be hindered by monetary constraints, and therefore, we offer a free initial consultation to all potential clients. Contact us today by phone or online and share your story with us.