Construction injuries are extremely common across the United States. It is easily one of the most dangerous industries to work in, even if you’re extremely careful and follow all safety precautions. Consider this: in 2019, 20% of private industry worker fatalities occurred in the construction industry.
If you get injured at work, it’s crucial to know your rights and exercise them. We can help. Call Thiry & Caddell at 251-351-3371 to set up a consultation today.
Common Injuries in Construction Accidents
Reported injuries vary widely in the construction industry, from minor bumps and bruises that heal without treatment to amputations and fatal injuries. Some commonly reported injuries in the field of construction include:
- Falls, primarily those from high places
- Same-level slip and fall accidents
- Blunt injuries caused by falling items or debris
- Burns from explosions
- Crush injuries caused by getting trapped between materials
- Amputations and lacerations caused by machinery
- Being struck by a vehicle
- Heatstroke and heat exhaustion
Workers’ Compensation Laws in Alabama
Under Alabama law, companies employing five or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. There are exceptions for companies employing domestic workers, farm workers, and casual employees, but construction does not fall under any of these. Because of this, construction workers do qualify for workers’ compensation in Alabama if their employer has at least five employees.
Benefits begin after a three-day waiting period, unless you are disabled for 21 days or more. Benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage, capped at a maximum of $920 per week and a minimum of $253 per week. If you are able to work but can’t earn your average income because you have restrictions, workers’ compensation pays two-thirds of the difference between your average earnings and your current earnings.
Workers’ compensation also pays for medical expenses, as long as you see an approved provider and receive reasonable treatment up until the point of maximum medical improvement.
Applying for Benefits
It’s important to move quickly after you are injured at work. The statute of limitations in Alabama is two years, but if you wait two years to file a claim, valuable evidence is lost. The sooner you report your injury, the more quickly you can begin treatment and get the income you need to meet your obligations.
Furthermore, most employers have strict requirements regarding how workplace injuries are reported. Waiting too long to report an injury could trigger an investigation or make it more difficult for you to get the benefits you are entitled to.
You may find it helpful to hire a workers’ compensation attorney if your claim is initially denied. Workers’ compensation insurance companies deny claims for a variety of reasons, including:
- Belief that the injury is fraudulent or falsified
- Evidence that the injury did not occur at work
- Belief that the victim is exaggerating the extent of their injury to avoid returning to work
- A history of workers’ compensation claims from the same person
Other Options for Construction Workers
Another option that may be available to an injured construction worker is a third-party claim. This type of claim is fairly rare compared to a workers’ compensation claim, as it’s only available if someone else who is not employed by your company caused your injury. In a construction accident, this may include injuries caused by a subcontractor not employed by your company, a careless driver who hits you at a roadside construction site, or the manufacturer of machinery that malfunctions and causes your injury.
With a third-party claim, you might be able to get compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Third-party claims are much more flexible than workers’ compensation, but the burden of proof is much higher. When you get compensation from workers’ comp, you just have to show that you were injured at work. When you file a third-party claim, you need evidence linking the other party to your injuries.
In either case, consider setting aside some time to talk to an attorney. They can help you explore your options and make a plan moving forward.
Contact Thiry & Caddell After Your Workplace Accident
If you’ve been injured while working on a construction site, turn to Thiry & Caddell for help with your workers’ comp or third-party injury claim. Get started now by calling us at 251-351-3371 or contacting us online.