Good news for many job seekers has come in the boom of construction that has taken off in the greater Los Angeles, CA area. With the national economy growing again, new construction and remodeling of older facilities are happening everywhere, especially in the state of California. Unfortunately, with the increased number of construction jobs available has come a rise in the number of construction site-related injuries on the job. This means that a larger number of people are eligible for and in need of assistance for workers’ compensation injury claims.

Workers Compensation Attorney Law Firm is a legal firm that specializes in assisting those who have been injured on a construction site. Let the professionals of Workers Compensation Attorney Law Firm help you to understand what your rights are, what type of compensation you may be eligible for, how much that compensation amount may be, and how you can file a claim with your employer, their insurance company, and/or the state of California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation.

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work for Construction Workers?

Almost all employers – including those in the construction industry – are required by California law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is true for contractors even if they only have one employee. Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect employees who get sick or hurt because of work. There are a number of basic benefits that are provided by workers’ compensation insurance including medical care, permanent disability payments, temporary disability payments, job displacement benefits, a potential return-to-work supplemental payment, and death benefits to families for workers who die as a result of work-related events.

What Are the Requirements for Contractors?

The California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) oversees legal requirements in the construction industry, including maintaining proper workers’ compensation insurance. All contractors who are actively licensed to contract construction work in the state of California are required to do one of two things:

  1. Provide a valid Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or a valid Certification of Self-Insurance from the California Department of Industrial Relations

  2. Provide the Contractors State Licensing Board with a signed exemption form, certifying that they do not have any employees at the current time.

There is one exception to the second rule; any active roofing licensees (also known as C-39) are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance or a valid Certificate of Self-Insurance at all times, whether there are any employees or not.

All workers’ compensation insurance coverage provided by construction industry employers must be maintained on a continuous basis. Any gaps in coverage can result in the contractor’s license being suspended. Any work performed while a construction license is suspended will be considered as unlicensed and the employer can face disciplinary action.

Again, the purpose of workers’ compensation insurance is to protect workers. If you suspect that your employer has not maintained proper workers’ compensation coverage for your construction worksite, contact Workers Compensation Attorney Law Firm so we can verify the coverage that should be in place.

Most Common Construction Site Injuries

Overall workplace injuries and fatalities have decreased over the past several years in California; however, the incidence of construction site injuries – including those resulting in a fatality – has risen. It is helpful to be aware of the most common kinds of workplace injuries that occur on construction sites so that both employers and workers can reduce the level of risk for workplace accidents – and can be able to quickly identify and respond to those accidents when they do occur.

  • Accidents Involving Machinery

    With so much equipment and machinery moving about on a construction site, one of the most common types of injury that happens on the construction site is when a worker gets trapped between two pieces of machinery, or between equipment that is moving near a wall or other hard surface. Construction activity that includes excavation increases the likelihood of a machinery-related injury to an even greater degree.

  • Accidents Involving Moving Objects

    Often, workers on a construction site are injured by a moving piece of equipment or a vehicle. Proper signaling and warnings are one way to help reduce the incidence of being injured by a moving object, as well as increased awareness and visual observance by both equipment operators and employees, along with limited speed.

  • Accidents Involving Falls

    There are a large number of falls that occur on and around construction sites. Falls are the cause of some of the most serious injuries that occur in construction work areas. Lack of appropriate safety devices (such as harnesses or restraints), improperly supported scaffolding, and failure to label openings and other hazards are major contributors to falls on construction sites.

  • Accidents Involving Electric hazards

    Electric power, and the lines that bring it to construction sites, is required for practically all construction activities. With the prevalence of power tools and high-powered equipment, electrocution is a significant risk for construction workers. It is very important to maintain proper training and protocols involving the use of electricity, including careful grounding and insulation practices, as well as clear labeling of power lines and the use of emergency shut-offs when necessary.

It is important to know that, in California, workers can receive benefits and compensation for construction site injuries whether or not an employer can be shown to be at fault. Payment for medical treatment and compensation for lost wages due to time off the job can be recovered by properly filing a workers’ compensation claim. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Workers Compensation Attorney Law Firm can assist you with this.

Additional Worksite Injury Information

There are other considerations for injuries on a construction site. Many of these difficulties can last for years, if not for a lifetime. The Centers for Disease Control – an agency of the U.S. Government – offers this information on additional construction site injuries.

  • Burns are often the result of fires and explosions on the worksite. There are often flammable and toxic substances in close proximity to construction workers. If the burns are the most serious (also known as third-degree) then there is risk to skin, fat, bone and muscle; the recovery period for severe burns is long and can be quite painful. Burn center treatment is expensive and is rarely considered to be complete. Burn victims often require multiple surgeries and reconstructive procedures such as skin grafts. Death from severe burns is a constant risk, while permanent disfiguring of the facial and other body features is quite likely.

  • Injuries to the brain and head can range from simple lacerations (cuts) to a severely injured or crushed skull. After a construction site worker survives a head injury, multiple surgical or other medical interventions may still be required in order to minimize damage to the brain. While concussion symptoms may pass in a number of days or weeks, other more severe injuries can be harder to detect and may yield latent effects that last for years.

  • One of the more common injuries in the construction industry involves the spinal cord, running from the neck all the way down the back. Injuries to the spinal cord can be acute – a quick onset due to one specific incident – or can be caused by overuse or awkward movements and repetitive lifting over time. Falls are a major source of spinal cord injury and pose great risk for partial or permanent paralysis. When the spinal cord is injured, there is often a lengthy period of rehabilitation with therapy required in the form of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or vocational therapy.

  • Construction site injuries include a large number of cuts, lacerations, and punctures. From a nail gun impacting the foot to a power saw ripping through flesh, muscle, and bone, treatments for these types of injuries range from a bandage to intensive and complex surgeries.

  • Bone fractures can occur in almost any part of the body when construction work site injuries are involved. There are slip-and-trip falls and any number of other incidents that can cause simple breaks or multiple fractures; sometimes, bones are crushed, and arms or legs must be amputated. Even simple fractures can lead to long-term difficulties such as arthritis. Limbs must sometimes be reconstructed to include screws, metal plates, and rods. Blood clots are a risk whenever there is a bone broken, as is the threat of infection.

  • Construction sites are particularly prone to accidents that result in loss of life and limb. Fingers, arms, legs, and toes are often the victims of accidents involving moving machinery and collapses of structures such as trenches, scaffolding, and equipment. Injuries of this type often cause the instant amputation of body parts or cause injuries so severe that body parts must be amputated by means of surgery. When a prosthesis is required, there will be a long period of recovery involving therapy so that the injured worker can learn how to complete the most basic tasks of daily living.

  • With high levels of noise on construction sites, loss of hearing is a worksite injury that many people do not consider. Without the use of protective gear, hearing can be affected on either a temporary or permanent basis. As part of the compensation for hearing loss, a variety of hearing devices may be prescribed. Adapting to new levels of hearing may also require the services of hearing specialists.

  • If there is a most common cause of injury on the construction worksite, it is most likely overexertion of muscles and stress on tendons and bones due to awkward lifting and/or sudden movements. Repetitive types of motion can also cause stress to the body over time and can lead to nerve damage that ranges from slight to severe. A worker injured by a sprain or strain might require only the administration of some painkillers and an ice pack; however, the damage can be much more severe and could require multiple surgeries to ease the pain and mitigate the damage.

  • Another difficulty associated with many construction work sites is the combination of exposure to the elements and physical exertion that can result in heat stroke. This is often accompanied by dizziness, nausea, and even fainting as expressions of the body’s imbalance in internal temperature. Treatments may include ice and/or cooling blankets, evaporation cooling, cold-water immersion, or medication to help control shivering. Be aware that most people recover from heat stroke, but it is possible to suffer longer-term problems such as coma, convulsions, and organ damage. Some workers have even died from the trauma induced by heat stroke.

  • Since construction work sites often involve the use of gases, chemicals, extreme heat, and electricity, damage to the eyes is a major consideration. Be aware of temporary loss of vision that can lead to permanent blindness.

While many of these injuries seem minor and may require very little treatment in order to initiate recovery, there are instances where a seemingly insignificant injury leads to major damage and the eventual loss of the ability to work and earn a living. Don’t take any injury for granted; be sure to report work-related injuries promptly and seek medical attention. The financial consequences can be tremendous, not to mention the pain and suffering that can occur due to an injury on the construction work site.

Is Workers’ Compensation the Only Alternative for Construction Site Injuries?

If you have been injured on a construction site as a result of your work-related activities, it is most likely that you will be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, the benefits paid by workers’ compensation insurance are limited and you may be entitled to file an additional personal injury lawsuit to recover additional damages that are the result of your injury.

Usually, accepting a workers’ compensation payout means that you cannot sue your employer in civil court. There are some primary exceptions to this rule, however, that you should be aware of. You may be able to bring a lawsuit against your employer if any of the following were true at the time of your injury:

  1. If you receive an injury that is the result of a willful physical assault by your employer

  2. If your injury was aggravated by a condition of your employment that was fraudulently concealed by your employer

  3. If you were injured by a product manufactured by your employer but you were not acting as an employee at the time of the injury (a situation known as dual capacity)

  4. If you were injured by a power press machine (or similar equipment) that was not properly set up

  5. If your employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance at the time your injury occurred

It is also important to understand that, even if a workers’ compensation claim is paid and a settlement is made, a lawsuit may be possible against a third party who bears responsibility for the injury. This is known as crossover litigation and can be explained further by a qualified workers’ compensation attorney like our staff at Workers Compensation Attorney Law Firm.

Among the possibilities for compensation in a construction site injury lawsuit, the following should be considered:

  • Medical costs

  • Lost wages (while away from the job to seek treatment)

  • Pain and suffering

  • Loss of future income (if you are unable to return to work)

  • Wrongful death – the family of a worker who dies as a result of work-related activity can receive compensation for the loss of that family member

Important Steps If You Are Hurt on a Construction Work Site

The first and most important thing to do if you are injured on a construction work site is to seek medical attention. Do not assume that any injury is “not too bad.” Be sure to inform a colleague or supervisor that you have been injured and seek appropriate aid. You want to safeguard your physical health, as well as your financial future – you are your own most valuable asset!

In order to assure that you get fair and equitable workers’ compensation benefits, should they be needed, you should be sure to do the following:

  1. Report the incident and your injury to your supervisor immediately.

  2. Take notes and photos, if you can; remember and record the names of any witnesses to the event.

  3. Be sure to save all paperwork and records that are part of the incident and its follow-up, such as receipts for any medical care or supplies that you receive, as well as a record of time lost from your job for which you are not paid.

The Industrial Relations Department of the state of California also offers these additional words of wisdom:

  • Within one day of the time you report your injury to your employer, they are required to present to you (in person or in the mail) a workers’ compensation benefits application form.

  • If you do not receive a form from your employer, you can request one online from the Department of Industrial Relations; it is known as a Form DWC-1. There is valuable information included with the form, so be sure to read and take advantage of everything that you are entitled to.

  • You will need to fill out the form, describing your injuries in as much detail as you can. You will then need to sign the form and present it to your employer.

  • If you present the form to your employer in the mail, it is a good idea to use first-class postage with a return receipt requested. This will provide verification that your employer received the form.

  • Your employer is required to complete the form and return it within one working day of the day they receive the form. When you receive the completed form back from your employer, you should then send it to the address listed for your claims administrator – again, it is best to do so within one working day.

  • Your employer is also required by law to authorize up to $10,000 worth of medical treatment for you, so be sure that you seek the treatment you need.

  • While you are receiving treatment, your employer is also required to provide transitional work for you (also known as light duty) whenever this is appropriate.

The Industrial Relations Department further clarifies that you are not required to have an attorney for the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, they are also clear that you may benefit from the advice of an attorney, particularly if your case is complex. If you do hire an attorney, the fee for your attorney will most likely be paid out of the benefits that you receive as a result of the claim. With or without an attorney, always be sure to educate yourself about your rights and responsibilities, be sure to stay in touch with your employer and the claims administrator assigned to your case – and, above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Without a doubt, receiving an injury on the construction work site can affect your life for days, weeks, months, or even years to come. The process of getting just compensation can be quite intimidating. Do not hesitate to call a firm like Workers Compensation Attorney Law Firm to assist you. The insurance companies that represent your employer will most assuredly have competent, professional attorneys looking out for their best interests. You deserve and need the same thing.

Finding a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Near Me

If you have been injured in an accident on a construction work site, the process of filing for workers’ compensation benefits can seem a bit overwhelming. Additionally, if your injuries are severe or you believe that a third party may bear some responsibility for your injury, it is likely you may need to consider a personal injury lawsuit in order to receive the level of compensation you are entitled to. In either case, a qualified workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand what the law provides for you and can assist you in making the best decisions for you and your family.

Workers Compensation Attorney Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA is a firm dedicated to helping you with the smallest details to the completion of a major lawsuit, if needed. You do not need to worry about whether you are making the right decisions or doing the right things. All you need to do is call and let us help you. You can reach Workers Compensation Attorney Law Firm by calling 310-956-4277. There is no cost for your initial consultation. Let our Los Angeles work injury lawyer help you today!