When Can You File a Claim for a Construction Accident?
Many construction workers get injured on the job. Construction accidents are a daily occurrence, and these accidents often result in serious injuries. If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to financial compensation, and you should speak with a Miami construction accident lawyer about your legal rights. Here is an overview of when you can file a claim for a construction accident in Florida:
Filing a Construction Accident Claim If You Are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
Under Florida law, most construction companies are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. If your employer provides workers’ compensation coverage and you have been injured in a construction accident, you should talk to a lawyer about filing a claim for benefits. Workers’ compensation provides full coverage for job-related injuries (until you get better or reach your “maximum medical improvement”), and if you miss more than seven days from work, you can receive partial wage-replacement benefits as well.
Here are some important facts to know about workers’ compensation:
- Workers’ Compensation is a “No-Fault” System – To file a workers’ compensation claim in Florida, you do not need proof that your employer is responsible for your accident. Since workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system, you can file a claim regardless of how you got injured (with a few exceptions, as discussed below).
- Workers’ Compensation Covers All Types of Construction Accidents – From scaffolding accidents to accidents involving unsafe tools and electrocutions, workers’ compensation covers all types of construction accidents in Florida. As a result, no matter how you got injured, you should talk to a Miami construction accident lawyer about filing a claim for benefits.
- Workers’ Compensation Covers All Types of Injuries – In addition to covering all types of accidents, workers’ compensation also covers all types of injuries. Concussions, back injuries, broken bones and soft tissue injuries are all common in construction accidents, and they are all covered under workers’ compensation.
- Strict Deadlines and Rules Apply – If you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you must file your claim on time in order to protect your legal rights. Other strict rules apply as well, and if you aren’t careful, you could lose your claim for benefits.
- There Are a Few Exceptions – While workers’ compensation covers most construction accidents regardless of fault, there are a few exceptions. For example, if you were drunk, fighting or engaging in horseplay, then your employer may have the right to deny your claim for benefits.
Even if you are eligible for workers’ compensation and you file your claim on time, you could still find it very difficult to collect the benefits you deserve. Additionally, depending on what happened, you could have a claim for financial compensation outside of workers’ comp as well. With this in mind, we strongly recommend that you seek advice from a Miami construction lawyer who can help maximize your take-home recovery. Simply put, you have too much at stake to try to handle your workers’ compensation claim on your own.
Filing a Construction Accident Claim Outside of Workers’ Compensation
In addition to Florida’s workers’ compensation law, Florida’s personal injury laws also apply to construction accidents. Depending on your individual circumstances, you could have a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury claim or both.
1. If You Are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
If you are eligible for workers’ compensation, this means that you most likely cannot file a personal injury claim against your employer. Under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, employers that comply with the law are immune from personal injury lawsuits for their employees’ construction accident injuries in most cases.
But you could have a personal injury claim against another company. Some examples of common personal injury claims arising out of construction accidents include:
- Claims against contractors and subcontractors (i.e., if a subcontractor’s employee was negligent on the job site)
- Claims against tool and equipment manufacturers (i.e., if you were injured by a defective tool or a piece of equipment that was under warranty)
- Claims against suppliers, excavators and other companies (i.e., if you got hit by a careless or distracted delivery driver)
Again, these are just examples. Construction accidents can happen under numerous scenarios, and they will give rise to personal injury claims in many cases. An experienced Miami construction accident lawyer can assess your legal rights and determine if you have a personal injury claim outside of workers’ comp.
If you have a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim, you will most likely want to work with your lawyer to file both types of claims. Even though obtaining workers’ compensation benefits can be challenging, the process is usually still quicker than securing a personal injury settlement or verdict. So, you can rely on your workers’ compensation benefits while your personal injury claim is pending, and then you can use your personal injury award to cover your losses that aren’t covered by workers’ compensation.
2. If You Aren’t Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
If you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation, everything we just discussed still applies—except what we said about employer immunity. If your employer does not provide workers’ compensation coverage, then it is not immune from personal injury liability. So, if your employer is responsible for your construction accident (i.e., if it hired unqualified workers or failed to take adequate safety precautions), you may be able to sue your employer for just compensation.
Regardless of the type of claim (or types of claims) you can file, you need to be careful, and you need to make smart decisions to protect yourself. This starts with putting an experienced Miami construction accident lawyer on your side.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Miami Construction Accident Lawyer
Dealing with the effects of a serious construction accident can be difficult. But you have legal rights, and you can hire an experienced lawyer to help you. To discuss your legal rights with an experienced Miami construction accident lawyer in confidence, please call 800-499-0551 or request a free consultation online today.