The Tucson area is growing by leaps and bounds as people take advantage of the year-round warm weather and the friendly business environment. More people mean that more buildings are needed to accommodate. It often feels like Tucson is one giant work zone, and this means there can be more construction accidents.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries, you want a trusted Tucson construction accident lawyer on your side. Contact Zanes Law Injury Lawyers for help today.
Recent Tucson Construction Accident Fatalities
For the employees tasked with building, constructing Tucson is a dangerous job.
In recent years, there have been numerous examples of Tucson workers paying with their lives on construction sites, including:
- A subcontractor died while working on a construction project upgrading a power station. A heavy pipe fell on his head and killed him instantly.
- A trench collapsed at a Tucson job site, killing one worker who was buried alive.
- A woman died at a job site when a piece of excavating equipment struck her.
These are just the recent fatalities. Numerous workers suffer injuries each year at Tucson job sites, and their lives could suffer devastating consequences.
Sadly, employers and third parties keep taking shortcuts on safety and unnecessarily injuring workers. When this happens to you, don’t hesitate to call Zanes Law Injury Lawyers.
For a free legal consultation with a construction accidents lawyer serving Tucson, call 866-499-8989
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Tucson Construction Accident Lawyer Near Me 866-499-8989
Construction site accidents can have many causes, including:
- Moving machinery
- Faulty or defective power tools
- Faulty construction equipment
- Equipment and machine operator error
- Dangerous contact with worksite objects
- Body parts becoming tangled in machinery
- Slips and falls from ladders and scaffolding
- Dangerous contact with worksite equipment
By its very nature, construction worksites are rife with potential dangers and hazards. While most construction sites adhere to applicable safety rules, accidents do still happen. The construction industry is one of the most dangerous industries in the US.
When you are the victim of a construction accident, you need the help of a construction accident lawyer in Tucson. Call Zanes Law to speak to an attorney near you today.
Types of Construction Site Injuries and Fatalities
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cites the following statistics in their latest report. The leading causes of construction-related deaths were falls, being struck by objects, accidental electrocution, and being caught or crushed between machinery or equipment resulting in 5,147 fatalities.
In addition to carelessness and operator error, some construction accidents occur due to a failure to meet the safety requirements established by OSHA. The ten most frequently cited OSHA standards violations in 2018 include:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication standards
- Scaffolding and general requirements
- Respiratory protection
- Control of hazardous energy sources
- Ladders and other lifting equipment
- Powered industrial trucks
- Fall protection–training
- Machinery and machine guarding
- Eye and face protection
If any of these OSHA violations contributed to the construction accident that caused your injury or disability, a construction accident lawyer in Tucson, AZ can help you build a personal injury or worker’s compensation case. You deserve to be compensated for your injury and loss. Call Zanes Law today to get the help you need to file your injury claim.
How and Why Construction Job Sites Can Injure You
Construction job sites are dangerous. Workers are often far above the ground on things like scaffolding. There is heavy equipment moving around and many other workers doing their tasks. Simply stated, there are too many things that could go wrong and injure workers, even when they are doing nothing wrong themselves.
Construction accidents often happen because contractors and other businesses cut corners to save expenses. They have a budget going into the project, and cost overruns and other expenses could cut what they make. Some major things that they may cut back on are safety and training. They may also purchase substandard building materials to save money. Even still, when that is your employer, it is difficult to file a lawsuit. Nonetheless, you could still receive compensation for your injuries.
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The Most Common Construction Accidents
Common construction accidents include:
- Falls– Falls are the most common worksite injury. Workers are not properly secured, or they have bad footing. They may also slip and fall over debris or a tripping hazard.
- Falling debris – Construction equipment and building material may not be properly secured, and it could strike workers or people near the job site.
- Equipment injuries – Workers are often injured when construction equipment (such as a backhoe or bulldozer) runs them over. They may also be severely injured if they are onboard the machinery and it tips over.
- Crush injuries– Workers can get trapped between machinery and the ground or walls. Equipment or machinery could tip over and crush them.
- Electrocutions – Electrical wires are common on worksites, such as buried power lines and other utilities near the ground. When these are not properly marked, the wires can electrocute workers.
- Trench collapses – The ground is often very unstable on construction sites. It can sink or collapse under the feet of employees and bury them alive.
- Cranes – These large machines can tip over and injure people on the ground. They could also make contact with power lines and cause electrocution. Finally, loads could fall off the crane and strike job site workers or passersby.
- Ladders and scaffold injuries – Workers can fall from heights when the ladder or scaffold is not properly secured or is defective.
Employers Do Not Always Follow OSHA Regulations
Federal rules and regulations are supposed to keep workers safe on the job. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has hundreds of rules aimed at protecting workers. These govern everything from training to other safety measures. They cover things like crane and ladder safety.
Unfortunately, many contractors and employers do not follow these rules. Although an injured worker cannot sue them directly for breaking these rules, a court could punish a contractor or employer for noncompliance. However, if someone who was not your employer broke an OSHA rule, it is evidence that could go against them in a lawsuit.
Injured Workers’ Options to Pursue Financial Compensation for Their Injuries
There are two possible directions that an injured worker may follow after they have suffered a construction injury.
If an injured worker has no other possible lawsuit against someone else, the first option is filing a workers’ compensation claim, which covers many injuries occurring on construction job sites.
Here is what you need to know about workers’ compensation claims:
- If you sustained an injury at work, you generally could not sue your employer. Instead, you must file a workers’ compensation claim under most circumstances.
- Workers’ compensation will pay for your medical costs, job retraining, and a portion of your salary (up to a limit).
- You may be eligible for a settlement if you are no longer able to work.
- You must notify your employer of the injury within a certain time frame and file your claim on time.
- You are dealing with an insurance company, so they may reject the claim if they believe that the evidence does not support it.
- Workers’ compensation is not interested at all in who is at fault. Even if you were entirely to blame for your own injury, you could receive compensation for your injuries.
Who to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against
The other option is filing a personal injury lawsuit. Even though workers’ compensation claims are common, this happens more often than you think on job sites. The key is to have a third party who is not your employer that you could sue.
On a construction site, this could be multiple entities, and you may file a lawsuit against anyone else who is not your employer, including:
- The company that owns the job site
- Another contractor on the site when their negligence has caused your injury
- The manufacturer of equipment of tools that was defective and injured you
- A government agency
- An architect or engineer working at the site
- Anyone responsible for dangerous substances that may have sickened you
Non-Workers May Also File a Lawsuit
In addition, people suffering injuries on or near the worksite may also sue if they have no employment relationship with the contractor. The most common example of this is falling debris or construction equipment striking a passerby. A collision with a truck entering and exiting the job site is Another example of a construction site injury.
Non Worker injuries can be every bit as devastating as worker injuries. The general contractor is supposed to secure the site and help prevent things from injuring passerby in the area. They would also need to alert the public to dangerous conditions caused by their job site. Here, you could file a straight negligence lawsuit, and you do not have to file a workers’ compensation claim.
On your own, it can be difficult to uncover the right person or entity to pursue in your injury claim. If a third party is responsible for your construction accident, your attorney can help you hold them accountable for the role they played in your current condition. A third party is defined as a person or company other than your employer such as an equipment manufacturer. If faulty tools or defective equipment led to your construction accident, your attorney will help assign liability and seek appropriate compensation.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Construction Accident
You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when you are injured or disabled in a construction accident. In Arizona, you might be eligible to receive more than sixty-six percent of your monthly salary from workers’ compensation. In some cases, workers’ compensation coverage may also pay for necessary medical treatments with no out-of-pocket expenses on your behalf. Your attorney can help you understand the workers’ compensation benefits you might be entitled to receive.
Understanding Your Rights in a Construction Accident in Tucson
If you or a member of your family suffered an injury, disability, or loss of life while working on a construction site, your attorney can help you receive a monetary award for your medical and other accident-related expenses. Construction accidents are serious matters that can leave you with severe, even life-threatening, injuries.
Construction site safety is an important issue. OSHA imposes rules, regulations, and safety guidelines designed to cover and protect construction workers across the state. When these guidelines are not adhered to, the construction site is no longer a safe place to work. If you believe OSHA guidelines were not met on the construction site where you were injured, we can help. Schedule your free consultation with an attorney today.
How a Tucson Construction Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Given the range of possible outcomes, it is vital to have a lawyer who can investigate your case to determine what happened and who may be responsible.
Your construction accident attorney may:
- Speak to witnesses who were at the scene and saw what happened.
- Visit the accident scene and make observations.
- Review photographic evidence and pictures.
- Review medical records to better tie the injury to the accident.
If you are suing someone else, you will be required to prove that they were negligent in your accident, often the best-case scenario for injured construction workers when faced with a choice between a lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim. As you will see below, you could get more in a negligence lawsuit.
In proving negligence for a construction accident lawsuit, you would need to show four different elements. The burden of proof is on you as the plaintiff, and you must carry it by a preponderance of the evidence. More simply put, you must show that something is more likely than not to have happened.
The parts of the negligence test include:
- Duty of care – In some circumstances, one owes the other the duty of care to exercise reasonable care and avoid causing them injury.
- Breach of duty – When you owe a duty of care to someone to act reasonably, it follows that you breach it by acting unreasonably under the circumstances, always a relative issue. What may be reasonable under some circumstances may be unreasonable under others.
- Injury – You have suffered some sort of damage, whether it is physical or to your property.
- Causation – You must prove that you would not have received an injury had it not been for someone else’s actions.
First, you may try to file an insurance claim or settle the case after filing a lawsuit. Construction accident cases do not always go to court. Most often, they will settle either with the insurance company or before a case goes to trial. To begin the process, you would need to file a claim or a lawsuit. That starts with calling an experienced lawyer.
You Need an Experienced Tucson Construction Accidents Attorney
Not every attorney has the expertise to handle construction accidents. These cases are different from many other personal injury cases. Given the number of “moving parts” at a construction site, they can be far more complex, which is why you need an attorney with a track record of handling construction accident cases, and that is what we have at Zanes Law.
The Damages You Can Recover After a Tucson Construction Accident
Your damages after a construction accident could be considerable. How much you may get depends on what type of claim that you file.
If you file for workers’ compensation benefits, you could receive compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Job retraining expenses
For many, this helps ease some financial burdens from the construction accident. While you do not receive all of your wages, and there is a limit on the lost wages, at least there is some money coming into your account each week.
The compensation in a personal injury claim can be far broader, although this option is not always available. The major differences are that there are no limits on your lost wages, and you can receive pain and suffering damages. These are usually some of the larger elements of your accident damages. There is a big difference between the support that helps you pay the bills each week and a large settlement that could give you peace of mind for the rest of your life. Nonetheless, if workers’ compensation is the only option available to you, then you should pursue it.
How Do I Prove That Work Tools Were Defective?
You can do this through a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product. Here are some of the things that can be defective on a job site:
- Power saws
Product liability lawsuits can be complicated. You need to prove that the equipment was defective.
There are three primary defects that you can show that can make the manufacturer strictly liable:
- A design defect that made the product unreasonably dangerous
- A manufacturing defect that made the product unreasonably dangerous
- A marketing defect that failed to warn the public of danger that the manufacturers knew about when selling the product
In addition, you can also file a lawsuit against the manufacturer for their negligence or other breaches of warranty claims when you have suffered an injury by using work equipment.
Can I Get Punitive Damages in a Construction Accident Case?
If you sue a third party for a construction site accident, the chances are that something was really wrong. Still, punitive damages in any type of personal injury case are very rare. The jury will assess punitive damages when they want to send a message to the defendant for something that they think was very bad.
In a construction accident context, this can be when the defendant had a complete and total disregard for safety or had a long record of violations. These are what can greatly increase your damages. Your Tucson construction accident lawyer will let the judge know of your intention to seek punitive damages. However, these are very hard to get, and courts usually use these for the worst instances of conduct that are rare in a personal injury case.
What if They Deny My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The insurance company may deny your claim after it is initially submitted. They may question your injury or the fact that it is work-related. They are especially suspicious of repetitive motion and back injuries, claiming that they happened through another activity or did not occur on the job. This can put you in a tough position when you might be light on cash.
The insurance company’s denial is not the last word on your workers’ compensation claim. Arizona has a robust appeals process that can lead to another court overturning the denial to grant benefits. A workers’ compensation attorney can speak with the insurance company to clear up any misunderstandings. If that does not work, your attorney can file an appeal on your behalf with the Industrial Commission of Arizona. You can fight the denial, and claimants have a pretty strong record in workers’ compensation appeals.
Can I Sue My Employer if They Did Not Follow OSHA Rules?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is still almost always going to be no. The only way that you can sue an employer for a workplace injury is if they intentionally injure you. This happens very rarely. You can also sue your employer for not having workers’ compensation or improperly administering the program. However, their punishment for violating OSHA rules is a fine (and possibly a large one) from the federal government, as opposed to liability in a lawsuit.
This is the tradeoff for the company expending the cost for workers’ compensation insurance. The law protects them from their negligence and even some very willful and reckless actions, so long as they had no intent to injure you. Of course, you should still file OSHA rule violation reports when your employer has broken the rules to protect fellow workers.
How Do I Find the Right Construction Accident Lawyer?
You need an attorney with a broad range of legal experience when dealing with construction accidents. An attorney will investigate thoroughly to see if you can sue a third party for your injuries.
In terms of choosing the lawyer, you should set up an initial consultation with the attorney to learn more about how they see your case and the level of service that they provide. Ask about their experience to confirm that they have experience with construction law because this is a must. Then, ask more questions about your legal options. Pay close attention to the lawyer’s philosophy and how well you work with them. You are putting a great deal of trust into this person’s hands. In a way, you are trusting them with your financial future.
When Will I Know All My Legal Options?
You may not have the exact course of action when you walk out of your lawyer’s office after the first meeting (or get off the Zoom call with them). This is because it takes time for the lawyer to perform a full investigation of your case to find out the best way to proceed. As we mentioned above, your lawyer will look to a third party as a possible defendant, and it takes some time to learn whether that is a possibility. In addition, the extent of your injuries may not be known for some time. You do not want to make legal moves until you understand the whole picture as fully as possible.
Your two primary legal options (if you have a lawsuit as opposed to a workers’ compensation claim) are to go through the insurance claims process or file a personal injury lawsuit. There is nothing that prevents you from filing a lawsuit if you cannot agree to an insurance settlement.
Many people tell you that you do not have a minute to spare when you have suffered a personal injury. While you should hire an attorney right after the accident, you should also develop your case and understand your options before you make your legal move. In other words, hire a lawyer, but do not rush legal action until you are confident that you have a case.
Who Are Possible Third-Party Defendants that You Can Sue for Construction Injuries?
- Equipment manufacturers who made defective work tools that injured you
- Truck drivers who got into an accident with you at the worksite or heading to or from a job site
- Other subcontractors or contractors working on the site (they count as third parties since they are not your employer)
- Engineers or architects at the site (for example, if you suffered an injury in a ground collapse, you can sue the geotechnical engineer who performed a survey)
- The construction site owner
Can I Sue My Fellow Worker if They Injured Me?
Co-workers have the same rule as your employer. You cannot sue them for injuring you unless they actively and intentionally tried to hurt you. If the negligence of your co-worker injured you, you will still need to file a workers’ compensation claim unless that co-worker had a different employer than you. If that was the case, then you can file a third-party lawsuit against their employer.
What Happens When I Have a Legal Claim Against a Company?
If you are filing a lawsuit for a construction job site injury, the chances are that it will be against a company. It does not make as much financial sense to sue an individual for a construction injury. Companies will have large insurance policies to cover themselves from lawsuits like yours. They do not want their business to be at risk in case a jury hits them with a large damages verdict. They know that if the verdict is large enough, their entire business can be at risk.
However, insurance companies will be very difficult with large claims because it means that they have to write a big check. If you end up suing the company, you can expect to have high-priced lawyers on the other side of the case doing everything that they can to defend the company. At Zanes Law Injury Lawyers, we are afraid of nobody, and we are equal to the task of taking on the biggest companies when they have harmed our clients.
What Should I Do When the Insurance Company Offers a Settlement?
Getting offered a check for your injuries seems like it would be good news. However, it is often just the beginning of your legal battle. While getting money is a good thing, it is not as good when it is far below the amount that you legally deserve. You will find yourself in financial difficulty in the long run if you settle your claim for too little.
Your lawyer will review the settlement offer with you to see if it is enough. They will go line-by-line to review if it falls short of fairly compensating you. This is a very important step, and it is why you have the expertise of a lawyer on your side. You always can reject a settlement offer. There is nothing that says that you must take a lowball attempt to settle. You can continue to negotiate with the insurance company or file a lawsuit to take the matter to court. Take your time to go over your legal options and make the decision that is best for you in the long run. We will explain your case and where you stand every step of the way.
Will My Construction Injury Case Settle?
While we can never make any guarantees, we can tell you that the statistics are in favor of your case settling at some point. Neither plaintiffs nor defendants really want to go in front of a jury. Both sides have legal risks when that happens that neither wants to bear. The defendant wants to avoid the possibility of being hit with a huge verdict, while you want to get your money quicker and also want to avoid the risk of getting nothing.
Almost all cases will have settlement negotiations at some point. The key is whether the defendant and their insurance company are reasonable enough where you have more to talk about. Even if you file a lawsuit, there is still a very slim chance of a trial because most cases eventually settle.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Construction Injury Lawsuit?
In Arizona, you have two years from the time that you were injured or should have known that you were injured to file a claim. If you miss this deadline, you can no longer file a lawsuit – or if you do, the judge can dismiss it. Many lawyers use the presence of the statute of limitations as a means to push you to rush to file a lawsuit. You should hurry to begin the legal process, but with a lawyer on your side, you need to be deliberate and make the right decisions for your family and your future. You can go through the claims process with the insurance company first, or you can file a lawsuit directly.
If your construction injury involves a workers’ compensation claim, you also have deadlines to follow. In Arizona, you have one year from the time that you were injured (or should have known that you were injured) to file a workers’ compensation claim. If your claim has been denied, you file a request for a hearing to appeal your claim. You must always be conscious of deadlines during the legal process. This is something that an attorney will track for you.
When Should I Call a Tucson Construction Accident Attorney?
As soon as possible after your injury. You are not in a condition to handle your own legal matters following an injury. In addition, an overwhelming majority of people do not have the expertise to deal with the insurance company claims process.
Advancing a claim or a lawsuit requires knowledge of deadlines and how to make these filings. The insurance company may be after you, trying to pressure you to do something against your interests, so they can save money. Without a lawyer, your legal rights are at risk, and you are unprotected. It costs nothing out of your own pocket to hire a lawyer, so this is a call you can make without any risk.
Get to the Bottom of Your Legal Options Quickly
Either way, you need to know your legal options quickly because you may need to start the legal process in short order. If you end up going down the workers’ compensation route, you need to notify your employer of the injury and begin to move sooner. The quicker you begin, the sooner you can be on the road to receiving your money if you are legally entitled to it. You will also want the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have a fighter in your corner.
While you may be struggling physically or dealing with serious injuries to loved ones, there is every incentive and reason to call an attorney as soon as possible. We could immediately get moving to investigate your accident and pursue financial compensation on your behalf.
The alternative is dealing with a difficult situation on your own when powerful forces work against you. Zanes Law Injury Lawyers can put you on the same legal footing as the defendant and the insurance company because we will fight for you. Contact us today at (520) 777-7777.
4580 E Grant Rd #101
Tucson, AZ 85712