Every year, thousands of people in the U.S. are hurt or killed while at work. Construction is a particularly dangerous industry. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in five workplace fatalities in 2017 occurred in the construction industry.
Because their jobs are so dangerous, every construction worker needs to know what steps to follow if they are injured at work. If you get hurt at a job site, here is what to do:
- Get medical treatment. After a construction accident, the first and most important thing to do is to seek emergency medical care as soon as possible. Even if you do not think you have been seriously injured, it is in your best interest to see a doctor. Some injuries may not show any noticeable symptoms for hours, or even days, after the incident. The longer an injury goes undiagnosed, the more likely it is to worsen, making it more difficult to treat. Don’t take this unnecessary risk. Seek medical treatment from a qualified doctor right away so that your injuries are properly diagnosed and treated.
- Inform your employer. Another important thing to do in addition to getting proper medical attention is to be sure your employer knows about the accident. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, you may lose your ability to obtain these benefits if your employer isn’t notified of your injuries within 30 days.
- Document evidence at the work site. It is also important to gather evidence from the scene of the accident. Take pictures of the location using your mobile phone. You should also use your phone’s camera to take pictures of any machinery or equipment that was involved. Pictures of your injuries and the clothes and any safety equipment you were wearing at the time of the accident are invaluable, too. If there were any witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their name, address, telephone number and email address. Eyewitness testimony is extremely helpful evidence to support your personal injury claim, and having their contact information will allow an experienced attorney to follow up with them on your behalf. Pictures and eyewitness accounts of the accident will paint a full picture of what happened to cause your injuries. With this information, your personal injury attorney will be able to determine whether your employer or a third party is legally responsible for hurting you and help you pursue money damages to compensate you for your injuries, medical expenses, and lost wages.
- Document your recovery from your injuries. As your medical treatment progresses, it is important to get copies of your medical records and bills from your health care providers. Keep track of the amount of money you spend on prescriptions, office visits, equipment, and anything else that is needed to treat your injuries by keeping all of your receipts. One thing that many of our construction accident clients find helpful is to keep a journal during their recovery. Physical and mental pain and suffering are elements of every personal injury claim. It is much easier to spend a few minutes each day reflecting on what treatment you had, how you are feeling physically and emotionally, and how your injuries and treatment have affected your daily life and relationships, and to jot them down in a journal entry, than to wait until you have fully recovered from your injuries and then try to go back and relive each day. This is particularly true when you have been seriously injured in a construction accident and face a lengthy recovery.
Last Step: Call a Personal Injury Attorney
Finally, it is critical that you get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney. You’ll want to provide your attorney with all of the documentation related to the accident that’s described above – the photographs of the scene of the accident, equipment and machinery involved, and your injuries and clothing, the eyewitnesses’ contact information, and your medical records, bills, receipts, and journal. This will aid your lawyer in his investigation of who is liable for your injuries, and help prove the extent of your injuries and damages.
In Georgia, if you are injured in a construction accident that is covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, in most cases that will prevent you from pursuing a separate personal injury claim. However, if your attorney determines that someone other than your employer is liable, then a legal claim against that party would be handled outside of the workers’ compensation system.
If you have been injured in a construction accident in or around Athens, Georgia, contact the Athens Injury Law Group today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced team of personal injury lawyers. We will ensure that your legal rights are protected, that the at-fault party is held responsible, and that you fully recover – physically and financially – from your injuries.