Being injured in a construction accident in Houston can be disorienting and overwhelming, leaving you with numerous questions and concerns about the future. If you find yourself asking what steps should be next, the first steps are critical: secure medical attention, report the accident to your employer, and document the scene. These initial actions are not only crucial for safeguarding your health and well-being but also serve as the foundational steps in protecting your legal rights and ensuring that you can pursue the compensation you may be entitled to.

If you’ve been involved in a construction accident in Houston, Texas, it’s crucial to have an experienced lawyer by your side. At Abraham Watkins, our attorneys are well-versed in construction accident claims, including establishing negligence, filing workers’ compensation claims, or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit if necessary. We’re committed to fighting for your rights and helping you secure compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. Don’t wait to start your journey to recovery and justice—call us at 713-535-9319 for a free consultation and let us help you every step of the way.

4 Immediate Actions After a Construction Accident

The immediate aftermath of a construction site accident can be overwhelming and frightening. Ensuring your well-being and protecting your legal rights becomes a top priority.
Imagine, for instance, a scenario where you are working high above the ground on scaffolding when suddenly, a support gives way. You find yourself plummeting towards the ground, saved at the last moment by your safety harness. However, the abrupt stop causes a sharp pain in your shoulder, and you realize you may have sustained an injury. The shock and adrenaline coursing through your veins might leave you disoriented, your heart pounding in your chest as you try to process what just happened. Keeping calm and adhering to some essential steps can aid your recovery and potentially fortify your case, should you decide to seek compensation with the help of a construction accident attorney.

In the chaotic moments that follow such an event, it’s natural to feel a mix of emotions—fear, anger, confusion—and it’s critical to remember that these reactions are normal. Your immediate actions are crucial: 1) Seek medical attention as soon as possible, 2) Report the accident to your employer, 3) Document the scene thoroughly, and 4) Contact an experienced construction accident lawyer to guide you through this traumatic experience.

1. Seek Medical Attention

Immediately after a construction accident, the paramount step is to obtain medical attention. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, an evaluation by a medical professional is vital. Not only does this ensure your injuries, including serious injuries, are diagnosed and treated promptly, but it also helps document your injuries, which could be pivotal in a potential compensation claim.

Ignoring or delaying medical care can lead to health complications and jeopardize your chances of securing fair compensation. Remember, your health is not the only thing at stake here. Your legal rights and potential compensation are directly tied to the medical attention you receive.

2. Report the Accident to Your Employer

Another integral step involves reporting the accident to your employer. Swift and clear communication with your employer not only ensures they are aware of the incident but also initiates the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. Make sure to provide a detailed written notice, specifying the incident, any witnesses, and evidence.

The accident must be reported as soon as possible, and no later than within 30 days of the incident. Any delay could lead to issues with evidence tampering or inaccurate reporting, potentially weakening your claim.

3. Document the Accident Scene

Collecting evidence by documenting the scene right after a construction accident can prove invaluable. This entails taking photographs and videos, collecting witness information, and preserving any involved tools or equipment at construction sites. These pieces of evidence can corroborate your account of the incident and bolster your case.

When documenting the accident, it’s crucial to construct a comprehensive record that includes the date, time, location, nature of injury, and other relevant details. Also, ensure to collect and document witness information, securing their detailed statements as part of the evidence-gathering process.

4. Contacting a Lawyer for Your Construction Accident Claim

If you have suffered injuries in a construction accident, contacting a lawyer can be a pivotal step in protecting your rights and seeking the compensation you deserve. An experienced construction accident lawyer will understand the complexities of construction law and can offer guidance on the best legal path forward. They can assist with gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing your interests in litigation if necessary. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a legal professional such as Abraham Watkins to ensure your claim is handled with the dedication it requires.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation in Texas

Understanding the concept of Workers’ Compensation is vital for construction workers in Texas. While it can seem confusing, gaining a basic understanding of the laws, the process of filing a claim, and employer responsibilities can be beneficial in securing your rights.

Texas Workers’ Compensation Laws

Texas stands unique among U.S. states as it does not legally require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. However, employers in certain hazardous industries, such as construction and manufacturing, often opt to carry it due to the higher risk of workplace injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance in Texas may provide coverage for:

  • lost wages;
  • medical treatment;
  • legal fees for family lawsuits; and
  • death benefits in case of a work-related fatality.

Even though it’s not mandatory, many employers in Texas choose to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees and themselves from the financial impact of workplace accidents. Employers who do provide this insurance must comply with specific regulations and procedures, which include disclosing their coverage status to their employees and promptly notifying the Workers’ Compensation Division if they terminate their coverage. The Division of Workers’ Compensation ensures compliance with state laws, while the Texas Department of Insurance regulates the cost of the insurance, considering factors such as the type of work, claims history, and company payroll size.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Initiating a workers’ compensation claim in Texas involves filing the DWC Form-041 with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. This form requires detailed information about:

  • the worker’s identity;
  • the injury sustained;
  • current work status; and
  • details of the employer.

If your claim is denied by the insurance company, you can challenge the decision through the Division of Workers’ Compensation. The process involves a benefit review conference as the first step and can lead up to a contested case hearing, following procedural rules. In such instances, having a legal professional can be extremely beneficial.

A lawyer can assist with the workers’ compensation claim process by ensuring that all necessary documentation is accurately completed and submitted on time. They can also help to gather and present evidence to support the claim, represent you at hearings and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

If your claim is denied, a lawyer can guide you through the appeals process, which may include representation at a benefit review conference or a contested case hearing. With their knowledge of the legal system and workers’ compensation laws, lawyers can significantly increase the chances of a successful outcome for your claim.

Employer Responsibilities

Under the workers’ compensation laws, employers in Texas have specific responsibilities to prevent construction accidents in Texas. They are obligated to:

  • provide a safe work environment;
  • comply with OSHA standards;
  • minimize construction site hazards;
  • communicate hazards;
  • supply necessary personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • inspect tools and machinery; and
  • train workers in safe work practices.

Employers are responsible for:

  • informing employees about their workers’ compensation insurance coverage;
  • directing injured workers to approved healthcare providers; and
  • reporting the injury to the Division of Workers’ Compensation to initiate the claims process.

Failure to meet these safety obligations can result in legal and financial consequences for employers.

When to Pursue a Personal Injury Claim

Under specific circumstances, pursuing a personal injury claim, rather than a workers’ compensation claim, might be necessary. This could be the case if your employer exhibited gross negligence leading to your injury, such as failing to provide adequate safety measures or equipment. For example, if a construction company ignores repeated warnings about unsafe scaffolding and it collapses, resulting in injury, this could be grounds for a personal injury claim. Similarly, if your employer opted out of workers’ compensation insurance, you may have no choice but to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to seek damages for your injuries. In such situations, consulting a personal injury attorney can help you understand your options and navigate the legal process, including the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit.

Establishing Negligence

A personal injury claim largely hinges on establishing negligence. It requires proving that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached that duty, and that the breach was substantially responsible for causing harm. To establish negligence, you must show that the negligence of another party caused the accident, which then led to your financial losses.

Employers who fail to provide a safe work environment in compliance with safety regulations may be held legally and financially responsible for any resulting injuries to workers. In such cases, preserving physical evidence, like defective equipment or tools, is crucial to determine liability.

Calculating Damages

In a personal injury claim, damages are divided into three categories:

  1. Economic Damages: These include tangible losses like medical bills, physical therapy costs, lost wages, and the potential future income affected by the injury.
  2. Non-economic Damages: These include intangible losses like emotional suffering, mental anguish, pain and suffering in the past and future, and permanent disfigurement.
  3. Punitive Damages: These are awarded in certain cases to punish the defendant for their actions and deter others from engaging in similar behavior. In cases of gross negligence or intentional harm, punitive damages may be awarded, serving as punishment for the defendant and a deterrent for similar future conduct.

With a clear understanding of the types of damages that can be sought, it’s important to explore the broader context of personal injury claims to ensure all avenues for compensation are thoroughly examined.

Statute of Limitations

Personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims in Texas each have their own statute of limitations. For personal injury claims, the standard limit is two years from the date of the accident to initiate legal proceedings. However, this can be subject to certain exceptions. For instance, minors have until their 20th birthday to file a claim, as the countdown for the statute of limitations begins once they reach the age of majority.

Conversely, for workers’ compensation claims, the statute of limitations is different. Injured workers must report the injury to their employer within 30 days of the accident and have one year from the date of the injury to file a workers’ compensation claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

The discovery rule in Texas may also extend the statute of limitations for personal injury claims if an injury was not immediately discoverable. This rule emphasizes the importance of prompt medical attention after an accident and the maintenance of thorough medical records to support any future claim.

How Abraham Watkins Can Assist You

At Abraham Watkins, we offer the following services to help you with your construction accident case:

  • comprehension of the intricacies and hurdles associated with construction accident cases;
  • extensive experience in handling construction accident cases;
  • no-win no-fee policy, ensuring that you don’t have to pay unless we win your case; and
  • personalized legal representation to guide you through the entire process.

We are committed to helping you through this difficult journey.

Our Experience

Over seven decades of practice has allowed us to position ourselves as one of the most seasoned law firms in Texas. Our attorneys are skilled in claims investigation, negotiations, and litigation, ensuring comprehensive legal services for our clients.

Our successful track record in the construction industry, particularly in construction accident cases, is demonstrated through our history, legal practices, and substantial settlements for clients. We have achieved multi-million dollar settlements in various cases, offering our clients the compensation they deserve.

No Legal Fees Until We Win

Our firm conviction is that financial circumstances should not hinder access to legal services. This is why we offer our services on a contingency fee basis and provide a free consultation. We believe everyone deserves access to high-quality legal representation without an upfront cost.

Personalized Legal Representation

Providing personalized legal representation is something we at Abraham Watkins take immense pride in. We understand that every case is unique, and so are the needs of our clients. We are committed to responsive communication and transparency in our fee structures.

Our approach ensures that you are not just another case file, but a valued client who deserves our full attention and dedication.

Contact Abraham Watkins Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, the dedicated team at Abraham Watkins is ready to provide the support and representation you deserve. With our experience in construction accident law and a commitment to fight for your rights, we’ll work tirelessly to secure the compensation you need for recovery. Take the first step towards justice—call us now at 713-535-9319 for a free consultation. Your path to recovery and justice begins with a single call.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the immediate steps to take after a construction accident in Texas?

After a construction accident in Texas, you should seek medical attention, report the accident to your employer, and document the accident scene. Taking these steps is crucial for your safety and for establishing the necessary record of the incident.

How can I establish negligence in a personal injury claim?

To establish negligence in a personal injury claim, you need to demonstrate that the defendant had a duty of care towards you, breached that duty, and that this breach was a direct cause of your injuries. For example, if a construction company failed to secure a load properly and it fell, causing your injury, this could be a clear case of negligence where the company did not adhere to safety protocols, leading to your harm.

Can I file a workers’ compensation claim if my employer doesn’t have insurance?

In Texas, employers are not required to have workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer does not carry this insurance, you cannot file a workers’ compensation claim. However, you may have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer or a third party if negligence can be established.

How long do I have to report a construction accident to my employer?

You should report the construction accident to your employer as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days from the date of the incident. Failing to report within this timeframe could jeopardize your ability to file a workers’ compensation claim.

What types of compensation can I recover in a construction accident claim?

In a construction accident claim, you may be eligible to recover various types of compensation, including medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and punitive damages in cases of gross negligence or intentional harm.