A construction accident can leave you with serious injuries that can permanently affect your career and life. Here in South Carolina, the private construction industry recently had the highest number of work-related fatalities in one year, with 27 fatal injuries and many more nonfatal injuries.
If you suffered injuries on a South Carolina construction site, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits or damages in a personal injury claim. To get started with your workers’ compensation claim or personal injury suit, it’s essential to understand some of the common causes of construction accidents.
At Jebaily Law Firm, our South Carolina attorneys are committed to standing up for the rights of injured workers. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options in a free initial consultation.
What Are the Main Causes of Construction Accidents in South Carolina?
Here are some of the most common causes of South Carolina construction accidents:
- Transportation accidents – Transportation accidents can occur when forklifts, cranes, bulldozers, trucks, or other commercial or private vehicles collide with people, machinery, or other vehicles on construction sites.
- Slips, trips, and falls – Slip-and-falls and trip-and-falls are widespread causes of injuries on construction sites, where workers can easily slip or trip over poor scaffolding, construction debris, loose cords, and other hazards.
- Falling or flying objects – Heavy or sharp tools or materials can easily cause blunt-force trauma, lacerations, and other serious injuries when they fall on or fly into vulnerable workers.
- Crushing accidents – When workers are caught in between or compressed by heavy machinery or objects, they can sustain devastating crushing injuries that may result in traumatic or surgical amputation.
- Electrical accidents – Improperly grounded connections, exposed cables, and other electrical problems can cause workers to sustain dangerous electric shocks, burns from electrical fires, and even fatal electrocution.
- Defective equipment – Modern construction often requires specialized and complex equipment. When pieces of equipment are poorly designed or maintained, even minor flaws can contribute to harmful construction accidents.
- Inadequate training – If workers are not adequately trained to do their jobs safely and securely, they can sustain severe injuries from poor work technique, misuse of work equipment, and other preventable accidents.
What Are My Legal Rights as an Injured Construction Worker?
In most cases, a construction worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury. Under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, nearly all employers with four or more employees must provide workers’ comp insurance for their employees. That includes general contractors and subcontractors, but not self-employed independent contractors.
As an eligible employee, you have the right to claim workers’ comp benefits if you suffer an on-the-job injury or occupational illness. Available benefits include coverage for injury-related medical expenses and replacing a portion of your lost wages.
Workers’ compensation is a type of no-fault insurance, which means you do not have to prove another party was at fault before you can claim your benefits. You can even recover benefits if you were at fault for your work-related injuries.
Third-Party Construction Accident Lawsuits in South Carolina
Workers’ comp is considered an “exclusive remedy” after a workplace accident, which means you generally cannot sue your employer. However, you have the right to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against other liable parties. That could include other contractors or subcontractors, the owner of the construction site, or manufacturers of any faulty equipment, for example.
In a third-party construction accident lawsuit, you must be able to demonstrate that the other party was responsible for your injuries. A successful third-party claim could allow you to recover a much wider range of compensation than you would receive from a workers’ comp claim.
Potential Compensation in a Construction Accident Case
With a successful workers’ compensation claim, you could be entitled to the following benefits for a construction accident injury:
- Medical benefits
- A portion of lost wages
- Vocational benefits
With a successful personal injury lawsuit, you could recover additional compensation for:
- The total value of your lost wages
- The intangible costs of your pain and suffering
- The projected value of future injury-related losses
What Do I Do If I’ve Been Hurt in a Construction Accident?
No one starts their workday expecting to sustain a severe injury, so knowing what to do after getting hurt in a construction accident in South Carolina can be challenging. You can protect your health and your legal rights by taking the following simple steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention. If you need emergency treatment, call 911 immediately to request medical assistance or ask a coworker to do so for you. If you do not require emergency care, visit an employer-approved doctor as soon as possible. In either case, be sure to let the doctor know you are seeking treatment for a work injury.
- Notify your employer promptly. You must report work-related injuries to your employer within 90 days to remain eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
- File a claim with the Commission. If your employer fails to report your injury to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) or denies all or part of your benefits, submit a completed Form 50 or Form 52 to the SCWCC.
- Gather as much evidence as possible. Gather evidence such as photos or video footage of the accident scene, physical items such as the clothes you were wearing or tools you were using when the injury occurred, and statements from eyewitnesses. If you cannot gather evidence yourself, ask someone you trust to do it for you.
- Avoid talking to insurance adjusters. If an insurance adjuster contacts you to discuss the accident and your injuries, refer them to your attorney. Insurers will often try to gather details they can use to undervalue or deny a claim.
- Contact a knowledgeable injury lawyer. It’s best to contact an experienced work injury lawyer right away. A trusted attorney can help you protect your rights as a worker and demand the benefits you deserve from the very beginning.
Contact the Construction Accident Lawyers of Jebaily Law Firm
The experienced South Carolina construction accident attorneys of Jebaily Law Firm can help you navigate the entire process of claiming the benefits you deserve. Contact us today to discuss the details of your workplace injury case in a free initial case review.