Should I Hire a Construction Accident Attorney?
If you've been in an accident at a construction site, you’ve probably already encountered lots of medical and financial issues. In the midst of the chaos, you may be wondering, “should I have a lawyer?” The answer depends on your situation, but is often yes. Below are some of the many factors to consider in hiring a construction accident attorney:
How Would a Construction Accident Attorney Help?
Having an experienced construction accident attorney on your side will help you by understanding how to file a civil suit and under what legal theories to bring the action, as well as help you with a workers' compensation claim, if applicable. A good construction accident attorney can help you recover losses resulting from your accident at work and reduce the amount of paperwork and hassle associated with your possible insurance, as well as legal claims. Hiring a lawyer can make the difference between a justly resolved case and losing money caring for your injuries from the accident.
An experienced construction accident lawyer can help you get compensation to cover any losses incurred due to the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and future medical needs. In addition, an attorney may help you and your family recover when a loved one is killed on a construction project in what is called a wrongful death case.
When to Hire a Construction Accident Lawyer
It's best to hire a construction accident lawyer early in the process to avoid costly mistakes. The deadline to file your accident claims varies from state to state. Because you may need to pay for medical bills and cover your lost wages, the sooner you contact an attorney the better. Generally, an injured worker should contact an attorney shortly after the accident occurs, within one to two weeks.
If a representative of your employer or an insurance company comes to you with a settlement offer, don't sign it without first consulting with an attorney. The settlement may not be in your best interests, especially if you have more injuries or financial losses that aren't accounted for in the offer.
Questions to Ask a Construction Accident Attorney
Many attorneys provide free, short consultations to determine if they can take your case. Before coming to speak with a prospective lawyer, you should have as much detailed information and facts about the construction accident and all of your injuries and financial losses as possible. You should bring your employment contract or other paperwork, any pictures of the scene or your injuries, any medical records, any record of days you missed from work, among other things. These will help your lawyer determine the merit of your case and best first steps to take.
You want to find an experienced construction accident attorney who is well versed in the relevant state and national workplace safety, transportation, negligence, or product liability laws, knows how to deal with workers' comp, as well as insurance and health care companies, and knows how to effectively prepare and settle a case. During this consultation, you should ask some preliminary questions to get to know the attorney and his or her experience, for example:
- How long have you been practicing law? How long with construction accident cases?
- What percentage of your practice is devoted to construction accident cases? How many construction accident cases have you handled? How often have they settled? Gone through litigation?
- What is a typical settlement range for cases like mine?
- What is your fee structure? What out-of-pocket expenses am I responsible for? These cases can be taken on contingency, which means if you don't win, your lawyer get nothing, but if you do win, you owe a specific amount, such as 30% to 40% to your lawyer.
- Do you have any references?
If the lawyer's office isn't convenient for you, ask if your lawyer can meet you at your home or closer to your home, such as at a satellite office close by. This can be particularly important if you're still recovering in the hospital or rehabilitation facility when you decide to hire an attorney.
Get Your Free Initial Claim Review
If you would like to make a workers' compensation claim, contact your employer. If your injury was caused by a third party, you can file a claim in civil court for damages. However, before filing your claim, you should consult with a worker's compensation attorney in order to determine your best option moving forward. You can even have an attorney provide a free initial review of the facts of your claim.