Were You Injured in an Accident at Work on a Construction Site?

Construction is among the highest-risk occupations in Arizona, with workers in this industry often suffering serious or fatal injuries on the job. If you or your close family member was injured in a workplace construction accident, you have the right to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and other qualifying losses.

Filing a construction accident claim can seem daunting, but an experienced construction accident lawyer in Phoenix, AZ, can help you navigate this process. Here at Rios Law Firm, PLLC, we provide compassionate legal support and aggressive representation for injured workers and their families. Contact us for a free consultation today.

Common Examples of Construction Accidents

Construction site injuries happen for various reasons, and many of the accidents are preventable with better training and more rigorous safety protocols. Some frequently occurring construction accidents include:

  • Fall from heights, such as a roof or scaffold
  • Slip and falls or injury from heavy lifting
  • Impact or impaled by a heavy or sharp object
  • Electrocution or Electrical shock
  • Heavy machinery accidents and loss of limbs or phalanges
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals or heat exhaustion

Who’s Responsible for Compensating You?

If you suffered injuries while working on a construction site, seeking compensation from your employer may be the obvious course of action. However, liability for your injuries could also fall on third parties, such as:

  • Sub or General contractors
  • Site Safety managers
  • Property owners or other companies on site
  • Engineers or Maintenance services
  • Product manufacturers

Examples of when you may have grounds for a third-party claim in addition to your worker’s compensation claim: (i) If your injury occurred due to a defective safety harness snapping and causing you to fall, you may have grounds for a third-party accident claim against the manufacturer of the harness. (ii) If you fell off a scaffold due to inadequate assembly, and workers of a company other than the one you work for assembled and placed the scaffold. (iii) You are on your way from one job site to another or to delivery materials and you are involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence or fault of another driver.

Fault in Third Party Construction Accident Claims

Although the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, you must prove that the third-party is at fault for the accident/your injuries.

You’d have to show that:

  • The responsible party breached their duty of care to you
  • Their breach of duty caused or contributed to your accident
  • Your accident caused significant and tangible injuries and/or losses

Are Construction Workers Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Arizona?

All employers in Arizona must carry workers’ compensation coverage. The workers’ compensation system works on a no-fault basis. Like all employees, construction workers may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Arizona. However, workers’ compensation does not cover independent contractors, who form a major part of the construction workforce. Oftentimes, construction companies intentionally misclassify employees as independent contractors or subcontractors to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits in case of a worksite injury. However, there are multiple factors and circumstances that can be used to prove an injured worker is an employee eligible for workers’ compensation coverage. A construction accident lawyer in Phoenix can help you with such a complex case during the litigation process.

Compensation for Undocumented Construction Workers

If you’re an undocumented worker that is injured on the job, you have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation. Many of Arizona’s construction workers are undocumented immigrants who may face obstacles when seeking compensation for a workplace injury. Employers and insurance companies often try to shirk their responsibility of compensating undocumented workers and may even threaten to retaliate against the injured worker by reporting their immigration status. Do not be intimidated and seek an experienced workers’ compensation attorney by contacting our bilingual law firm immediately.

What to Do After a Construction Accident

The steps you take shortly after a construction accident can impact the outcome of your claim. If you sustain a construction site injury, you should:

  • Report the injury to your employer immediately by notifying your direct supervisor, or another person in charge. Failing to do this could affect your claim.

  • Seek medical attention. Ask your employer to send you for medical treatment if they do not direct you to a medical facility. Tell the medical providers you were injured at work. Do not let your employer talk you into telling providers that you were injured at home or elsewhere, as employers often do in an attempt to derail workers’ compensation claims.

  • File a report with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) detailinghow the accident happened and injuries sustained, including the date, time, and location.

  • Collect evidence, including photos, communication or timecard logs, video footage, and witness contact information and statements.

  • Consult a workers’ compensation attorney to understand the process and your rights and obligations.

The Workers’ Compensation Process

When the Industrial Commission of Arizona becomes aware of your industrial injury, after receiving the Worker’s & Physician’s Report of Injury from the medical provider or after you file a Worker’s Report of Injury, ICA will notify the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier. If the employer does not have coverage, the ICA will notify the Special Fund/No Insurance Division of the ICA of your claim. The insurance carrier or Special Fund will have 21 days from the notification date to issue a notice accepting or denying your claim.

Your employer should also file the Employer’s Report of Injury with the ICA and report the industrial injury to its workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

If the insurance carrier denies the claim, you have the right to protest the notice by requesting a hearing within 90 days of the mailed date on the notice. This does not mean three months from the notice date; it means 90 straight days from the notice date.

Why Workers’ Compensation Providers Deny Claims

Insurers may deny workers’ compensation claims on many grounds, including:

  • Delayed or not reporting the injury
  • No medical treatment or evidence of injury
  • Pre-existing condition or prior complaints of the same symptoms
  • Employee misconduct or horseplay
  • Disputing that the accident/injury happened at work

If a workers’ compensation provider denies your claim, contact a construction accident workers’ compensation attorney in your area. Our law firm serves all parts of Arizona and can assess your case and provide reliable legal guidance.

Remedies You May Recover After Your Accident

As an injured construction worker in Arizona, you could claim the following benefits:

  • Coverage for medical expenses, including emergency care, prescription medications, outpatient appointments, physical therapy, caregiver, durable medical equipment, and the costs of traveling to and from appointments or transportation to appointments

  •  Partial disability (temporary or permanent) if you suffer an injury but may still be able to work with some restrictions

  •  Total disability (temporary or permanent) if you are unable to work in any capacity, as a result of the industrial injury

Additionally, spouses, dependent children, and other qualifying family members who lost their loved one in a fatal construction accident may file a claim for dependent’s benefits and collect death benefits. If the fatality was caused by a third party, the beneficiaries may also file a wrongful death claim against the third party.

Construction Accident Claim Deadlines

Arizona has some of the shortest timeframes for filing workplace injury claims. You have one year to file a workers’ compensation claim, starting either from the date of your injury or the date when you should have reasonably become aware or discovered the injury. The latter rule applies to injuries that may not be immediately obvious, such as the after-effects of exposure to chemicals.

If you are pursuing a personal injury claim against a third party, you have two years to file the claim, but you will require a reassignment from the workers’ compensation carrier after the first year. If the third party happens to be a governmental agency, you must give the governmental agency notice of claim within 180 days of the accident.

Construction cases tend to be very complex, especially when there is a third-party component. Therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible to ensure you comply with all filing and notice deadlines and gather relevant evidence, such as video camera footage while it is still available.

Do You Need a Construction Accident Attorney?

Construction accident claims are often both complex and high-stake, with a lot of money on the table for employers, insurance companies, and other responsible parties. Insurance companies may dispute your claim or try to exploit your difficult situation and pressure you into accepting a low settlement offer. Employers may discourage you from filing a claim because their premiums rise when they activate their workers’ compensation policy or because they do not have the required coverage. Working with an experienced construction accident lawyer in Phoenix improves your chances of winning at a hearing or achieving a reasonable settlement. Additionally, having an attorney that will aggressively represent you may relieve your stress and concerns about the claim process. With Rios Law Firm, PLLC, you benefit from:

  • Skilled, assertive legal representation
  • Working directly with attorney Crystal Rios Ramos, founder of Rios Law Firm, PLLC
  • Focus on your case and timely, personalized communication and service
  • A bilingual legal team that cares about you and your recovery
  • An attorney that fights for your rights and conducts settlement negotiations with ease and integrity.
  • Efficient strategies for appealing and litigating denied claims and the multiple issues that occur in workers’ compensation claims.

Rios Law Firm, PLLC: The Trusted Law Firm for Injured Construction Workers and Their Families

Are you dealing with physical pain, medical expenses, or have lost your ability to work after a workplace construction injury? You don’t have to face it alone; we are here for you. Contact our skilled legal team at Rios Law Firm, PLLC, and entrust your case to an experienced lawyer that serves Phoenix and all other parts of Arizona.

Call 602-237-6265 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.