Construction sites in and around St. Louis and the Metro East can be dangerous places. One of the primary reasons these sites are so dangerous is because of the large and heavy equipment (such as diggers, cranes, cement mixers, and trucks) used on these premises. Construction workers can also fall from tall places, like high scaffolding and ladders, while working at their jobs, leading to serious and sometimes debilitating injuries.
Many construction workers must take time off work to recover from their injuries, resulting in lost wages and other damages. Some workers are injured so severely in their construction accidents that they have to change occupations altogether.
Fortunately, construction employees who are injured while they are working at their jobs-and while they are working within the scope of their employment-might be eligible to pursue and recover various types of workers’ compensation benefits in Missouri or Illinois, depending upon where their accident happens. The skilled team of St. Louis and Metro East construction accident lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can help you file a claim for benefits arising from your construction accident.
We can also help you determine if you may assert a third-party claim against a responsible person or entity, such as a machinery or equipment manufacturer. Our legal team will do everything that we can to ensure that you obtain the full and fair compensation that you deserve for all of your injuries.
Please reach out to us at the Dixon Injury Firm today to discover more about how we can assist you with your construction accident workers’ compensation or third-party injury claim.
What Makes Construction Sites so Dangerous?
Construction sites are dangerous because employees have to work on equipment that is often large, heavy, and inherently dangerous. Pieces of large and heavy construction equipment can fall on a worker or crush them. The equipment can also malfunction in some way, leading to severe injuries.
Similarly, on construction sites, workers often have to work atop high beams or on high ladders and scaffolding. If the equipment is not properly secured-or if the equipment breaks or malfunctions in some other way-then the worker can fall to the ground and suffer debilitating injuries as a result.
If you have suffered one or more injuries in a construction site accident, the skilled team of St. Louis and Metro East construction accident lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine your eligibility for filing a workers’ compensation claim in your jurisdiction.
Common Types of Construction Site Accidents and Injuries
Due to the dangerous nature of construction work and equipment, many types of on-site accidents can lead to severe injuries and damages.
Accidents that often occur on construction sites include:
- Crush incidents
- Falls from heights (especially from tall ladders and scaffolding)
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Malfunctioning machinery
- On-site explosions
- Chemical burns
Construction workers who are involved in an on-site accident can suffer serious injuries that may leave them in need of medical treatment, physical therapy, or a medical procedure-such as surgery.
Common injuries suffered by individuals who work on construction sites include:
If you have suffered one or more of these injuries while you are working at your construction job, you need an experienced St. Louis and Metro East construction accident lawyer at Dixon Injury Firm by your side. Our legal team can help you pursue the compensation that you deserve by way of a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party claim against a responsible person or entity.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim Following a Construction Accident
For an injured worker to be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim for an on-site injury, the worker must satisfy several legal elements. First of all, the worker must have suffered the injury while they were on the job-and while working within the scope of employment.
Working within the scope of one’s employment typically means performing a job duty or function that is closely associated with the job. For example, if a construction worker is injured while operating a piece of machinery or is injured in a motor vehicle collision while on a job site, then the worker might be eligible to pursue a workers’ compensation claim for benefits.
Also, for an injured construction worker to be eligible to make a workers’ compensation claim, the worker must have been an employee and not an independent contractor. Employees typically have set days and hours during which they have to work, whereas independent contractors are more likely to set their own work times and hours.
If you sustained an injury while working at your construction job, the knowledgeable and skilled St. Louis and Metro East construction accident attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm can determine if you are eligible to bring a workers’ compensation claim for your injuries. If so, we can assist you through the claims and process and work to get you all of the necessary benefits that you deserve.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Construction workers injured at their job may be eligible to pursue a variety of workers’ compensation benefits through the system. The process of obtaining these benefits begins with the filing of a claim.
Workers who are injured on the job often have to take time off work to attend medical and physical therapy appointments and recover from their injuries. The workers’ compensation system pays these expenses if the worker suffered injuries in the construction accident.
In addition to recovering medical expenses, injured construction workers might be eligible to recover a portion of their lost wages for the time that they had to miss from their work. This is important for workers to stay on top of their everyday expenses and bills while they cannot work.
Likewise, under certain circumstances, construction workers can suffer extremely serious injuries that result in a permanent limitation or disability. To recover monetary benefits for a permanent injury or disability, a healthcare provider must state on the record, and to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that you suffered a permanent injury as a direct result of your construction accident. A doctor might also be available, depending upon the circumstances of your accident and your injury.
Finally, injured construction workers might be eligible for vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation benefits include career counseling that should enable injured workers to switch jobs or careers in the event they can no longer work in the same industry due to injuries suffered in the construction accident.
A knowledgeable St. Louis and Metro East construction accident attorney at Dixon Injury Firm can explore your eligibility for comp benefits and can work to help you recover the monetary benefits that you need for your on-the-job injury or injuries.
Pursuing a Third-party Claim After a Construction Accident
Workers who suffer one or more injuries in a construction accident are not typically eligible to file a claim or lawsuit against their employer. On-the-job injuries are usually addressed through the workers’ compensation system. However, there may be some instances where an injured construction worker might be in a position to file a claim against one or more third parties who are responsible for the accident.
In a third-party claim, the accident victim has the legal burden of proof. In other words, they must demonstrate that the third party acted unreasonably under the circumstances and that, as a result, the accident and injuries occurred. The accident victim must also be in a position to demonstrate that they suffered damages.
In the context of a construction accident, an injured worker might assert a claim against one or more parties who caused the accident. For example, in a motor vehicle collision that occurred on a job site, the accident victim might file a claim against the at-fault driver who caused the accident.
Likewise, if the construction site accident occurred because of defective equipment, such as a defective ladder, machine, or piece of scaffolding, the injured construction worker might bring a legal claim against the manufacturer or distributor of that product.
Finally, some construction site accidents occur because project managers, supervisors, contractors, and others fail to supervise the job site properly or maintain the construction site equipment reasonably and safely. In those instances, the injured construction worker might bring a claim against the negligent party, seeking monetary compensation in the form of damages.
In Missouri third-party personal injury cases, accident victims have five years from the date of their accident to bring a third-party claim or lawsuit for damages. In the state of Illinois, that statutory period is only two years from the date of the accident. If the accident victim fails to bring a claim within that deadline, they can’t ever do so in the future. Therefore, if you sustain an injury in a construction accident, you must retain knowledgeable legal counsel to represent you in your case as soon as you possibly can.
The knowledgeable St. Louis and Metro East construction accident attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm can determine if you are eligible to file a third-party claim against one or more negligent individuals or entities. If so, we can file the claim on your behalf-and well within the applicable statute of limitations deadline.
Potential Third-Party Damages in Construction Accident Cases
If you are eligible to file a third-party claim arising from injuries suffered in a construction accident, then you might recover various types of damages. The purpose of monetary damages in a personal injury case is to make you whole to the greatest extent possible. To be eligible for damages, you must first satisfy all of the legal elements of your claim.
Potential damages in personal injury cases resulting from a construction accident include:
- Payment of all expenses for related medical treatment, including doctor, hospital, and physical therapy visits
- Compensation for loss of earnings
- Pain and suffering compensation
- Compensation for emotional anguish and other types of diagnosable mental distress
- Compensation for loss of the use of an injured body part
- Compensation for lost quality or enjoyment of life
- Compensation for loss of family support and spousal companionship
If you have suffered one or more injuries in a construction accident, the experienced team of St. Louis and Metro East construction accident lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm are ready to help. We can file your third-party claim or lawsuit promptly and work to bring about an efficient and favorable resolution of your case.
You must need a lawyer to review your construction accident, even if you are already receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The losses from serious injuries can far exceed the available workers’ comp benefits, and you should not be responsible for any injury-related losses. Third-party claims can often help to ensure that an injured construction worker gets coverage for all of their losses, including intangible losses.
St. Louis Construction Accident FAQs
Construction work is-hands down-one of the most dangerous occupations out there, and the City of St. Louis has a lot of it going on. St. Louis is a bustling city that continues to grow and build, and that growth invariably results in car accidents. If you’re a construction worker who has suffered on-the-job injuries, the Dixon Injury Firm is committed to advocating for your legal rights while pursuing to which you are entitled.
St. Louis is a beautiful city that entices visitors by the millions each year. We have something for everyone, including:
- A thriving art scene that boasts the Fabulous Fox Theater, Citygarden, City Museum, and the St. Louis Art Museum
- The iconic Gateway Arch, which needs no introduction
- Plenty for sports enthusiasts, including Busch Stadium (home to the St. Louis Cardinals)
- Outdoor fun aplenty, including Forest Park-one of the largest city parks in the nation
Tho create those and many other attractions, St. Louis also features many construction areas, including road work zones, building improvements, and the construction of new developments. This opens the door for many construction accidents and resulting legal questions.
How dangerous is construction work?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, in 2019, there was a 25 percent increase in the number of construction workers overall (since 2011).
The CDC also shares these safety statistics:
- In construction work, falls are consistently the leading cause of death, accounting for more than 36 percent of the industry’s total fatalities.
- After falls, accidents caused by being struck (15.4 percent), electrocutions, and accidents caused by being caught in between two unyielding forces (5.4 percent) are the most common causes of fatal accidents.
Furthermore, the most common OSHA standard violations specific to construction work are the failure to:
- Provide adequate fall protection
- Fulfill scaffolding safety requirements
- Meet ladder safety requirements
Each of these relates directly to dangerous fall accidents.
I’ve suffered injuries on the construction site. What actions should I take first?
If you’ve suffered injuries on the job as a construction worker, the first course of action you should take—after seeking the medical attention that you need—is letting your employer know that you suffered injuries at work.
Doing so involves supplying your employer, supervisor, or manager with your full name and address and the time/place and nature of the accident (along with information about your resulting injury).
You have 30 days to notify your employer about an injury-causing accident, but you are well-advised to do so sooner rather than later.
Another step that can protect your workers’ compensation claim and—by extension—your health is consulting our experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation attorneys.
What is workers’ compensation?
According to the Missouri Department of Insurance, workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance that the state requires certain employers to carry. Workers who suffer on-the-job injuries receive benefits from workers’ comp that include medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages, and permanent disability (as applicable).
In exchange for providing this coverage, employers are immune from civil lawsuits from employees who suffer injuries in on-the-job accidents or who develop work-related illnesses.
- If you suffer injuries in an on-the-job accident, the matter of fault is not a factor. You can file a workers’ compensation claim in pursuit of compensation for your covered losses.
- Your employer, on the other hand, has coverage in place to address your claim and does not have to worry about a lawsuit flowing from the accident and injuries you’ve suffered.
Does my employer carry workers’ compensation?
Generally, all employers with at least five employees must carry workers’ compensation coverage, but construction companies must do so when they have even one employee. Further, Missouri requires coverage for full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees. If you suffer injuries on the job and the company that employs you doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, it can face serious legal action.
What kind of coverage can I expect?
If you suffer injuries in an accident on the construction site, your workers’ compensation coverage breaks into:
To begin, your workers’ compensation coverage will reimburse you for the medical bills you incur due to the accident in question. This coverage includes all the necessary medical treatment, but it is important to note that your workers’ compensation provider may not deem all the medical treatment you receive necessary.
The expenses covered include:
- Emergency services
- Surgical care
- Hospital stays
- Follow-up care
- Medical treatments, tests, and procedures
- Treatment from doctors and medical specialists
- Pain management
- Physical and/or occupational therapy
- Prescription medications
- Adaptive physical devices, such as wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, and more
- Home health care
Address your ongoing medical needs in your workers’ compensation claim. Further, your employer may require you to use a specific doctor and/or medical facility, and failure to do so can leave you responsible for your medical expenses.
Your Lost Income
If the injury you’ve sustained on the construction site requires you to miss work, you can seek compensation for your lost wages in the form of temporary total disability benefits. These benefits amount to two-thirds of your average gross earnings (per week) at the time of your injury (with a specific cap in place). If, however, you can return to work for either fewer hours per week or in a light-duty capacity, you can seek temporary partial disability benefits. This coverage affords you two-thirds of the wage reduction you experience.
How long does workers’ compensation coverage last?
Your coverage will continue until you can return to work at full capacity or until a doctor determines that you have reached what is called your maximum medical improvement (MMI). It’s important to mention that construction work is so physically demanding that the injuries sustained on the job are likely to be more serious, take longer to recover from, and preclude you from returning to work for a longer period. For this reason, injured construction workers need to retain an experienced lawyer after an on-the-job injury.
What is maximum medical improvement?
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the term used to define when an injured construction worker (or any employee) has reached their fullest recovery. MMI means that you have recovered to the extent possible as determined by the medical professional who makes the call. Once you are determined to have reached MMI, your temporary disability benefits (whether partial or total) will end. The workers’ compensation insurance provider will naturally prefer to get you to this classification as soon as possible. That said, as a victim, you want to get as much treatment as you need. Unfortunately, the gap between these competing goals often requires an attorney to help protect injured workers.
What if I haven’t fully recovered when I reach my MMI?
The fact is that MMI doesn’t necessarily mean that the injured party has fully recovered. Some injuries reach a point where no further improvement is possible (or expected with any degree of medical certainty). Your MMI designation means that you have reached a stable condition at which no additional improvement—regardless of how much medical treatment you receive—is expected.
Where do I go from here?
If you have reached your MMI but do not believe you have recovered from your injuries, the doctor treating you may determine that you need ongoing medical attention (to address chronic pain, for example). Further, if the injuries you’ve suffered are permanent and you’ve received an MMI designation, you’ll be assigned a disability rating, which will guide your ongoing compensation.
Your disability rating can be affected by:
- The medical treatments and procedures you’ve undergone
- Any work restrictions to which you are subject
- Any decreases in your overall range of motion
- The degree of ongoing pain you experience
Do I really need a workers’ compensation attorney?
Yes. Obtaining the compensation that you need to pursue your most complete recovery and adequately address the losses you’ve suffered is too important to leave to chance.
A dedicated worker’s compensation attorney will take on these important tasks on your behalf:
- Negotiating with the insurance company for fair terms that address your covered losses (or legal damages) in their entirety
- Building your strongest claim by gathering all related evidence and procuring expert testimony (as applicable)
- Helping you make the best decisions for you throughout the workers’ compensation process
- Preparing for a hearing in the event the insurance company refuses to address your claim fairly
Can’t I count on the insurance company to cover my losses fairly?
When it comes to the workers’ compensation insurance company, you can count on it to protect the immense profits it generates. This fact means that it will do what it can to keep your settlement as low as it can get away with, and this is where having a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney in your corner comes in exceptionally handy.
Your attorney will root out and fight all the following tactics that workers’ comp insurance providers sometimes stoop to:
- Denying claims early on (hoping claimants will simply give up)
- Making early settlement offers that don’t come close to covering claimants’ complete damages (but that some are desperate enough to accept)
- Prolonging and complicating the claims process, which is complicated enough, to begin with
- Casting doubt on the extent of claimants’ injuries and covered losses
Your workers’ compensation attorney has the experience, legal skill, and keen insight to thwart these practices—in pursuit of fair compensation.
What can I do if I can’t afford a workers’ compensation attorney?
The expenses generated by being injured on the construction site can be overwhelming. Not only are you off the job and watching your medical bills pile up, but you also are coping with the healing process, which can be exceptionally challenging in and of itself. As such, it’s not surprising that you are concerned with how you will afford a workers’ compensation attorney. Fortunately, you can let this worry go.
The fact is that most reputable workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency basis. This fact means that their payment depends on them obtaining compensation for their clients. If you receive a settlement, your attorney will collect a prearranged percentage of the total. However, if you don’t receive a settlement, you won’t owe your attorney anything. Taking the financial risk out of the equation allows you to focus on what’s most important-your recovery.
Will my claim require a hearing?
The thought of going to a hearing for your workers’ compensation case may be more than you can deal with at the moment, and this is understandable. The vast majority of workers’ compensation claims settle without the need for a final hearing, and yours is very likely to follow suit. However, if the workers’ compensation insurance provider refuses to negotiate in good faith, your workers’ compensation attorney will likely request a hearing and represent you before the administrative law judge.
It’s Time to Consult an Experienced St. Louis Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you’re a construction worker who suffered injuries on the job, the focused workers’ compensation lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm serving both St. Louis and Metro East areas-dedicate their practice to skillfully guiding claims like yours toward advantageous outcomes that uphold your rights and best interests.
Construction accident and injury claims can be complex, whether you seek workers’ compensation benefits or third-party compensation. We can help in either situation.
To learn more about how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at (314) 208-2808 today. Case evaluations are always free, with no obligation to hire the firm.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132
I highly recommend Chris Dixon to anyone dealing with a personal injury case. He was there every step of the way, he was prompt and easy to get a hold of at any time during this process. He is very educated and highly skilled in his field and helped me receive the best medical attention possible. If you’re looking for the best personal injury in St. Louis, look no further. Chris Dixon, in my eyes, is the best!
– Ryan B.