Falls at Construction Sites Can Be Life-changing Events For Workers and Their Families.
In many falls, workers suffer catastrophic brain injury or spinal injury. In too many cases, the worker cannot survive the harm that he or she suffers. If you are dealing with the consequences of a construction fall, we can provide the highly experienced and compassionate legal representation that you need during this challenging time. We want to make a difference for you.
Since we founded our law firm, we have helped more than 30,000 workers (including those harmed in construction accidents) in Indianapolis, Evansville and throughout Indiana explore and pursue workers compensation benefits and many other forms of relief available to them.
In fact, Thomson West selected attorneys Randal M. Klezmer and Nathan B. Maudlin to write a guide that is used by lawyers across the state: The Indiana Workers Compensation Law and Practice Manual.
Contact us to discuss your case. We can learn more about how your construction fall occurred, and craft a legal strategy that is tailored to meet your unique needs and goals.
Who Faces the Risk of a Fall Injury at Construction Sites?
Unfortunately, if you are a construction worker in Indiana, you have likely faced the risk of a fall every day on the job. As the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports, falls are a leading cause of injury and death in the construction industry.
When you are at a construction site, falls can occur in many different ways, including:
- falls from roofs, scaffolding, ladders or other heights
- falls from cranes, forklifts, bulldozers and other machines
- falls due to slippery or uneven surfaces, snow, ice, or objects left in walkways
- falls into trenches and other excavation areas
- falls through exposed holes and other openings in floors and walls
Many construction workers, regretfully, face an increased risk of falls because their employers—or others at a job site—fail to follow state and federal safety regulations, or provide workers with faulty equipment.
OSHA, for instance, requires the use of “fall prevention” measures when workers operate at heights of six feet or higher above a lower level. These measures include providing:
- guardrail systems
- safety net systems
- personal fall arrest systems
In many cases, a worker may suffer a greater injury in a fall due to an employer’s failure to provide proper protective equipment such as head gear, or “hard hats.”
If you or a family member has suffered a construction fall injury, we can investigate your case to determine whether it was purely an “accident” or an incident that could have been prevented—all too often, the latter is the case.
What Injuries Can Result From Construction Site Falls?
The reality is that many workers who suffer falls in Indiana and across the country—especially roofers, framers and others working from heights—do not survive their injuries. During one recent year, OSHA reports, falls accounted for:
- 359 of 899 deaths in the construction industry, or
- 40 percent of all construction-related fatalities.
Even though a construction worker may survive a fall, at Klezmer Maudlin, PC we know how the workers life may never be the same due to his or her injuries—especially those which involve damage to the head and brain.
As the Brain Injury Association of America explains, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can permanently alter the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and moves.
If a construction worker suffers a severe form of TBI, it can lead to extensive medical costs for treatment and ongoing therapy. In fact, a Research America report estimated that, on average, a TBI victim faces $85,000 in lifetime medical care—although, in many cases, the costs can reach several million dollars.
You also must factor in the loss of income, diminished future earning ability, and the burden that an injury may place on family members who must serve as full- or part-time caregivers.
Even a mild form of TBI such as a concussion can lead to long-term problems for a person. If you fall at a construction site, it is always important to pay close attention to possible signs of a concussion and to seek medical treatment without delay.
In addition to head and brain injuries, construction workers can suffer many other types of serious injuries in a fall, including:
- spinal injury (from slipped or herniated discs to paralysis)
- fractures (especially in the hips, arms, legs and ankles)
- soft tissue damage (including torn ligaments)
Often, a worker may have a pre-existing condition that is aggravated by a fall.
The attorneys of Klezmer Maudlin, PC can review your medical records to determine the full extent of physical, emotional and financial harm you have suffered in a fall.
We also will give your case the personal attention you deserve and identify the unique ways in which a fall has kept you from enjoying life as you did before the fall.
Can You File a Workers Compensation Claim For a Construction Fall Injury?
In most cases, if you suffer a personal injury or your loved one dies in a construction fall accident in Indiana, you would be eligible to file a claim for workers compensation benefits.
These benefits can include:
- Medical benefits—Your employer, or its workers compensation insurer, should pay for all necessary medical costs related to your fall injury, including emergency care, surgery, rehabilitation and ongoing therapy.
- Lost wage benefits—If you are unable to work due to your injury, you can receive weekly payments that cover two-thirds of your pre-injury weekly wage (for up to 500 weeks after the injury). If your injury allows you to work—but in a light-duty role—you could receive two-thirds of the difference between your wages now and what you earned before (for up to 300 weeks).
- Permanent impairment benefits—If you lose or lose use of a body part or function due to a construction fall, you could receive benefits that are aimed at compensating you for that loss. These benefits often are paid in a lump sum.
- Death benefits—If you are a dependent of a worker who died in a construction fall, you could be eligible to receive two-thirds of the average weekly wages that your loved one earned before the incident, as well as up to $7,500 in funeral expenses.
With our experience in handling workers compensation claims in Indianapolis, Evansville and throughout Indiana, Klezmer Maudlin, PC can help you explore all workers compensation benefits available to you. We can also help you appeal the denial of your benefits claim.
Can You File a Third-party Claim After a Construction Fall?
If you receive Indiana workers compensation benefits after a construction fall, you cannot bring a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against an employer. Workers compensation benefits will be your “exclusive remedy” against your employer.
On the one hand, you can receive these benefits without having to prove fault. However, workers compensation benefits often provide limited relief.
If the fall injury resulted from the negligence of a non-employer or co-worker, you could be eligible to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim against that “third party.”
Examples of third parties who could be held liable for a construction site fall are:
- the owner of the construction site
- a general contractor or subcontractor
- the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment (such as scaffolding).
In a third-party liability claim, you must prove fault (unlike a workers compensation claim). However, you could recover a significantly higher amount of compensation for your losses, including compensation for all of your lost wages, as well as pain and suffering damages.
If you are receiving workers compensation benefits and obtain a settlement from a negligent third party, your workers compensation insurer would likely seek to recover what it already provided to you. This is often done through a lien.
At Klezmer Maudlin, PC, we have represented numerous clients in third-party liability claims, including victims of construction falls. We can assess your case, determine if such a claim is available to you and aggressively pursue the maximum amount for you and your family.
How Can a Lawyer Help with your Construction Fall Injury Claim?
Like many Indiana workers who are injured in construction falls, you may be facing obstacles as you pursue workers compensation benefits and other relief. We believe it is important to work with a law firm that can use its skill and experience to help you overcome those obstacles.
When Klezmer Maudlin, PC takes on your case, we will conduct a thorough investigation of your fall accident to determine your eligibility for workers compensation benefits, as well as your right to pursue a third-party liability claim.
We can help you to:
- file your claim for benefits
- appeal your denied claim
- file a lawsuit in the appropriate state or federal court
- resolve any liens attached to your verdict or settlement so that you receive the amount owed efficiently
In many cases, we can work through mediation and obtain a settlement of a workers compensation claim and/or personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, which avoids the need for a hearing or trial.
At Klezmer Maudlin, PC, we never charge an upfront fee for our services. Additionally, with limited exceptions, we also will collect our out-of-pocket expenses from the money you recover—not from you.