Toledo was founded in 1833, is one of the oldest, most industrious cities in all of Ohio. Since its founding, it has seen incredible growth and expansion. Along with this growth comes the inevitable influx of construction projects – and accidents – in and around the city. After an accident, victims can file a workers’ compensation claim, an injury claim, or a lawsuit, depending on whether they were workers or passersby. For help with your claim or lawsuit, call a Toledo construction accident attorney.
At Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A. we pride ourselves on maintaining a steadfast dedication to helping the members of our community get back on their feet after an injury.
In 2015, there were nearly 100 public construction projects ongoing in the city of Toledo alone – not to mention the private construction and renovation projects occurring contemporaneously. From playground improvement efforts to the expansion of healthcare facilities, visitors and residents would be hard-pressed to find a corner or intersection in the city that was not under the shrouds of scaffolding.
For construction workers, the possibilities for injury are virtually endless. The following are some of the more common construction accidents that can occur:
In most cases, workers who sustain injuries on the job must resort to their workers’ compensation benefits, which will pay for medical bills, lost wages, and disability compensation. In very rare cases, workers may be able to file a lawsuit against their employer for their injury. This is a good time to get the advice of an experienced Toledo construction accident attorney.
Pedestrians and passersby are also at an increased risk of injury when walking past a construction site in Toledo. Accidents can cause severe and debilitating injuries, as well as lead to fatal injuries for victims crushed by falling debris or scaffolding components.
Other construction injuries for pedestrians to consider include exposure to chemicals and dust, uncovered manholes, untrained equipment operators, and unmarked danger zones.
Note: Negligence only applies to passersby, as the workers’ compensation system is not fault-based. Workers are eligible to receive benefits regardless of fault, as long as the injured worker sustained the injury within the scope of his employment and was not intoxicated at the time of the accident.
While some construction injuries are true accidents not caused in any way by the action or inaction of construction company or its workers, many are due to unsupervised and disorganized work conditions that ultimately result in danger and harm to the victims involved.
One common issue that gives rise to a dangerous and hazardous accident involves lack of training and poor worker oversight. Construction projects necessitate the use of heavy machinery and dangerous equipment that oftentimes requires special licensure and proper education to safely operate.
In a bind, job managers may direct untrained or unqualified workers to use this equipment to complete a certain task, relying on that worker’s observation of other workers using the equipment in question. If a supervisor allows an untrained worker to operate dangerous machinery, such as a crane or forklift, without proper credentials, that employer could face major exposure to liability in the event a passerby sustains injury.
In addition, due to the concept of vicarious liability, construction companies are often liable for injuries their employees cause.
In sum, construction employers, managers, and supervisors must keep the job site in a reasonably safe manner at all times. If the supervisor or employee fails to adhere to accepted standards of safety and caution, resulting in injury, a negligence lawsuit will likely be soon to follow. Again an experienced Toledo construction accident attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations.
As mentioned above, a construction worker injured while on the job may begin the workers’ compensation claim process by making an immediate report to his employer about his injury. From there, the worker must submit to medical treatment from an approved provider, and may be eligible for disability coverage if the injury causes significant missed time from work.
If an injured worker’s employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer for damages stemming from the incident. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury settlement or verdict can lead to not only quantifiable damages, but noneconomic damages for pain and suffering as well.
For the non-worker injured by falling debris or unmarked sidewalk hazards, recovery options may include filing a claim with the insurer that covered the construction project or a personal injury lawsuit for damages as explained above. The non-worker must also be sure to receive medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident.
When deciding the best way to seek compensation for a severe construction accident, be sure to work closely with the professionals at Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A. for the best possible result.
After filing a personal injury claim/lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim, there are a couple steps that all injury victims should commit to following in the weeks and months following the incident, namely:
Follow doctors’ orders
One of the best ways to reduce or eliminate a potential damage reward is to fail to follow the prescribed course of action by a doctor or specialist.
If an insurance company or defendant becomes aware that an injured worker/plaintiff is not following the doctor’s directives, this could lead to disastrous consequences and a possible defeat of the claim.
During the recovery period, always retain all medical and financial records pertaining to the case. This includes invoices for services, co-pays, prescription drug costs, pay stubs concerning lost time from work, etc. The more information that is verifiable in the case, the better.
Be careful who you speak with and what you post about your accident
In both workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims, the insurer will attempt to reduce your settlement to pay out as little as possible.
For personal injury claims: To reduce your settlement, an adjuster will likely call you to procure a recorded statement about the accident. Do not consent to give a statement without speaking with an attorney as the adjuster will attempt to use anything you say against you to reduce your settlement or deny your claim altogether.
The adjuster may also check your social media to see if you are lying; during this time, do not accept any new friend requests.
For workers’ compensation claims: Your employer’s insurer will likely attempt to prove that you are faking or exaggerating your injuries. To do so, the insurer may:
Keep in touch with your attorney
Construction accident cases do not settle overnight and it may be several months before a resolution occurs. Be sure to keep in regular contact with your attorney, especially if your condition worsens or if an insurance company representative attempts to make direct contact with you without legal representation involved.
If you recently sustained injury in a construction accident in Toledo, please do not hesitate to contact Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A. right away. You can reach our main office by calling 419-843-6663.