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Construction sites can be dangerous places for workers and visitors alike. In some cases, a person could be injured just walking by a construction site if scaffolding or other items fall to the streets below. While construction site injuries could be serious or life-threatening, it may be possible to collect compensation to pay medical bills and other costs. The odds of receiving compensation may be higher with the help of a construction accident attorney.
It is generally a good idea to hire a construction accident attorney as soon as a person knows that he or she has been hurt. In California, an injured party has two years from the time of an injury to file a lawsuit. The same is also generally true if filing a defective product case. In a workplace accident lawsuit, the employer may be liable under workers' compensation laws.
However, it may be possible to file a personal injury case against the manufacturer of any equipment that may have caused an injury to occur. In the state of New York, a person has up to three years from the time of an accident to file a personal injury case if applicable. In many cases, an attorney will file a lawsuit right away even if the case is ultimately settled without the need for a trial.
An attorney may be helpful in several ways. First, he or she may be able to gain access to medical or other records that may be introduced into evidence during settlement talks or at trial. An accident attorney may also be able to depose witnesses and get records related to conditions at a job site prior to an accident.
OSHA requires that records related to construction site safety are kept on file. They are also required to keep accident reports as well as information related to an employee injury on file. An attorney may use those records in an effort to show that dangerous conditions existed or that negligence generally played a role in a person getting hurt on the job.
If creditors call about past due bills after an individual is hurt, it may be possible to direct those calls to an attorney. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), creditors or debt collectors are required to contact a person's attorney after being notified that they are represented by counsel.
It is generally a good idea to interview multiple attorneys before a victim chooses one to represent his or her interests in court. Ideally, an attorney will answer these questions clearly and thoroughly. An injured victim may want to look for an attorney who seems genuinely interested in the case and what he or she can do for that person.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Law and Construction Accident Cases?
While a lawyer who has just graduated from college could be a quality advocate throughout the legal process, experience may be important in these types of cases. An experienced attorney might have a greater knowledge of the nuances of personal injury and construction accident cases and therefore be better equipped to navigate the complexities of the case.
He or she may also have relationships with judges or prosecutors that might help in a case if it goes to trial. Furthermore, an experienced attorney may have relationships with expert witnesses or other professionals who could help bolster an individual's case.
What Is Your Typical Settlement Range for Cases Like Mine?
While there is no guarantee as to how much an attorney can win for a client, it is a good idea to know what types of compensation may be available. In most construction accident cases, an individual might be entitled to have his or her medical bills paid as well as some or all lost wages or lost future earnings paid upfront. It is also possible for a person to receive punitive damages that may hold an employer generally responsible for their current or past behavior.
What Is Your Fee Structure?
In most construction accident cases, an injured victim is not required to pay an attorney unless that person receives a settlement or jury award. Once an injured victim is compensated, an attorney may take 30 to 40 percent of the award as a fee. In some cases, a percentage of any money won is earmarked specifically for lawyer fees. This means that an attorney could be paid without the victim losing any money needed to pay bills or otherwise live after being hurt.
What Out-of-Pocket Expenses Am I Responsible For?
There are several costs that attorneys may incur over the course of a case. These costs include paying expert witnesses, ordering lab tests or hiring outside professionals to assist in a legal defense. While some attorneys will cover all of these costs, others will not. It is also possible that these costs will be deducted from any financial award granted to an injured victim.
Talking to a construction accident attorney may be a good idea as soon as an accident occurs. This could make it easier for the injured party to preserve his or her rights throughout the legal process. It might also make it possible for an injured person to determine what type of damages he or she may be entitled to and create a strategy to pursue them.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified construction accident lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local construction accident attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.