The Wyoming Construction Accident Guide was created by Frederick J. Harrison, P.C. to help residents who have been injured in an accident obtain maximum compensation for their claim.
Wyoming Construction Accident Lawyer
Are you in pain after a serious construction accident and don’t know what to do? Construction accidents can leave you in a lot of discomfort— possibly for life. We want to help you get the results you deserve in a construction accident claim. Call us for a free consultation.
The Parties Involved in a Construction Accident Case
After you are hurt in a construction site, you must immediate tell your employer, site manager or supervisor. You and they are the first two parties involved. You are the plaintiff on this case. You will be the one bringing the case. Your employer is another party involved in the case, but they are not usually the one you are bringing your claim against. However, their insurance company is responsible for compensating you for your injuries through workers’ compensation. The employer’s insurance company is another party involved. Sometimes with a construction accident, there is a third party involved against whom you can directly bring a claim. That third party’s insurance company would then be liable for your injuries.
The best way to determine the extent of the parties involved in your accident is to consult with a Wyoming construction accident lawyer to get the full picture of who is involved in your injury. You will then know exactly who is responsible for compensating you for your damages. That will be your liable party.
Tips for a Successful Claim
Construction accident cases are straightforward to start with then they become challenging once you get into the civil court process. They are straightforward because you can simply go through your employer for compensation; sometimes, however, that gets denied, or sometimes there is a third party who is responsible for your compensation.
Generally speaking, if you want the results you deserve, there are a few things you need to do:
- Report your injury.
- Get evidence from the construction site.
- Go to the doctor.
These are three crucial steps. If you don’t take these steps, you have less of a chance of success in your case.
Make sure you tell your employer or supervisor to make an accident report. Have them give you a written copy of this report. Also, have them send it to any insurance company that needs that accident report. Without notice of your injury, your Wyoming construction accident lawyer is going to have a hard time defending your case. Your case will then be about proving that the incident happened at all. Then you have to worry about proving the injuries are related to the accident.
Take pictures of what caused you to be hurt. That might be the ladder rung that snapped, causing you to fall. It may be the object that fell from a height and hit you. Get photos of the surrounding area so your lawyer can get a good idea of the scene. The more evidence you have supporting your claim, the stronger your case will be and the higher the chances are that you will get the compensation that you deserve.
Lastly, you should NEVER delay seeking medical treatment. Every Wyoming construction accident lawyer will ask you if you’ve seen a doctor and received treatment for your injuries. It’s easier for them to defend your right to compensation when we have medical records to prove that you were harmed and have needed to disrupt your life going to the doctor and missing work to heal. You also don’t want to remain in pain. No one wants to continue to suffer, so seeing a doctor is essential.
How a Wyoming Construction Accident Lawyer Can Help
You may think that lawyers are an expensive and unnecessary person to involve in your case. Truth is, you likely won’t get near the compensation on your own that you would get with the help of a lawyer. While they don’t come free, attorneys are worth having. You will end up with more, if you have a lawyer.
For one, lawyers know exactly how to guide you through the steps of your case. They also can do things you probably didn’t even know needed to happen to have a successful claim.
A lawyer won’t charge you a single penny unless they win your case.
Mistakes to Avoid Making
Don’t make the mistake of trying to do this alone. Get a lawyer’s help.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting to see a doctor. Get treatment right away.
Don’t make the mistake of talking to the insurance company about the accident. They will only try to minimize what your case is worth.
Biggest Mistakes to Avoid After a Construction Accident
Here in Wyoming we have a situation often in construction cases where people make mistakes early on in the case, and then we have to do something about that. Common mistakes that clients make in construction cases are, first of all, giving statements. There is usually some kind of OSHA report or some kind of investigation that takes place in serious injuries. The clients will give information while they’re in the hospital or not feeling well. Those kinds of things can be a problem. They’re not unsolvable. People understand that those are problems for people that have just been injured. The other side of things are not getting any statement and not cooperating at the beginning. That can be a problem in a construction case, unlike a car crash case, which you shouldn’t give a statement to the insurance company.
You should try and be complete. You should try and be honest. We can work with that. There won’t be any mistakes as long as you’re honest, and you don’t try and fake injuries. Of course, we don’t want cases that involve fake injuries. We want cases that people are honest, direct, and forward. With those kinds of cases, we can make it work, and we can help you. Please feel free to call my office if you have more questions.
Choosing a Construction Accident Attorney
There’s a lot of ways to select an attorney, but you have to ask yourself whether or not that attorney has handled construction cases before. I have with success, and I’ve handled them in federal courts here in Wyoming, the most rigorous testimony from an attorney in handling the construction case. We’ve done that multiple times. We’ve had cases from the University of Wyoming. We didn’t sue the University of Wyoming, but the contractor in that case had a very successful outcome and settlement in that case because we were prepared to go to trial. Then we had cases where people have fallen off of roofs and things of that nature. We’ve handled those cases with success.
We handle those kinds of cases, but you have to also be able to understand the intricacies of construction and how these things happen. There is no such thing as a construction case that is not a system failure, a safety system failure. You have to do what’s called a root cause analysis of the case to determine the root cause. Every construction case is a system failure. The system failure starts at the top of the organization, usually. You have to know that and go after that, and so you need somebody that understands construction and understands that construction’s all about systems. If you have that kind of an attorney, you have a good chance of success. If you have any other questions like this, please feel free to call my office in Cheyenne.
Construction Accident Claim Value
Determining damages in every case is a big question, and it’s not something you do instantaneously. There’s a lot of work to doing that. What drives damages in construction case in my mind is how bad was the system failure that took place? What caused this? How egregious was it? What did the main office know, and when did they know? How did they cut corners in safety? That’s where they usually cut corners— in safety. Knowing those things, you’re able to make a determination as to the value of the case. The more egregious whatever the defendant, the construction company, or the general contractor did, is important in evaluating the value of a case and the injuries. All of that is a weighing process that takes place.
Every case is unique. Every case has a different value. Every case is what a jury ultimately thinks the case is worth. You have to have an attorney that knows that and knows the driving factors and also understands insurance companies on the other side. If there’s a position that an insurance company can be in, it’s called insurance bad faith. The policy limit is suddenly irrelevant because they have improperly handled the case, and you can push hard for a better settlement. We’ve done that in the past, and we’ve also tried cases and broken the policy limits and collected more than the policy limits in those cases. Keep that in mind, and if you have other questions, feel free to call my office.
Construction Accident Settlement Process and Timeline
Construction cases take time to resolve. There’s either federal court or state court. We’ve had quite a bit of success in construction cases in federal court because many of these construction companies are from out of state, and they allow us to do a thing called diversity jurisdiction. In other words, we can sue an out of state company for doing business in Wyoming, and we can sue them in federal court. That’s usually beneficial because it speeds up the process. Federal courts are very streamlined in their handling of discover. Defense attorneys don’t like it because the cases move fast. You get a trial date right away.
State court’s a little bit harder when it comes to these kinds of cases. The reason that it’s harder in the state court is because you don’t get a trial right away in many of the state courts. The trial date is what really drives a case. If you don’t have a trial date that’s solid in granite for the defense, they’re going to stall the case every bit that they can. The question is how long does it take to resolve? It’s going to take 9 to 12 months in federal court and 12 months to 2 or 3 years in state court. My preference, of course, is the federal court, but that’s something that is unique to every case. It won’t work in every case, but it’s something you need an attorney that understands so they get you the fastest track you can get for resolution of your case.
Faulty Construction Equipment Lawsuits
We’re often asked about incidents on a worksite where there’s an injury because equipment fails. Actually, that’s a pretty common kind of injury here in Wyoming, and one of the most prominent cases in Wyoming of this kind was against Caterpillar Tractor for a bad design of Caterpillar Tractor. It didn’t have a roll cage on it many years after Caterpillar knew roll cages are very important to keep people from being injured. The Caterpillar Tractor rolled over and killed this man, and his family sued for the loss of his life in a wrongful death action. It was a products liability case against Caterpillar Tractor, not the employer, and it was a very successful case, with a very good verdict. We have a good law in the state of Wyoming that allows us to recover against products manufacturing. Incidentally, I’m a referring attorney for products cases in Wyoming from the Edge Group, which is the largest group of claims attorneys in the state that work together on cases just like this in the construction area and products liability. This is actually mixed between products liability and construction, and we are able to help with those kinds of cases. If you have other questions like this, call my office in Cheyenne.
Reporting a Construction Accident
Sometimes, I’m asked if it’s a good idea to talk your boss and management about the injury that you received on the construction site. Of course, it is. It’s not only something that you should do, it’s something that you’re required by law if you’re covered by workers’ compensation. You are required to notify management within 24 hours if you’ve been seriously injured, and you need to do that right away. You need to notify them in order to recover on your workers’ compensation. Now that means, for example, if you are injured by a subcontractor, we might have a claim independent of your employer against that subcontractor or any other third-party, for that matter, or if you are a contract employee of some kind with the general contractor, we can sue that contractor also. Your contract employer is the party of workers’ compensation. We can get around the workers’ compensation.
The main thing is you do need to contact management right away. Document what occurred to get that root cause analysis going. Uncover that system failure and preserve the evidence. Yes, contact management right away, and don’t let any time delay you in doing it. If you have any other questions like this, feel free to call us.
Returning to Work After a Construction Accident
People come in and they’re trying to go back to work, they want to go back to work. The question comes up will I ever be able to go back to work? It depends on the injury. It depends on the job you were doing. It depends on the kind of work you want to do. Oftentimes, you’re trained by workers’ compensation at their expense for local rehabilitation here in Wyoming. We’ll take care of those things for you and retrain you to do something else.
The question is, if you recover on a personal injury case, can you go on and go back to work? Absolutely, you can. Once the lawsuit is over, it’s over, and you have whatever compensation you’re going to have out of the lawsuit. You need to lead your life – the rest of your life, and work is an important part of life for a lot of people. Yes, you will be able to return to work in the case, if you’re able to. Some people can’t get back to work, and that’s very unfortunate. You need help. Your future is what’s important to us.
Steps to Take After a Construction Accident
I’m often asked what you should do when you’ve been seriously injured at a construction site. Here’s what I think. In Wyoming, what you need to do is, first of all, get medical care. That’s the most important thing. I’ve seen situations in serious construction cases where people haven’t gone right to the doctor. I had a case where a fellow had a brain injury, and he was reluctant to go to a doctor. Also, his judgement was cloudy because he had been injured, and so therefore, he didn’t go to seek medical care right away. Of course, later on that was used against us. We were able to prevail in the case. In front of a jury, we tried that case successfully.
Of course, that was always the question. Why didn’t he go to the doctor? Why wait? Oftentimes, in construction cases, the employer will say, oh, don’t go to a doctor right away, or they’ll say go to our doctor. Don’t turn this into workers’ compensation because it affects our rate for future jobs. We don’t want that to occur. I’ve seen that happen. You want to get medical care right away. You want to get good competent medical care in the area that you were injured in. If you had a brain injury, for example, you need to see a neurologist, or nurse, or somebody that’s competent in that area. If it’s an orthopedic injury to your back, you need to see that kind of doctor.
Sometimes it’s a mix of all those things. You need to see all those kinds of doctors. I think you should turn that into workers’ compensation every time, especially if it’s a serious injury or anything that is possibly a serious injury. Sometimes, you don’t know right away. Turn that into workers’ compensation because we can work with workers’ compensation on what we have to pay them back later on. It also looks like a legitimate claim, and it’s documented if it’s with workers’ compensation. It’s honestly documented, and that’s something that we need in these kinds of cases. Don’t let an employer talk you into not turning these into workers’ compensation right away. Go to a doctor right away if you’ve got serious injuries of any kind. If you need hospitalization, certainly do that. If you have other questions like this, feel free to call my office, I’m glad to help.
Subcontractor Injury Rights
We’ll get cases all the time that involve a person working for a subcontractor, who is then injured by something the general contractor did, the owner did, or both did on a construction site. Yes, you can recover from the responsible parties, the people that caused the injury. Now, some situations may involve something called comparative fault in Wyoming. Comparative fault involves comparing the fault of the subcontractor with the general contractor, and that can have an impact on the case. That’s something that we can work out and consider. Now, if it’s enough of an impact, we might not take the case, but it’s something that we have to look at carefully and determine what your rights are under the circumstances of your particular case. Don’t give up without an interview with an attorney that knows what he’s doing in this area and may be going to trial.
Suing Your Employer
Here in Wyoming, it often comes up whether or not you can sue your employer if you’re covered by workers’ compensation. The answer to that is yes — if you’re actually employed by your employer you can sue. You can’t sue your employer if you’re covered by workers compensation. The question is what is an employer? Commonly, right now we can have third-party contract employees that work for some kind of a temp agency. The temp agency is actually the employer, and they contract. The temp agency contracts with the general contractor or contracts with the subcontractor, and therefore, you’re not an employee of the subcontractor under Wyoming law or the general contractor. Under Wyoming law, what counts is who pays into the workers’ compensation fund. If you pay into the workers’ compensation fund, then you’re not liable for the injury to the employee. It depends on what you consider to be employer. Just because they’re directing what occurs on the job doesn’t mean that they’re the employer.
I’ve had lots of construction site cases where we’ve been in the position where we’ve been able to sue the general contractor, the subcontractor, or both. We’ve actually been able to sue the owner of the premises, too, because they were not covered by workers’ compensation. An attorney needs to get to the bottom of that. I had a grocery store case, not a construction case, where a young man went through a window and severed his arm while on the job, and we were able to recover from the employer in that case because it was a workers’ compensation. They were not paying – that grocery store chain was not paying into the workers’ compensation fund. What matters is whether or not they’re actually paying into the fund, and that’s something we have to investigate in the case to find out the information. With that information, we can help, so feel free to call my office and ask me any other questions you may have regarding personal injury in a construction site here in Wyoming.
When you’re injured on a construction site here in Wyoming, people often wonder if the only recourse they have is to sue their employer. You can’t because of workers’ compensation. There’s lots of other things you can do, however. In construction cases, you can bring a lawsuit against other individuals that may have been responsible for the injury. For instance, I just looked at an explosion case, speaking of construction cases. A natural gas pipeline blew up, and injured a young man, seriously burning him. In that kind of case, he was working for one employer, but the party that actually caused the injury was another party, somebody that he was not working for as an employee. We were able to sue the party that was actually responsible under those circumstances for the injuries that occurred with this young man.
We’re able to help people with this kind of case, and it’s not over and done just because you have workers’ compensation. Please use your workers’ compensation, and we will work with workers’ compensation. We can quite successfully negotiate a workers’ compensation lien in the future. We are able, and workers’ comp is happy to help us with those kinds of cases. In Wyoming, we’re fortunate to have the vision that we have, the working relationship we have with them to find good relief for people that are injured on their job. Just because you have workers’ compensation doesn’t mean it’s over. Please feel free to call us with any questions you may have here at our office in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Call Wyoming Construction Accident Lawyer Fred Harrison Today
You deserve to have someone fighting for you. This is a difficult time. You should be focusing on getting better. Let us focus on winning your claim. Call us today for a free consultation.