If you have been injured in a Rhode Island construction site accident, there are a number of important steps you would be well advised to take in order to protect your legal rights and your right to receive compensation for your losses. It is a well-known and well-established fact that the construction industry is fraught with the risk of serious injury. Even though it is one of the most dangerous professions out there, construction workers have a right to work in a safe environment. They have the right to be equipped with safety devices and personal protective equipment.
Here are some of the most important steps you should take if you have been injured on the job as a construction worker.
Seeking Medical Attention
Your top priority, if you have been injured in a construction accident, should be to seek and receive prompt medical attention for your injuries. This is crucial even if you believe that your injuries are minor. In many cases, serious injury symptoms may not surface for hours or even days after an injury has occurred.
Treating your injuries promptly is an important step to recovery. It will also serve as evidence to show that you attended to your injuries by seeking immediate medical attention. Once you’ve received medical attention, it is also important that you follow your doctor’s orders and continue to get the treatments and therapies you need to fully recover from your injuries.
Notifying Your Employer
Once you have addressed your injuries and have sought medical help, the next important step is to make sure you inform your employer as soon as possible. In Rhode Island, you have 30 days to report an injury to your employer. However, it is best not to wait that long. Report your injury as soon as you are able since your employer is required under the law to file a declaration form with the state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Reporting the accident can help in many ways. It will speed up your workers’ comp claim and avoid any unnecessary delays. Reporting the accident will also enhance the validity and immediacy of your claim.
When you report the accident, it is important that that you put the details in writing and get a copy for your own records. It is also important to be as specific as you can about what occurred and include every detail you can.
Gathering Information and Evidence
It is also critical that you gather as much information about your accident and injuries as possible. Take photographs and, if possible, video of the accident scene. This is particularly important if you were not provided with proper safety equipment or if there were unsafe conditions at your worksite. In addition, it is important that you take photos of the injuries you sustained.
If anyone witnessed your accident, getting his or her information can also be very helpful later on in the process. If you are unable to get this information right away, your attorney may be able to get it later. Medical records can also be an important part of your claim. It is imperative that you keep track of all your medical expenses so you can be accurately compensated for them. It is also a good idea to keep a detailed journal documenting the impact of the construction accident on your day-to-day life.
Hiring an Attorney
If you have been injured in a construction accident, you may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits from your employer. Workers’ compensation benefits typically cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. However, these benefits are hardly sufficient if you are a construction worker who has suffered catastrophic or life-changing injuries.
In some cases, depending on the nature and circumstances of the accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim or a third-party claim against parties other than your employer. These parties may include general contractors, subcontractors, property owners, manufacturers of defective products, etc. These types of claims are often worth a lot more than workers’ compensation benefits because they include compensation for losses such as pain and suffering.
An experienced Rhode Island construction accident lawyer will be able to take a close look at your case and help you determine not just the value and worth of your claim but also who can be held liable for your injuries, damages and losses. Call our office at 1-800-992-6878, or fill out an online contact form for a free (no obligation) case evaluation.