April 09, 2020

Blog Thumbnail: Houston Injury & Accidents

The value of a case depends on many factors. Generally, in cases where the injury was serious and the defendant’s fault is apparent, the settlement is likely to be higher. Accident cases are heavily driven by insurance coverage. If you’re injured in an accident and the party who is responsible does not have insurance, a lawsuit may not be worth the effort. A company could close shop and re-appear under a new name. It may seek bankruptcy protection after being sued. If that happens, an injured worker would need to stand in line with other creditors to try to get paid in a construction accident lawsuit settlement. The possibilities of obtaining any payments will significantly decrease under these circumstances.

Insurance companies protect policyholders for potential liabilities in circumstances that are covered by the policy, within limits. Insurance typically covers liability that would result from the insured’s negligence and would pay for the settlement of a construction site injury.

Contact the team at the Waldman Legal Group if you’ve been injured in a construction accident so we can discuss the potential value of your case.

What Needs to Be Shown for a Construction Accident Lawsuit to Be Successful?

When you pursue a construction accident injury lawsuit, you are the plaintiff in the case. The entity you sue for their negligence is the defendant. In order to have a viable injury claim, there are several elements that need to be satisfied. In most injury cases, the core issue is negligence.

To establish a valid negligence case, an injured construction worker filing the lawsuit will need to show:

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty or obligation. For example, an obligation to provide a safe construction site, free from obvious hazards.
  • The defendant violated (or “breached”) that duty or obligation.
  • The unsafe construction site was the cause of the accident.
  • The plaintiff was injured – and has damages.

Under Texas law, the defendant is obligated to compensate a construction worker for injuries caused by the accident.

Worksites, especially large ones, can be complicated places. There are project managers, general contractors, subcontractors, subcontractors of subcontractors, and material suppliers coming and going from the site. Heavy equipment and tools used there may be owned by the worker or the employer or even be leased from a third party. Any or all of these parties may be a cause of an injury at a construction site. There may be multiple parties at fault, and in varying degrees. In large construction projects, these parties are typically required to have insurance coverage. If you make a claim, an insurance company may start an investigation and have lawyers involved in the case. If multiple parties are defendants, they may blame each other in addition to possibly claiming the accident victim is at fault. Out of this chaos, ideally, should come a fair and reasonable settlement. Because these cases can be highly complex, it is extremely important you talk to an experienced construction site injury attorney about your situation to better understand the possible value of your claim.

What Improves the Value of Construction Accident Settlements?

Insurance settlements are based on many factors, but mostly on the strength of the evidence, how the law applies to the circumstances, and past settlements or verdicts in similar cases.

Evidence

If you’re injured in a construction accident, you should contact our office as soon as possible. We will quickly start an investigation and gather as much evidence as possible about what happened, why, and which parties are responsible.

After our investigation is complete and you have sufficiently treated your injuries and we obtain your medical and billing records, we usually make a demand to the insurance company involved. If we can’t negotiate a favorable settlement and a lawsuit is filed, we may obtain more evidence through the discovery process, which is part of litigation.

The facts of your case are the foundation of your legal claim. The stronger the facts, the stronger the foundation, and, potentially, the higher the value of your case relative to your damages. The clearer it is that a defendant acted negligently and that those actions caused your injuries, and the better we can document your injuries and the impact they have had on your life, the better it is for potential recovery.

Law

Most injury cases don’t break new legal ground, but it happens. Ideally, your case involves legal issues that are well settled and in your favor. If the law is unclear, based on the facts of your case, the defendant will try to argue that it’s not liable or that the damages it must pay are lower than what is claimed.

A defendant may argue that, under the law, another defendant is to blame. If defendants are pointing fingers at each other (in addition to you) they may be less willing to make reasonable settlement offers because they claim someone else is at fault.

Other Cases

Construction accident settlements are normally confidential and can’t be disclosed to the public, which makes it difficult to know what kinds of construction site injury cases are getting what size settlements. However, construction accident trials are open to the public, and jury verdicts are public information. (Each case is unique. Past verdicts are not a guarantee of any future recovery, and are provided for informational purposes only.)

Here are some jury verdicts that made the news:

  • $64.5 million: A Florida building collapse crushed the pelvis, legs, and internal organs of a 25-year-old construction worker. He was working under a building when a train went by the site, shaking the ground; the building shifted and slid toward him. Initially, he wasn’t expected to survive his injuries, but he did. Despite physicians’ expectations, he was also later able to walk, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
  • $2.5 million: A union carpenter suffered severe injuries after a six-foot fall from a defective work scaffold. The 40-year-old was working on a raised platform when a deck pin loosened and the rolling steel structure collapsed. The plaintiff broke his tailbone and was left with two protruding spinal discs, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • $11 million: The family of a deceased Indiana ironworker killed at a Chicago construction project received the verdict after a trial concerning the wrongful death of the 45-year-old family member. He was crushed by equipment hoisted by a tower crane, which was overloaded by several thousand pounds, reports CBS Chicago.

What’s the Next Step to Receive A Settlement for Construction Site Injury?

Each case is unique. Let’s discuss the facts of your case, how the law may be applied, and the potential value of your construction accident injury claim.

Contact a construction accident lawyer with the Waldman Legal Group at 713-688-4878 today to schedule your free consultation.

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