Construction Workers and Workers' Compensation

Construction workers are the essence of our infrastructure. They build our homes, our businesses, our schools, and other buildings in our communities. Many construction workers live life on a paycheck to paycheck basis. Lives would come to a screeching halt if they were hurt on the construction site.

Fortunately, the states require most construction companies to provide workers’ compensation insurance. So, if you are hurt while you are working on site, you can use workers’ compensation to help you pay your bills.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

As we wrote in the last paragraph, workers’ compensation insurance is a form of insurance that most businesses are required to carry by state law. It is not something that comes out of your paycheck as an employee. If you are hurt at work, even if you are off of the job site and doing something on behalf of the construction company, workers’ compensation can pay your medical costs and even provide part of your lost wages. It’s a safety net for construction workers all over the nation.

Unfortunately, there are some employers who don’t fully understand how workers’ compensation insurance operates. So, they may tell you that what happened to you doesn’t qualify because they say you know the risks of working in construction. Don’t take their word for it. You should immediately speak with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to help you understand your rights under the law.

Risks for Construction Workers

Construction workers obviously work in areas that are full of risks. That’s why anyone entering the area must wear safety equipment such as steel toed boots and a hard hat. As a construction worker, you might get injured from lifting and carrying heavy items such as bricks, concrete blocks, or bags of cement and sand. You might slip and fall if you’re working after a storm or because of a spill. You might even get injured by faulty machinery or other equipment, such as if a scaffolding collapsed or a faulty safety switch on a nail gun.

It’s a great job that allows people to work with their hands, but it can be very, very dangerous. That’s why you should understand workers’ compensation is there to protect you even though construction has specific risks.

If You’re Hurt on the Job Site

So, what should you do if you’re hurt on the job site?

  1. Regardless of how the injury occurred, immediately tell your supervisor even if you don’t necessarily feel like you’re seriously injured. This helps you protect your rights. It also helps protect your coworkers because your supervisor can assess the danger and try to stop others from being injured in the same way. For instance, if you slip and fall because of a ripped bag of gravel, reporting it to your manager can help protect other people on the site from slipping on it as well.
  2. Complete an accident report ASAP. The reason why you should do it ASAP is so that you can accurately record exactly what happened. Ask for the name of the OSHA representative for the construction company.
  3. Get medical help. You can go to an emergency room if there is a medical emergency. Otherwise, you can see the doctor listed in the workers’ compensation policy at no charge. If you want to see your own doctor, you’ll have to pay out pocket. However, if you pay out of pocket for anything related to your injury, keep the receipt so that you can be reimbursed. If you’ve injured your neck or back on the construction site, don’t delay. Call 911. Back and neck injuries can be made worse by lack of emergency medical care.
  4. Make an appointment to talk with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Unfortunately, your employer and the insurance company won’t necessarily look out for what is in your best interest. You need someone on your side.

Protect Your Legal Rights

If you’re injured on the job and all you know is construction, you may worry about what you’ll do in the future. Workers’ compensation is available to help construction workers who are injured on the job. Just remember that you must protect your legal rights. The best way to do that is to make an appointment with a workers’ comp attorney as soon as you possibly can after your injury.