With heavy machinery, sharp equipment, platforms at great heights, and trenches hundreds of feet below ground level, construction sites are inherently dangerous. For this reason, construction companies are required to implement strict safety measures and regulations that are designed to keep workers safe. When general contractors and business owners fail to keep workers safe, and when workers sustain serious injury because of a business owner’s or GC’s oversight, the injured party may be entitled to workers’ compensation . In some circumstances, the injured party may even be entitled to compensation via a third-party claim.
If you were injured in a construction accident in Oklahoma, you may wonder what your legal options are in regard to obtaining compensation and, more importantly, how you can go about obtaining said compensation. At Boettcher, Ingle, Devinney, & Wicker Law , our construction accidents lawyers possess extensive knowledge of both personal injury and workers’ compensation law. We are prepared to advise you of your rights and help you navigate the process and obtain the best possible outcome.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Your best chance at recovering compensation for your injuries begins with filing a workers’ compensation claim. Oklahoma employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance unless their annual payroll totals less than $10,000. If you are a full or part time employee and you get injured on the job, your employer’s insurance should automatically kick in to cover the cost of your medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation.
Unlike the personal injury system, the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, meaning that you do not have to prove that another person or entity was negligent and caused your injury. The only two things you have to prove are:
● That you were injured; and
● The injury occurred in the course and scope of your employment.
If you can prove those two things to be true, there is no reason that your workers’ comp claim should be denied. However, just because it should not be denied does not mean that you cannot receive a denial notice. Some common reasons that workers’ comp claims get denied are as follows:
● No one witnessed your injury;
● You failed to report your injury within the specified period of time;
● There is a discrepancy between your accident report and your medical records;
● Your initial medical records indicate that there were drugs or alcohol in your system at the time of the accident;
● You filed a workers’ comp claim after you were fired or let go; and/or
● You refused to give the insurance company a recorded statement and/or refused to sign medical authorizations.
Just because your claim was denied does not mean that you are without options. Our Oklahoma construction accident lawyers can review your claim and the denial notice and help you refile your claim so that it is in line with what the insurance company is looking for. If the insurer denies your claim a second time, we can negotiate on your behalf and ensure that, in the end, you receive the compensation you need and deserve.
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Filing a Civil Lawsuit Outside of Workers’ Compensation
In some instances, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against another person or entity for damages. It is not uncommon for construction workers to work with other subcontractors or vendors, or for industry workers to operate heavy equipment, machinery, or large trucks. If your accident was caused by a person or entity unrelated to your employer, or if it was the result of faulty construction equipment, you may be able to pursue damages outside of workers’ comp.
These actions take the same form of any traditional personal injury lawsuit , and you will be required to adhere to the same rules and procedures as if you were pursuing a personal injury claim. Compensation is not automatic as it almost always is with workers’ compensation, and you must be able to prove fault. To prevail in this type of lawsuit, you must prove the following three factors to be true:
● Another person or entity had a duty to you to act in a manner that is safe and reasonable;
● That person or entity failed to uphold his, her, or its duty; and
● You were injured as a result of his, her, or its failure.
If you can prove each of these three elements to be true, you may be able to recover compensation outside of workers’ comp.
Contact Our Oklahoma Workers’ Comp Law Firm
If you were injured in a construction accident in Oklahoma, you may beentitled to compensation. Contact Boettcher, Ingle, Devinney, & Wicker Law, to learn more about your rights to recovery and what you need to do to ensure the best possible outcome.
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