Construction is one of the most hazardous industries to work in today. If you are hurt at a job site, you may be entitled to financial compensation. This is true even if the injury occurred while you were traveling across state lines to work.
Now, construction accidents can be serious. There are a variety of workplace issues that can lead to injury. Some of these include poor safety precautions, electrical hazards, and improper training. Depending on the circumstances, the accident may be the fault of either the construction company, an employee, or both.
Note that the first thing to do after a construction accident is to seek medical attention. After you receive treatment, often then next step is to seek legal counsel. But, keep in mind that the laws regarding these types of claims differ from state to state. Because these matters can be complicated, it’s always a good idea to reach out to an attorney to advise you on how best to proceed.
Building Your Construction Accident Case
Generally speaking, in order to be successful in a construction accident lawsuit, you must prove that someone acted negligently. This means that the person or business failed to act as a reasonable person or business would have done under the circumstances. You must also show that the negligence caused your injury.
For example, if you want to hold a construction company liable for your injuries, you would need to show that the site was not maintained in accordance with required health and safety standards. This might include insufficient warning signs, exposed electrical wiring, or inadequate employee training measures.
Note that maintaining evidence in these types of cases can be difficult if you live out of state. For this reason, it’s important that you document as much as you can while you are at the site. This might include taking photos of the scene and writing down the contact information for any potential witnesses.
Hiring an Out-of-State Attorney
Keep in mind that you may need to hire an attorney in the state where the construction accident occurred. This is because each state has separate licensing requirements for lawyers, and an attorney can only practice where licensed. For example, if you get into a construction accident in New York, a lawyer licensed in Florida can’t file your lawsuit. That is, unless the attorney is also licensed in New York.
One of the main benefits to hiring a local attorney is that he or she has more familiarity with the laws of that state. If you are unsure about how to go about retaining out-of-state counsel, you can always reach out to a local attorney first. The lawyer may have contacts in that state and can recommend someone for you to speak with about your case.
Where to File the Lawsuit
Note that only certain courthouses can hear your case. The court must have what is referred to as “jurisdiction” or authority to take the case. If the accident occurred in the same state where everyone involved lives, this is fairly straightforward. In this case, you would file in the state court where the accident took place.
However, if you live out of state, you may have other options. Sometimes a business conducts operations in more than one location. This means that you may be able to file where the business is headquartered, even if that is not the same state where the accident occurred. If that happens to be your home state, it may be more convenient to file there.
But, bear in mind that if you can’t file in your own state if it’s unfair to the defendant. For example, if the business has little to no contact with your state, or your case is against a person that lives out-of-state, you would likely not be able to file locally.
Workers’ Compensation and Your Construction Accident Case
Now, the process is a bit different if your injury is covered by workers’ compensation. This is a type of insurance that applies to employees hurt while on the job. It covers medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and even lost income.
Unlike personal injury cases, workers’ comp is “no-fault.” This means that you don’t need to show that someone was negligent in causing your injury. But, the injury does need to happen while you were actually working.
Note that traveling out of state is generally covered under workers’ comp, so long as the accident occurred in the course of your work. In most cases, after you report the injury to your employer, you will collect benefits from the program established in your home state.