What Are The Steps Involved In Filing A Construction Accident Claim?
Typically the steps involved are we file a lawsuit, we go through the process and we tend to start settlement discussions. A lot of times, certainly our clients want to go for deposition, we’ll take depositions to the other side and we’ll consult experts.
If we have enough to really prove what happens and it’s really not the actual dispute, a lot of times we’ll move to what’s called Summary Judgment which is a motion we’ll make to the court and say, “Here’s what the proof shows there’s clear violation of this statute, we should win as a matter of law.” We’ve been very successful on many of these cases just on motion. Then it goes to just a hearing to determine how much money the client’s entitled to.
Does Someone Have to Go to Court to File a Construction Accident Claim?
Going to court means we file a summons and complaint which is a piece of paper that gets filed in court and now actually, it gets electronically filed, which means you basically upload it to the court system. We then serve the defendant and they upload their paper onto the court system and then we go back and forth serving what’s called Paper Discovery, they ask us for medical records, authorizations, photos that sort of thing.
Really the first time the client gets involved is when they have a deposition. Most of the time, that’s not even held in court but usually held in like the court reporter’s office or in our office. For the most part, the client only “goes” to court is if the case actually comes to trial and isn’t settled, or there is a settlement conference with the judge. Those are really only times that the client actually goes to court.
Is it in the Best Interests of the Injured Party to Wait Before Settling a Construction Accident Claim?
We don’t usually file the cases right away because the second we file the lawsuit, we usually get a demand for a list of every injury you have. If you’re going to the hospital to take an x-ray, if you haven’t got a fracture but just pain, we don’t know what injury you have yet because it hasn’t been diagnosed yet.
A lot of times, it will take doctors sometimes to do the appropriate tests or through document what injuries you have. For example, a lot of times, workers’ comp won’t approve MRI until you’ve gone through several weeks of physical therapy to see if you get better.
A lot of injuries, for example, in the back, herniated disks can’t be diagnosed without an MRI. You could take an x-ray, x-ray will only show the bones, so you just can’t see it. Anything such as miniscule tears, ACL tears, we can’t see them on an x-ray, we can only see them on an MRI and the same is true to shoulder with rotator cuff tears. When someone comes to me, even if they’ve been to the hospital, we really don’t know what’s wrong with them or what exactly their injury is so we will always hold out filing a suit until we at least know what the injury is.
The same thing with a lot of nerve injuries; the only way to diagnose them is with electro-diagnostic testing such as EMG so you don’t want to try and settle a case to literally until you know what’s wrong. That frustrates my clients a little bit because a lot of clients will say, “Hey, my case is going on. It’s taking too long, why isn’t anything being done?” We can’t do much until we know the diagnosis, even though you’re in pain or you’re not working.
There’s not a lot we can do until we know what’s wrong with you in terms of filing a lawsuit, and that’s why that’s one of the biggest misconceptions that we hear from clients to say, You have not been fully diagnosed yet, so we’re not going to file a lawsuit because if they ask us what your injuries, we have to let them know but something may be missed and then later on, the other side will try and say that “Oh, you didn’t say you had this before, it’s not related to the accident.”
Can My Employer Fire Me For Pursuing a Construction Accident Claim Against Him?
Usually in the construction industry, most people work with so many different employers that it really doesn’t matter. If you’re in a union, which most of the construction workers are, you’re not going to get fired because you file a claim. Even if your employer was at fault, you can’t sue your employer unless they have workers’ compensation because you’re suing the contractor or the land owner. Once the job is over, your employer doesn’t have a relationship with the contract anymore or with the land owner on this job so we can file the case once the job is over.
For more information on Steps for A Construction Accident Claim, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (914) 574-8330 today.