What Is OSHA And How Does It Work?
OSHA is a federal governmental agency that’s charged with enforcing rules and regulations that govern work site safety. A lot of times if there is an accident and OSHA rules actually require all accidents that have a couple of days missed time to be reported, and what they do is they’ll come out and photograph and interview you and do an investigation and they fine the employers if they fine the violation.
Certainly a lot of the construction sites getting the prior OSHA records is helpful because a lot of times, we can show a pattern of violations where they’ve been cautioned a number of times to follow certain regulations. We’ve actually seen cases where OSHA has come in; on one case in particular, they actually shut the job down because of the violations and then they got the backup and then the person got hurt for the same reason, so it’s pretty good to compel the evidence. Certainly the most OSHA does is it documents things so that later on people can’t try and say, “This didn’t happen.”
Can Someone File A Construction Accident Claim If They Have Returned To Work?
Of course you can. Just going back to work doesn’t prohibit you from filing the claim but obviously if you go back to work and you’re not able to work as much, as hard as you can before, what we can do is we can use an economist most of the time to establish what the difference is between your wages before and wages afterwards.
If we’re working with two schedules, for example, or you’ve gone back to like lighter duty, say you used to be a contractor or a welder and now you’re just doing painting and framing, obviously there is a reduction in value of what you’re able to do and reduce your earning capacity. We’ve done a number of these reduced earn capacity cases. Even if you’re working in pain, juries tend to sympathize with that and they award money to people who go back to work and now were in pain.
What Are the Rights of the Spouse or Family Members of the Victim in a Construction Accident?
Let’s say a person who’s suffered a wrongful death on a construction site, their family or spouse has a right to bring an action for the financial value. If your husband was killed in a construction accident, you have children, the first thing you do is get the estate set up because all wrongful death cases, injury brought in the name of the estate.
We set up the estate as a courtesy to our clients. The estate can sue the general contractor or the land owner or whoever is responsible for the death and what they’re entitled to is obviously any pre-death pain and suffering, they are also entitled to the loss of the future income that the person would have generated that would have benefited the family. Additionally, in extreme cases, you can also get paid of the damages. The spouse of someone who died also has a right to get workers’ compensation death benefits.
In the case of a spouse whose husband was seriously injured, the injured person retains the right to bring the lawsuit for their own pain and suffering and their economic losses. The spouse also has a right to bring what’s called a spousal claim, which means that she’s entitled to compensation for the loss of the services that the husband provided.
For example, if you used to cut the lawn and now you have to pay someone to cut the lawn, that can be measured economically. In a wrongful death case, for example, or even in a case where someone was seriously injured, we’ve also successfully put forward a loss of services claim where we could say, “The husband used to play with the kids and teach the kids a few hours a week or play ball with the kids and we can assess that time to the value of their cultural charge. We can measure the economic loss of the person in that way which will increase the ultimate award the person is entitled to.”
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