Construction sites are rife with hazards that can lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 951 construction workers lost their lives on the job in 2021 alone. The leading causes of death included falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects, trench collapses, and more.
If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a construction site accident, whether during work or while visiting or passing through a construction zone, speaking with an experienced construction site accident attorney is crucial for protecting your rights and obtaining fair compensation. This comprehensive guide provides tips for finding, vetting and selecting the best legal representation for your unique construction injury case.
When You Need a Construction Site Accident Attorney
Some common construction accidents that warrant consulting a qualified attorney include:
- Slip, trip and fall injuries due to uneven surfaces, unmarked hazards, debris, lack of safety rails or negligence
- Trench cave-ins and buried alive accidents
- Scaffolding collapses and falls from ladders or rooftops
- Faulty or defective equipment accidents like crane or forklift rollovers
- Electrocution due to unsafe electrical wiring
- Explosions and fires caused by gas leaks or flammable materials
- Loading and unloading accidents involving heavy materials or equipment
- Injuries from falling objects and construction debris
- Toxic exposure to dangerous chemicals, asbestos, silica dust etc.
- Construction vehicle and equipment accidents
Depending on the specifics of your accident, you may suffer sprains, fractures, traumatic brain injuries, back and neck injuries, burns, crushing injuries, blindness or loss of limbs. Your attorney will help determine all liable parties and legal avenues to pursue fair compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
Finding the Best Construction Accident Attorney
If you decide to move forward with a legal claim, the first step is finding an experienced construction accident lawyer you can trust. Here are some effective strategies:
- Ask for Referrals from Your Networks – Speaking with attorneys, colleagues, friends or family who have partnered with a construction accident lawyer before can provide first-hand insight into competence, communication skills and case results.
- Research Local and State Bar Associations – Most bar associations provide lawyer referral services or directories to help connect you with qualified attorneys specializing in construction accidents.
- Search Reputable Legal Directories – Legal directories like Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, or Martindale-Hubbell’s Law Directory can be a good starting point to identify accomplished local construction injury attorneys.
- Contact Professional Associations – Construction trade associations, labor unions, and construction industry groups can recommend attorneys based on reputation and expertise.
- Look for Initial Consultation Offerings – Many construction accident law firms provide free initial case assessments and legal guidance. This allows you to get expert advice at no risk.
Vetting Construction Accident Attorneys
Once you have a list of prospective attorneys, it’s important to thoroughly vet each one before choosing who to partner with. Here are key factors to evaluate:
- Years of Relevant Experience – Look for an attorney and firm with extensive experience specifically handling construction injury cases similar to yours. This demonstrates the required expertise.
- Case Results and Settlement/Verdict History – Take time to review past case results, settlements obtained and verdicts awarded to assess the attorney’s success rate and track record.
- Attorney Disciplinary Records – Run background checks for any past disciplinary issues or ethics violations filed against the attorneys you are considering.
- Resources and Reputation of the Firm – Well-resourced firms with many accomplished partners and a sterling reputation suggest stronger ability to investigate, build, and argue complex cases successfully.
- Personalized and Compassionate Service – The right attorney will not only aggressively pursue compensation through legal means, but also treat you with empathy, care and compassion throughout the process.
- Clear and Responsive Communication – Look for attorneys who listen attentively to the details of your case, clearly explain legal issues and process, and are responsive to your questions and needs.
- Contingency Fee Structure – Beware of any lawyers asking for money up front. The ideal arrangement is a contingency fee, meaning the attorney only collects a percentage of your final settlement or award.
Making the Final Decision
By thoroughly vetting credentials, experience, resources, fees, and communication style, you can zero in on the best construction accident attorney for your particular situation. Here are a few final tips:
- Interview the Lead Attorney – Make sure to interview the specific lawyer who will oversee your case, not just a law firm representative. This establishes rapport with the person who will be your main point of contact.
- Seek Specialized Knowledge – Understanding the nuances between workers’ compensation law and personal injury law is crucial, as each has different standards of evidence, available damages and defendants. Seek attorneys well-versed in these niches.
- Align on Strategy – Make sure you and your attorney agree on the optimal legal strategies based on the unique circumstances of your accident and injuries. Pursuing negotiations, settlements, litigation, or alternative dispute resolution all have pros and cons to weigh.
- Understand Timeline and Process – Your attorney should clearly map out the timeline, critical steps, and process your particular case is likely to go through and explain what will be required of you along the way.
- Review Fee Agreement – Don’t sign any attorney fee agreement before reviewing the terms closely, asking clarifying questions, and ensuring the contingency percentage being deducted from any final settlement or award is reasonable.
- Trust Your Instincts – Perhaps most importantly, go with your gut feeling after meeting with prospective attorneys. The right attorney-client relationship is built on transparency, trust and good rapport.
With the right construction accident attorney in your corner, you can be confident your legal rights will be protected while you focus on recovery. Do your research and ask the right questions to find an ideal legal partner.