If you were injured on the job in a construction accident, you are probably wondering what your settlement is worth. Skilled construction accident attorneys will tell you that settlement amounts vary widely between cases. There is no average dollar value for construction settlement amounts. However, there are a number of factors that can affect the value of your accident settlement.
Who Is at Fault?
Depending on the details of your accident, you can either recover through workers’ compensation or through a lawsuit. Both courses of action have advantages and disadvantages.
Workers’ compensation allows you to recover quickly and is an easier bar to clear in terms of proving fault. You do not have to prove negligence to recover through workers’ compensation.
As long as you follow the proper workers’ compensation procedures, you can likely recover from most injuries suffered in the workplace. However, your recovery will be limited under workers’ compensation.
You can only receive damages to the extent of your medical bills and a percentage of any wages you lost due to your injury. Even if an employer or co-worker was negligent, you won’t be able to sue them in civil court for additional damages.
If a party other than your employer was responsible for your injury, you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party. You will have to prove negligence as discussed below, but your damages award will not be subject to the same limitations imposed by workers’ compensation.
A common example of a responsible third party is the manufacturer of faulty equipment. In situations where your employer was reckless or committed intentional misconduct, you may also be able to sue them directly.
To recover a construction settlement, you must prove that the responsible party is at fault for your injuries. This means showing that this party was negligent and that their negligence resulted in your injury.
Negligence can take many forms. It could mean failing to follow accepted industry safety protocol on the job site or failing to include adequate safety warnings on equipment.
Essentially, negligence is the failure of a person or entity to maintain its duty of care to another person. Exactly what falls within the scope of the duty of care depends on a number of factors. California statutes and case law create specific duties that apply in some situations.
The body of California law covering duty is so vast that you will probably want to hire an attorney. Construction accident attorneys will be aware of various parties’ responsibilities in a given situation.
Once you have proven that the third party was negligent, you must show that the negligence directly caused your injury.
If another contractor on a worksite failed to follow safety precautions but your accident did not result from that conduct, you will not be able to show that this person is at fault.
The negligent actions or failure to act must be the cause of your injuries.
How Fault Affects Your Settlement
Even though most personal injury cases do not go to trial, the difficulty or ease with which you are able to prove fault can affect the size of your settlement.
For example, if there is not a lot of evidence to show negligence, you would have a harder time convincing a jury to find the responsible person liable.
The defendant’s attorney will be aware that you are likely to have a hard time proving your case to a jury. They will therefore make you a lower settlement offer.
They may think that you would rather accept their lower settlement than go to trial and risk getting nothing.
Settlement talks are all about negotiation strategy. An experienced accident attorney will know how to navigate settlement discussions considering the evidence in support of your claim.
A personal injury lawyer can also advise you on the pros and cons of accepting a settlement offer versus refusing in hopes of getting a better offer or forcing the case to go to trial.
Without an attorney, it can be difficult to know whether the other party is making a low settlement offer because they think your case is weak or simply because they are bluffing.
Injuries and Medical Bills
The extent of your injuries and the treatment your doctor prescribes can also affect the value of your settlement. This is because personal injury damages are designed to compensate you for losses suffered as a result of injury. California personal injury damages can include both compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages restore losses suffered as a result of your injuries. These damages include both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages compensate you for the financial costs of your injury. If you missed work, economic damages may include lost wages.
If you had to get surgery as a treatment for your injuries, your settlement award may also cover your medical bills.
In court, you would have to present evidence showing the financial cost of your injuries, and the jury would award you an amount of damages that covers this cost.
Therefore, your settlement award can vary depending on how serious your injuries are and the cost of the treatment.
Non-economic damages compensate you for non-financial losses. This may include compensation for pain and suffering or the loss of the enjoyment of a particular activity.
Since pain and suffering do not have a literal monetary value, the jury will provide an estimation of the dollar value of the pain and suffering that your injury caused and include this amount in your damages award.
Punitive damages are not tied to your financial or other losses. These damages are intended as a penalty against the party that is responsible for your injuries.
Courts typically award punitive damages only if the defendant’s actions were extremely reckless. The conduct of the party that caused your injuries can also affect your accident settlement amount.
Contact Our Office
If you have questions about your personal injury case, call the construction accident attorneys at Farzam Law Firm. We have twenty years of experience handling a wide variety of accident claims, and we are ready to advocate for you.
The Farzam Law Firm will handle your case with compassion and professionalism and fight to obtain the highest possible settlement award.