If you’ve been hurt on a construction site, you should consider filing a claim against the at-fault party. Filing a claim can help you get the money you need to pay your medical bills, cover your lost income, and manage other costs you may have incurred because of the accident. However, before you go calling a construction injury attorney, it’s important to have a basic understanding of Texas laws and contributory negligence first. If you don’t, you could end up going home with nothing.
Negligence Laws in Texas
Texas operates under the law of contributory negligence. This means that, while you may be the victim in your case, you can still hold some legal responsibility for your accident or injury. The amount of responsibility you are determined to hold will directly influence the amount of damages you can seek for your injuries. The more responsibility you have, the less money you will get from your case. In fact, if you’re determined to hold more fault in the accident than the other party (so 51 percent or more), then you can’t seek damages at all.
Here’s how it works: let’s say you were injured when your coworker, who was up on some scaffolding at the time, dropped a tool. You were on the ground below, and the tool hit you. Now, you’re suing your coworker. The court has determined that, while the coworker is responsible for dropping the tool, you’re also partially responsible, as you walked below the scaffolding in the first place. They assign you each a percentage: your coworker is 80 percent responsible, and you are 20 percent.
Now, let’s say the court was ready to award you $100,000 in damages. Since you were deemed 20 percent responsible for the injury, the award is then reduced to reflect that. The coworker is not responsible for compensating you for that 20 percent, and your total damages would then amount to $80,000. If you were determined to hold 51 percent of the fault for the accident, you would be awarded nothing.
Contributory Negligence in Your Case
Unfortunately, the contributory negligence law could affect your case. If you’re determined to hold some of the fault for the accident, you’ll get less in damages, and you could end up having to pay for some of your medical bills or other injury costs on your own. For this reason, it’s always important to talk to a qualified construction injury attorney before moving forward with your case. They’ll be able to give you a realistic idea of what you can expect from your case in the end.
Once you file your claim, a construction injury attorney can also help you minimize the amount of fault you’re determined to carry by gathering evidence. They’ll take photos of the accident scene, they’ll speak to eyewitnesses who may have seen your injury happen, and they’ll line up experts to testify on your behalf. This will help prove the other party’s fault and keep you from being implicated in the accident.
Hiring a Construction Injury Attorney
An experienced construction injury attorney can do more than just minimize the amount of fault you hold. They can also handle communication with your employer or insurance company, field potential settlement offers and ensure you’re compensated adequately for the losses you’ve suffered.