Construction injuries have a few common ways they occur. Generally, either a construction worker is injured while working on a construction project, or someone passing by the site is injured from falling debris or other dangers. Either way, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit for the damage your body sustains during the accident. However, these lawsuits have strict deadlines you may need to file to have your case heard in court. Contact a Fayetteville construction injury lawyer Ken Kieklak today for help with your construction injury case.
Deadline to File Construction Worker Injury Claims
Working at a construction site is quite dangerous. While “hard hat areas” may require certain safety gear and other safety measures, you still face risks from most of the tools and environments related to the job. When you are injured at work, Arkansas law has strict rules regarding how you can get compensation for your injuries.
Arkansas requires most workers to file with the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission before considering a lawsuit for their workplace injuries. When you file for workers’ comp., your employer (and their workers’ comp. insurance) pays for your lost wages and medical expenses while you recover.
Workers’ compensation has rules for filing, where you cannot file unless your injury will keep you out of work for at least 14 days. However, you may not know that you will be out of work for 14 days until the day arrives. Workers’ compensation is somewhat flexible, and allows you time to file. Still, the best way to ensure coverage is to file as soon as possible, so talk to an attorney immediately.
If the workers’ compensation rules do not cover your case, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for the construction injuries, instead. If your employer has too few employees, you are self-employed, you are a contractor, or you fall into other categories, workers’ comp. may not require you to first file with them.
If you do file a personal injury lawsuit instead of a workers’ comp. claim, you have 3 years from the date of injury to do so. This is called the “statute of limitations,” and acts as a strict deadline for construction injury cases.
Suing a Construction Company for Injuries
If you live near a construction site or were passing by the site when you were injured, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the construction workers and construction company. Unlike construction company employees, you are entitled to sue for any negligent acts that cause your injury. However, these lawsuits are also subject to the 3-year statute of limitations.
Any personal injury case is subject to this 3-year time limit. This includes things like head injuries from falling material or injuries from slipping and falling on debris. This clock starts running from the date of injury. Other states use more complex starting conditions, but Arkansas simply starts the clock at the time of injury. The deadline applies to filing the case, not taking it to trial and finishing the case. This means you have 3 years to get your case in the door, but your lawyer has additional time to gather information, create arguments, hire experts, and fight the case in court.
If you file your case too late, it may be completely blocked in court. Your opponents (the “defendants”) may use the statute of limitations to block any claims that happened longer than 3 years before.
The statute of limitations serves a few goals. First, it ensures that evidence is fresh. If the accident happened too long ago, the records may be lost or destroyed, and eyewitness memory may fade over time. If the defendant is made to wait years or decades, they may always live with the fear that they could be taken to court at any time. A 3-year deadline limits that. Additionally, if you wait too long to file your case, it seems as though the injury wasn’t that bad. Demanding compensation quickly shows how difficult the injury is, and that the compensation is necessary.
Fayetteville Construction Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one works at a construction zone, you may be able to sue or file for workers’ comp. after serious injuries. If you were injured, it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as you can. Because statutes of limitations create strict deadlines, you must have your case filed before the 3-year limitations period runs.
For help with your case, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law. Ken is a workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be required to file a workers’ comp. claim before you can file with a court. However, an attorney can help guide you through the process and handle much of the work on your behalf. For a free consultation, contact our law offices today at (479) 439-1843.