Bakersfield Construction
Accident Lawyer

25+ YEARS OF EXPERIENCE

When you hire us, you’re adding unmatched experience to your team, ensuring you get the best possible outcome.

99% WIN RATE

Our firm maintains an impressive 99% win rate, even while accepting difficult cases other law firms have turned away.

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We are not afraid of trial, and insurance companies know this. If it’s in your best interest, we are always trial ready.

According to a recent report from the Inspection Support Network, the Bakersfield metropolitan area added nearly 25,000 residents in five years, for a population increase of 2.8 percent. With these newcomers came the need for more homes, the addition of more traffic on area roadways, and the provision of new jobs around the region. However, growth in Bakersfield does not happen without construction, and where there is construction, there is a risk of construction accidents.

If a construction accident injured you, how you obtain compensation for your expenses depends on whether you were injured as a worker or passerby and who caused the injury. A construction accident lawyer from The May Firm can provide you with compassionate and quality legal services to assist you with your claim. For more information, contact us for a free case evaluation.

Community Involvement

At The May Firm we strive to be involved and connected to our local community. For example, this past holiday season we had bicycle and Christmas tree giveaway’s dedicated for individuals in our community. Our goal is to be a positive force for good in the local community and give back in some small measure to those we can serve. We receive satisfaction and joy from serving our clients and will continue to look for ways to be of assistance to the community as a whole. We receive positive energy from the community when we are involved.

We have listed a few of the local organizations we support and look forward to growing our outreach in the future. If you have any suggestions for ways we can be of service or support, please reach out to us.

About Construction Accidents

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the construction industry in the U.S. employs more than 11 million individuals. The industry has seen an impressive growth rate of 25 percent over the past decade. However, the industry is one of the most dangerous, with hazards such as electricity, heavy equipment, dangerous elevations, and more.

In California, the construction industry has the second-highest number of workplace fatalities, behind only the transportation industry. More than 70 people are killed each year in this state as a result of construction accidents.

What Causes Construction Accidents To Occur?

Construction sites are often chaotic, with multiple teams of workers operating equipment on different aspects of the project nearby. Construction work often involves dealing with dangerous events and substances, such as live electrical wires, high elevations, deep trenches, and contact with toxic chemicals.

Some of the common causes of construction accidents include:

  • Inadequate staffingThe post-pandemic staffing shortages have impacted nearly every industry in Bakersfield, and the construction industry is no exception. Inadequate staffing can result in workers taking shortcuts to finish the job on time or not enough workers to safely complete the project.
  • Improper worker training. Often the failure to properly train workers goes hand-in-hand with staffing shortages. High turnover in the construction industry can place workers where they must make decisions on matters without the necessary training and experience. Training is crucial in jobs that deal with heavy equipment, dangerous chemicals, electricity, and creating a safe work environment near moving traffic.
  • Falling objects. Construction work requires tools and equipment that can fall from higher elevations, injuring those below.
  • Failure to maintain equipment. Improperly maintained equipment is at a higher risk of a malfunction that can injure a worker or passerby.
  • Lack of proper safety gear. There are many types of safety gear required on job sites, including harnesses for working at elevation, respirators for working around toxic chemicals, eye protection, safety helmets to prevent injuries occurring from being struck in the head by an object or equipment, and safety vests for use when working around moving traffic. Unfortunately, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (the federal agency tasked with preventing occupational injuries), failure to take adequate safety measures, including using proper safety gear for the work performed, are among the most commonly cited construction industry violations.

Construction’s Focus Four

Most construction accidents resulting in death or serious injury fall within four general types of accidents.

These four construction accident types are known as the Focus Four, or the Fatal Four, and include:

  • Falls to a lower level: This refers to injuries that result from the impact of an individual falling to a lower level. Some common causes of falls to a lower level include faulty stairs or ladders, damaged railings, failure to use or improper use of a safety harness, and improper training. About one in every three construction fatalities is caused by a fall to a lower level.
  • Struck by an object or equipment: This accident involves equipment or an object striking an individual. Examples would involve a vehicle, equipment, falling, or swinging object striking a worker.
  • Electrocution: This type of accident involves injury due to contact with electricity, either directly—such as touching a live power line—or indirectly, such as what would happen if you touched a pipe connected to a power line.
  • Caught in/between: This accident catches the individual’s body or body part in equipment or machinery or compresses it between moving or stationary objects.

Common Injuries Associated With Construction Accidents

The injuries suffered in construction accidents can be extremely serious, or even catastrophic. A catastrophic injury refers to an injury that has a high likelihood of producing permanent disabilities that will impair the sufferer’s ability to earn an income or to achieve personal tasks independently. The term most often refers to injuries to the brain and spinal cord. While these two organs make up the body’s central nervous system and are responsible for controlling most of the body’s functions, neither organ is particularly adept at healing from injury.

Spinal cord injuries most often result in a loss of function and sensation below the injury, which is known as paralysis. The brain can no longer use the cord to communicate with and control the body systems below that area. Injuries to the cervical (neck) area of the spinal cord will often result in paraplegia or tetraplegia, which paralyzes the body below the neck. Injuries lower on the cord will usually result in paraplegia, which paralyzes the body below the waist.

Traumatic brain injuries generally result in permanent deficits, such as memory loss, the inability to communicate or understand spoken communication, the inability to control one’s behaviors or emotions; loss of vision or changes to vision; the inability to move in a balanced and coordinated manner. The deficits from a traumatic brain injury depend on the severity of the injury, the part of the brain that sustained the damage, and the severity of complications in the hours and days after the injury.

One of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries is falls, which is also one of the most common construction accidents to result in a fatality or serious injury.

Other injuries that are often associated with construction accidents include:

  • Burns from electrocution or contact with caustic chemicals. Burns can result in life-threatening infections and fluid loss, as well as permanent scarring, disfigurement, and loss of range of motion if the injury occurs to a jointed area of the body.
  • Eye injuries from objects striking them, which can result in vision impairment, complete loss of vision, or loss of the eye itself.
  • Broken bones, which can result in chronic pain, an extensive healing process, and surgical repair.
  • Other back or neck injuries, including soft tissue damage as well as damage to the spinal vertebrae and discs. Spinal injuries can result in chronic pain, loss of stability in the spine, and the need for surgical repair.
  • Illnesses resulting from exposure to toxic chemicals.

The Complexity of Construction Accidents

In most personal injury claims, the injured claimant can seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. The claim seeks to prove liability for the injury and to show the expenses that the injured person has suffered. What makes construction accidents complex is that, most often, the injured person is a construction worker, which makes the injury occupational.

In California, most employers must obtain worker’s compensation insurance on behalf of their employees. This is no-fault insurance, meaning that the benefits are provided to the injured worker regardless of fault.

Worker’s compensation benefits after a Bakersfield construction accident include:

  • Medical treatment: Your employer’s worker’s compensation policy pays for the medical care you receive to treat your injury. This includes all doctor visits, prescription medication, surgery, hospitalization, ambulance transport, diagnostic costs, and reasonable costs associated with traveling for treatment.
  • Temporary wage replacement: Worker’s compensation provides a portion of the wages you missed due to being too injured to work.
  • Permanent disability benefits: Worker’s compensation will replace a portion of your income for the duration of your working years if your injury results in a permanent disability and you can no longer work.
  • Supplemental job displacement benefit: Some individuals return to work after their injury, but not to the job that they previously held. Worker’s compensation provides retraining or skill enhancement if you are permanently disabled, your employer no longer has a job available for you, or you do not wish to return to your previous employment.
  • Death benefits: These are payable to family members if their loved one dies in a Bakersfield construction accident.

When A Construction Accident Results In A Personal Injury Claim

While worker’s compensation is the appropriate avenue in many cases for seeking compensation for injuries sustained in a Bakersfield construction accident, it is not the appropriate avenue for all types of accidents.

California allows individuals injured in construction accidents to seek compensation through the state’s civil court system for the following reasons:

  • A third party (someone who is not your employer or coworker) caused the accident. Examples of a third-party construction accident include job sites where the general contractor’s negligence caused the accident, which resulted in an injury to a subcontractor; or transportation accidents in a work zone caused by negligent drivers traveling through the work zone.
  • Injuries occurring to a passerby, such as someone walking or driving through a construction site. If a construction accident injured you as a passerby, you cannot seek worker’s compensation for the incident, but you can file a personal injury lawsuit against whoever was responsible for causing the accident that injured you such as the owner, general contractor, or sub-contractor working at the site.
  • Your employer did not have worker’s compensation despite being legally required to obtain a policy. If a construction accident injured you as a worker and your employer failed to provide worker’s compensation insurance, you can file a lawsuit against your employer to obtain compensation for your injury.
  • Your loved one died in a construction accident. If your spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child died in a construction accident, you can seek compensation for your financial and emotional losses through a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit, like a personal injury claim, must be filed in court within two years.
  • A malfunctioning tool or equipment caused your injury and a product defect caused the malfunction. Manufacturers and distributors of equipment and machinery used on construction sites must ensure their products do not pose unreasonable risks to consumers when used according to labeled instructions. If your injury resulted from a product defect, you can seek compensation from the manufacturer or distributor through a product liability lawsuit.

Not Sure How to Seek Compensation for Your Injury? We Can Help

The experienced construction accident attorneys at The May Firm are happy to discuss your claim with you and help you determine if you should seek compensation through a worker’s compensation claim or a personal injury claim. Read on for answers to general questions about the process of seeking compensation after a Bakersfield construction accident.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bakersfield Construction Accidents

With affordable housing and the rapid rise of telecommuting, Bakersfield is emerging from the pandemic on the cusp of predicted high growth. This means more opportunity for residents here, but also more construction on buildings and roads throughout the region. Increases in construction often result in increases in construction accidents. Here are answers to some questions we commonly hear about construction accidents in Bakersfield.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers provided by Bakersfield Construction Accident Lawyer courtesy of The May Firm
to some frequently asked questions we receive from clients.

It depends on the reason for the denial and the source of liability.

Some of the reasons that worker’s comp would deny a claim after a worker has suffered a construction accident in Bakersfield include:

  • The worker did not seek medical treatment. To obtain benefits, you must have an injury that needs treatment and results in missed time from work. Because personal injury claims also must be proven by medical documentation of the injury, this would likely preclude you from being eligible for compensation through a lawsuit as well.
  • Waiting too long to report the injury. Generally, with acute injuries (as opposed to repetitive motion or long-term occupational exposure to toxins), you have 30 days after the injury to file the claim. If your employer had worker’s compensation insurance available, you cannot seek compensation from them through the personal injury claims process. However, if third-party liability exists, you can seek compensation from that liable party through a lawsuit.
  • The employer disputes the claim. Employers can despite worker’s compensation claims for several reasons, including your employer not believing that your injury occurred at work, or the belief that you intentionally caused your injuries or were impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time the injury occurred. If you were the cause of your injury and there were no other liable parties, you will not be eligible to file a personal injury claim.

An experienced construction accident lawyer can help you determine if other sources of liability with insurance resources can provide compensation. The Bakersfield construction accident lawyers from The May Firm are happy to provide a free case evaluation and explore your options with you.

In some cases, yes. If the carelessness or recklessness of a third party was at least a partial factor in the accident that caused your injury and you are already obtaining worker’s compensation benefits from your employer, you can seek additional compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance policy. An example in which this situation can arise involves transportation accidents in work zones. If a distracted driver hurts a worker, worker’s compensation will likely provide benefits as the accident occurred on the job. However, you can still file a claim against the at-fault driver as well.

Yes, but before we explain why, it should be emphasized once more: Unless a third party is, at least in part, responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, you were injured while passing by a construction site, or your employer failed to provide worker’s compensation insurance despite being legally required to do so, you cannot file a personal injury claim.

However, if any of these conditions exist, a personal injury lawsuit allows you to pursue non-economic damages for your injury.

Damages refers to the compensation you receive as payment for harm.

Economic damages involve compensation for the expenses of your injury.

The economic damages you can seek in a personal injury claim are similar to those obtained through worker’s compensation benefits, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wage loss
  • Loss of future earning capacity resulting from permanent disabilities

Non-economic damages refer to compensation you receive for the psychological impacts of your injury such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of the enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium, which is compensation received on behalf of your spouse for the loss of physical intimacy and companionship that often accompanies serious injuries

Non-economic damages are available through personal injury claims, but they are not available through worker’s compensation claims.

Additionally, in some personal injury cases, you may seek punitive damages, which are not available through worker’s compensation claims. Punitive damages involve compensation awarded to you, not because of the expenses of your injury, but to punish the defendant for the extreme recklessness or intentional act that caused your injury.

Obtain a free case evaluation from our experienced construction accident lawyers. This conversation will cost you nothing, but you may speak directly with an attorney who can help you determine if third-party liability exists in your case. If there is, then the attorney can the legal process of seeking compensation and the services they can provide to assist you.

One important thing to be aware of is that personal injury attorneys such as The May Firm use a contingent-fee billing method. You do not have to pay for the services of your attorney unless they bring a positive outcome to your claim. With only two years after the accident to file a personal injury claim, the contingent fee allows us to begin working on your case immediately while allowing you access to legal counsel, regardless of your financial status.

Generally speaking and without considering other details of your case, you could sue your employer if they do not have worker’s compensation insurance. In California, all construction companies are legally required to carry worker’s compensation insurance, either provided by an insurance company or self-insurance. Failing to do so makes the employer liable not only for your injuries but also for additional penalties imposed by the state for not carrying the insurance.

A third-party construction accident involves accidents that were caused at least in part by someone who is not your employer or coworker.

Some examples of third parties that can cause construction accidents include:

  • The drivers of motor vehicles causing accidents in work zones.
  • The engineer or architect of the structure where the construction was taking place.
  • General contractors or subcontractors also working on the site.
  • The owner of the property where the accident occurred.
  • Equipment suppliers and product manufacturers who made and distributed a defective product.

One disadvantage of a personal injury claim compared to worker’s compensation is that you must prove negligence in the firmer, while you generally do not have to do so with the latter.

To prove negligence, you must have evidence and witness testimony that reveals:

  • The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. The duty of care refers to the actions a reasonable person would take in similar circumstances to protect the health and safety of others.
  • There was a breach in the duty of care, meaning the at-fault party took actions that were contrary to protecting the health and safety of others.
  • This breach resulted in the injury that caused you to incur expenses and impacts.

Worker’s compensation is no-fault insurance, meaning that, often, you do not have to show who caused the injury to obtain benefits. The other advantage of worker’s compensation is that the timeline for receiving your compensation is generally a lot shorter.

Worker’s compensation provides $10,000 for funeral and burial expenses.

In addition, a death benefit depends on the number of dependent minors in your household.

  • For one dependent, the death benefit is $250,000
  • For two dependents, the benefit is $290,000
  • For three or more dependents, the benefit is $320,000
  • For one total and one or more partial dependents, the benefit is $250,000 plus four times the annual support for the partial dependent, not to exceed $290,000
  • For one or more partial dependents, the benefit is eight times the annual support for the partial dependents.

A lien is a legal right that one party has against the property of another. In California, if you seek worker’s compensation benefits for your construction accident injury and also file a lawsuit for third-party liability seeking compensation for medical expenses or wage loss, the worker’s compensation insurer can place a lien against the lawsuit to recoup a portion of the benefits the insurer paid to you. Insurers are legally only allowed to recover up to two-thirds of the benefits they paid to you, as the law requires them to also share in the cost of the recovery.

Generally, the compensation you receive either through worker’s compensation benefits or a personal injury lawsuit is not income, as it pays for an injury. Because they are not income, they are not taxed. The IRS makes an exception when it comes to punitive damages. Because punitive damages are a financial consequence for the defendant rather than compensation for the expense of the injury, they are income and taxable.

Your claim may never see the inside of a courtroom, as most construction accident cases resolve before the trial date arrives, many by settlement agreements. However, because your case could go to court, hire an attorney who is as comfortable pursuing compensation on your behalf as they are with negotiating a settlement.

A lawyer can pursue the maximum compensation available for the injuries you sustained. During your initial case evaluation, your attorney will explore your legal options with you and help you determine if there is potential for a third-party personal injury claim.

If so, your attorney may also:

  • Establish a value to your claim based on the expenses you already incurred because of your injury and those you will likely incur.
  • File your claim in court within the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California.
  • Negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance provider in an attempt to obtain fair compensation for your injuries.
  • Gather evidence and witness testimony to prove your claim in court.
  • Evaluate settlements so that you can make an informed decision on whether to reject or accept them,
  • Litigate your case in court by delivering opening and closing arguments, presenting evidence, and examining witnesses.
  • Collect your settlement or award.

Let the Bakersfield construction accident attorneys from The May Firm help you understand the options for obtaining compensation for your construction accident injury. For your free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (661) 244-9712.

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Contact us to get started. It is important to have the proper legal representation on your side if you’re involved in a motorcycle crash. Often wrongful blame is placed on the rider in a multi-vehicle collision due to the increased risk that comes with riding a motorcycle. Insurance companies are reluctant to side with the motorcyclist and oftentimes will attempt to place the full or partial blame on them. Don’t accept that blame and the legal repercussions that come with it.

Call (866) 619-6679 to schedule a free consultation with our award-winning motorcycle accident lawyers. We’ll help determine the viability of your case based on your testimony and help you determine the best way to proceed. Working on a contingency fee means our lawyers are only compensated when your case or settlement is won, and our extensive experience and case history allow us to settle most claims out of court, giving you a faster resolution to your case and allowing you to focus on your recovery process. We factor in every possible expense when building your settlement: Medical bills, wage loss, property damage, and emotional suffering are all considered. Our goal is to help you put your life back in order to the best of our ability.

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