Accidents at construction sites are so frequent that it is likely that many employees will witness a coworker getting hurt at work. If you see a coworker get involved in a construction site accident, your witness statement will be crucial in determining whether your coworker qualifies for workers’ compensation. You and your injured coworker may need the legal advice of a Miami personal injury lawyer.
Some of the most common causes of construction site accidents include elevated heights, fires, falling debris, heavy equipment, explosions, chemicals, and physical exertion. Straightforward employers will expect truthful witnesses who say what they saw without fear of retaliation. But if you are receiving pressure to change your statement, then the law will protect you.
What Steps Should I Take If I Witness a Workplace Injury?
Immediately after a construction site accident occurs in Miami, you may be confused. But it’s time to remain calm and think clearly. You can then take the necessary steps as listed below.
Get The Victim to Safety
The top priority should be the safety of your injured coworker. Lift and transfer the coworker to a safe place.
Provide First Aid and Ask for Medical Assistance
If they require medical assistance, call an ambulance or offer to drive the person to the hospital. Seeking medical attention will ensure that the victim receives the compensation they deserve.
A Miami construction accident attorney will use evidence from this critical step to fight for fair compensation on behalf of the victim.
Shut Down Equipment or Machinery
If possible, ensure any hazardous machinery is shut down to prevent further injury to the victim.
Avoid Cleaning Up the Scene
Avoid as much as you can to leave the accident scene as you found it. The investigators will want to see what you saw at the scene.
Report the Accident
You should report the accident to your supervisor, manager, human resource department, or foreman if the worker is severely injured and cannot do it themselves. But even in severe cases, they may still be required to report it themselves and file a report.
Take Note of the Accident Details
Once the victim is in the hands of the medical team, you can now take notes of what you saw, where you were, who else was around, what you were doing, and what else was happening during the time of the accident. It’s always advisable to write down this information while the events are still fresh in your mind.
Be Available to Offer Evidence
Not so often do workers’ compensation claims go to trial. But in case they do, you may be asked to give your witness statement in court. Still, you may be requested to provide your testimony during settlement negotiations. You may also be contacted by your coworker’s or employer’s attorney regarding the construction site accident in Miami, FL.
Construction workers who witness workplace accidents can determine whether their injured coworkers recover. But more importantly, these witnesses can help make workplaces safer and reduce the likelihood of such accidents recurring.
What Are My Rights As an Accident Witness in Florida?
Not always will an employer treat a workplace accident witness in good faith. Some unethical employers often try to bully or intimidate the witness into laying the blame on the accident victim. This type of behavior is against the law as you have the right to speak the truth to the investigators about what you saw.
If your employer threatens you with reduced working hours, demotion, or termination, talk to your retaliation lawyer in Miami or a workers’ compensation law firm immediately. A workers’ compensation attorney can help protect your rights and prevent employer retaliation.
What Is the Role of a Construction Site Accident Witness?
Accident witnesses form a critical part of creating safe construction sites. Apart from saving the life of the injured coworker, a witness can help change company policies regarding safety.
A witness also determines whether the victim will collect workers’ compensation from their employer’s insurer. The victim will only need to prove that they got injured while on the job and doing work-related duties.
So, a witness can affirm that the victim was indeed on the job doing work-related duties. Conversely, a witness can help an employer discover falsehoods, e.g., if the coworker came to work with a visible injury or was actually drunk on the job.
What Is Expected of Me When Giving a Written Witness Statement?
You may be asked for a witness statement from your employer, the insurers, and the injured worker’s attorneys. An effective statement will provide:
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- A detailed explanation of the events
- A description of the injuries on the coworker
- Your immediate actions after the accident
What Should I Do If I Suffered Emotional Harm from Witnessing the Accident?
Witnessing a construction site accident can be traumatizing, especially if it leads to severe injuries or a fatality. It’s possible to suffer physiological injuries as a witness. Even first responders suffer this and have mechanisms of coping.
Some of the symptoms of psychological stress include:
- Chest pain
- Poor concentration
- Increased alcohol intake
If you’re experiencing this, speak to a professional counselor, psychologist, or mental health professional. You may also talk to a Miami construction accident attorney to determine whether you qualify to receive damages for the emotional distress caused by the workplace accident.
Protect Your Rights Today As an Accident Witness
If you witnessed a construction site accident in Miami, your witness testimony might determine whether the victim qualifies for workers’ compensation. Both of you will need expert advice from a construction accident lawyer for guidance.
Stand for safety and safer working environments today. Take a bold step and come out as a witness. A skilled attorney will protect your rights and prevent any employer retaliation. Talk to us today for experienced counsel on your next steps.