Construction work has a higher number of work-related fatalities and injuries than any other industry. To workers, this is not surprising given the numerous opportunities for mishaps around a construction site. In the event of such incidents, employers and supervisors often shirk their responsibility. Without the legal representation of a construction accident attorney, workers can miss out on the compensation to which they may be entitled.
Causes of Injuries
- Electrocution from exposed wiring or power lines. These often occur as a result of a companies’ failure to warn employees of the hazard or by not providing adequate training or protective clothing.
- Falling objects. Building sites are replete with tools and building supplies that are carelessly left or are dropped from high elevations onto unsuspecting workers below.
- Defective scaffolding and ladders. These can lead to falls from considerable elevations.
- Faulty beams or slippery surfaces.
- Failure to inspect potential hazards or to give proper warnings. Explosions can occur from contact with leaking or old gas lines.
- Failure to install proper safety devices or to follow safety procedures. These omissions can result in electrocutions, falls, or being struck by tractors or other moving objects.
- Incompetent supervision can pose considerable safety risks to even safety conscious workers.
- Exposure to chemicals, inadequate protective clothing or the failure to wear masks can be deadly.
In all of the above scenarios it is the duty of the employer to provide and guarantee a safe workplace. It is important that you maintain your rights and ensure you are fairly compensated for the damages you suffer.
Can the Worker Sue the Employer?
Injured employees need not prove their employer was negligent, because they are generally precluded from suing their employers. They are often compensated through a worker’s compensation system that pays for their medical bills, lost earnings, any permanent disability (according to a schedule established by statute), and sometimes retraining for other employment if state law requires insurers to pay for such costs. However this is not always the case.
Workers can sue other parties directly if that party’s negligent conduct or omission led to their injuries. Potential responsible parties include:
- General contractors or subcontractors who have a duty to provide a safe working environment and to properly train workers. They must also follow OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970) standards or risk being held strictly liable to the injured worker.
- Construction site owners who must warn of dangerous conditions of which the owner knew or should have known. If the owner retains Control of the site, he remains responsible for maintaining the premises in safe condition. However, control is usually passed to the company or contractor responsible for the construction operations.
- Design engineers or architects overseeing the construction project who must ensure safe working conditions on the site.
- Manufacturers of equipment and machinery who failed to provide proper safety guards, warnings, or manufactured equipment that posed unreasonable risks of harm. If there was a design or manufacturing defect, some state laws provide for strict liability as well as negligence.
- Construction site managers who have a duty to properly supervise and ensure safety compliance.
It is strongly recommended that a construction accident lawyer be consulted in any of the above scenarios since these issues often involve complicated legalities.
What To Do When an Injury Occurs
Whenever an injury occurs, the worker should immediately report it to their employer. Be sure to note the date, time and place of the injury names of witnesses and when the injury was reported and to whom.
Take photographs of the site of the incident or of the machinery or tools involved. Of course, get immediate medical attention and reach out for a legal consultation as soon as you can.
It is vital that workers be trained in the safe use of their equipment and that all equipment be inspected before use.
Guardrails need to be in place and inspections conducted for loose shingles or equipment on roofs or high elevations.
Wear protective gear when working around toxic chemicals including goggles, gloves and respirators.
Avoid strain by sitting if possible and ensure proper form when lifting.
Be constantly aware of your surroundings.
Know Your Rights
You have the right to receive proper compensation for the injuries sustained from a construction accident injury! You may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering in addition to other claims.
Because of the complexities involved in construction law, retaining an experienced construction accident lawyer is essential to recovering proper compensation.
If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a construction accident, we want to hear your story. Our experienced construction accident attorneys will review the facts and assist you with your case from beginning to end. We know how to investigate and aggressively pursue construction accident cases.