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June 12, 2018

Dangers for Construction Workers in Philly

Construction Accidents in Philly

Construction work is a risky industry. Crews are constantly working on unstable structures, from heights, with electrical systems, and with heavy machinery and power tools. It is important that construction companies and contractors employ proper safety measures to protect employees and prevent accidents. However, even the safest construction site can have serious accidents and injuries occur.

Construction accidents reported in the Philadelphia area in May include:

Fortunately, workers seemed to have escaped catastrophic injuries. These accidents could have been much worse, however, as both falls and getting hit by objects commonly cause life-threatening injuries on construction sites. In fact, both are considered part of the industry’s “fatal four,” which cause the most work-related fatalities among construction workers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of job-related death for construction workers, causing nearly 39 percent of fatalities. Getting struck by an object is the second-leading cause of death, resulting in about 10 percent of fatalities.

Common catastrophic injuries seen on construction sites include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) Construction workers frequently suffer head injuries falling from heights, as well as when hit in the head by falling objects. A blow to the head can result in serious injuries with devastating lifelong effects. This can include impairments with cognitive processing, behavioral control, physical movement, coma, and sometimes death.
  • Spinal cord injuryConstruction accidents also commonly result in injury to the spinal cord, which often causes permanent disability or paralysis. This means that a worker can lose their ability to move, feel sensation, and some organ function. Spinal cord injuries can leave construction accident victims unable to return to a physically demanding job, or even unable to care for themselves. Victims of paralyzing spinal injuries may need ongoing medical attention and assistive medical equipment – such as wheelchairs – for the rest of their lives.

The lifelong costs of these kinds of injuries can be extremely high. It is important for construction workers who sustain any type of on-the-job injury to understand their legal rights to recover compensation for their injuries to help pay those expenses.

Liability for Medical Expenses and Disabilities

Because of the inherent risks of the construction industry, employers are expected to adhere to strict safety regulations and standards. Unfortunately employers do not always do so. OSHA recently cited and sanctioned a Philadelphia contractor for multiple violations, including the risk of the following for workers:

  • Falls
  • Getting struck by objects
  • Trips
  • Impalement
  • Electrical shock
  • Dangerous use of ladders
  • Dangerous use of compressed gas cylinders
  • Obstructed exit routes

Due to the violations, the contractor faces up to $222,152 in penalties.

However, an injured worker does not have to prove the employer violated safety regulations to obtain compensation for work-related injuries. Instead, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides injured employees the right to seek compensation from their employer’s mandatory workers’ compensation insurance. While workers’ compensation works to prevent lawsuits against companies, it also allows employees to collect benefits without having to prove negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the employer. If an injury or illness was job-related, workers’ compensation insurance should cover the cost of your medical bills, lost income, and disability losses.

Workers’ compensation claims are not always as straightforward as they should be. Insurers and employers can try to avoid liability by questioning the cause of your injury, the severity of your injury, and more. Injured workers may be dealing with doctors selected by their employer, and a large commercial workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Both employers and their insurers may try to limit payouts to injured workers as much as possible. Workers’ compensation insurance carriers typically have a team of skilled attorneys on their side—and so should you. It is important to have the help of an experienced construction accident lawyer for your claim, especially if you have suffered a lasting disability and cannot work for an extended period of time.

In addition, there may be other avenues to recover compensation for your losses. Many construction accidents happen because of the negligence of a third party. Unlike your employer, these negligent parties are not protected from lawsuits and liability just because you were on the job. Instead, you may be able to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against negligent individuals or companies to recover for your losses. In such cases, you can also seek compensation for noneconomic damages – such as pain and suffering – in addition to your medical expenses and lost wages. Some types of negligence that may cause a construction accident typically include:

  • Defective tools or materials
  • Defective safety equipment
  • Dangerous drivers in construction zones
  • Careless acts of contractors or subcontractors other than your employer

Because liability for a construction accident can be a complicated matter, you need a skilled work injury attorney evaluating your rights and options as soon as possible.

Learn More From Our Philadelphia Construction Accident Attorneys

There are deadlines for both workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits in Pennsylvania. These are strict deadlines that limit the time you have to seek compensation. Do not delay—even though you are recovering from a serious construction injury, you should still contact an attorney as soon as you can after an accident. The Levin Firm represents injured construction workers in and around the Philadelphia area. We offer free consultations and will evaluate your case at absolutely no charge and advise you of the best course of action for recovery in your situation. Please call 215-825-5183 or contact us online for a free consultation today.

December 2, 2016

Information for Construction Workers

Construction Worker Lawyers in Philadelphia

When you become a construction worker, you likely realize that you are engaging in a potentially dangerous job, as construction is deemed one of the riskiest industries by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).1 However, construction workers are necessary to build, improve, and repair building, bridges, roadways, and much more. Therefore, it is important for construction companies to do whatever they can to keep their employees safe from harm on the job. When you are working, you should also be aware of certain information in case an accident and injury does occur.

Common Injury Causes

It is important to understand the common causes of construction accidents so you can take steps to prevent these accidents from happening in the first place, along with recognizing what caused an injury if there is a dispute. Some examples of common construction accidents include:

  • Falls from heights, such as ladders, roofs, or scaffolding
  • Being struck by falling or propelled objects
  • Between trapped in between materials or objects
  • Electrocutions2
  • Slip and falls due to debris or slippery boards
  • Stairs or ladders without handrails or safety equipment
  • Falling off stepladders
  • Collapsing excavation walls or trenches
  • Accidents involving power tools
  • Accidents involving heavy equipment

A large number of construction accidents occur because certain safety equipment – such as harnesses or eye protection – was not used, provided, or mandated on the construction site. Injuries can also happen if other workers are ignoring safety procedures or otherwise engaging in unsafe behavior.

Your Rights after a Construction Accident

When a construction accident happens and causes you injury, you have different rights depending on the type of accident that happened and who or what was involved. In many cases, you will have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits from your employer to cover the costs of your medical treatment and to help replace any income you lost if you must take time off of work. While many construction accident victims have successful workers’ comp claims, obtaining adequate benefits can be a lot more complicated if your claim is partially or totally denied or if you have suffered a serious disability and are offered a settlement. For this reason, it is often wise to contact an attorney for assistance with your workers’ compensation claim.

In other situations, you may be able to file a claim for personal injury to seek compensation through the civil courts. This generally occurs when a third party unrelated to your employer was responsible for your accident. In such a claim, you can seek damages for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, permanent disabilities, and more. The legal process is complex and has many specific deadlines and requirements that you must follow to have a successful claim. It is essential to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side who understands the nature of construction accidents and injuries.

What to do Following an Accident

Whether you will follow the workers’ compensation route or the personal injury lawsuit route, there are things you can do following your accident that can help protect your rights and increase your chances of financial recovery. Some of these steps include the following:

Medical evaluation – You should always seek medical help after a construction injury. If you will be seeking workers’ compensation benefits, your employer may request that you go to a certain doctor or hospital. In this case, you often want to seek your own independent evaluation, as well.

Gather documentation – You should always be aware of what is in your medical records regarding your workplace injury and what is in your workplace file regarding the accident. These documents can help you make a successful claim.

Never sign anything without first speaking with your attorney – Your employer or an insurance company may ask you to sign a certain document, which may be agreeing to a settlement offer. This will also mean you sign away your right to pursue additional compensation, so you should always consult with a lawyer before signing anything.

Contact a Philadelphia Construction Accident Attorney To Discuss Your Rights

At The Levin Firm, we understand the complicated nature of construction accident cases and that your rights may be different from case to case. We know how to fully evaluate your case, including what caused the accident and the severity of your injuries, to properly advise you of your rights and options in the legal system. We have helped many injured construction workers in and around Philadelphia, so please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss how we can help you. Call us for a free consultation at 215-825-5183 today.

1https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html

2https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000053.htm

June 17, 2016

When can a Construction Worker Sue after a Workplace Accident?

When can a Construction Worker Sue after a Workplace Accident

Construction site accidents are consistent among the most common causes of workplace accidents in the United States. If you have ever been to an active construction site, this should come as no surprise. Construction sites are extraordinarily active places with people doing a variety of jobs simultaneously. There can be trucks hauling material from place to place, heavy machinery operating, individuals working from open heights, open excavations, and significant noise. When combined, these factors make construction sites extremely risky places to work, and even the most careful construction site has a very real chance of being seriously injured in an accident.

Workers’ Compensation is Meant to be the Exclusive Remedy for Workplace Accidents

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Program1 exists to ensure that people who are injured in on the job accidents or who develop occupational illnesses are able to have their medical expenses and lost income covered. It also exists to limit employer liability for workplace accidents. Fundamentally, it operates as a no-fault insurance program that is meant to provide a degree of certainty for both employers and employees. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to make sure that their employees who are injured in accidents are able to get benefits, but in return, employees are prohibited from filing lawsuits against their employers for workplace accidents, in most cases. As such, it is intended to be the exclusive remedy available to employees who are hurt in workplace accidents.

While workers’ compensation does provide injured workers with significant benefits such as weekly benefits, permanent impairment benefits, medical benefits, and benefits for vocational rehabilitation, it often does not fully compensate injured workers for their losses. This is because it does not allow victims to recover for their loss of future earning potential, future medical expenses, emotional pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life, and other damages that they would be able to seek through a traditional personal injury lawsuit. For this reason, construction site accident victims should pursue a personal injury lawsuit whenever it is possible.

There are Some Limited Circumstances in which an Employee may Sue

Fortunately for construction workers, there may be some circumstances under which they may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover for the losses they have sustained in an on the job accident. Generally, these situations arise when the injury was caused by the negligence of someone with whom the worker does not have an employer-employee relationship with. These include the following:

When an Accident is Caused by the Negligence of an Independent Contractor – Many construction sites have employees and independent contractors working in close proximity with one another. For example, a primary contractor on a worksite may subcontract with another company to perform certain specialized tasks. If an accident is caused by one of these independent contractors, and injured construction site employee may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the individual who caused the accident or his or her employer.

When an Accident is Caused by Defective Work Equipment – Another situation in which a construction site accident could be caused by a party with whom workers do not have an employer-employee relationship with is when accidents are caused by defective work equipment. When this occurs, injured workers may be able to file a products liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the product. Examples of the kinds of equipment or tools that could result in this type of claim include welding equipment, vehicles, heavy machinery, safety harnesses, and scaffolding.

There are some extremely limited circumstances in which an injured worker may be able to file a lawsuit directly against his or her employer, such as when an employer engages in intentional conduct that is substantially certain to result in injury to an employee. These cases often involve violations of OSHA’s health and safety regulations.2 To determine where this or any of the above circumstances apply in your case, call our office today.

Call a Philadelphia Construction Site Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Legal Options

If you have been injured in a construction site accident, do not assume that workers’ compensation benefits are your only option. In many cases, injured workers can recover significantly more compensation by filing a personal injury claim in addition to getting benefits. The law regarding when you can file a lawsuit is complicated, however, so you should be sure to have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney before making any decisions about how to proceed.

The Philadelphia construction site accident attorneys of The Levin Firm are committed to helping injured construction workers recover for their injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 215-825-5183 or send us an email through our online contact form.

1 http://www.dli.pa.gov/Businesses/Compensation/WC/Pages/default.aspx

2 https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owastand.display_standard_group?p_toc_level=1&p_part_number=1926

August 28, 2014

Can I Sue after a Highway Construction Zone Accident?

construction zone aheadHighway and interstate construction zones are one of life’s inescapable annoyances. It often seems that as soon as one construction or improvement project is finished, another takes its place a few miles down the road. In construction zones, there are often roadway conditions that make that particular stretch of the road more dangerous than those not under construction. In an effort to mitigate these dangers, highway construction zones are usually conspicuously marked and have reduced speed limits. Unfortunately, these measures are not always sufficient, and sometimes serious accidents can occur. People who are injured by the negligence of others in a construction zone may be able to recover for their losses by bringing a personal injury claim against those responsible. The best way to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve after an accident is to discuss your case with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

What are common causes of construction zone accidents?

As in any other personal injury case, a legal claim involving a construction zone accident must establish that the accident was caused by someone’s negligent or otherwise wrongful conduct. There are many parties that could potentially be liable in a construction site accident, including the construction crew, other drivers, the state agency responsible for the construction site, or even a vehicle manufacturer. Determining who is responsible for an accident often starts with determining how the accident occurred. Some of the more common causes of construction zone accidents include the following:

  • Uneven lanes
  • Unmarked construction zones
  • Open holes
  • Speeding
  • Improper vehicle maintenance
  • Construction debris in the road
  • Construction equipment malfunctions
  • Improperly marked lanes
  • Construction workers in driving lanes
  • Construction vehicle accidents

After a construction accident, victims should record as much information about the accident as they can. If possible, take photographs of the scene of the accident as well as of the immediate aftermath. In addition, make sure to seek medical attention for any injuries that you may have sustained. Finally, it is important for victims to be aware that Pennsylvania personal injury claims are subject to a strict statute of limitations, meaning that any delay in filing your claim could jeopardize your ability to recover.

August 18, 2014

What If I Suffer An Eye Injury?

eye injuryMany accident victims suffer life-altering injuries that can require extensive treatment or even leave a person permanently disabled and unable to ever return to life as usual. One type of injury that can be particularly devastating and difficult to deal with is an injury affecting one or both eyes. Many eye injury victims suffer partial or total vision loss that may be either temporary or permanent. Even temporary vision loss can have a severe effect on a person’s life, requiring expensive medical care and keeping a person from working or performing everyday life activities. If you received an eye injury in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to receive significant compensation for your losses.

Eye injuries commonly occur in several different types of preventable accidents, including the following:

  • Truck or car accidents
  • Motorcycle or bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Construction or other industrial accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Burns from flame, heat, or chemicals
  • Accidents due to defective products
  • Blunt trauma or puncture wounds to the head or eye

Such accidents can cause corneal abrasions or lacerations, ruptured globes, damage to the surface of the eye, hemorrhaging, or damage to the optic nerve. Such injuries often may require emergency medical care, visits to an ophthalmologist with experience in eye trauma, surgery, therapy, and more. Sometimes, eye injury victims require ongoing monitoring of their eyes since traumatic injuries can lead to scarring, glaucoma, or other complications down the road.

Many eye injury victims face piles of medical bills from lost income from time missed from work. Additionally, most eye injuries are extremely painful and make life very difficult if their vision has been affected. If you bring a legal claim, you may receive compensation for your financial losses, as well as non-financial losses such as pain and suffering.

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