The construction industry is a significant contributor to the U.S economy. Over the last few years, the industry has expanded and has over 43,000 employers and 7 million employees. But even with this growth, it is one of the most dangerous industries for workers.
According to OSHA, 20 percent of worker fatalities in the private industry in one year took place in construction. That accounts for one in every five workplace deaths that year. With such alarming figures, it helps to understand construction accidents and what to do if you or a loved one becomes a victim.
Types of Construction Accidents
There are numerous dangers across construction sites throughout the country. Some are obvious, while others are hard to spot. Learning the possible construction accidents and their hazards can help employers, site managers, and employees prevent the accidents before they occur.
Construction accidents can involve employees hired to perform construction site duties or citizens unaffiliated with the construction project. The two types of accidents differ due to employee coverage, safety hazards, and negligence in construction operations.
Construction companies have a responsibility to ensure that all workers wear protective gear to lessen the risk of accidents. In addition, they need to adhere to safety requirements concerning the surroundings and the environment. Failure to comply with these safety protocols is one of the significant causes of construction accidents.
Some of the most common types of construction accidents include:
Falling from heights is common in construction sites as workers usually work on ladders, roofs, scaffolding, cranes, and other elevated surfaces. These accidents can result in tragic construction site injuries. The National Institute for Occupational Safety Health safety regulations requires employers to provide all their construction site workers with safety gear to minimize the dangers.
Workers may find themselves struck by bricks, tools, waste products, and spare parts as they work through scaffolding tiers. These types of accidents are most common where there is poor communication. Falling objects can result in minor injuries such as cuts and bruises and sometimes serious ones, including head and brain injuries.
When working on a construction site, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all the tools and equipment used are in good shape. If an accident occurs due to faulty equipment, the law holds the employer liable for the compensation
Slip, trip, and fall accidents are common in any workplace, including construction sites. For example, common tripping hazards at a construction site include loose cables, debris, grease or oil on the floor, poor lighting, a broken staircase, or falling into unlabeled holes on the ground. These accidents can cause broken limbs, lacerations, soft tissue injuries, sprained ankles, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, and in extreme cases, death.
Crane and Forklift Accidents
Crane and forklifts are common in construction sites to help lift heavy loads. Therefore, operators must operate them with caution. Therefore, these machines require proper maintenance and high-level training in handling them. Lack of these can lead to horrific accidents resulting in severe injuries or even death.
What to Do After a Construction Site Accident
Severe construction site injuries can lead to devastating effects on your life emotionally, financially, and personally. After a construction site accident, the actions you take determine whether the liable party will compensate you for the losses and costs incurred. If you or your loved one gets into a construction site accident, the following recommendations on steps to take will help you get the compensation you deserve.
Seek Medical Attention
If you sustain injuries after an accident, do not hesitate to contact 911 or ask a colleague to do it on your behalf. No matter how you think the injuries are, a doctor’s assessment helps determine the severity since some injuries are not always noticeable at first. A checkup by a doctor will document your medical tests and treatment. You can later use the report to claim your worker’s compensation or if your case ever goes to court.
Notify Your Employer
After addressing the immediate health concern, you need to notify your employer about the accident as soon as possible. While statutes on reporting your claim differ from one state to another, many mandate the employee to report incidents within a specific timeframe.
Reporting your construction accident on time:
- Speeds up the processing of your workers’ compensation claim
- Makes your claim appear more valid to your employer, the insurance company, and the court
- OSHA has set requirements they expect employers to meet after an accident occurs. Your employee can only meet these requirements if they learn about the accident and prevent it from happening again and injuring other employees.
Gather Necessary Information
After the accident, you must gather all the necessary information surrounding the accident. Then, when making your claim, the report acts as evidence and helps the insurance company promptly process your compensation.
Vital information to collect includes:
- Photos of the scene and injuries help document that the accident occurred since the employer failed to provide you with safety gear. The photographs of any accidents you sustained help prove that you were injured and the extent of the injuries you sustained.
- Contact information of the witnesses - if there are people, such as fellow contractors, who witnessed you get into the accident, make sure you get their contact information. If your compensation claim goes to court, these witnesses will help support your case. However, do not push them into providing their details if they are hesitant. Your construction accident lawyer will professionally get the information later.
- Medical records - keeping track of your treatment and medical expenses after the accident ensures that you get accurate compensation. In addition, the records help you keep daily track of the impacts the accidents had on you.
Contact a Construction Accident Attorney
After a construction site accident, you can take two potential steps: claim for worker’s compensation or file for a personal injury claim. Your attorney will analyze your case and advise on the best action to take.
Claiming for Workers Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides benefits to employees injured in their workplace. Every state has a worker’s compensation system that pays workers injured on the job.
After a construction site accident, there are two types of compensation you can recover:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
The amount you recover depends on the severity of the injuries. In addition, the worker’s compensation system prevents filing a lawsuit against the employer.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Workers’ compensation offers an exclusive remedy to a construction site accident if the at-fault party of your co-worker or employer.
If the accident was due to a third-party other than your employer or co-worker, you might want to file a personal injury claim.
Depending on the exact cause of the accident, you may file a lawsuit for:
- Product liability - if you are injured while using a faulty tool or machinery, you may file for this type of lawsuit. Any party in the distribution chain, from the designer, manufacturer, and seller, may be responsible. In this case, your attorney will help prove that the product was defective and hence caused your accident.
- Negligence - you can file for this type of lawsuit if someone failed to use reasonable caution, leading to your accident. In this case, you will need a personal injury attorney to help you prove that the defendant owed a duty of care that they breached, leading to the accident. In addition, the attorney will help prove that the defendant’s negligence played a significant role in causing the injuries or death.
How a Construction Accident Attorney Can Help You
Suppose you or your loved one gets into a construction site injury. In that case, the law requires your employer to compensate for the losses through the worker’s compensation system.
However, there is no guarantee that the insurance company will award you a fair and just settlement. For that reason, you will require the help of a construction accident attorney to overcome any challenges you may encounter when claiming compensation. An experienced lawyer helps you by:
Protecting Your Rights
After an accident, the law entitles you to seek compensation through the worker’s compensation, a third-party insurance company, or both. However, both methods have strict deadlines and filing requirements that you need to meet before getting your compensation. Missing any of these deadlines or failing to meet the criteria forfeits your rights to get compensation.
A personal injury attorney specializing in construction accidents is familiar with all the construction site accidents rules. The attorney will use this knowledge to take the necessary steps within the appropriate timelines.
Getting an Accurate Value of Your Claim
How much settlement you get after an accident depends on the extent of your injuries. Unfortunately, the insurer may propose a lower payment that can barely cover your medical expenses and other losses realized after the accident.
Your attorney has experience helping construction site accident victims and has an idea of how much your claim is worth. The attorney will assess your injuries and use your medical records to negotiate your settlement.
Such an attorney will help you get compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Rehabilitation costs
- Funeral expenses in case of wrongful death
Speeding the Claim Process
The claim settlement is meant to help you with the recovery process. You, therefore, need to get it on time. But, unfortunately, the insurer may take their sweet time in reviewing your case. That is why you need an experienced personal injury attorney.
When hiring a personal injury attorney, make sure you choose someone experienced with construction site accidents. An attorney will push the insurance company to review and pay your claims on time.
Construction Accident Settlement Timeline
Filing a lawsuit is the best way to recover any damages incurred after a construction site accident. But unfortunately, it may be hard to predict your lawsuit’s timeline. While your construction accident attorney will do everything to speed up the claim process, several factors affect the length of your settlement case.
#1. The Length It Takes Your Injuries to Heal
After the injury, it may be hard for the doctor to determine how long it will take for your injuries to heal or whether you will fully recover. In that case, you need to work closely with your healthcare provider to monitor the injuries and recovery, perform physical rehabilitation, and track your recovery progress.
#2. The Case Involves a Large Corporation
If the liable party is a large corporation, your case will likely face significant delays. While such corporations have extensive liability coverage, they also have stronger motivation to avoid responsibility. If you file a lawsuit against such a corporation, they risk losing money and their reputation if the media learns about the case.
For these reasons, large corporations hire experienced attorneys to help fight the injury claims in any way possible. In addition, organizations tend to have more patience than human beings and can fight for years for a technical detail that has a few thousand dollars worth of difference in the outcome.
#3. Difficulty in Proving Fault
If your accident involves multiple parties, it may be hard to prove the actual culprit. However, an experienced construction accident attorney can increase the chances of recovering your settlement by pursuing damages from all parties at fault.
#4. Unclear Evidence
If the evidence in your case is clear and convincing, it will be easy to present it to the jury and get a settlement. However, if the evidence is unclear, the court system will drag your case through various courts before you can get the justice you deserve.
In addition, such a case makes it hard for the jury to reach a unanimous decision. In this case, your attorney will require more time to gather more evidence to help build a strong case.
Contact a Construction Accident Attorney Today
Fighting a construction accident lawsuit and getting a fair settlement can be challenging, especially if you do not have experience with courtroom litigation. Hiring an experienced attorney to represent you helps you understand your options and apply the right strategies to win the case.
A construction accident attorney can help you fight for your rights and recover the damages related to your injuries. They can also reduce the risk of your case dragging in court longer than necessary. Contact a construction accident attorney for a free consultation, and let an attorney assess your case and see how they can help you.