Statistically, the construction industry experiences the most workplace deaths yearly, not just because it employs millions of workers. Employees face several hazards when they show up to work every day. They place their lives and well-being in the hands of every party at the site or in the vicinity. All it takes is a momentary mistake for a construction worker to suffer a severe injury that can change their life.
To make matters worse, some employers may not invest enough in workplace safety. They may place their workers at risk every day, both from the employer’s actions and those of others. According to OSHA, roughly one in every ten workers annually suffers an injury.
Although many of these injuries will lead to workers’ compensation claims, some can result in a successful third-party liability lawsuit. To do that you must prove that a third party bears legal responsibility for your injuries. Then, you may recover substantial financial compensation.
First, contact an experienced construction accident attorney to review your legal situation and explain your legal options for potential financial compensation.
Construction projects can take place several stories above the ground. Whether from a skyscraper or a simpler multi-story structure, falling debris can cause serious injuries. Of course, the taller the structure, the more momentum debris can gather as it falls to the ground. Even a tiny falling object can cause serious injury if it drops from hundreds of feet in the air.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over 42,000 people suffer an injury each year from falling objects at a work site. This breaks down to one injury roughly every ten minutes. Falling objects can cause severe head and neck injuries. The head is often the first part of the body that falling debris will strike.
Contractors may not take adequate steps to secure building materials on their sites. Even when they do, a small piece can break off anytime.
Falling debris does not only mean equipment or materials that fall from a higher level. They may be flying materials or equipment on the construction site. For example, a piece of material may fly uncontrollably when a worker uses a power tool to cut it.
Falling debris is the most common thing that will injure passersby near a construction site.
A construction worker can suffer devastating injuries or die in a caught-between accident by:
- Getting caught in a soil collapse during excavation
- Trapped between a piece of equipment and a wall
- Caught under a piece of equipment that is on top of them
- Having a body part caught under a piece of equipment
- Wall collapses when the soil is undermined, or the wall itself did not have proper construction
One Focus Four area where workers are most at risk is caught-between accidents. Roughly one in every ten construction accident fatalities is a caught-between accident.
A construction worker can sustain electrocution injuries on a work site from:
- Inappropriately marked underground utilities
- Exposed or inappropriately covered wires
- Ladders and other equipment perilously close to active electric lines
- Overloaded electrical sockets
- Defective work equipment
Electrocution injuries are among the most serious that a construction worker may suffer. Almost one out of every ten occupational fatalities in the construction industry result from electrocution. Injured workers who survive the electrocution can suffer severe burns and nerve damage. They may completely lose the use of one or more of their limbs.
Toxic Substance Exposure
Many chemicals are in use at or near a construction site. Workers might have frequent exposure to toxic substances that can make them ill. Although asbestos is no longer a common building material, there are other hazardous substances that workers may be near daily.
Exposure to toxic substances can cause:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Lead poisoning
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Metal fume fever
There are many more potentially responsible parties beyond your employer. For example, a chemical maker can be responsible for injuries when it contains a dangerous ingredient. For example, the makers of the Roundup herbicide paid billions of dollars in settlements and jury awards because the product has a carcinogen.
If chemical spills made you sick, the party responsible for the leak or other exposure should pay your damages.
There are several ways that workers, or people in the vicinity, can be injured in a collapse at the site. First, the structure (or a part of it) can collapse during construction, injuring workers in the area. Second, the ground can collapse into a sinkhole, which can cause serious injuries.
Several parties may cause collapses. Two commonly responsible parties in building collapse are the architect and engineer. In some cases, the building design itself was dangerous. You can file a lawsuit against a professional for negligence when they fail to meet their professional standards.
Defective Work Equipment
Construction workers use many different pieces of work equipment on the job. Much of this equipment relies on electrical power and has sharp edges. Even a simple non-electric tool can cause serious injury considering the force a worker uses.
Work equipment that has injured construction workers includes:
- Cranes that collapse
- Cutting equipment without adequate safety guards
- Bobcats and forklifts that tip over
- Defective scaffolding
- Personal protective equipment that does not protect you from an injury
Regardless of what construction equipment injured you, the legal principle in a product liability lawsuit is the same. You are entitled to financial compensation from the manufacturer or anyone involved in the “stream of commerce” when you can prove the product was defective.
Product liability lawsuits are very complex. You will need to present scientific evidence and expert testimony. However, if you meet your burden of proof, you can be entitled to significant financial compensation.
Numerous vehicles are at work, both in and near the construction site. As a worker, you may be on foot when there are other motor vehicles, or mechanized work equipment, operating in your vicinity.
One common injury is when a work vehicle runs over a construction worker. In other cases, the person in the vehicle may suffer injuries when it tips over (potentially due to a defective vehicle).
In addition, you might have suffered an injury in an accident due to the conduct of a third party. For example, a truck traveling to or from the site might strike another motorist or pedestrian.
Workers are not the only ones who can suffer injuries in a construction site accident. Many of the incidents described above can injure others near the site.
For example, you may have walked near a construction site and falling debris struck you because the contractor did not adequately secure the site or keep hazards from injuring the general public. A concrete or dump truck coming to or from the facility may have struck and injured you.
Filing Third-Party Lawsuits After Construction Accident Injuries
In a construction case, you are looking for a third party who you can sue for your injuries. You cannot sue your employer in a personal injury case because you must proceed through the workers’ compensation system. The law protects them from negligence-based lawsuits because they spend money on workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
You can obtain more when you win a personal injury lawsuit for a construction accident because:
- You can receive compensation for all the income that you have lost from not working, instead of two-thirds of your income for a certain period
- You can receive non-economic damages for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
You should never assume you cannot file a lawsuit for a construction site accident. Even if you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, your construction accident lawyer can continue investigating what happened to find a third-party plaintiff. If you win your lawsuit, you just need to reimburse the workers’ compensation insurance company from the settlement proceeds. This payment will be a consideration in settlement negotiations.
One common way to file a third-party lawsuit is when another contractor at the site is responsible for your injuries. For example, if you worked for a subcontractor, you can sue the general contractor if they were the cause of your accident.
For example, if you worked on electric wiring or masonry and a falling object struck you because of a careless contractor’s employee, you can hold the contractor liable.
Construction site accidents are complex, with many responsible parties. You will need to hire a lawyer who knows construction law. They will need to perform a thorough and detailed investigation of your case to help you maximize your financial compensation.
You should immediately hire a lawyer right after your injury.
A construction accident lawyer can:
- Determine the cause of your accident and review whether any third parties can be liable.
- Gather the evidence showing that someone else was responsible for your injury and will have a legal obligation to pay your damages.
- Inform you of your case’s value after reviewing your specific situation.
- File a lawsuit against the responsible party or parties to prove they were negligent.
- Obtain additional evidence in the litigation process through the use of discovery.
- Negotiate a settlement agreement or present your case to a jury.
Given the complexities of a construction accident lawsuit, you should hire someone with specific experience. Your lawyer must understand the industry and the scientific principles at work. They will also need to work with expert witnesses to show how the defendant failed to live up to their standard of care.
Consult a Construction Accident Lawyer Today
Construction accident claims can have many moving parts and complex legal issues, including no-fault workers’ comp claims and third-party negligence claims. You should always seek the medical treatment you deserve and focus on your recovery – while your legal team handles the claim process.
Construction accident attorneys will explore all possible avenues of compensation to ensure you receive as much as possible to cover your losses. They will handle all communications, claim preparation, negotiations, and litigation when necessary.
All you have to do is reach out to a local personal injury lawyer for your no-cost, no-obligation consultation. You never pay legal fees unless your injury lawyer obtains compensation for you.