Workplace injuries can occur at any job and in any industry. However, there are many occupations out there in which workers are more likely to be injured. Men and women who work in construction are at greater risk of injury due to the nature of their work. Because construction workers are typically working with heavy equipment and machinery, working at great heights, and likely to be exposed to toxic chemicals, serious injuries can and do occur.
Construction Site Accidents and the “Fatal Four”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more commonly referred to as OSHA, conducts research each year and compiles its findings to determine new safety measures to keep workplaces safe across the country. Year after year, OSHA has found four types of accidents to be the most common causes of fatalities in the industry. While these four types of accidents account for the majority of fatal construction accidents, they can all be avoided through proper safety protocol and strong safety culture.
The “Fatal Four” is comprised of:
Struck by object
Caught-in and caught-between
Combined, the Fatal Four account for 60% of all construction-related deaths. With Falls alone accounting for nearly 40% of all fatalities at construction sites. Deaths and injuries from Falls typically occur as a result of defective or faulty equipment, ill-installed harnessing, or poor supervision. It is an employer’s duty to protect construction workers, provide adequate safety training, and maintain a satisfactory level of supervision.
Construction Workers Have the Right to a Safe Workplace
While construction and commercial building is an inherently dangerous trade, employers have a responsibility to make construction sites and construction work as safe as possible. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), all workers have the right to:
Receive training and safety instructions in a language you understand
Work on and with machines that are safe
Receive the required safety gear
Be protected from harmful substances and/or toxic chemicals
Request OSHA inspections and receive copies of the results
If project supervisors and managers have failed to make a construction site safe, construction workers have the right to report the conditions without fear of retaliation. (For more resources, please visit OSHA’s website).
How To Protect Your Rights After a Construction Accident
Construction accident cases are often complicated by an interconnected web of relationships between property owners, contractors, subcontractors, and a slew of insurance carriers, all of whom are looking to avoid liability for a construction worker’s injury or death. Many times, injured workers and their families are tricked into believing that their company will take care of them after an injury, falling for false promises of medical care and financial support from their sympathetic supervisors. Unfortunately, construction companies are notorious for hanging workers out to dry once the applicable statute of limitations expires.
Like most personal injury cases, construction accidents and injuries are typically subject to a two-year statute of limitations, meaning that after two years from the date of an incident a worker is barred from ever pursuing any kind of compensation via legal action. At this point, construction companies usually pull their financial support and “cut their losses.” Leaving injured workers to deal with the long-term implications of their injuries on their own.
As employers and their insurances buy time with empty promises, injured construction workers may be sabotaging their construction site injury claim without even realizing it. Many of these mistakes are made because corporations and insurance companies deliberately misinform workers of their legal rights, flooding the process with red tape and legal jargon. Click here to learn more.
Workers Compensation and Third Party Claims
In many instances, construction companies have Workers Compensation benefits, essentially barring injured workers from pursuing a direct lawsuit against their employer. In these instances, workers are entitled only to those benefits provided through their state’s Workers Compensation laws. That said, injured workers may have what is commonly known as a “Third Party Claim,” in which another entity, other than one’s employer, bears all or some of the responsibility for the injury. Click here to learn more about Third Party Claims.
Our Construction Accident Lawyers Are Ready To Fight for You
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney with a proven track record of handling construction accident cases. At VB Attorneys, our team of Board Certified lawyers have recovered big settlements and record-breaking verdicts on behalf of injured construction workers. Between big construction companies, property owners, and their insurances, the deck is stacked against you. Act now, complete our online contact form or call us at 713-224-7800 for a free and confidential case evaluation.
This video about Construction Site Safety was put together by the wife of a past client Olban Canales. Olban suffered from a traumatic brain injury after falling from a defective scissor lift at a construction site. Our team at VB Attorneys obtained a settlement from the manufacturer and supplier of the scissor lift, providing Olban with the financial safety net he desperately needed to recover from his injuries and provide for his family. To learn more about Olban’s case, click here.