Accidents at construction sites happen all the time. You might have slipped or nicked your finger or bumped your knee so often that you hardly remember. It might not be a big deal for you, and you probably laugh it off with your colleagues.
However, if a construction accident leads to a fatal injury or damages, it certainly is a serious matter. According to statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the US Department of Labor, out of the almost 5000 worker deaths in 2018, more than 20% were from the construction industry.
There’s no doubt that construction workers face all kinds of dangers and risks to their wellbeing while on the job. Surrounded by hazardous materials and heavy machinery, they can’t predict what’s going to happen. That’s why the Government and OSHA impose many rules and regulations regarding construction work to provide a safe working environment.
However, accidents can still occur, regardless of whether these are followed are not. More importantly, if you happen to be a victim of these accidents, it could not only cost you expensive hospital bills and missed wages but also affect the quality of your life forever.
Dealing with such construction accident cases can be a bit tricky if you don’t know the technicalities of the system. Therefore, you should look for a construction accident law firm and consult a lawyer so that he may handle your case properly and get you the compensation you deserve.
Here are some different types of construction accident cases revealed and what you can do if you face one.
Different Types of Construction Accident Cases
Depending on the precise nature of work on the construction site, you can expect different accidents. There are four most common accidents that account for more than half of the deaths in this industry, according to OSHA.
Also known as the ‘fatal 4’, these are falls, electrocutions, getting struck by something, and getting caught between something. Preventing accidents from just these four hazards can save almost 600 construction workers’ lives every year.
Moreover, the story doesn’t quite end there. There is a whole range of other common accidents as well that happen on construction sites. Let’s look at all of them in a bit more detail.
Fall accidents – Slips and falls are quite common at construction sites as workers have to work over large heights. Falling from ladders, scaffoldings, roofs can lead to serious injuries such as broken bones, fractures, sprains, and in some cases, even head injuries.
Electrocution – Construction site workers have to handle various electrical equipment. They have to deal with electric wires, cables, lighting, etc., all of which come with a risk of electrocution. It can cause muscle and nerve damage and, in severe cases, lead to cardiac arrest as well.
Getting struck – These construction accidents occur due to falling and flying objects at the construction site, such as objects falling from a scaffolding or any overhead work. Sometimes, workers can also get struck by a falling wall, which can again cause fractures and bruises.
Getting caught between something – Sometimes, workers must operate large machinery on these sites and can accidentally have a limb come between the gears of the machine. Construction accidents like these can cause crush injuries with severe bleeding and bruising.
Crane accidents – Cranes and hoists are types of large machines that are often found at construction sites. These complex machines aren’t easy to operate, so if workers don’t have the proper training to use it, it can lead to accidents.
Repetitive stress injuries – Some construction work requires workers to perform the same tasks in a fixed position for long periods. The fixed position can cause a strain on the back, ankles, and other joints.
Elevator shaft accidents – Many construction sites have proper or makeshift elevators for tall buildings. Workers run the risk of falling down these elevator shafts if the safety precautions are not in place.
Heavy machinery and forklift accidents – Workers without proper training can cause accidents if they continue to use heavy machinery and forklifts. Moreover, if the operator is negligent or the machine suddenly malfunctions, it can cause serious injuries.
Trench accidents – Trenching and excavation accidents can sometimes cause fatal injuries. The workers trapped inside could suffocate due to lack of oxygen and develop other trauma as well. These accidents can occur if the trench and its protective system are not properly inspected.
Dangerous chemicals and toxins injuries – Construction workers often have to handle dangerous chemicals and toxins while on the job. If they are not provided the necessary safety gear, these chemicals can force them to inhale fumes and result in respiratory diseases.
Heatstroke and overexertion – Some employers force the construction workers to work overtime and that too in extreme weather which can take a toll on their bodies. Heat strokes and overexertion can cause workers to pass out, and they can face other accidents in a state of unconsciousness.
Respiratory diseases – Inhaling excessive smoke or not wearing the appropriate gear while working at a construction site can cause various respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, asthma, lung cancer, etc. These can also have long-term effects on the workers’ lives.
Burn accidents – Gas leaks at the site can lead to explosions and fires. These can cause burn injuries to the construction workers if they don’t have the proper safety gear and emergency exit procedures. Moreover, burn injuries can be quite painful as well as leave permanent scars.
Vehicle accidents – Operating vehicles in inadequate lighting, without proper training, on rough surfaces, with negligence, can all lead to vehicle accidents. These can cause severe injuries to the workers on the site.
Lead poisoning – Sometimes, workers get exposed to excessive amounts of lead, for instance, through paints containing lead, while at construction sites, which can result in lead poisoning. These types of accidents can cause headaches, memory loss, and significantly affect a worker’s quality of life.
Drowning – if the construction site is near or consists of a large body of water, it can lead to drowning accidents as well. These can affect multiple organs of the body and can even prove fatal at times.
What You Should Do After a Construction Accident
Even though it happens all the time, nothing can prepare you for a construction accident. It almost always comes as a surprise and can leave you baffled and too injured afterward to process what happened.
However, some quick thinking in those crucial moments can help you get the rightful compensation you deserve later on. So, here’s what you should do if you find yourself in a construction accident.
Get Medical Help
The very first thing you need to do after facing a construction accident is to get medical help. Whether it’s a simple bruised elbow or something more serious such as a burn or fracture, you need medical attention.
Even if you don’t feel any pair right at that moment, it’s important to have a doctor check you anyway because certain injuries start showing symptoms after a while.
Besides helping you make a faster recovery, getting medical attention right away will also prove useful in determining the total medical costs you’ll have to bear. This way, you can ensure that you are rightfully compensated for all your losses and expenses.
Report the Accident to Your Employer
Once you’re sure you are out of any immediate danger, report the accident to your employer. Your employer or supervisor needs to be kept updated about all the events and proceedings so that nothing is disputed later on.
Moreover, if the accident could happen again and injure others, the sooner you report it, the quicker your employer can deal with the situation and prevent any further accidents. This might also help validate your case and make the whole process of claiming worker’s compensation smoother.
Most importantly, try to report the accident as accurately and in as much detail as possible. Make sure you ask for a copy of the written report to avoid any misunderstandings later.
Gather the Necessary Information
Immediately after the accident, you might not be in a position to examine your surroundings and the place of the accident. However, once you are in a position to do so, and you’ve notified your employer, you need to start gathering the necessary information.
If there was someone who witnessed the accident, contact them, and ask if they would be willing to report what they saw. If yes, get their account and save their contact information for the future. If they are unwilling, let it go and try to find other witnesses.
Furthermore, if the place or cause of the accident hasn’t been cleared up, take a few pictures for photographic evidence. You might not find them useful, but a construction accident lawyer could examine them and spot any safety violations.
Other than that, save your doctor’s reports as well as they will come in handy in proving the extent and expenses of your injuries. All this will make your case stronger, and it’ll be easier to file a worker’s compensation claim.
Hire a Construction Accident Lawyer
We’ll talk more about why you need to hire a construction accident lawyer in a bit. You might have suffered the accident, but you might not have all the knowledge and experience to get your full compensation against it.
A construction accident lawyer will, and that’s one of the reasons why you should consult one. After studying your case, your lawyer will file the claim for you accordingly.
Who is Held Responsible for Construction Accidents
Unlike other cases, such as a slip and fall accident in which you can file against the property owner, construction accidents aren’t so easy to pin on one person or party. There could be multiple people that could be potentially held responsible for the accident on any construction site.
There could be the main employer or supervisor of the project. There could be several contractors under him and several subcontractors under them who played a role in the accident.
Moreover, the site could also have designers, suppliers, and many other parties due to whom the accident occurred. In such situations, it is hard to hold any one person liable. A construction accident lawyer might be able to determine who it should be and to what extent after studying your particular case in detail.
Why You Need to Hire a Construction Accident Lawyer
As a construction worker, you might have only been told of the workers’ compensation claim to get compensation for your injuries. However, there’s a lot more to it. In some cases, you might not be eligible for it or be eligible for even more.
Hiring a construction accident lawyer will ensure that you get exactly what you deserve against your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. For instance, if you were injured due to a third-party’s negligence, your lawyer can help you file a third-party lawsuit over the workers’ compensation claim.
Similarly, if the accident resulted in the death of the worker, his family could file a wrongful death claim as well. Other than that, all these claims and lawsuits require technical understanding and knowledge of the process.
There are deadlines to be met and rules to be followed. A construction accident lawyer will be well aware of these and, therefore, will be much better at fighting for your case.
Accidents at construction sites can be quite devastating. Apart from the physical injuries to your body, they can also cause a lot of mental stress and anxiety, which can be hard to put a price on. The accident can force you to stay at home and miss work, thereby losing your wages or even getting fired.
What’s more, the accident can leave you disabled, which could change your lifestyle altogether and not allow you to work ever again. Therefore, it’s important to get in touch with a good lawyer so that you can properly get compensated for all your losses.
If you or someone you know has suffered a construction accident, contact us to get in touch with an experienced construction accident lawyer.