Construction Accidents and Injuries
The field of construction is one of just a handful of industries where accidents and injuries have not lessened over the course of the last twenty five years. The construction industry is the largest industry in the United States, and one that continually comes in with high numbers of injuries. In fact, for the year ended 2004, there was actually an eight percent increase in construction fatalities over the previous year, bringing the total number to an alarming one thousand two hundred and twenty four deaths.
This results in an overall highest “lost workday” rate, despite being overseen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA, though imposing some very strict mandates and guidelines, has actually been able to do little to reduce the numbers of construction related injuries, accidents, and deaths. (Statistics courtesy of OSHA)
The main reason that construction workers face a greater risk of injury is because they are exposed to many different types of hazards. There are more hazards to be found on construction sites than at any other job location in any other U.S. industry. Common causes of construction injuries include: falling from ladders, scaffolding, or other elevated surfaces; careless workers; heavy machinery accidents; defective and/or faulty tools or equipment; motor vehicle accidents; forklift and/or crane accidents; and falling objects.
Some construction injuries are reasonably minor and may consist of cuts, or broken bones. Other types of injuries can be much more severe and can include brain injuries, paralyzing disabilities, or even death.
If you or someone you know is employed in an unsafe work environment, the first step is to notify the owner of the construction site or the supervisor prior to any injuries occurring. If no satisfactory action has been taken following your complaint, or if an injury has already occurred, OSHA should be notified.
If you or someone you know has suffered a construction injury, compensation may be in order. Worker’s compensation can be somewhat helpful to deal with bills and medical expenses following the accident, however it may not be your only option. You may be able to file lawsuits against other third parties who were involved with the jobsite and could be found negligent. For example, you may be able to go after the installer, supplier, or manufacturer of the equipment that was involved in the accident if it has been found to be defective. You may also have a case against other contractors or owners of the property. Many states allow you to file an additional suit against the employer if you can prove he or she knew of a dangerous or unsafe situation and did nothing to rectify the conditions.
It is important to note that sometimes you may have to settle for a worker’s compensation settlement. This can be the case if you are unable to prove negligence or defective equipment, or if the injury was due to your own carelessness or because of a true accident.
There are a large number of elements and factors that need to be looked into and considered when filing a construction injury lawsuit. Because so many parties may be involved in the litigation process, including property owners, state or local municipalities, equipment manufacturers, contractors, subcontractors, visitors, eyewitnesses, and other employees, these types of cases can become very complicated. It is because of all of these issues that retaining a lawyer who specializes in these types of injury cases can be quite beneficial.
Even if you are unsure as to whether or not you wish to proceed with filing a case, it is always a good idea to at least consult with a personal injury attorney. He or she is well versed in construction law and has a well developed understanding of all of the details that are involved with dealing with worker’s compensation, safety boards (such as OSHA), party liability, and product liability laws. If the type of injury you or a loved one has experienced is severe, it is essential that you meet with an attorney to discuss your options.
Furthermore, a personal injury attorney will be able to help you deal with other parties involved, such as property owners. The laws surrounding who can be added to a suit vary a great deal from state to state, however your attorney will know exactly how to proceed, who to question, who to name on the suit, and what evidence needs to be collected. From here, the attorney will gather all witnesses, medical experts, and advise you on the best course of action in order to get the best outcome. Should you end up taking your case before a jury, your attorney will be able to prepare you for the proceedings, and manage the case in every aspect.
Your attorney will be able to secure a settlement that will help you to cover your expenses now, as well as in the future. These attorneys work hard to help you, just as the parties involved with the construction site have teams of attorneys working hard to protect their assets. It can prove quite fruitful to bring as many people as necessary to justice to help you recover compensation for your injuries, your lost wages, your medical expenses, as well as for the cost of future medical treatments or lost earning potential. In the event that you have lost a loved due to a construction injury, an attorney will be able to help you recoup some the monetary burden this can create. He or she will know exactly how to go about seeking a judgment that will provide you the financial security you need in order to move forward and help restore your life.
While you will never be able to undo the damage, you should take steps to help rebuild your life as best you can. Do not risk being wounded a second time. You owe it to yourself, and your family to seek the damages that are owed to you. You can take a good deal of comfort in the fact that a personal injury attorney is on your side and can make the legal part of your ordeal flow smoothly.