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How Can Construction Site Injury Lawyers Help You?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 150,000 workers are hurt on a construction site each year. While falls represent the majority of construction site injuries, direct contact with equipment is also a substantial cause of workers' injuries.

Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ensures safe and healthy working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing certain requirements, the truth is that accidents are going to occur. That's why it is crucial to have an experienced construction site injury lawyer you trust to represent you in the instance that an accident does happen. 

Construction Accident Lawyers

As a safe and responsible construction employee, it is vital to understand your worksite's risks. You can take the right precautions, put in place by OSHA, wear the correct safety equipment, and never take unnecessary risks that fail to abide by worksite safety protocols. However, the truth is that you can still suffer a serious injury while on a construction site, even if you thought you did everything right. Here at The Cochran Firm, our personal injury lawyers will assist you in navigating your injury, whether it is navigating your state's workers’ compensation system with you or merely pursuing a legal claim on your behalf.

Although by nature, construction sites are dangerous locations to work, that doesn't mean your manager does not have the duty to keep you and your co-workers safe. And it also does not mean that you lose your right to justice if you suffer an injury.

What Do Construction Lawyers Do?

Construction lawyers assist a wide array of customers–from large construction companies to individual workers of those companies, to property owners, all the way to sureties. In fact, anyone who is associated with the construction process may find themselves in need of a construction site lawyer at some point in their life.

However, The Cochran Firm believes in representing the victims of building and construction site accidents to ensure they receive compensation for their pain and suffering. Numerous complex liability concerns come with construction accident claims, so it is vital to seek advice from a legal representative who has experience in handling third-party injury claims. The lawyers at The Cochran Firm have not only have the experience but the tenacious attitudes it takes to go up against any insurance company who tries to reject their employees the compensation they are owed.

Type of Construction Accident Claims

If you find yourself injured on a construction site, you might be able to pursue one or more of the following types of claims:

  • Workers’ Compensation: Usually, an injured worker will not bring a legal suit against their company because they have the right to benefits that are provided through workers' compensation insurance coverage. In order to obtain access to workers’ compensation benefits, a worker only needs to prove that the injury happened, no matter the surrounding circumstances. If/When the claim is accepted, the worker will have the right to receive workers' compensation benefits. These claims can be brought along with claims against third parties to maximize recovery of damages. 
  • Personal Injury: In order to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, the employee needs to be able to prove that a third party's neglect resulted in their injury.
  • Product Liability: If an injury was due to a faulty product, the injured worker could bring a claim against any party in the chain of distribution. For example, if a crane used on a building site stops working because of a defect and causes harm to a worker, the injured employee may have the ability to recover damages from the manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, or any other party in the chain of distribution.
  • Wrongful Death: If a worker dies on the job site, their family may be able to bring a wrongful death claim on the worker's behalf. In certain circumstances, multiple claims can be filed at the same time.

Which OSHA Rights Can A Lawyer Help Me Defend?

OSHA was made to ensure safe working conditions for employees across the country. Under OSHA, employees throughout the country have the right to:

  • Make a request for OSHA to inspect their worksite,
  • Use their rights without being retaliated or discriminated against,
  • Receive test results that were done to find hazards on the worksite,
  • Review records of work-related illnesses and injuries,
  • Receive copies of their medical records, and
  • Receive information and training about ways to prevent injuries, job sites dangers, and the OSHA standards that apply to their job sites.

A knowledgeable construction site attorney can help workers who have been hurt on the job that believe their worksite was dangerous (and did not follow OSHA standards) file a complaint with OSHA. As soon as a worker submits a complaint, they cannot be fired, demoted, or otherwise retaliated against by their employer. If you or a loved one has recently filed a complaint with OSHA and were retaliated against by their employer, a legal representative can help file a claim against the employer for retaliation.

What Are Common Causes of Construction Accidents?

Construction accidents are bound to happen and can occur for many different reasons. OSHA requires employers to acquire specific permits, administer regular inspections, and execute job safety programs to minimize the number of worksite accidents. However, negligence, failure to follow preventative safety measures, and defective products can all lead to construction site accidents that are inevitable. A few of the most common construction site accidents include:

Falling Objects

The seriousness of falling object accident injuries depends on the size and weight of the item that has fallen, the height from which it fell, whether it was slowed by other objects, and whether or not the worker that was hurt was using the proper protective equipment. A few reasons an employee can be struck by an object consist of:

  • Lack of proper training
  • Too heavy of a load
  • Failing to follow safety precautions
  • Improper stacking of materials on the job site
  • Failure to post warning signs
  • Malfunctioning equipment
  • Defective materials or parts that lead to a structure collapsing

Some of the most commonly sustained injuries in construction site accidents involving falling objects include:

Slips and Falls

Employees working on construction sites are almost always exposed to different slip and fall hazards. Whether they are working on the ground or on scaffolding that is a number of stories high, slip and fall accidents happen more frequently than they should. A few of the most common slip and fall danger factors at construction sites consist of:

  • Debris or trash on the floors,
  • Electrical wiring or stray cords,
  • Lack of lighting,
  • Lack of proper safety equipment or training,
  • Wet or slick surfaces caused by spills or recently waxed or polished floors,
  • Uneven surfaces, like old or uneven carpet or loose floorboards, and
  • Broken or faulty handrails.

Within the construction industry, there are two types of slip and fall accidents that employees can suffer from:

  • Falls to a lower level: These types of falls can trigger dangerous, even deadly injuries, in situations when a worker falls from a surface that is extremely high off the ground.
  • Falls on the same level: To no one's surprise, these injuries are less serious and tend to trigger less serious injuries, including small cuts, strains, bruises, and musculoskeletal injuries

A few examples of injuries that construction employees may suffer after a slip and fall accident include:

Caught-Between Accidents

Getting caught in between objects, or even equipment, is one of the most common causes of death of construction workers. These accidents occur when a worker becomes crushed, squeezed, caught, pinched, or compressed in between two items, parts of two objects, or buried by objects (like a collapsed structure or in a trench).

Construction site employees can become seriously injured or even die when caught between objects or machinery in many ways. Some common ways these caught-between accidents happen include:

  • Construction sites (trenches and excavation sites) not being adequately supported, burying employees when they collapse.
  • Walls are not being correctly braced and falling in.
  • Machinery is not being properly guarded or not being locked down when being repaired or not in use.
  • Machinery tipping due to unsafe use 
  • Scaffolds collapsing after not being properly constructed or braced
  • Machinery not being repaired/maintained and malfunctioning.
  • Employees not being trained to use machinery and equipment safely.

Caught-between accidents can cause severe injuries. These injuries may include:

Fires and Explosions

From underground gas lines to temporary heating devices to electrical systems, construction sites are full of dangers that can turn a day's usual work to explosive in mere seconds. It only takes a single spark or a spec of dust to trigger a construction site fire or explosion that can injure or take the life of many workers. A few of the most common causes of these mishaps include:

  • Temporary heating devices,
  • Chemical tanks or drums,
  • Compressed gas cylinders,
  • Flammable and explosive liquids,
  • Explosives and blasting agents,
  • Heavy equipment and vehicles,
  • Electrical shorts and malfunctions,
  • Liquefied petroleum gas.

Fires and explosions can cause injuries that vary from minor to extreme. However, the most common injuries are burns and can either be first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree burns. In the case the incident is catastrophic, it can result in many casualties. 

Electrical Accidents

Electrical accidents can cause serious damage both internally and externally and can unfold in a variety of unfolds. Construction sites have plenty of threats, and electric currents are just one of them. Even when employees take the correct preventative measures, they can still suffer from electrocution. A few of the leading reasons for being electrocuted include:

  • Poor lighting,
  • Incorrectly marked construction zones,
  • Exposed wires,
  • Defective equipment,
  • Fallen power lines,
  • Wires that are not correctly grounded.

Regrettably, electrical currents trigger severe damage. While external injuries might be obvious right after the incident occurs, internal injuries can be dangerous and need to be dealt with as soon as possible. Injuries that a construction site worker may suffer will depend upon many factors, such as the voltage, their health, the length of exposure, and how much current flows through the body. When a worker suffers an electrical accident, they can suffer from numerous injuries, consisting of:

Defective Equipment

Construction sites are full of heavy machinery, and when equipment of that size is defective, it can cause extreme disaster. Whether the equipment was initially manufactured with major defects or it was simply neglected, it can still cause major injury. A couple of examples of malfunctioning equipment that can be particularly unsafe on constructions sites are:

  • Construction tools,
  • Band saws,
  • Cutting tools,
  • Scaffolding,
  • Ladders,
  • Lawnmowers,
  • Convey belts,
  • Cranes
  • Forklifts,
  • Rollers,
  • Tractors,
  • Dump trucks,
  • Other heavy machinery.

When these types of tools and devices malfunction, they can result in severe injuries to the person operating them as well as other employees who are nearby. Some common injuries that employees may face due to faulty equipment consist of:

If you do not see the accident that you have suffered from above, take a look at some other construction site accidents listed below:

  • Misuse of tools,
  • Welding accidents,
  • Falls from high surfaces,
  • Mechanical hazards,
  • Compressed gasses,
  • Scaffolding accidents,
  • Crane accidents,
  • Lift accidents
  • Improper use or maintenance of equipment,
  • Exposure to toxic material,
  • Poor safety precautions,
  • Inadequate training,
  • Harness accidents,
  • Collapsed structures.

The unfortunate truth is that the lax commitment to safety and training requirements, along with the increasing need for faster networks, has led to dangerous conditions for numerous construction workers.

What Steps Should I Take If I Have Been Injured in a Construction Accident?

The truth is that construction site jobs are very hazardous no matter what precautions you may take. Whether it is faulty devices, the neglect of others, or simply a freak accident, you deserve to get the help you need from an attorney you trust. If you or a loved one becomes hurt due to a construction accident:

  • Seek medical attention for your injury quickly,
  • Report the injury to your employer or supervisor and keep note of who they tell,
  • Get statements and any information you can from witnesses,
  • Take pictures of the injury, the scene where the injury occurred, and any equipment that was involved,
  • Contact a lawyer to learn more about the legal options that you have

Who Can Be Held Legally Responsible for My Construction Accident Injury?

Many companies carry workers' compensation insurance. If that is the case for your company, they are most likely provided immunity from personal injury lawsuits. Nevertheless, workers’ compensation does not restrict claims against employers if the injury was deliberate or abhorrent, but it is more common to file a claim against a third party. Those third parties consist of:

  • Construction Site Owner(s): In cases regarding construction site owners' carelessness, liability usually rides on the degree of control the owner had over the facilities compared to the degree of control over the work being done itself.
  • Manufacturers: Any party in the chain of distribution (manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, etc.) of a malfunctioning item can be held accountable if the defect in their item caused a workers' injury.
  • General and Subcontractors: Under OSHA, both general contractors and sub-contractors are required to supply their workers with a fairly safe construction site, post warnings of any hazards on the construction site, and ensure the work is being performed according to safety regulations. If/When an injury happens, the failure of the general contractor or sub-contractor to complete these tasks usually gives an injured employee the chance to seek compensation for their pain and sufferings.
  • Prime Contractors: The distinction between general/sub-contractors and prime contractors is that prime contractors are only responsible for the work that is defined in their contract or the work they give to sub-contractors as long as they have total responsibility for those subcontractors.
  • Architects and Engineers: In some cases, architects and engineers have the responsibility to oversee the development and make certain that compliance with plans and pertinent code regulations are being followed. When determining if an architect or engineer is responsible for injuries, it is obligatory to establish which duties were laid out in their contract with the construction company.

If you have been injured on a construction site but are unsure of who is responsible, contact a construction accident lawyer today for a free, no-obligation initial consultation

What Damages Can a Lawyer Help Me Cover From My Construction Accident Injury?

As many of us know, construction accidents can result in extreme physical, financial, and mental pain for victims and their loved ones. Substantial medical expenses, dealing with a severe injury, and permanent injuries can have a considerable effect on and even change one's quality of life. By taking legal action against the negligent party that caused your injury, a lawyer can help you recover:

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Mortgage and rent,
  • Ongoing living expenses,
  • Medical bills
  • Loss of wages (past and future)
  • Counseling costs,
  • Physical therapy,
  • Property damage, 
  • Loss of consortium for widows or widowers,
  • And more.

If you have been injured on a construction site and believe you have a claim for your injuries, an experienced lawyer can assist you with your personal injury lawsuit. Although it may seem complex and daunting, the right lawyer will help you navigate the legal process during this stressful time.

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