The Most Common Construction Accidents in the United States
The construction industry has historically reported some of the highest rates of on-the-job injuries of all the industries operating in the United States. When construction accidents happen, both construction workers and passersby face a risk of injury. These injuries can occur for many reasons. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces strict regulations to limit the risk of injury across the construction industry and other industries that carry a high risk of injury.
It is vital for everyone working in the construction industry to know the most common causes of construction industry accidents and what they can do if they experience such injuries. The attorneys at English Lloyd & Armenta believe in providing our clients and prospective clients with as much information as possible on the subject of construction accidents, so they can make more informed decisions about their own legal situations if they experience such incidents.
What Are the Most Common Construction Accidents?
According to OSHA statistics, the most common construction injuries in the United States include:
- Falls. Falling from any height can potentially cause severe injuries. Construction workers often work on high scaffolding, on ladders and boom lifts, and within incomplete buildings that include multiple falling risks. Falls can easily result in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and many other wounds.
- Electrocutions. Working in construction often means operating around live electrical wires and unfinished electrical components, which can easily cause severe electrocution injuries. Even seemingly mild electrocution can cause cardiovascular problems like arrhythmias, and severe electrocutions can cause burn injuries, nerve damage, and severe scarring.
- Caught in/between injuries. Many construction workers must work in tight spaces and operate near heavy machinery. Large vehicles are also standard in many construction sites. Any of these variables can potentially create crushing hazards. When construction workers are caught in or between large objects, they may sustain catastrophic injuries such as crushing bone fractures, internal organ damage, head injuries, and more.
- “Struck by” injuries. Falling tools and debris are serious hazards on any construction site. If someone drops something from a high place and it hits someone below, the victim could suffer a severe head injury. It is also possible for a construction worker or passerby to suffer an injury when struck by a flying object, such as a piece of machinery propelled by pressure or an explosion.
These are the most common injuries to affect construction workers in the United States. However, it is important to remember that a mishap on a construction site may result in injuries to construction workers at the site and other people who happen to be passing near the construction site.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries?
The construction industry is inherently dangerous due to the high risk of injury and the fact that construction industry accidents are more likely to be catastrophic than injuries sustained in other industries. A catastrophic injury is any injury that results in permanent disability or disfigurement. For example, a crushing injury may not only result in severe bone fractures but also require amputation. This is not only physically damaging but also psychologically traumatic for the victim.
If you are unsure whether your recent construction accident resulted in a catastrophic injury, it is best to consult an experienced attorney and let them review your medical report. Depending on the nature of your injury and whether it resulted in permanent damage, you may qualify for more substantial damages than you initially expected.
Personal Injury Claims for Construction Accident Injuries
Some construction accidents result in injuries to construction workers, while others affect passersby. When a construction worker suffers an injury at work, they may be limited to filing for workers’ compensation depending on how the accident occurred. However, in some situations, it may be possible for a construction worker to file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for causing their injury. Additionally, if someone was not working at the construction site but suffers an injury due to an incident at the site, they can file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for causing the incident.
Third-party claims are possible if a construction worker sustains an injury while working due to the actions of a party outside of the workplace. For example, a construction worker delivers materials to a job site when another driver hits their vehicle and injures them. In this situation, the construction worker would have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits since they were performing their job duties when the accident occurred, but they may also file a personal injury claim against the third party responsible for the accident if their damages eclipse what workers’ compensation can provide.
Other Possible Injuries in the Construction Industry
Aside from the four most common types of construction industry accidents, there are many other ways for people working in the construction industry to suffer injuries that lead to severe damages. Some of these less common but often severe risk factors include:
- Toxic exposure. Construction often relies on using corrosive, toxic, and otherwise dangerous chemicals. Even when proper protective equipment is used, these substances can potentially cause severe injuries and cause long-term medical complications like respiratory problems or even cancer.
- Explosion injuries. Heavy equipment and tools that require combustible fuel may experience malfunctions that result in explosions. It is also possible for improper use of these devices to result in explosions. Explosions can cause traumatic injury to the body as well as severe burns depending on the proximity of the victim to the explosion.
- Equipment malfunctions. The construction industry relies on many different tools and pieces of equipment. If any of these pieces of equipment are defective, manufacturers can face liability for resulting injuries under the product liability laws of the United States.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the possible injuries that might occur on or near a construction site. If you or a loved one experiences any construction accident injury, it is vital to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to determine your best options for legal recourse.
What Is Vicarious Liability?
Some construction-related injuries will implicate multiple parties as liable for the victim’s damages. In some cases, a construction company can absorb liability for the actions of its employees. For example, if a construction worker fails to secure a piece of equipment properly due to a protocol violation and that equipment becomes dislodged and falls onto a passerby, the injured victim could not only take legal action against the negligent construction worker but also their employer due to the employer’s failure to enforce workplace safety regulations.
Injured construction workers typically cannot sue their employers for workplace injuries due to the workers’ compensation system. However, it is possible to take legal action against an employer if they intentionally caused the injury in question in some way. Additionally, suppose an employer caused an employee’s injury due to a failure to uphold OSHA regulations or other legal statutes pertaining to their workplace. In that case, the employer will likely face disciplinary action from the appropriate government agencies.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Construction Accident?
If you believe another party is responsible in any way for your recent construction accident injury, it is vital to speak with an attorney as soon as possible about your legal options. If you are an employee of the construction industry, you have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits if your injury occurred on the job, but there is no guarantee the benefits you receive will be enough to fully compensate the total amount of your damages. If you are not a construction worker but suffer an injury due to an incident at a construction site, your legal options for recovery are generally more straightforward.
Injured construction workers may need assistance completing the workers’ compensation filing process, and they may encounter unexpected resistance during this process. For example, their employer may not be forthcoming with necessary paperwork and information. An employer may also take illegal retaliatory action against an injured employee, which will likely lead to even more extensive legal proceedings. If you believe that you have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits following a recent workplace injury, but your employer has been difficult or combative in any way about the process, it is vital to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Find Your Legal Counsel Now
If you or a loved one suffered an injury on a construction site or due to the actions of a construction worker, it is vital to seek legal counsel as soon as possible for the best chance of recovering compensation for your losses. The English Lloyd & Armenta attorneys have years of experience handling complex workplace injury claims, including claims regarding construction accidents. No matter what your case entails, we will work closely with you throughout your legal proceedings to help you secure the compensation you need for the fullest recovery possible. Contact us today for more information about the legal services you can expect from English Lloyd & Armenta.