Construction work is among the most dangerous occupations in the country, accounting for thousands of fatalities and disabling injuries every year. Much of construction work is performed outdoors in all kinds of weather with some job sites having hundreds of workers from all types of professions working side by side. Construction workers risk injury daily from the following circumstances:
- Electrocution or severe burns from exposed electrical wires
- Amputated fingers or arms from lack of safety guards on machinery
- Traumatic brain injuries from falling objects or swinging cranes
- Crushing injuries from heavy machinery
- Unstable structures
- Broken limbs and hip fractures from falls
- Gas explosions
- Collapsed trenches
- Lung damage from toxic fumes
- Crane accidents
- Scaffolding accidents
- Severe burns and disfigurement from chemicals
- Inattentive or intoxicated workers
These are just some of the risks that construction workers must contend with regularly. Employers are required to conduct regular safety meetings to address known hazards but some do not require it. Despite such efforts, careless and negligent behavior by other workers do lead to catastrophic injuries. Other responsible parties include the manufacturers or suppliers of defective equipment, building materials, tools and machinery that also lead to severe injuries.
If you are injured while engaged in the course and scope of your employment, you may collect workers’ compensation benefits regardless if your employer was negligent or if you caused your own injury. Benefits include:
- Temporary total disability
- Partial disability
- Permanent and total disability
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Permanent loss of function benefits
- Benefits for disfigurement
- Additional benefits if your employer was willfully or grossly negligent
- Death benefits for a surviving spouse
Unfortunately, you do not receive your full lost wages and your permanent disability settlement or lump sum may not be sufficient to compensate you for the extreme change in lifestyle that you and your family will have to undergo. Also, workers’ compensation does not provide an award for pain and suffering.
Workers’ compensation claims can be complicated and insurers often deny or cut off benefits. Having a construction injury lawyer on your side who deals with insurers on a daily basis is essential if you want the full benefits that you deserve.
Third Party Lawsuits
Numerous construction injuries are caused by the carelessness of workers from other vocations who are on the job site. They have a duty to exercise reasonable care in how they do their tasks and to warn other workers of dangerous or hazardous conditions. In some cases, a defective tool or machine could seriously injure a worker. You can bring a third party claim against these parties along with your workers’ compensation claim.
A manufacturer can be at fault if a flaw in the production process results in a defective product. Design professionals are expected to have a certain degree of skill, expertise, ability and diligence or reasonable care that is ordinarily practiced by other design professionals in their plans, inspections and supervision of others who may foreseeably be injured by their neglect.
In these cases, your construction injury attorney does have to prove fault by the worker unaffiliated with your employer or by the manufacturer or designer of the flawed product that led to your injury. Normal principles of negligence apply, but you can also pursue strict liability and breach of warranty causes of action against the supplier of the item that injured you.
If the product, such as a piece of machinery or tool, is deemed unreasonably dangerous, then you need only prove your damages. A product can be considered unreasonably dangerous by an inherent structural or by lack of a sufficient warning. A clear warning is needed so that the user is aware of the danger and knows how to use the product safely.
Consult an Experienced Construction Injury Law Attorney
Injuries suffered by construction workers can be permanent in many instances, leaving workers and their families confused, frustrated and without the resources to carry on with their lives. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a construction accident, promptly consult with a construction injury lawyer to discuss your legal options and possible paths to compensation.