Construction Injuries In Boston
Construction work has always been one of the most dangerous occupations in America, consistently topping the list of statistics pertaining to work-related injuries and fatalities. In recent years, however, the overall number of fatalities in construction work has been decreasing. Many experts attribute the decline to having machines now performing hazardous tasks and to the general drop off in the number of construction workers.
There are a number of factors to explain the incongruity in the safety statistics and why fatalities, and presumably injuries, continue to increase among specific groups of construction workers.
Nonunion Work Sites and Lack of Inspectors
Union representation in the US has been declining for decades though studies demonstrate that union employees are generally safer and better paid than nonunion workers. Employers at nonunion work sites are notorious for not reporting injuries, which are consistently among the highest for workplace safety violations. Also, there is little incentive or motivation for contractors to follow safety rules since the likelihood of being visited by an OSHA or safety inspector is remote. Budget cuts have slashed the number of inspectors with analysts pointing out that in New York State alone, it would take the 113 OSHA inspectors 107 years to visit each of the thousands of construction work sites in the state. Even if violations are reported, the penalties and fines are minimal.
Compensation for Families
Getting compensation for an injured worker or for the family of a worker killed on the job can be a daunting task. Most states require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance and to provide death benefits for the families though the compensation is underwhelming in most cases. If an employer failed to provide workers’ compensation, there are state funds to compensate the families or the injured workers. Benefits include medical expenses and lost wages as well as compensation for permanent disability, loss of a limb or bodily function and for death. There is no compensation for pain and suffering.
Some employers will deny that a worker was injured on the job or that a safety violation contributed to a fatality. In these cases, a workers’ compensation attorney is essential to getting you the benefits to which you are entitled if your injury, or the death of a family member, occurred while in the course and scope of employment.
Although workers’ compensation is designed to award benefits to workers without the necessity of proving negligence by the employer, you may be able to hold the employer liable in grossly negligent cases. Grossly negligent conduct goes beyond ordinary negligence and you must often show that the employer exhibited extreme indifference to the rights and safety of others before a court will allow this cause of action to go forward. For example, knowingly and consistently allowing a coworker to get high on a job or hiring one with a criminal record of violent felonies might expose the employer to a lawsuit where punitive or exemplary damages could be awarded to a seriously injured worker, or one who was killed, by the acts of the coworker in these examples.
Third Party Lawsuits
Also, there are third party lawsuits that your personal injury attorney can explore for you. If a third party such as a contractor working for a different employer injured you or a private party’s negligence caused your injury such as a motorist, you may have additional avenues of compensation. Should a defectively manufactured or designed piece of equipment contributed to your injury or death, then the manufacturer or designer may be held liable under principles of product liability.
Consult with Paul Tetzel a construction injury lawyer or one experienced in workers’ compensation and wrongful death claims if you were injured in work-related accident or had a parent or spouse killed in a construction accident. These cases are time sensitive so it is urgent that you promptly us to discuss your legal options.