Construction sites account for countless accidents resulting serious injuries every year, often involving permanent disabilities. Our construction accident lawyers handle construction site cases involving catastrophic injury and we have a track record of success.
The majority of construction accidents are attributable to employer negligence and end up being resolved as workers compensation claims. Often, however, there are third parties that can be held liable for construction site injuries outside of worker’s comp. If you have been injured in a construction site accident, contact our construction injury attorneys to find out what your options are.
Common Construction Site Accidents and Causes
Construction sites are inherently hazardous. This means that accidents happen frequently and for a wide range of reasons. Common causes of construction accidents include faulty or defective equipment, lack of adequate safety precautions, electrocution, machinery collisions, and co-worker negligence.
The largest percentage of construction mishaps occur during the worker’s first year on the job. Inexperience is the most obvious answer for this spike in first-year accidents. Another problem for workers generally but particularly new employees is overexertion. For new employees, this is usually because the body is often not ready for the demands of the job or. For long-time employees, the body may be worn out from the demands of the job. Overexertion causes about 20% of all workplace injuries.
Another great risk factor for workers is elevation. Falls are common. Injuries from elevation falls are the third leading cause of construction injuries and fatalities. Other common accidents include: scaffold accidents, explosions, electrocution accidents, and forklift collision injuries.
Types of Injuries in Construction Accidents
Physical injuries at construction sites range from minor things such as lacerations and bruises to very severe permanent injuries and even death. The severity of the injury is generally dependent on the nature and circumstances of the accident.
Back injuries are the most common type of injury in construction accident cases. Just over 20% of all construction related injuries involve the back. Common back injuries in construction accidents include disc herniations, pinched nerves, or cervical sprains.
Head injuries (traumatic brain injuries) are another common type of construction site injury. Head injuries can be serious and are a common cause of disability and death in all accidents, including construction site accidents. Other common construction site injuries include: burn injuries, broken bones, eye injuries and hearing loss or tinnitus.
All of these common construction site injuries require extensive medical care and treatment. They may also leave you unable to work for extended time periods. For most construction site injuries, the injured victim’s only recourse for financial compensation is to pursue a worker’s comp claim. But worker’s comp doesn’t always cover all of the financial loss that a serious injury can present. Fortunately, victims can sometimes pursue compensation from third-parties, other than their employer, in a personal injury civil lawsuit.
Damages for Construction Injuries
In a workers’ compensation claim, the victim is only entitled to limited damages for their injuries. In a personal injury tort case against a third-party, however, the victim can recover more significant damages. Successful plaintiffs in a personal injury civil case can get damages for the following:
Past & Future Medical Expenses: tort plaintiffs are entitled to damages for the total cost of any and all medical treatment that they incurred as a result of their injuries. This includes everything from hospital stays, physical therapy, medicines, mobility aids, and any other reasonable and necessary treatment. Moreover, victims are entitled to recover damages for medical expenses even if they are covered by their health insurance. Medical expense damages cover not only treatment that the victim has already received, but also any medical treatment they might require in the future.
Lost Income: tort plaintiffs can also recover damages for lost wages or lost income they incur as a result of their injuries. This includes not just past lost wages, but also future lost wages.
Pain & Suffering: in addition to “economic damages” for things such as lost wages and medical expenses, personal injury plaintiffs can be awarded damages for mental pain & suffering they incur as a result of their physical injuries.
Liability for Construction Site Injuries
Construction workers who are injured on the job may be limited to pursuing a workers compensation claim against their employer. Workers’ comp claims offer limited compensation compared to personal injury lawsuits. One of the primary shortcomings of workers comp is that in does not provide compensation for any type of pain and suffering associated with the injury.
The workers’ comp laws generally limit the ability of employees to bring personal injury tort suits against an employer outside of workers’ comp. In most circumstances, if you are injured on the job workers’ comp is the only remedy you have against your employer.
There are numerous legal exceptions that permit injured employees to bring tort lawsuits against employers instead of workers’ comp claims. One of the most common exceptions applies to independent contractors. If the injured construction worker is an independent contractor (as many construction workers are) they are generally free to bring civil tort lawsuits against the owner of the construction site.
What Do Third-Party Construction Accident Claims Look Like
Third-party liability arises when someone other than your employer acts with negligence, leading to your injury on the job. There are countless different scenarios where a third-party claim could be relevant. Here are a couple of common examples in which construction site accidents can give rise to third party liability claims.
- Faulty design of safety devices or equipment;
- faulty plans crafted by engineer or architect;
- failure to warn of dangerous conditions by subcontractor;
- vehicle or equipment accident caused by third parties;
- subcontractor did not properly construct scaffolding, making it unstable;
- a defect on the property causing a worker to fall and injure himself.
Construction Site Accident Verdicts and Settlements
Below are sample verdicts and settlements involving construction site accidents.
$7,558,000 Verdict (Illinois 2023): The plaintiff was loading plumbing materials into the back of a truck at large, busy construction site. Another worker at the site backed a vehicle up and pinned the plaintiff’s left knee between the two vehicles resulting in permanent damage to his knee. The plaintiff was able to bring a third part liability claim because the driver of the other vehicle was an employee of a subcontractor.
$11,000,000 Verdict (New York 2023): The plaintiff, 38-years-old, reportedly was involved in an accident as a construction worker when a portion of heavy fencing fell on his head, neck and left shoulder as he walked along a sidewalk adjacent to a construction site owned by defendant. He sued both the property owner (premises liability) and the subcontractor performing the demolition work (negligence).
$1,000,000 Settlement (Florida 2023): The plaintiff was reportedly working at a construction site when he fell from a wooden plank on which he was standing onto unprotected steel rebar, impaling himself. He filed suit against the general contractor alleging they were negligent in failing to provide fall protection and other safety measures.
$500,000 Verdict (Utah 2023): The plaintiff slipped and fell fifteen feet to the ground while working at a construction site. The plaintiff reportedly broke his feet at the heels and his ankles. The plaintiff claimed permanent impairment, scarring and disability. The plaintiff contended the defendant was negligent in not recognizing the ladder at the construction site was placed and secured in a negligent manner.
$2,900,000 Settlement (New York 2023): The plaintiff, 44-years-old, said he was performing work at a construction site where the defendant was the general contractor when he fell from a makeshift scaffold to the concrete surface below. The plaintiff suffered very serious injuries and sued the defendant for failure to provide a safe workplace.
Hire a Construction Site Accident Lawyer
If you were injured at a construction site, contact our injury lawyers today for a free consulation. Call us at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.