It’s no secret that construction is one of the more dangerous industries to be employed in the United States. Even with the continuous industry changes and adapted safety protocols, workers are still at risk of injury, and even death. If you’ve been injured at a worksite, a Philadelphia construction accident lawyer from Shrager & Sachs is prepared to help you seek justice and retain any compensation you may be eligible for to manage the financial burdens associated with your injury.
Our firm stands up for construction workers who have been injured while on the job. We understand that when hardworking people are injured, they may need help getting justice. We’ll stand up to protect those who have been harmed because of negligence.
Approximately one in ten construction workers are injured every year. While many of these victims are able to recover and return to work, this is not always the case. There’s a possibility of not being able to return to your previous position or not being able to work in construction anymore.
You’re likely wondering about the events that caused your accident to occur in the first place. In order to understand why you were injured, let’s take a look at some of the most common construction-related accidents.
What Are the Most Common Construction Accidents?
According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 21.1 percent of worker fatalities occurred in this field in 2016. Many of these accidents and deaths are related to a disregard for proper safety procedures and protocols—which means they could have been prevented.
When a construction accident happens, you can generally trace the source back to an OSHA standards violation. According to OSHA, here are the top 10 most frequently cited violations in 2017:
- Inadequate fall protection
- Lack of hazard communication
- Improper use of scaffolding
- Improper respiratory protection
- Lack of control of hazardous energy
- Improper use of ladders
- Improper use of powered industrial trucks
- Inadequate machinery and machine guarding
- Inadequate fall protection training
- Hazardous electrical wiring methods, components, and equipment
As a result of the violations listed above, 63.7 percent of construction injuries and deaths are directly related to four types of accidents. OSHA calls these the “fatal four.” The four culprits are falls, electrocutions, stuck-by-object events, and caught-in/between object events. Of these accident types, falls account for the highest number of construction accident fatalities. The remaining three descend in the following order: struck-by-object, electrocution, and caught-in/between.
There are many other kinds of construction accidents that may have happened to you. Because the work site may have unstable conditions, it’s paramount for construction workers to have protective equipment and warning about the various hazards on site. If they don’t, they could sustain serious injuries from:
- Collapsing roofs, walls, and floors
- Electrocution from faulty or old wiring
- Falls down empty elevator shafts
- Exposure to hazardous materials and substances
- Falling objects
The injuries that can occur at a construction site can cause long-lasting damage. Let’s take a look at the common types of injuries.
What Injuries Are Associated With Construction Accidents?
Because of the hazardous conditions construction workers are exposed to, the types of injuries they sustain vary significantly. Some of the most common work injuries associated with construction accidents are listed below:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Elevated blood lead concentration levels
- Eye injuries
- Heat stress that can lead to brain, heart, or kidney damage or failure
- Hypothermia or frostbite
- Loss of hearing
- Muscle or joint damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Respiratory diseases like pneumoconiosis
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Traumatic brain injuries
If you’ve sustained one of the injuries above or have been diagnosed with a different condition after a construction accident, it’s in your best interest to consult our legal team to protect your legal right to compensation.
When a construction accident causes an injury, there’s a strong chance the injury will be severe. It could take months for the injury to heal. In some cases, a full recovery may not be a possibility. While the injury may be able to heal up to a point, the injury could have permanent consequences that will affect a person’s life.
If the injury causes disability or prevents the person from returning to work, the injury is considered catastrophic. These injuries may require intense medical care that will continue into the future—whether it’s from rehabilitation, physical therapy, surgical procedures, or requiring medication. Some may need assistance from medical equipment to help them maintain a high quality of life. This could be the use of a wheelchair or modifying the home so they can live more easily with their injury.
When someone is adjusting to a catastrophic injury, there may be a difficult relearning period. During this time, the individual will need to learn how to live with their injury and in doing so they’ll need to complete everyday tasks. Finding out how to maintain hygiene, cook, get dressed, and keep up with other daily chores may be a struggle that takes a lot of effort.
Affording care and taking the time to recover can become overwhelming, but when you have fair compensation for your accident, you’ll be able to cover those costs. You’ll have peace of mind that you can get the care you need without figuring out how you’re going to afford it, which can allow you to focus solely on recovering and adjusting to your new normal.
Another outcome of negligence on a construction site can include developing an illness. If workers are exposed to harmful substances like asbestos, they could develop cancer years later. Unfortunately, there’s a possibility the cancer is malignant or already in advanced stages, which can mean a poor prognosis. Developing a terminal illness because of someone’s negligence is devastating, but a Philadelphia construction accident attorney can help you get compensation so you can afford the treatment you need.
What Should You Do After a Construction Accident?
You may be wondering what you can do after a construction accident to help your claim. There are some severe injuries where you may not be able to act or need to be rushed to the hospital. However, if you’re able, you may consider taking the following steps as they can help your claim.
- Report the Accident. Inform the supervisor or person in charge of what happened. You can make a written statement about the accident. This way, there’s an account of what happened and on what day. Since the accident will be fresh in your mind, you’ll be able to provide a detailed statement. Make sure to only provide details you remember, don’t try to guess or assign blame. The investigation will reveal what happened and who was responsible.
- Call Emergency Services. While you may think your injuries are only minor, it’s important to know that shock can mask symptoms. You may also have injuries you cannot see. Calling emergency services will allow professionals to apply first aid and assess your injuries.
- See a Doctor. You should make an appointment with your doctor as quickly as possible. You may start to feel painful symptoms of an injury after the accident. Your doctor will be able to give you an evaluation and you’ll learn the extent of your injuries in addition to knowing the treatment you’ll need. You may also get an estimation of how long your recovery could take and how long you’ll be away from work if necessary.
- Gather Evidence. During this time, you’ll be thinking about your injuries, missing work, and how long this process will take. However, it’s also important to keep evidence of what happened and how it progressed as this can help support your claim. Getting copies of notes and forms from doctors that show if you were in the hospital, had an appointment, the results of your evaluation, and your prescribed treatment plan both show that the accident caused this and it will indicate the cost of the injuries. Photographs of your injuries can also help.
- Stay Organized. Keep everything you’ve documented in a file so you have everything in one place when you need it. This can provide peace of mind that you have your necessary documents together and won’t have to worry about misplacing them.
- Contact a Lawyer. If your accident happened on your worksite, you may be eligible for compensation. Meeting with a Philadelphia construction accident attorney from Shrager & Sachs can start your legal journey to recovering the financial and emotional damages of the accident.
For many cases, it’s important to know who acted negligently at your worksite and caused the accident that harmed you. While you may think you know who was responsible for the accident, it’s possible that a different party was liable. We’ll review your accident and the evidence to find the negligent party. Let’s discuss the possible liable parties.
Who Is Liable for Your Construction Accident in Pennsylvania?
Determining who is liable for your accident can be complicated because of the number of people involved in any one construction project. Our Philadelphia construction accident lawyers will investigate your case to determine who the negligent party is. Here are some individuals who may be held accountable, depending on the circumstances of your work injury:
- Construction Site Owners. When the construction project is large, there is normally delegation for legal and work responsibilities. When determining if the construction site owner is at fault for your accident, your construction accident attorney will weigh the extent of control the owner had over the premises.
- Design Professionals. If the drawn-up plans are defective in any way, the architects or engineers on the construction site may be to blame for your accident.
- General Contractors. The general contractor has a legal obligation to ensure the construction site is safe, and they have a duty to notify employees of possible hazards. They also have the responsibility of hiring competent employees who will follow the required health and safety regulations.
- Sub-contractors. Subcontractors are also responsible for ensuring all OSHA regulations and laws are abided by on the job site.
Other negligent parties may include site managers and foremen. You should also keep in mind that people who aren’t at the job site can be responsible for the injuries. If the manufactures or suppliers of machinery made defective or faulty equipment, then the injuries or deaths will be their responsibility.
Workers are near all types of equipment on a site. They may deal with the following machines:
There are many other kinds that a worker may use or come in contact with. These machines are often heavy and use a lot of power, meaning they can cause significant harm. On any site, safety should be the number one priority. If worker safety is valued, then it’s likely that accidents can be prevented.
How Can Tragic Construction Accidents Be Prevented?
Preventing construction accidents starts with following the already established protocols and procedures. If construction site owners and contractors focused on creating, maintaining, and enforcing safety standards, they’d actually save money – and lives. Let’s take a look at the “fatal four” again and examine the best practices for preventing accidents.
- In order to protect against falls, it’s important to provide ample training, use harnesses, lines, nets, and railings, and keep surfaces as clean and dry as possible.
- Electrocution protection starts with clear and specific training. It’s also important to remember to power down all tools when they’re not in use.
- In order to avoid being struck by an object, it’s important for site managers to ensure workers are never situated between moving objects. It’s also a good idea to wear high-visibility work gloves and clothing.
- Construction workers can avoid caught-in/between object accidents by understanding how to use clear language on the job site, maintaining awareness of moving objects, and transporting objects appropriately.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen and then the person who was hurt can legally respond to get compensation. You may be wondering which claim or claims apply to you and your situation.
Types of Claims Associated with Injuries at a Philadelphia Worksite
Workers at a job site can be injured or killed because of negligence and they have a right to sue. However, there are different types of claims that you may file. Our attorneys will help you figure out which ones will benefit you the most.
- Product Liability. This is used for when faulty equipment causes a work injury. If a company released equipment that malfunctioned and caused an accident, they may be held liable for your injuries. While going up against a manufacturing company can seem intimidating, a Philadelphia construction accident lawyer from Shrager & Sachs is up to the task. We will hold them accountable for their actions.
- Workers’ Compensation. Claiming workers’ compensation is for injured workers on the site. They’ll be able to use their compensation benefits to help pay for medical bills. They may also seek other lawsuits, such as product liability, if they apply. This way, they are getting enough compensation to cover the costs of the accident. When filing for workers’ compensation, you do not need to show negligence. This means that whether you or someone else was at fault for your injuries, you can still file a claim to get compensation for your injuries and lost wages.
You also have to consider the fact that a dangerous worksite can also injure non-workers. Innocent bystanders or people walking near the site could be hurt by falling objects. Workers and bystanders alike can file these types of claims.
- Personal Injury. This type of claim works differently from workers’ compensation as you and your attorney will have to show that a third party was negligent and connect it to your injuries.
- Wrongful Death. Sometimes, an accident causes severe injuries that result in death. Losing a loved one in a preventable accident is a terrible thing, but you can seek justice on their behalf. These claims are difficult, but they can provide some financial relief and give you space to grieve for your loved one.
No matter what kind of claim you file, you want to make sure you’re protecting your best interests. The best way to do this is to have a skilled attorney at your side.
How Can a Construction Accident Lawyer in Philadelphia Help You?
Even when taking prevention tips into consideration, construction can be a dangerous industry. Many hazards can be on a worksite and if those in charge don’t provide their workers with protection and knowledge of the hazards, accidents can easily occur. Those who are asked to operate machinery or perform other tasks that they’re not trained to do or ready for can also result in injuries.
After sustaining construction accident injuries, you may find a lot of responsibilities are suddenly on your shoulders. Recovering from severe injuries and still providing for yourself and anyone else who depends on you can become difficult. You shouldn’t have to bear the burden of the consequences of a construction accident that wasn’t your fault. If you’ve been injured on-the-job and are ready to find out about your rights and legal options, our construction accident lawyers may be able to provide answers.
A Philadelphia construction accident attorney from Shrager & Sachs can help you with your case and fight for you to get justice. When you meet with us for a free case evaluation, we’ll go over the facts of your case, how you were hurt, and talk about the ways you can move forward.
When we’re representing you, we can help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our lawyers know the many losses that a construction accident can cause. We’re here to offer our expertise and help guide you through the legal process. You can trust our attorneys to file your paperwork correctly and on time.