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, our Philadelphia construction accident lawyers are prepared to help you seek justice and retain any compensation you may be eligible for to manage the financial burdens associated with your injury.
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.
At Shrager & Sachs, we have experience with a wide range of worksite injury cases. We can help you prove why your accident could have been prevented, so you can focus on your recovery. 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.
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 interests to consult our legal team to protect your legal right to compensation.
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 lawyer 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 to 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. The company responsible for making the product may be held liable.
- 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.
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. For this, 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 Me?
Even when taking the prevention tips above into consideration, construction can be a dangerous industry. 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. We can help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and more.