Construction Site Accidents
The construction sector is considered one of the most dangerous workplaces for American workers. One out of every of every 3 workplace fatalities in America occurs in this industry.
In 2006, there were approximately 10,000 construction-related injuries that were reported to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers Compensation. That same year, 21 construction workers lost their lives in accidents that occurred on construction worksites in the state.
There are any number of hazards that face a construction worker on the site.
- Poorly designed or constructed scaffolding, lack of fall protection gear, and lack of guardrails – these are some of the major causes of scaffolding-related accidents every year. Falls are the number one scaffolding-related accident in the United States, but falls are not the only ways that a construction worker may be injured. For instance, workers who are standing on the scaffolding may be injured by tools that fall from above them.
- There are a number of industrial vehicles or equipment that can be found in construction zones, from forklifts and cranes to tractors. These are heavy, industrial vehicles that weigh in the tons. They are all difficult to maneuver and navigate, and operators may not always find it easy to locate and identify a pedestrian worker, who is walking around the vehicle. Training plays a major role in eliminating the risks of accidents involving industrial vehicles and pedestrian workers.
- Falls are a major cause of injuries on construction sites every year. Falls can occur from scaffolding and from ladders. Falls can also occur when a construction worker trips over tools and debris that have been left lying around. Construction sites by their very nature are full of clutter and construction-related materials that are left lying around.
- A construction worker may be required to handle a number of handheld tools, like nail guns and saws. Nail guns in particular have been linked to dozens of injuries over the past few years. Workers must be trained to use these tools properly. Tools must be properly maintained in order to reduce the risk of injury.
- The risk of electrocution emerges when a worker is working in very close proximity to underground power lines. De-energization of power lines and maximizing the distance between the worker and the power lines can help minimize those risks.
- Crush accidents happen because of industrial vehicle malfunctioning, digging and trench accidents. Crush accidents are devastating often resulting in lost limbs, serious injuries and even death.
- Construction workers are faced with one of the highest mortality rates of any industry. The face life threatening injuries from falls, electrocution and defective tools. However, sometimes a worker isn’t so lucky. Sometimes, workers are killed on the job.
Common Construction Accident Injuries
Pennsylvania construction site accidents can result in a number of injuries, ranging from relatively minor to serious and life-threatening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of nonfatal construction injuries are contact with objects, overexertion, falls, slips and trips, a fall to a lower level, transportation and exposure. For fatal injuries, the top causes are falls to a lower level, transportation, contact with objects and exposure.
The most common construction accident injuries include:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries
- Heat stroke
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Loss of limb or digit
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
These types of injuries can be devastating for both a worker and his or her family. They can also be expensive to treat, and may prevent an employee from working again. A skilled Philadelphia construction accident attorney can help you recover the money that you deserve for your losses — so that you can focus on healing and moving forward with your life.
In a construction accident? Here’s what you need to know
How Can an Attorney Help After a Pennsylvania Construction Accident?
If you are home and unable to work because of a construction accident, you may need the services of a personal injury lawyer. While your employer must cover you under workers compensation benefits, getting your benefits paid to you could prove to be more difficult.
In construction accident cases, the injured worker is typically squaring off against his or her employer and their insurance company. In many cases, the employer is a large company with more resources, and the insurance company has a team of adjusters and lawyers. An experienced Philadelphia construction accident attorney can level the playing field, giving you the ability to get the compensation that you deserve for your injury.
After a free initial consultation, construction accident attorney can conduct an independent investigation of your accident. This will help to establish what happened — and to counter the narrative that your employer or others may put forward in an attempt to deny your claim. Your Philadelphia construction accident attorney can also request and review the safety record for the company and its hiring records to determine if it complied with safety laws and only used experienced, licensed contractors. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about all the paperwork and getting your claim completed correctly on your own.
In addition, an attorney can help you get the medical care that you need while you are recover. During this time, your lawyer will aggressively pursue your case, negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. If necessary, your attorney will take your case to court — and fight for your right to fair compensation.
Whether you have suffered a fall, back injury, chemical burn, or were in another type of accident, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits if you are not able to return to work.
Reporting Your Work Related Injury to Your Employer
All construction accidents at work should be reported to your employer immediately, and any injuries you sustain carefully documented. You have 21 days to report a work related injury to your employer, but the faster you report your injury, the quicker workers compensation benefits can begin. The insurance carrier that covers your employer for workers compensation claims has 21 days from the time of your report to admit liability for your injuries and voluntarily pay your claim, or to deny liability and refuse to pay your claim.
When Your Workers Compensation Claim Has Been Denied
Your claim can be denied by the workers compensation carrier due to a number of reasons. Once your claim is denied, you need to start working with a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer. Your case will need to be appealed, and further proof must be obtained to show that your injuries are work related and that these injuries are preventing you from returning to work.
If you have seen a physician that does not agree that you are injured, you can seek another opinion. You need to heal from your injuries, and a physician that does not believe you are hurt will not be of service to you. Work closely with your treatment providers to determine the extent of your injury, your current ability to work, and your prognosis to be able to return to work.
What Third Parties Can Be Sued in Construction Accidents?
If you have been injured in a construction accident, you may be entitled to more than just workers’ compensation from your employer. Under Pennsylvania law, you might be able to file a lawsuit against a third party who bears some responsibility for your injuries.
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to seek compensation from the general contractor or subcontractor if your accident was caused by someone who works for another contractor or subcontractor on the job; the owner of the property; manufacturers or distributors of defective equipment that may have caused your injury; and/or drivers of vehicles that caused or contributed to your accident. Filing a claim against a third party in addition to pursing a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim can be challenging. Working with a seasoned Philadelphia construction accident attorney can ensure that your case is fully investigated, and every potential negligent party is held responsible.
Medical Proof Is the Key to a Successful Workers Compensation Claim
Before your case goes in front of a judge, you may enter into mediation instead. Even in a mediation, it will help your case to have a qualified personal injury lawyer on your side. You must be able to prove that you have sustained an injury, and clear medical proof will be difficult for the insurance carrier to dispute. If you have been in treatment for your injuries, all of your medical records should be brought in to mediation. All records of treatment that you have tried, including alternative providers should be brought to this meeting. Your medical records are direct proof that you are hurt, and are the basis for which your claim will be decided.
When you have been hurt and you are unable to work because of your injuries, it’s time to sit down with a qualified attorney who can talk with you about your potential workers compensation claim. You need to focus on healing, and not on fighting to get the benefits that you deserve. The longer you wait, the more time it will take for you to get the necessary compensation that you deserve. Contact Solnick & Associates, LLC today by filling out the form or calling (877) 415-6495 to schedule an initial consultation.
The Pennsylvania construction accident lawyers at Solnick & Associates, LLC represent victims of construction accidents across Pennsylvania.