Philadelphia Construction Accident Attorneys
In many ways, the construction industry is the backbone of our economy. Without people working in construction, we wouldn’t have homes to live in, roads to drive on, factories and offices to work in, schools to shop in, and more. Yet despite all of the ways that construction is vital to our everyday lives, it can be incredibly dangerous for those who perform the work.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 21% of workplace fatalities in the private industry occur on construction sites. In other words, more than 1 in 5 of every worker’s deaths occur in the construction industry.
Nonfatal injuries are also far too common in the construction sector. Here in Pennsylvania, 9,906 construction workers filed for workers’ compensation for injuries in 2019 alone. Philadelphia County had the most injured construction workers in the Commonwealth.
Construction workers who are injured on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, they may also be able to file a lawsuit against a third party who was responsible for their injuries. An experienced Philadelphia personal injury law firm can help, starting with a free consultation where an attorney will advise you of your rights and options for pursuing a claim.
How Do Construction Accidents Happen?
Construction accidents can happen in any number of ways. According to OSHA, the “fatal four” causes are responsible for more than half (58.6%) of all construction worker deaths in 2018. The fatal four include:
- Falls (33.5% of deaths)
- Struck by an object (11.1% of deaths)
- Electrocutions (8.5% of deaths)
- Caught-in/between (5.5% of deaths)
When a construction worker is killed on the job, their survivors may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against any third parties who were responsible for the death.
Beyond fatalities, construction workers may be hurt in:
- Scaffolding Accidents: 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.
- Industrial Vehicle Accidents: 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 can weigh thousands of pounds. They are often difficult to maneuver and navigate. Operators may not always find it easy to locate and identify people on the ground around them, which can lead to serious or even fatal injuries.
- Fall Accidents: 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.
- Defective Tools: 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. Proper training and maintenance can reduce the risk of injury, but in some cases, a dangerous and defective product is unsafe to use regardless of the level of training that a worker has.
- Electrocution Accidents: The risk of electrocution emerges when a worker is working in very close proximity to power lines. De-energization of power lines and maximizing the distance between the worker and the power lines can help minimize those risks. Serious injuries and even death may result from electrocution accidents.
- Crush Accidents: Crush accidents may happen because of industrial vehicle malfunctioning or through trench collapse. Crush accidents are often devastating and may result in catastrophic injuries, such as lost limbs, internal bleeding, and even death.
If you or a loved one have been injured on or near a construction site, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation benefits and/or a personal injury lawsuit. A Philadelphia construction accident lawyer can help you with the process, and fight for your right to compensation.
What Are the Most Common Construction Accident Injuries?
On Philadelphia worksites, construction workers face risks that can lead to relatively minor or even life-threatening injuries. 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.
Some common types of construction injuries include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Loss of limb or digit
- Internal injuries
- Broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
These types of injuries can be devastating for a worker and their family. Depending on the severity of the injury, the worker may face steep medical bills and the need for long-term care and treatment. Construction accident injuries may also result in lost wages and reduced earning capacity if a worker can no longer perform the duties of their job.
In these situations, it is important to work with an injury attorney who has the experience and skill to help you obtain the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. Your lawyer will advocate for your rights, while you focus on healing and moving forward with your life.
Recovering for a Construction Injury
Construction site accidents most often affect workers on the job, although pedestrians and others may also be hurt when they are nearby. In Pennsylvania, employees who suffer workplace accidents and injuries are entitled to benefits through the workers’ compensation system.
Workers’ comp is a no-fault system, where an injured worker does not have to prove that their employer was negligent in causing their injury in order to receive benefits. Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which provides medical treatment and financial compensation for temporary and permanent disability. If an employee dies at work, then their loved ones may also be entitled to certain death benefits.
Workers’ comp is an exclusive remedy. This means that an employee who is hurt at work cannot sue their employer for their injuries, with limited exceptions. Instead, their medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages are covered through the workers’ compensation system.
However, there are situations where a worker can file a lawsuit, particularly for construction site accidents. This type of personal injury claim is typically brought against a third party whose actions or inactions contributed to the accident.
If you were hurt in a construction accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. The claim may be filed against:
- The general contractor or subcontractor if your accident was caused by someone who works for another contractor or subcontractor on the job;
- The property owner;
- 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 while pursuing a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim can be challenging. Working with a seasoned Philadelphia personal injury attorney can ensure that your case is fully investigated and that every potential negligent party is held responsible.
How Can a Philadelphia Construction Accident Attorney Help?
If you have been hurt in a workplace construction accident, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, insurers often look to minimize or deny legitimate claims. A construction accident attorney can advocate for you to ensure that you get the money and medical treatment that you need.
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, a 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 your employer’s safety record for the company and its hiring records to determine if it complied with safety laws and only used experienced, licensed contractors When you hire a seasoned injury lawyer, 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 recovering. 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 to cover your medical treatment, lost wages, and any disability that you may have as a result.
What to Do After a PA Construction Accident
If you are hurt on a construction worksite, there are several steps that you should take to protect your right to benefits. This process starts with 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 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.
If the insurer denies your workers’ compensation claim, a lawyer can help you fight for benefits. This process typically starts with gathering evidence to show that your injuries occurred at work and that they prevent you from returning to work. Your injury attorney can then file a claim petition with a workers’ compensation judge. If the result before the judge is unfavorable, your lawyer can file an appeal with the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board.
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. Once you have selected a doctor, work closely with your treatment providers to determine the extent of your injury, your current ability to work, and your prognosis. You should also follow treatment plans and recommendations.
Establishing medical proof of your injury and the need for ongoing treatment is critical to a successful workers’ comp claim. Disputes over coverage may be settled before a judge, in mediation, or before the Appeals Board. No matter how the matter is resolved, you will need to prove that you have sustained an injury. Your medical records are direct proof that you are hurt, and are the basis for which your claim will be decided.
Hurt on a Construction Site? We’re Here to Help.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, you may be overwhelmed with medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A skilled Philadelphia construction accident attorney can help. Your lawyer will fight for your right to compensation, and make sure that you receive the full amount of money that you are entitled to under the law.
At Solnick & Associates, we represent injury victims throughout the greater Philadelphia area. From our law office in Jenkintown, we work hard to help our clients get the money that they deserve for car accidents, slip and falls, construction accidents, bus collisions, and other types of accidents. To learn more or to schedule a free evaluation of your injury case, call us at 215-481-9979, or reach out online.
Philadelphia Construction Accident FAQs
Nobody expects to get injured or to die while working on a construction site. Injuries or death arising from construction site accidents not only affect the injured worker physically, but they also affect their families and their daily lives. Construction site accident injuries can also cause emotional and financial stress.
If you or someone you love has been injured or lost their life in a construction site accident, you more than likely have a ton of questions. You are not alone. Many of our clients have had similar questions about their construction site accidents, so we have decided to dedicate a page to answering some of the more common questions about construction site accidents. If you have any further questions after reading this FAQ, feel free to give us a call at (215) 481-9979
What is OSHA?
OSHA is the acronym for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA is responsible for creating and enforcing rules and regulations that govern health and safety in the workplace. Their main goal is to ensure that injuries, illnesses, and death in the workplace is kept to a minimum.
Can We Still Sue if We are Covered Under Worker’s Compensation Insurance?
Unfortunately, if an employee is covered by worker’s compensation, he or she cannot sue his or her employer. If, for some reason, the employer does not carry worker’s compensation insurance, this causes a legal “gray area” that would possibly open the employer up to being sued by an injured employee. Worker’s compensation is an employer’s means of protecting the company from lawsuits that arise from injuries. As long as they obey the laws and carry worker’s compensation insurance, they should not have to worry about being sued by an injured worker.
If an employee is injured due to defective or hazardous equipment, however, he or she can file a lawsuit against the company that manufactured or created the defective equipment, even if the employee is covered by worker’s compensation.
Are Construction Workers Covered Under Worker’s Compensation Insurance?
Every employer that employs at least one person in the state of Pennsylvania is required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. This is true even if employees are only working part-time hours, and family members are also included in the policy if they are employees.
Who is Liable for Accidents that Occur on Construction Sites?
If the accident that occurred on the construction site was caused by negligence, the owner of the property, the equipment manufacturer, or the engineer or contractor would be held responsible, depending on who contributed to the negligence. For example, if the construction manager was aware of the hazardous condition, but continued to allow everyone to work, he or she could be held liable for injuries or death.