When you went into construction, you knew your job would have risks. The work is physical, requires the use of dangerous tools and equipment, and you're often on high platforms and scaffolding. However, what you didn't expect is that you would be seriously injured because someone else failed in their duty to provide a safe workplace.
If this is the case, you can hold the liable party responsible for your losses, but you'll first have to determine who those liable parties may be.
In this article, we discuss the typical construction injuries we see in our practice and explain who may be liable when accidents occur.
Construction’s "Fatal Four" Cause Most of the Injuries
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) identified four types of accidents that kill the most construction workers each year. Dubbed the “fatal four,” these accidents include falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught in or between objects. Together, these accidents account for nearly 60 percent of construction site fatalities and even more non-fatal injuries.
These accidents are entirely preventable when appropriate safety measures are taken on site. But when corners are cut, and you're injured in an accident as a result, you might be able to hold the liable party responsible.
Common Construction Site Accident Injuries
Serious injuries on construction sites generally fall into one of these categories:
- Traumatic brain injury. Head trauma caused by a fall or being hit by an object can cause debilitating brain injuries. Even when wearing the required hard hat, a worker can suffer brain damage in an accident.
- Burns. Exposed wiring, dangerous chemicals, leaking pipes, and other hazards might result in explosions and fires that injure nearby workers. Second- and third-degree burns can keep a worker off the job site for months.
- Broken bones. Serious compound fractures happen in falls and run-ins with equipment. A broken arm or leg could prevent a roofer, electrician, or carpenter from being able to work for many weeks.
- Spinal cord injury. Full or partial paralysis is a common result of a spinal cord injury. Falling from scaffolding or being hit by a forklift could cause damage to the spinal cord and possibly permanent disability.
- Loss of a limb. Amputation of an arm or leg can happen in entanglements with construction equipment or machinery.
- Sensory loss. Hearing and vision loss are often experienced by construction workers who are exposed to loud noises, chemicals, and welding sparks over prolonged periods of time.
- Environmental exposure injuries. Construction workers are constantly exposed to the elements. Suffering heatstroke in the summer can cause serious illness, including damage to the brain, heart, and kidneys. In winter months, untreated frostbite can cause the loss of an appendage.
If you're in any kind of accident on a construction site, it's vital that you report your injury and seek medical help right away. The accident report and medical records will be key in proving that you deserve compensation for the harm you've suffered.
When Workers’ Compensation Isn't Enough
With most on-the-job accidents, even those involving serious injury, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will cover your medical bills and lost wages. In fact, because of workers’ comp, you may be barred from seeking a legal judgment against your employer—even if they're responsible for causing your accident. One exception is if you can prove that your accident was caused by some kind of egregious negligence or safety violation on the part of your employer.
It's not uncommon for construction site accidents to be caused by a third party on the site. In this situation, you may be able to sue that party for compensation. For example, if you're injured by a forklift owned and operated by a contractor on the site—not by your employer—you could sue the contractor for damages.
Contact Our Construction Injury Lawyers When You're Hurt on the Job
You can’t trust your employer or their insurance company to inform you of your legal options when you're hurt at work. In a free consultation, the construction accident and workers’ compensation attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas will look at your case and let you know what you should do. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation evaluation. We support Massachusetts construction workers.