The United States Department of Labor, through its Bureau of Labor Statistics, studies the relative safety of various occupations in the country each year. The Bureau compiles an annual census containing various statistical reports, and every year, fatal work injuries in private construction continue to be the highest of any industry sector.
In 2005, 5702 workers died on the job and most of those workers were working construction. Injury counts are much higher.
Construction sites provide extremely dangerous working conditions: the nature of the work itself carries a high risk of injury, and the workplace is filled with hazards: high scaffolds, toxic chemicals, live electrical wiring, and dangerous machinery are commonplace on any construction site.
Construction site accidents have a number of causes: the mistakes of other workers, defective machinery, faulty equipment, and the inherently dangerous conditions of a project in the process of being built. Workers fall from scaffolding; they’re injured on faulty forklifts, material loads (lumber or bricks) can crush limbs as they fall; electrocution can result from a variety of devices or open wiring; welding rods can cause severe burns and blindness.
Since the construction industry is so dangerous, it is heavily regulated by both state and federal law. These regulations have improved the quality of construction safety; however accidents will happen no matter how many regulations are in place.
When someone is a victim of a serious on-the-job construction injury, both he and his family will need financial assistance to cover the long-term medical costs, as well as covering lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. If the worker has lost his life, his family will be entitled to wrongful death damages, which can include compensation for lost earning capacity of the decedent, funeral expenses, and medical expenses.
Across the country, individual lawyers as well as entire law firms have dedicated their practices to helping construction site workers and their families in facing the aftermath of a construction site accident. They compile years of experience in dealing not only with state and federal agencies regulating the construction industry, but in dealing with specific construction site claims and their correlating insurance carriers. These cases can involve large amounts of money in controversy, with a variety of people or companies having potential responsibility for the accident.
An experienced attorney can assess the incident to determine not only the extent of monetary damages available under the law, but those who are possibly responsible for those damages. Potential defendants can include the worker’s employer; other subcontractors; the general contractor; the architect; engineers involved in the project; manufacturers and suppliers of various products; the owner; as well as other workers on the site and their employers.
Serious construction accidents can result in permanent injuries, including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and permanent illnesses including cancer, silicosis, and mesothelioma. The medical costs involved in caring for these permanent conditions, especially in the long-term, is extremely high.
Having experienced legal counsel to assist in and obtaining proper compensation for these injuries is extremely important, especially when many states have workers’ compensation laws that limit the recovery for on-the-job injuries. Legal expertise is necessary to determine if additional legal recoveries can be had outside of the workers compensation statutes for the construction site injury.
In addition to the financial help provided by state workers’ compensation statutes, legal damages may be available for those injured in a wide variety of ways, including: exposure to asbestos; exposure to carbon monoxide; exposure to methane gas or other toxic fumes; exposure to welding rod fumes; accidents involving cranes, construction equipment, derricks, elevators, escalators, scaffolds, forklifts, hoists, ladders, nail guns, open wiring, live electrical wiring; electrocutions; or explosions on site.