Construction Accident High Fatality Rates. If you operate heavy equipment, frame structures, or lay the foundation for construction projects, you recognize that you are employed in one of the most dangerous segments of the economy. The construction trades have one of the highest on-the-job fatality rates in the country each year. Building and renovation projects often are chaotic environments with rapidly changing conditions, a multitude of hazards, and constantly changing parties performing work.
The Failure of Construction Companies to Comply with Safety Regulations
Many times, indifference to employee safety or an emphasis on increasing profits trump investment in the time and cost associated with ensuring a safe working environment. Since construction sites are inundated with hazards that include heavy equipment, open trenches, falling objects, explosive chemicals, and more, the failure to comply with best practices and safety procedures often results in catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
Legal Help for Those Affected by Construction Accident
When an individual employed in a construction occupation suffers severe injury, the physical, emotional, and financial impact on the injured worker and his or her family can be devastating. Prolonged or even permanent disability is possible along with extensive medical care. If a family breadwinner is the victim of an on-the-job injury, the financial toll on a family is even greater. Our experienced construction accident attorneys recognize these hardships and work diligently to obtain the financial recovery our clients need to move past their accident and rebuild their lives.
Parker Waichman LLP Represents Injured Workers Throughout the United States
Parker Waichman LLP represents the workers and family members of construction workers injured or killed while working on a construction site. Our law firm has recovered over $2 Billion in jury awards, trial verdict and settlement negotiations for our clientele located throughout the United States. We are here to fight for your legal rights and obtain the full financial recovery that you are legally owed.
Construction Injuries and Fatalities Rise as Safety Inspections Decline
The building trades consistently account for a disproportionate number of severe on-the-job injuries and fatalities each year, and the risk of becoming the victim of a construction accident appears to be growing. The number of fatal construction accidents has increased by 32 percent in cities like New York City during a recent four-year period based on a report of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health. The number of construction-related fatalities rose by 37 percent throughout the state during the same period. The total number of construction incidents that caused injury or death during this period throughout the state more than tripled.
Although a multitude of reasons might have contributed to this rise in construction accidents, a sharp decline in safety inspections would seem to be far from coincidental. The number of safety inspection conducted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) dropped each year during the four-year study. Inspections declined from 2,722 at the start of the study to 1,966 by its conclusion. The 27 percent drop in the number of safety inspections was primarily a product of a 20 percent reduction in the number of OSHA inspectors in states such as New York. Some experts predict that construction workers will face increased risk because of potential deregulation.
The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration website indicates that thirteen U.S. families lose a loved one in a fatal construction accident every single day. The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration website states that 4,836 workers lost their life in 2015.
2016 OSHA’s Employer-reported Injuries and Illnesses Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in a press release in 2016 that there were nearly 3 million illnesses and nonfatal workplace injuries reported by private industry. The rate reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in which these injuries and illnesses occurred, was 2.9 cases per 100 workers. The good news, according to the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) report, is that the total number of nonfatal injuries reported in 2016 fell by approximately 48,500.
References: www.bls.gov/web/osh/summ1_00.xlsx and www.bls.gov/web/osh/summ2_00.xlsx.
Common Types of Accidents in the Construction Industry
Although there is a wide range of hazards found on the typical building project site, some causes of injury occur more frequently than others. Some of the construction cases we handle include the following:
- Falls from ladders and scaffolds
- Heavy equipment like bulldozers and cranes that strike people on the ground or collide with other vehicles
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Injuries caused by falling objects
- Accidents involving exposed power lines (i.e., electrocution)
- Explosions and fires
- Trench collapse and cave in accidents
Construction’s “Fatal Four“
In 2016, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that there were 4,693 worker fatalities in the private industry. The construction industry accounted for 21.1% of the work-related fatalities. That amounts to about one out of five workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found that the leading causes of death to private sector workers were fall related accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put out a list of the four most common cause of death to construction workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration calls these the “Fatal Four.” The “Fatal Four” composed of 64% of the construction worker deaths in 2016. If the government enacted new laws and these new laws were enforced, it is estimated that the total number of lives saved would be an astounding 631 lives per year.
The “Fatal Four” Causes of Construction Worker Deaths Each Year:
- Deaths by Falls — 384 out of 991 total deaths in construction in CY 2016 (38.7%)
- Deaths by Falling Object – 93 (9.4%)
- Death by Electrocution – 82 (8.3%)
- Caught-in/between* – 72 (7.3%) (*This category includes construction workers who were killed when caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects, and struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material)
Law Governing the Rights of Injured Construction Workers
Many people are harmed by careless workers, the absence of required safety equipment, or employer indifference to job site hazards, which often result in serious injury to construction employees. Federal and state laws provide special protections to individuals in the construction trades because of the high risk of severe injuries and fatalities. These protections sometimes provide legal options beyond a workers’ compensation claim against an employer depending on your specific situation.
Financial responsibility for a construction project incident could be based on worker safety statute violations, general negligence, or non-compliance with industrial code safety standards. Sadly, severely injured employees sometimes simply allow their employer to rush them through the workers’ compensation system. Although benefits through this no-fault approach to compensation for on-the-job injuries provides prompt access to medical care and partial income replacement, construction workers who experience catastrophic injury often find the compensation received through this approach to be woefully inadequate. Workers’ compensation will constitute an exclusive remedy against an employer for job-related injuries in many states.
Finding the Best Strategy for Our Clients
Because construction accident cases often differ from other occupational injuries, our construction accident law firm evaluates the best legal strategy based on factors like potential remedies and the legal standard needed to prevail. When an injured construction worker pursues a third-party negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant could exercise control over the worksite. The plaintiff also must establish that the defendant knew or should have known of the hazard that caused the injury.
Scope of Workers Compensation Benefits
The workers’ compensation system offers the advantage of an efficient no-fault alternative for injured employees to assert a claim against their employer when they are involved in an on-the-job accident. The difference between the compensation involved in a civil lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim can be significant. While the benefits received will depend on the specific circumstances of the situation and the state laws that apply in the injury case, workers injured on-the-job could have the right to the following damages:
- Medical Benefits: Injured employees get access to diagnostic screening, treatment, hospitalization, medications, physical therapy, surgical procedures, medical appliances, counseling, and other costs associated with medical treatment.
- Rehabilitation: Benefits often cover the cost of physical and vocational rehabilitation. Since workers performing building trade jobs often suffer severe debilitating injuries, benefits cover the cost of physical rehabilitation like physical therapy. Benefits also can cover tuition for retraining, evaluations, and other expenses.
- Disability: Disability benefits can be partial or total and permanent or temporary. The amount of disability payments is tied to the amount of the claimant’s pay, but the pay usually is capped at two-thirds of the injured worker’s pay.
- Death Benefits: This benefit will typically be a percentage of the employee’s wages that cover financial contributions to dependents like a spouse, children, or siblings. This benefit also can cover burial and funeral costs.
What Types of Damages Could Be Sought by an Injured Worker?
While these benefits can be valuable for employees injured on their construction job, personal injury lawsuits against an in a construction accident typically result in far more extensive compensation. Many forms of damages recoverable in a civil lawsuit are unavailable under a workers’ compensation claim.
Examples of such damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Adverse impact on a marital relationship
- Punitive damages
Even when a type of compensation can be sought in both a workers’ compensation case and a lawsuit, the amount of the recovery will tend to be higher in a personal injury lawsuit. Although the usual benefits include wage replacement in a workers’ compensation case, for example, personal injury lost wages are not capped at two-thirds of the injury victim’s wages. Our seasoned construction injury attorneys carefully evaluate our clients’ cases, so we can decide the best approach to maximize our client’s recovery.
How the Construction Accident Law Firm of Waichman Parker LLP Can Make a Difference
Construction accident victims must make a multitude of strategic decisions about the best way to maximize their financial recovery. The wrong decisions and procedural missteps can derail your claim or compromise the amount of your recovery. Because our law firm has handled many construction accident claims over decades representing injured workers, we have the knowledge and experience clients need to pursue the full value of their claim. Although no two cases are identical, we have recovered settlements or verdicts of over a million dollars for multiple construction accident victims, such as:
- $2,185,531 Jury Verdict (Construction Accident – Labor Law): Received jury verdict on behalf of a painter who fell when a ladder collapsed causing injury to his back and neck as well as facial scars.
- $2,025,000 Settlement (Construction Accident – Labor Law): Fall from a scaffold when sheetrock set against a wall tipped and hit the scaffold causing multiple herniated discs, several surgeries, and more.
- $1,475,000 Settlement (Construction Accident – Labor Law): Two-story fall through an opening in a stairwell that was being constructed in a housing project.
- $1,250,000 Jury Verdict (Construction Accident – Labor Law): Fall from a ladder covered in slippery, greasy substance while working on electrical wires.
- $1,200,000 Settlement (Construction Accident – Labor Law): Fall from a makeshift scaffolding while painting the ceiling of a building.
Our law firm guides clients past potential traps for the unwary while navigating procedural, substantive, and timing requirements.
Some of the ways our construction accident law firm can help you maximize your claim include:
Compliance with Deadlines: The statute of limitations requires injury victims to bring a lawsuit within a specified period to preserve the right to file a lawsuit. When this time period expires without a lawsuit being filed, injured workers usually will have their claim permanently barred. The law has many deadlines that must be observed to avoid damaging your legal rights. We also can assist you in ensuring compliance.
Determining a Claim/Litigation Strategy: The interplay of negligence law for third-party claims and the workers’ compensation system makes the process of seeking compensation for a construction accident complicated. Our law firm has the extensive knowledge and proven record of success you want to maximize your damage award.
Proven Trial Experience: Because our law firm has obtained massive jury verdicts and settlements for our clients in construction injury cases, insurance companies recognize that we will not hesitate to take a case to trial if this provides the best option for our client. Concerns over the cost of litigation often motivate insurance companies to reach reasonable settlements.
Demystifying the Process: Our construction accident attorneys know that many construction workers have never had a reason to work with a lawyer in the past. The substantive legal standards and mandatory procedures can be confusing. We take pride in communicating effectively what to expect while guiding clients past the myriad of legal and factual issues.
Evaluating Your Injury Claim: The process of analyzing a claim to determine its value necessitates knowledge of cases with prior similar facts and injuries, verdict and settlement research, and thorough knowledge of the calculation of workers’ compensation benefits and personal injury damages. Our law firm has the expertise that comes with decades of experience handling a broad range of construction accident cases.
Dealing with Insurance Company Sharp Practices: Whether you are pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, civil lawsuit, or both, you usually will be dealing with an insurance company. While representatives of the insurer might be amicable and seem cooperative, the insurer maximizes its profits by paying the minimum amount to injury victims. Our lawyers will be committed to your best interests and navigate past insurance carrier sharp practices.
Why Injured Construction Workers Trust Parker Waichman LLP
The national construction accident law firm of Parker Waichman LLP has established a reputation as a preeminent personal injury law firm while recovering over $2 billion for our clients.
Construction accident claims present unique challenges because of chaotic project environments, the impact of workers’ compensation law, and the prospect of multiple responsible parties and sources of insurance coverage. While many excellent law firms exist, few practices offer over 350 years of collective experience.
Awards and Accolades
Because of our commitment to providing exemplary service to our clients while tenaciously taking on large insurance companies, we have garnered a litany of recognition and awards, such as:
- A law firm rating of 9.8/10 from AVVO.com.
- The designation as “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report.
- Recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as “Preeminent Lawyers” and winner of their highest honor, the “AV Rating.”
- Obtained a “Top 100 Verdict” as reported by Top Verdicts.
- Awarded the top “5 Dragon Award” from Law Dragon’s Peer to Peer Review.
Call Us to Discuss Your Options or Filing a Construction Injury Claim
If you or your injured loved one has experienced a construction accident, our national construction injury lawyers can evaluate your situations and explain your rights. Parker Waichman LLP has recovered over $2 billion for our clients, and our Construction Accident Lawyers will tenaciously pursue the best outcome for you.
If you would like more information about our law firm, we invite you to call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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