Construction Site Accidents
Construction sites can be incredibly dangerous. In fact, 21.1% of all worker fatalities take place on construction sites, and countless injuries also happen in these dangerous environments. If you have been injured on a construction site, you should consider contacting an attorney to help you — they can help you get compensation and justice for your injuries. To help you decide if that’s the right step in your situation, here’s an overview of the specifics.
Deaths on Construction Sites
Crashes in work zones account for the highest number of construction site fatalities. Every week, approximately 70 people are injured, and 12 people die due to vehicle crashes in work zones, and on average about two of those deaths are roadway construction workers. The remainder are drivers or passengers passing through the area. Although this number has been declining for over a decade, over 100 construction workers die in these situations every year.
Aside from roadside fatalities, the most common causes of deaths on construction sites are due to the following issues:
- Falls — 385 deaths annually
- Getting Hit by Falling Objects — 93 deaths annually
- Electrocutions — 82 deaths annually
- Becoming Compressed, Stuck, or Caught Between Heavy Equipment or Other Materials — 72 deaths annually
Construction workers also face a wide range of injuries. They may suffer injuries that lead to amputations, blindness, deafness, broken bones, back injuries, burns, comas, concussions, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries as well as a long list of other lasting effects. If you are injured on a construction site and you are not able to work as a result of your injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation, and in some cases, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party.
Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program to help protect workers. Essentially, your employer pays premiums to the state workers’ compensation program. Then, if you get hurt on the job, you can make a claim to the workers’ compensation program.
Generally, workers’ compensation covers your medical bills while also providing you with some reimbursement for lost wages. Your compensation is based on your income, and as of 2018, the maximum weekly payment in Massachusetts is $1,383.41, and the minimum payment is $276.68. The Commissioner of the Division of Unemployment Assistance adjusts these rates every October based on average weekly wages in the commonwealth.
In exchange for workers’ compensation coverage, employees agree not to bring lawsuits against their employers. However, it’s also important to note that this rule does not apply in every situation, and there are situations where you may be able to bring forward a personal injury or a wrongful death suit related to an injury or death on a work site. If your claim has been denied, a lawyer can help you deal with the workers’ compensation board successfully.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) makes rules to keep construction sites and other work environments safe, and in some cases, if your injury is a result of an OSHA violation, you may legally be permitted to make a claim outside the workers’ compensation system. OSHA has a variety of safety regulations and guidelines, and the ones that seem to be ignored the most are as follows:
- Failure to provide fall protection equipment and failure to train workers about the importance of fall arrest systems
- Miscommunications about hazards
- Issues with scaffolding, including failure to set up correctly or lack of safety equipment on and around scaffolding
- Failure to provide respiratory protection to workers
- Issues with ladders
- Issues with industrial trucks, including failure to maintain trucks, not setting and following safety procedures, or failing to train workers
- Lack of machinery guards
- Electrical wiring hazards
Personal Injury Cases Related to Construction Sites
Workers’ compensation rules only come into play when a worker is injured while working for an employer. If you are an independent contractor and you are not directly employed by the company handling the construction, you can bring forward a personal injury case against your client (the company handling the construction). Similarly, if you are employed by a contractor and you are injured due to the construction project’s general contractor, you may also be able to bring forward a lawsuit.
Typically, to bring forward a personal injury lawsuit, you need to prove that the other party was negligent and that their actions caused your injury. If there is an employee-employer relationship, you also have to establish that the circumstances were outside of the workers’ compensation agreement. For instance, if your boss assaults you, that doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of worker’s compensation.
In other cases, a lawyer may be able to help you identify other culprits who bear liability for your damages. For instance, if you were injured due to faulty equipment or defective machines, you may be able to make a claim against the manufacturer of those machines. Additionally, if you are not working on the construction site but you get injured while touring or walking past the site, you too may be entitled to compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Note that if you bring forward a personal injury claim and you are also entitled to workers’ compensation, the workers’ compensation may put a lien against your claim. In other words, you may have to repay funds you received from the workers’ compensation board out of your personal injury settlement, but this rule varies depending on the specifics of the case.
Getting Help After a Construction Site Accident
At Tinti, Quinn, Grover, and Frey, we help clients with a variety of legal needs. We have experience working with clients who have personal injury claims, and if you have been injured or if a loved one has died on a construction site, we can help you decide which steps to take next.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We look forward to helping you get the justice, financial compensation, and peace of mind you deserve after an injury or the death of a loved one on a construction site.