The most common workplace accidents in the nation are construction accidents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics for the US Department of Labor conducted a study which showed that there are between five and six thousand deaths caused by construction accidents annually. Most construction companies provide safety training to workers; however serious accidents are still happening with great frequency. Construction is, without question, the most dangerous industry due to the many potential hazards that are always present.
Construction companies in California, as well as the many trades, are required carry worker’s compensation insurance. This insurance is provided to pay for the medical bills of an injured worker who is hurt on the job. It also provides the employer protection against a lawsuit filed by an injured worker. In many cases, however, the accident that caused the injury may have been wholly or partly the fault of a third party. This third party may be a different contractor or sub-contractor such as the steel erector, electrical contractor or HVAC contractor or excavator, as examples. It may also be the fault of the property owner, a delivery company or one of many others present on the site. If a third party is at fault compensation may be sought for future medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering and more. Without a skilled workplace accident attorney with experience in construction accidents the case would be virtually impossible to unravel. Workers compensation laws are complex. Add to the complexity the possibility of one or more responsible parties and the case becomes an entanglement of facts and finger pointing.
Some of the accidents that can occur on construction sites that are often the fault of a third party are:
· Falls – Falls from scaffolding, ladders, structures and other elevations are the most common cause of serious injuries and fatalities on construction sites.
· Machinery and equipment accidents – The constant presence of construction equipment such as loaders, trucks, cranes and rollers presents a daily hazard for workers on construction sites.
· Falling tools and materials – Despite hardhat regulations, persons, both workers and non-workers, are still injured by falling materials. The material may have been dropped by a crane, forklift or loader, blown or dropped from the structure or scaffolding. Hardhats reduce traumatic brain injury but a falling I-beam or welding tank is no match.
· Trench accidents – Trenches are excavated for underground pipes, cables and below-grade access. They are often unstable and can collapse if the ground is not properly prepared or has become saturated. Most often, however, it is a worker who falls into a trench that is injured.
· Electrocution – A trained electrical worker is the most likely to be the victim of electrocution, rather than a non-electrical worker meeting a live wire. Complacency around high voltage is the number one cause of electrocution on construction sites.
· Welding Accidents – Welding is a skill that requires proper training. Even a master welder can be seriously injured. Welding is done at extremely high temperatures to join pieces of metal together. A welding burn can be very serious and even fatal. One out of 250 construction workers will die as the result of a welding accident. Aside from burns, welders can suffer from a condition known as “arc eye’ caused by exposure to the UV rays from the arc. It is an irreversible condition that leaves the eye feeling as if there is sand in it all the time. Retinal damage can also occur from the infra-red ray exposure. Welding should never be done without a full-face shield and heavy welding gloves. It should also never be performed in the proximity or other workers.
Any person who is injured on a construction site should seek emergency medical attention immediately, regardless of how insignificant the injury may seem at the time. Once proper care has been administered, he or she should contact an experienced workplace injury attorney for an evaluation of the case. The less time following the accident the better. Construction sites change rapidly and personnel come and go. Evidence as well as witnesses may disappear making the establishment of third-party liability more difficult.
If you were injured on a construction site, contact Vititoe Law Group today for a free evaluation of your claim.