Construction is a comparatively dangerous industry for workers; the fatality rate in this field of work is higher than the national average across all other industries, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). There are hazardous conditions that workers have to deal with on a daily basis, and even when workers take the utmost care and necessary safety precautions, they still get hurt on the job at an alarmingly high rate.
Types of Accidents
With dangerous building materials strewn about — tools, equipment and machinery — plus, poorly trained staff and haphazard crew management in some cases, it’s little wonder why the rate of construction site injuries is so high. According to OSHA, the following are some of the most common types of job-site accidents:
- Falls from heights
- Being struck by an object
- Caught in or between two objects
- Scaffolding accidents
- Trench collapses
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Slips, trips and falls on stairways
- Chemical burns, respiratory problems, fires and explosions
- Forklift turnover accidents
- Blows to the head
Serious Construction Site Injuries
When construction workers are involved in an on-site accident, injuries are often very serious or fatal. Of the nearly 4,000 workers killed in private industry in 2013, 20% of them worked in construction. Often, when the worker survives, they sustain catastrophic injury and permanent disability. Below are a few examples of injuries of this nature:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries
- Severed extremities (amputation)
- Spinal cord damage and paralysis
- Severe fractures
- Disease and respiratory issues due to exposure to chemicals
- Crushing injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Major internal injuries and organ damage
Who is liable for the accident?
Determining liability in construction site incidents can be difficult because there are so many potential parties involved. The liable party is based on the type of employment system in place and the extent and nature of the primary party’s control over the worksite.
Below are a few examples of parties that might be liable:
- Property owner
- Site caretaker
- Primary contractors
- Crew managers
- Company owner
- Materials suppliers
- Parts and equipment manufacturers
What to Do if You Sustained a Construction Site Injury
The first thing you should do if injured at a construction site is to tend to your medical needs and inform the person in charge onsite and/or your employer. Make sure to write down the names of the people to whom you reported the accident. You may then file a workers’ compensation claim to recover benefits under Washington law. You may recover medical benefits, wage replacement and more.
If a party other than you, a co-worker or your employer is to blame, you may be able to file a third-party liability claim against the responsible party.
Start a file to keep copies of all your medical bills and injury-related paperwork. Then start gathering any information about your accident that you can. If possible, you can take photos of the accident scene, as well as photos of your injuries. Write down the names and contact info of anyone who witnessed your accident or who might testify on your behalf, if need be.
Next, set up a consultation with an attorney who can evaluate your case and determine if you have a valid claim. Your attorney can review the facts around the accident, determine liability and then explain your legal options so that you can make an informed decision. If all the elements are present and you are eligible to file a claim or lawsuit, your attorney can start building your case and pursuing a fair settlement for you and your family.
We Can Help
Contact Calbom & Schwab to review your options for workers’ compensation and third-party construction accident claims. Call us today at 844-334-5461 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.