Construction is an industry that poses many dangers. With the large amount of heavy machinery, demolition, lifting and other hazards present at a construction site, the probability of someone becoming injured is high. Construction site injuries are often serious in nature even though construction workers take safety precautions and must adhere to safety guidelines.
Often times, construction site accidents happen due to poor planning, lack of communication or failure to properly train or warn workers of potential dangers that may be present. Many slip and fall accidents take place in construction areas due to workers walking on uneven ground and because there are many hazards to step over. Unfortunately, a hard hat may not prevent a worker from sustaining a very serious injury such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage and especially if the fall is from a considerable height.
If you’ve been injured in a California construction accident, you may be out of work temporarily or permanently, depending upon how serious your injuries are. While Worker’s Comp is in place to help you recover and get back to work, it could be that your employer or its insurance company fails to cover the full extent of your injuries or maybe your claims were denied. This is why you need to speak to a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible because an attorney can assist you in getting all the benefits you are entitled to.
Types of Injuries Sustained at Construction Sites
There are many types of construction injuries with the most common being:
Repetitive stress injuries from lifting or other repetitive motions – Many construction workers suffer from repetitive stress injuries due to continuous lifting or making other repetitive motions. This type of injury can be painful and it also can significantly hinder the sufferer’s ability to perform their job. Symptoms of these types of injuries may include intensifying pain, tingling or numbness, weakness and fatigue. These injuries are unlike other injuries that require emergency room treatment as they present themselves gradually with time.
Loss of hearing – Noise-induced hearing loss is a big problem among construction workers. According to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), over a half a million construction workers in the US are exposed to hazardous noise. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that employers must implement hearing conservation programs for workers if the noise level of the workplace is equal to or above 85dB for an average 8-hour time period. It also states that workers should not be exposed to impulsive or impact noise in excess of 140 dB.
Amputations – Construction accidents can cause amputations due to improperly maintained machinery, improper or lack of worker training, unsafe working conditions or a lack of safety guards or protective equipment. Losing a limb in an accident at work is one of the most horrific scenarios anyone could endure. If you’ve lost a limb while working at a construction site, you may be eligible for compensation for lost wages and loss of future earning capacity.
Neck and back injuries – Neck and back injuries are a frequent cause of temporary and permanent disability. Construction workers are at high risk for these injuries due to the large amount of lifting and pulling they must do while performing their job duties. Some neck and back injuries are a result of one accident event such as a fall. Construction workers often suffer from back strain, broken or compacted vertebrae, ruptured discs and spinal cord injuries which often cause irreversible damage.
Head injuries – Construction workers often suffer from head injuries that can range from mild concussions to life-altering traumatic brain injuries. A person with a serious traumatic brain injury often has cognitive problems which may include memory loss, difficulty speaking and an inability to concentrate. He or she may also have a limited sense of taste and smell and emotional issues such as personality changes and frequent mood swings.
Machinery accidents – Making a single mistake while operating construction machinery can result in a very serious injury or even death. Some of the worst construction accidents are caused by heavy machinery malfunctions. The most catastrophic construction accidents involving machinery often result in life-changing injuries such as amputations, traumatic brain injuries and even death. Surviving family members who’ve lost a loved one due to a machinery accident at a construction site may be able file a wrongful death lawsuit against whoever was responsible for making sure this type of accident does not occur.
Falls from scaffolding – Construction accidents which occur due to falls from scaffolding often result in very serious injuries including broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord injuries and neck injuries. OSHA estimates that each year, over 4,500 construction site workers in the US are injured due to falls from scaffolds.
In spite of the risk of injury that comes with construction sites, all parties involved have a responsibility to make a construction site safe including the property owner, general contractors, subcontractors and machinery & equipment suppliers. Often times, injuries occurring at construction sites are not caused by the injured worker himself or by a co-worker but rather by “outside” parties or “third parties” as they’re called. When a construction worker has been injured due to the negligence of a third party, he/she can often file a lawsuit in the civil court system to recover compensation for his/her injuries. Some examples of third party individuals and entities include:
- The property owner(s)
- Heavy equipment manufacturers
- Tool manufacturers
- Contractors not employed by the employer of the injured victim
- Scaffolding manufacturers
- Ladder manufacturers
- Material suppliers
Recoverable Damages in Construction Accidents
A person injured in a construction accident may be able to recover damages for:
- Medical and hospital expenses – both present and future costs
- Lost wages – present and estimate future earning capacity
- Professional care needed from healthcare providers such as physical therapists
- Emotional pain & suffering
- Possible loss of consortium claims for spouses of injured victims
Experienced California personal injury attorneys such as those working at Hogan Injury know exactly how to investigate accident sites to determine what or who caused an accident. If you or someone you love has been injured in a construction accident, you will need a skilled attorney by your side that understands this often complex area of law. It is never advisable to “go it alone” against an insurance company and its legal team as doing so would almost certainly result in less than favorable results. What you need is a team of dedicated and skilled legal experts fighting hard for your rights to ensure you obtain all the compensation that is rightfully yours.