Construction is one of the most dangerous industries for American workers. There are many reasons why construction sites are so hazardous. Construction companies must be held accountable for accidents that injure their workers, inspectors, or passersby, as this is the only way to discourage these companies from allowing unsafe conditions on their work sites.
Injury victims should consult with a California construction accident law firm as soon as possible after any type of construction-related work accident. Our dedicated experienced construction accident lawyers are here to answer all your questions. Learn more about the dangers construction workers face, common types of construction accidents, what to do after a construction accident, and how to find the right construction accident law firm for your particular case.
November 2020: $9M settlement in a mild traumatic brain injury case involving a construction worker injured at the jobsite.– Brian Beecher
The construction industry is consistently rated among having the most fatalities in any sector in the American workforce. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about one out of every five occupation deaths in the United States private sector in 2019 was in the construction industry. One thousand sixty-one construction workers died that year.
Far more were seriously injured, and many of these injury victims will be unable to work again. The financial costs of construction accidents are staggering. The emotional costs to workers, families, friends, and loved ones can be even more significant.
But why, exactly, are construction sites so dangerous? There are many factors that lead to the high rate of construction accidents. First, much of the work is done at high levels, which increases the risk of falls. OSHA reports that falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.
Second, many sites use scaffolding and other temporary structural supports. If these are not properly erected and maintained, they can collapse and cause serious injuries – or even death. Third, construction sites often have heavy machinery.
Cranes, dump trucks, and other large equipment can cause severe accidents if they are not used safely. Even smaller machinery – like a backhoe or a baler – can still cause severe injuries if workers are not trained and appropriately supervised. And finally, a lot of construction work involves electricity in some form.
This fact increases the chance of electrocution and electrical burns. Gas leaks can also cause injuries, and workers are in danger any time utilities are being disconnected or reconnected. But which of these hazards are most common? OSHA has identified the four most common causes of fatal construction accidents.
With targeted education campaigns and research, OSHA aims to reduce these “Fatal Four” hazards in order to decrease the number of construction fatalities. Business and Learning Resources reports on these factors. In order from highest to least number of deaths caused, they are:
The “Fatal Four” account for the majority of construction fatalities every year. These common hazards lead to some of the most common types of construction accidents, and the experienced accident lawyers at our award-winning personal injury firm are familiar with these hazards.
Here are some of the most common types of accidents that occur on construction sites:
A lot of construction work is done above ground level. Because of this, workers face the risk of falling - often from a fatal height. Construction companies must supply workers with adequate training and safety equipment to prevent falls.
Scaffolding and other structural supports are, by nature, temporary. Thus, they are less sturdy than permanent support structures, and therefore more likely to collapse. Scaffolding collapses can occur due to the negligence of the company that installed or maintained them or as a result of defective materials.
Cranes are known to be highly dangerous. Construction companies must secure special insurance, bonds, and permits to operate them because of these known dangers. Workers who are injured in crane accidents are entitled to compensation.
Construction sites almost always have uneven ground littered with nails, rebar, wood scraps, and other debris. These building materials and unsteady walkways can cause slip and fall injuries. Such injuries are prevalent during times of low visibility: at night, during inclement weather, and any time the worksite does not have adequate lighting.
Fires break can out on construction sites for many reasons. Sometimes there are flammable materials on the site that have not been properly stored. Other times, utility lines are not secured or appropriately connected, leading to electrical fires or fires caused by gas leaks.
(Improper utility connections can also lead to gas inhalation, electrocution, and other serious injuries.) If the site does not have proper fire abatement procedures, the scope of damage and injuries from a fire can become quite devastating.
Construction workers who are injured on the job often have a workers' compensation claim against their employer. But they might also have a products liability claim against the manufacturer of a defective product that injured them. For example: if a large backhoe has faulty brakes, the operator might not be able to stop it in time to avoid injuries.
Or perhaps the construction company issued safety goggles to its employees, but they had defective straps, and the construction workers suffered eye injuries as a result. Defective machinery and products can cause injuries in construction accidents.
The construction industry has a high rate of worker exposure to toxic substances. A considerable number of building materials contain substances that can be toxic - especially when a worker is exposed to them over the course of months or years. Drywall, insulation, particleboard, caulk, paint, and many other substances can irritate the eyes, ears, throat, and lungs.
Some of these substances can cause long-term health complications or chronic conditions such as asthma to develop. Some even cause cancer. Workers are entitled to compensation for the injuries they suffer as a result of exposure to toxic substances on the job site.
There are several critical steps to take after a construction accident in order to protect your health and legal rights. First, be sure to get any immediate medical attention that is needed. Even if you do not leave the scene in an ambulance, it is still essential to be checked by a doctor as soon as possible.
Find a local urgent care facility or emergency department where you can be screened for latent injuries. Some injuries do not show up right away but can quickly become life-threatening if they are not treated right away. Internal bleeding and brain injuries are common culprits.
You might not recognize the symptoms right away, but a doctor could quickly identify the problem by checking your blood pressure or doing a quick mental evaluation. Doing this could save your life. Even if you end up not having these injuries, it is still vital to prove that you went to a doctor.
Insurance companies can try to reduce your compensation if you delayed getting medical treatment or did not follow through on the treatment that was recommended. By proving that you had a clean bill of health, you can protect your legal right to be fairly compensated for all your injuries and losses.
Once you have attended to your immediate medical needs, it is crucial to find a construction accident law firm as soon as possible. A construction lawyer will take quick steps to protect your legal rights. For example: as soon as the insurance company learns that you have representation, they are no longer allowed to contact you about your claim.
All communications must go through your attorney’s office. Doing this protects you from accidentally saying something that could be used against you to reduce the value of your claim. Your attorney will also shield you from requests for recorded statements, medical records, and other inappropriate requests for evidence that could hurt your case.
Your injury lawyer will gather the proper evidence and submit it at the right time, along with a demand for appropriate compensation. By hiring a lawyer, you will not only save yourself the hassle of this paperwork, but you will be able to rest assured that it is being done correctly and no excessive information is being provided to the insurance company that is working against you.
So how do you know which construction accident law firm is right for you? It is essential to work with a legal team that has experience relevant to your particular case. Look for lawyers who have handled claims involving injuries similar to yours or construction accidents that were similar to yours. Ask the lawyer what his or her legal strategy will be for handling your claim.
If they seem unsure of how to proceed, they likely do not have the experience necessary to manage your claim appropriately. Ask about all the legal claims you have. After a construction accident, an injury victim could have a workers compensation claim, a products liability claim, and a negligence claim – all from the same accident.
Your injury lawyer must know about all the claims you have and all the sources of compensation (such as insurance policies) that are available to cover your losses. If not, you could miss out on compensation to which you are legally entitled.
The tragic fact is that not all injury victims will survive construction accidents. When this happens, the defendants do not simply get “off the hook” for providing compensation. Surviving family members and legal heirs still have the right to compensation through both insurance contracts and state statutes.
Workers’ compensation policies often have specified death benefits. Survivors may elect to take these set benefits allowed by contract. California’s workers’ compensation laws make these benefits the default remedy for surviving family members after a worker is killed on the job.
There are certain exceptions to this rule, however, so it is sometimes possible for survivors to file a wrongful death claim against the employer instead. Consult with a dedicated construction accident lawyer from our firm to see which of these remedies is available to you – and which is most appropriate in your case.
In some cases, the employer is not legally responsible (“liable”) for the employee’s death. A third party might have caused the death. As discussed, construction site accidents can sometimes be caused by defective machinery or safety goggles, and this can give rise to a products liability claim.
Surviving family members are entitled to file a products liability claim against a manufacturer for all the losses stemming from their loved one’s wrongful death. Often, a wrongful death claim includes compensation for losses that are not covered under workers’ compensation death benefits. Because of this, it is best to work with a construction accident law firm that knows how to investigate all potential claims to get as much compensation as possible for your losses.
After an untimely death, your financial and emotional losses are significant. The law recognizes this. These considerable losses lead to substantial awards in many wrongful death cases.
You could spend hours on the internet searching for “construction accident attorneys near me,” but you don’t have to look far. The best injury lawyers in California are right here at Arash Law led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. Our skilled accident lawyers have decades of experience and know how to handle all types of construction accident cases.
We serve clients in San Francisco, Riverside, Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California. We have collected over $500 million dollars for clients across the state. California injury victims trust our team to protect their legal rights, and we will fight hard for you, too.
Don’t let the insurance company try to talk you out of fair compensation for your injuries and losses. Let our skilled legal team protect your legal rights so you can focus on getting better. Call (888) 488-1391 or complete our online intake form to schedule your free consultation.