The attorneys at the Brannon Law Firm handle personal injury cases, including those involving Construction Accidents. If you have been injured in a Construction Accident you may be able to make a legal claim for the harms and losses you have suffered. This can include both a claim for Workers Compensation and a separate claim against a negligent party. Information on what Construction Accidents are and what it might mean for you can be found below. Additionally, the personal injury attorneys at the Brannon Law Firm invite you to contact us at 937-228-2306 or 1-800-VERDICT for a free consultation to learn about your claim.
What are Construction Accidents?
A Construction Accident is any accident that occurs on a construction site. This can include but is not limited to injuries suffered by people working at a construction site. It is well known that construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, with many construction workers being injured and killed on the job every year. This is due to the fact that construction work is often inherently dangerous since it requires the operation of heavy machinery, large vehicles, power tools, and difficult working environments such as tall heights, partially completed structures or busy roadways. The potential for injury is even greater when proper safety precautions are not in place or safety regulations are not followed.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (known as “OSHA”) is a government agency tasked with the goal of keeping workplaces safe. OSHA accomplishes this goal by setting and enforcing various safety standards and regulations, as well as providing training and education. OSHA will also inspect various workplaces to ensure all safety regulations are being followed. OHSA is responsible for the enforcement of OSHA’s standards and regulations. Decreases in worker accidents, injuries, and lost time incidents have been linked to OSHA and OSHA standards.OSHA standards are mandatory for most private and public sector employers in all 50 states. This includes most construction companies and construction sites.
There are many different standards and regulations enforced by OSHA, many of which provide requirements for employers and rights for workers. For example, under OSHA employers are required to inform their workers about chemical hazards they may encounter, provide safety training to workers, provide personal protective equipment to their workers, and perform various tests such as air sampling in the workplace. Workers have the right to working conditions that do not pose serious risk of harm, to receive information and training about the hazards in their workplace, and to file confidential complaints with OSHA free from retaliation. All regulations created and enforced by OSHA are aimed at creating a safe working environment and reducing workplace injuries. The violation of these same rules can form the basis of a negligence claim.
When safety rules and regulations are not followed it unnecessarily increases the danger and threat of injury. It is the responsibility of construction site operators, construction workers, and especially employers to ensure that they conduct themselves in the proper manner and that they take their responsibility for the safety of everyone on the construction site seriously. Some examples of Construction Accidents are listed below.
- Falls – Often from unstable scaffolding, ladders, roofs, or unmarked drop-offs
- Being Struck By a Falling Object
- Caught-in/Between Accidents – Where a worker is trapped or crushed in-between objects, often heavy machinery or vehicles
- Electrocutions – Often from exposed wires, extension cords, and power lines
- Vehicle Accidents – Accidents involving powered vehicles are common, such as rollovers, collisions with other vehicles, and striking workers
- Crane Accidents – Such as collapses, dropping of loads, or collisions
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Machine or Equipment Failure – Especially with power tools such as power saws and nail guns
- Thermal and Chemical Burns
- Safety Equipment Failure
- Heavy Equipment Accidents – forklift, backhoe, bulldozer, crane, track hoe
Consequences of Construction Accidents can be far ranging. They can be minor injuries such as bumps or bruises, or more serious injuries such as neck injuries, back injuries, head injuries, fractures or broken bones and even death. In the event of a Construction Accident you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Additionally, although it is not always practicable you or a friend should try and document the cause of the injury by reporting it the company in charge of the construction site and taking pictures with a cell phone camera. By reporting the accident the dangerous situation can be addressed immediately to prevent injury to others. It is also likely that subsequent investigations conducted by OSHA and other governmental agencies will help to identify the cause of accidents.
Legal Significance of Construction Accidents
Construction accident cases are often complicated due to the fact that they may involve claims for negligence, employer intentional torts, products liability and/or Workers Compensation. When determining which claims should be pursed there are a multitude of factors that need to be evaluated. This often involves an extensive investigation of the accident and utilization of experts in a particular specialty. This is often done independent of any investigation conducted by OSHA or any other governmental entity. An experienced personal injury attorney should be utilized to do the investigation and make these determinations.
If it was a worker who was injured, while in the scope and course of his employment on a construction site, the claim will likely involve Worker’s Compensation. In Ohio the Worker’s Compensation system provides a source of recovery for injured workers regardless of fault. This means that most workplace accidents are covered monetarily by employers through the Worker’s Compensation system. In some cases, Worker’s Compensation will be sufficient to cover all aspects of a Construction Accident while other cases will require that claims be pursed against other at fault parties. If claims are pursued against other at fault parties you should be aware that the amounts paid by Workers Compensation may become subrogated and subject to reimbursement in the event that a recovery is made against another party. Due to the complicated nature of subrogated claims, it is best to consult a personal injury attorney to determine how it may affect your particular case.
When considering claims against other parties, it is always important to determine if the accident was caused by someone who was not working or employed by the same company as the injured party. This is because the Workers Compensation system significantly limits an injured parties ability to pursue claims against a co-worker or employer. If however, the person on a jobsite was injured by a person or company that was not the employer of an injured party claims can generally be pursed against that person or entity who is at fault in causing the accident. For example, if an employee of company A on a jobsite negligently operates a crane and injures a person working for company B then a claim can generally be made against company A and its employee. If however the employee of company A negligently operates a crane and injures one of his co-workers who also works for company A, then the claim may be prohibited since it would be covered under the Workers Compensation system.
Many of the claims that are made against other parties in Construction Accident cases are based upon negligence. In order to prove negligence the injured party must show that a person or legal entity owed a legal duty to the injured party under the circumstances, that the duty was breached by acting or failing to act in a certain way and that the breach was the proximate cause of the injures. In these circumstances the duty generally equates to the standard or care that is reasonable under the circumstances. The duty may also be premised upon a law or safety rule such as those promulgated by OSHA. For example, a crane operator is required to operate the crane in accordance with the safety rules. If the crane operator violates a safety rule and a person is injured by the crane as a result it can be said that the crane operator was negligent.
A claim for an employer intentional tort also occurs outside of the Workers Compensation system. Generally an employer intentional tort is where the employer acts or fails to act in such a way as to intend to cause an employee to suffer an injury, a disease, a condition or death.
These intentional actions often involve violating safety regulations or precautions. For example, some employers will remove safety guards on power tools, emergency shut-off switches, or safety railings. Other employers will completely ignore safety regulations These intentional wrongful acts can all potentially give rise to a claim for an employer intentional tort.
Likewise, Construction Accidents that occur due to defective products also occur outside of the Workers Compensation system. A defective product is any product that causes injury to a person due to faulty labeling, a design defect or defective manufacturing. On a construction site this could include but is not limited to injuries caused by heavy equipment, vehicles, power tools, or construction materials that may become dangerous due to their malfunction. When this happens, a proper course of action may be a products liability claim against the manufacturers or retailers of that product or machine. The evaluation of a products liability claim generally requires another layer of investigation into the cause of the accident with a focus on the product or machine that caused the injury.
Given the variety of claims that may be brought as the result of a Construction Accident it is clear that any claim can quickly become complex and confusing. While the information above describes some of the most common claims related to Construction Accident cases it is by no means an exhaustive list. As such, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to learn which claims may be appropriate for any given accident or injury.
Seeking Legal Counsel and Guidance
If you have experienced a Construction Accident and have been harmed as a result, you may be able to make a legal claim for the harms and losses you have suffered. The personal injury attorneys at the Brannon Law Firm have the skill, experience and investigative resources to discover if you have a claim and can hold those at fault accountable for the harms and losses they have caused. Construction accidents are preventable. They are caused by the error, improper action, or lack of action by individuals or organizations tasked with the safety of others. It is important to hold those individuals or organizations to the proper safety standards.
Additionally, the consequences of personal injuries suffered as a result of a Construction Accident may be difficult, both financially and emotionally. Medical treatment may be necessary, which can be severe, long lasting, and result in costly medical bills. Furthermore, as a result of your injuries, you may experience a multitude of issues, such as persistent pain, difficulty in performing everyday tasks, loss of income and a decrease in quality of life. It is important to ensure you have the assistance and care that you deserve to live the best life possible. The Brannon Law Firm can help with that process.
At the Brannon law Firm, we have represented individuals who were unfortunate victims of Construction Accidents. We have obtained favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients in Construction Accident cases. We invite you to contact us, either at 937-228-2306 or 1-800-VERDICT for a free consultation. The Brannon Law Firm is proud to serve clients in Dayton and throughout the State of Ohio.