Construction Accidents Law
Construction Site Accidents: Determining Fault
Nearly 10 percent of non-fatal injuries and illnesses each year are the result of construction site accidents, according to the CDC. Unfortunately, the causes and circumstances of such incidents are numerous and varied, so it can be difficult to determine construction accident liability.
Being familiar with the most common types of construction site accidents can help you understand what happened and determine who is at fault and liable for your resulting injuries. These are the types of incidents most likely to occur on a construction site:
- Falls – Construction workers are at risk for falling from roofs, ladders, cranes, scaffolding, and other raised locations around construction sites.
- Falling objects – Because workers are on ladders, scaffolding, and other raised surfaces, there is a greater risk of those workers dropping objects onto other workers below them.
- Equipment-related accidents – With the use of equipment such as forklifts, nail guns, and other heavy machinery, there is an increased risk of injury from defective or dangerous products.
- Backovers and crushed-betweens – Large trucks and heavy machinery moving around the construction site can lead to workers being backed over or crushed between vehicles, walls, or other objects.
- Fires and explosions – The use of hazardous materials like exposed wires, flammable chemicals, and leaking liquids can lead to serious or fatal injuries.
- Collapses – Sometimes trenches or buildings can collapse, leading to serious injury or death for workers inside.
- Repetitive-motions injuries and overexertion – The hard physical labor on construction sites can lead to repetitive-motion injuries, muscle and joint damage, heatstroke, and even hypothermia, depending on the temperature and work conditions.
- High lead levels – Some construction sites deal with high levels of lead exposure.
- Respiratory diseases – Construction sites also deal with products like asbestos, silica, and other dusts that can cause serious respiratory diseases.
- In addition to these common ailments, there is a chance of broken bones, cuts, amputations, and hearing loss on many construction sites.
When a construction accident occurs those who have been injured may have the option to file a workers' compensation claim or to file a lawsuit seeking damages.
Because the site’s workers are the most likely to be injured, they are also the most likely to seek compensation. There is some form of workers’ compensation in place in all 50 states, and these regulations provide some type of compensation for employees who are injured, even if the employer was not negligent.
In addition to the construction site workers, there are other people who could potentially be injured in one of these accidents. For example, pedestrians passing the site could be hit by falling debris, or homeowners and their visitors near the construction site could encounter danger that leads to injury. A child who wanders onto the site could meet conditions that result in injuries as well. Many of these people can file a lawsuit after an accident on the construction site.
Construction site accidents can be complex when determining what happened and who is at fault and liable for the injuries that occurred. Most states have adopted the regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Whoever is in control of the job site, whether that is a general contractor or a sub-contractor, is also in charge of making sure that the OSHA regulations are being met effectively.
In some circumstances, the construction company may assume liability for the accident. When a company begins work on a construction site, it must take reasonable steps to prepare the area of the construction and to warn the public where applicable. For example, public sidewalks near the construction site must be free from construction materials and other debris. The company must place barriers and warning lights near pits and other potentially dangerous areas of the construction site.
Because accidents can occur both without any clear cause and as a result of serious negligence, construction site issues can be complex. Meeting with a skilled attorney who can assess OSHA safety standards compliance, engineering issues, and liability determinations will help you better understand your case. Your accident claim and the results of an investigation into the construction site will determine the results of your case. Having a knowledgeable attorney who will lead you through this often-complicated process will help you get the most out of your accident claim.