California Construction Accident Lawyers
Construction sites are the most dangerous worksites in the United States, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). More fatal injuries occur at construction sites than at any other type of workplace. Workers face a number of hazards on a regular basis, including: falls, electrocutions, trench collapses and crane accidents. When construction workers sustain injuries that affect their ability to work, it is important that they are given the support they need to recover financially and physically.
Construction Accident Statistics
According to the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 4,693 work-related fatalities in the year 2012. The number of fatal work injuries in the private construction sector increased by 5 percent to 775 from 738 the previous year. Of the 775 fatal construction injuries, 577 involved construction workers. Falls, slips and trips accounted for 36 construction- related fatalities and 10 construction workers were killed as a result of being struck by an object or piece of equipment.
Types of Construction Accidents
There are many ways in which construction workers can get hurt. Some of the types of construction accidents that can result in serious injuries include:
- Falls: Construction workers can fall from ladders, scaffolds and roofs, but the majority of falling accidents involve slips and trips. Safety devices must be provided to prevent falls from elevations and hazardous locations should be clearly marked to prevent falls.
- Crane accidents: These large machines lift and move extremely heavy cargo. Workers can get struck by falling cargo or crushed in a crane collapse accident if the machine is overloaded or improperly operated.
- Scaffolding accidents: Improperly braced scaffolds can collapse while workers are high above the ground.
- Electrical accidents: Construction workers are often around live wires and power lines that pose serious electrocution hazards.
- Ladder accidents: Falling from a ladder can result in bone fractures as well as head, neck and back injuries.
- Welding accidents: Devastating burn injuries can occur as workers are constructing large steel frames.
- Trench collapses: It is vital for worksite supervisors to ensure that trenches are properly braced and that there are ample exit points for workers in case the trench collapses.
Construction Accident Prevention
Many construction accidents are preventable through proper training and by adhering to safety protocols. Workers and their supervisors should be provided with job and safety training. It is also crucial that workers are provided adequate safety equipment such as harnesses, hard hats, gloves, welding masks and goggles. Contractors should scout the worksite for any potential hazards before allowing work to begin. Work should be halted when the weather makes it unsafe to be outside.
Injuries Suffered in Construction Accidents
It is important that victims of construction accidents seek immediate medical attention. Proper diagnoses and early treatment will increase the victim's chances of returning to work. Many workers, however, fear losing their job and therefore do not properly report their injuries or seek prompt medical attention. For example, working through a sprain, strain or neck injury can actually make the problem worse. Of course, some injuries are so severe that the victims have no choice but to seek help. Common injuries reported at construction sites include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: It is important that construction workers wear hard hats because falling debris can result in serious construction accident head injuries. Brain injuries can also result from a slip-trip-and-fall incident.
- Bone fractures: Workers who fall or who are crushed by machinery can suffer devastating bone fractures. Serious breaks require months of recovery and expensive physical therapy treatments.
- Lacerations: Workers are consistently around dangerous power tools and sharp tools and materials. Severe lacerations may require immediate surgery to close the wound and prevent infection.
- Electrocutions: If a worker makes contact with power lines or with two live wires with different voltages, he or she may experience severe burns injuries. Electrocutions are particularly dangerous when they involve high voltages and when the electrical current travels near the victim's heart.
Rights of Injured Workers
Injured construction workers have the right to see a doctor right away. They also have the right to seek financial support for their medical bills and a portion of their lost wages through workers' compensation benefits. However, workers' compensation benefits are woefully inadequate in California. In some cases, workers may be able to file a third-party claim against a party other than the employer, who may have caused or contributed to the injuries. Third-party claims are worth a lot more compared to workers' compensation benefits. Examples of third parties are contractors, sub-contractors, property owners and manufacturers of defective products.
If you have been injured at a construction site, it is important to preserve as much of the evidence as possible. If you were injured by defective machinery, it is important that the machinery is preserved for examination by an expert who can help determine if it was faulty or inadequately maintained. It would be in the best interests of victims and their families to save all receipts and bills. Document all your expenses. Get prompt medical treatment, which will prevent your condition from worsening. It may even help you return to work earlier by hastening your recovery.
The experienced California construction accident lawyers at Bisnar Chase have a long and successful track record of helping injured workers and their families obtain fair compensation for their losses. Construction accident injuries can have a physical, emotional and financial impact on individuals and their families. Catastrophic or fatal injuries could have a devastating impact, leaving families without their sole breadwinners. If you have suffered a serious injury in a construction accident or if you have lost a loved one as the result of a construction accident, please contact us at 1-800-561-4887 to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.