Construction sites can be dangerous places, with everything from heavy equipment to defective ladders to the other employees as potential hazards. For a construction worker, injuries at the job site can be painful, devastating, and sometimes require lengthy recovery and rehabilitation time. The experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates understand the types of accidents that occur on construction sites. We can help a construction worker, whether union or non-union, secure the benefits to which he or she is entitled.
You can’t assume that your employer is looking out for your best interests following an on-the-job injury, no matter how clear it is that you need hospital treatment, medicine, or the attention of a doctor. Compensation for your ongoing disabilities is not automatic. Our attorneys know that construction companies and their Workers’ Compensation insurance carriers often try to limit claims resulting from construction site accidents, hoping to avoid costly settlements. We have the experience and knowledge to form a defense team that will protect your rights and maximize your benefits through a cash settlement, weekly payments for lost wages, payment of expensive medical bills and if necessary, fighting in court against the insurance company to get you the benefits you deserve.
Construction Workers Can Fall Victim to Many Workplace Accidents
Construction site accidents can range from simple trip-and-fall mishaps on slippery surfaces to injuries suffered from electrocutions or due to a job site explosion or fire. The job might be in demolition, remodeling, general labor, or heavy construction; and the types of employees who are at risk include carpenters, plumbers, electricians, iron workers plasterers, day laborers, equipment operators, general laborers and apprentices. The workplace injuries can occur after ladder or scaffolding accidents, crane accidents, power tool or machinery malfunctions, collisions between job trucks and heavy equipment or common place accidents due to the dangerous nature of these jobs.
Falls from heights, or even simple slip and trip accidents on cluttered job sites, can also result in painful injuries that require a doctor’s attention. The insurance carrier, in a covered workplace accident and in accordance with Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation law, will pay for lost wages, medical care, and may be required to compensate you for resulting disabilities that affect your future work ability.
Construction workers face great risks in order to perform an important job. Construction work is inherently dangerous because it combines strenuous physical labor, heavy machinery, electricity and working at great heights. Any number of things can go wrong. Not only are workers at risk, but even a passerby can be injured. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgates safety standards that every employer should follow, but sadly, the desire to meet deadlines and profit often prevails over safety considerations.
These four causes of construction-related accidents account for more than half of all fatalities in the industry: fall injuries, being caught between objects, electrocution and being struck by objects. Falls represent the most common cause of injury over all. Eliminating the fatal four risk factors would save the lives of approximately 435 American construction workers every year.
Construction accidents can result in serious physical injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Chemical burns
- Internal bleeding
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of limbs (amputation)
- Muscle sprains
- Overexertion injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
The cost of treating these serious workplace injuries can place overwhelming financial stress on injured construction workers and their families.
What Can I Do if I’ve Been Injured on a Construction Site?
First, injured workers may file for Workers’ Compensation. Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault insurance that provides workers injured on-the-job with lost wages and covers medical expenses. Even if the employee negligently contributed to his or her own injury, these benefits are still available. However, it is important to know that injured construction workers who elect to claim Workers’ Compensation benefits surrender their right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Injured workers generally collect less through Workers’ Compensation than they would recover through a personal injury lawsuit, but the benefits are guaranteed and paid in a timely fashion. There are no guarantees with a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, Workers’ Compensation benefits may be an injured worker’s exclusive remedy.
In some cases, an injured worker may elect to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer, a subcontractor, property site owner, engineer, architect, equipment manufacturer, designer or distributor. When a worker files a lawsuit against someone who is not their direct employer, the lawsuit is referred to as a third party liability claim. Anyone who carelessly or recklessly maintained a construction site may be held liable for their negligence if someone is injured as a result. If you are injured as a result of intentional conduct, such as an angry co-worker intentionally strikes you with a tool, they can also be held liable through a personal injury lawsuit.
Individuals who are not working on site, but are injured while passing by, may also elect to file a personal injury lawsuit against any party responsible for their injury. Our Bucks County construction accident lawyers at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates are adept at tracking down all responsible parties and holding them accountable.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, you should:
- Seek medical treatment right away
- Get any witness names and contact information
- Log all communication with potentially responsible parties
- Keep detailed records of your medical treatment and expenses
- Contact an experienced Workers’ Compensation or personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident so that they can have your case prepared before the statute of limitations forecloses your claim.
If you elect to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, there are strict laws that govern compensation. You will only be entitled to compensation for lost wages (temporary or permanent depending on your injury), medical bills and vocational rehabilitation. Those who opt to collect Workers’ Compensation are not entitled to benefits for pain and suffering.
If you file a personal injury lawsuit, you are entitled to recover lost earnings, lost earning capacity, medical bills, future medical expenses, permanent impairment, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life (hedonic damages), among other damages.
Bucks County Workman’s Comp Lawyers Can Help You
If you have been injured in a construction accident, the experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates can help you explore all avenues of compensation, including a potential third-party liability, personal injury claim. For a free consultation, call us at (215) 355-6400 or contact us online today.