Construction Site Accidents
Construction accident liability can be a complicated subject given the many different ways a person can be injured at a job site and the variety of different companies or persons who may be liable for negligently causing the injury. So, if you’ve been injured on the job, it’s a natural response to ask about just who exactly is liable for your injuries? If you find yourself the victim of a personal injury accident while at work or visiting a construction site, then you need to consult with a construction accident lawyer who is well practiced in construction accident law and personal injury law. The personal injury lawyers at Jackel & Phillips can help.
Can I sue my employer for workplace injuries?
One of the first questions that an injured employee may ask is… can I sue my employer for a workplace injury? The general answer to the question is “no” because of worker’s compensation. There are, however, limited exceptions to the workers’ compensation rule and, more importantly, there may be other liable parties (other than the employer) who are responsible for an employee’s injuries.
So what is workers’ compensation? In a nutshell, regardless of who is at fault, an employee with a work-related illness or injury can make a claim to workers’ compensation benefits which pays for medical bills and wages while away from work. Workers’ compensation has often been called a “grand bargain” in that employees can receive benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses regardless of who is at fault. However, in exchange for this compensation without fault, the employee is prohibited from suing their employers for additional damages like pain and suffering.
As mentioned, there are some limited exceptions to this general rule. Such exceptions may be if the employer fails to pay for a workers compensation insurance policy or if the employer has acted intentionally to injure the employee.
A huge factor which should be considered, however, is that an injured employee may be able to sue a third party (which is a legal way of referring to someone other than your employer) who was responsible for the injury, such as the manufacturer of a defective product or a driver working for a different company in a work-related car accident.
On The Job Injuries Occur More Often Than You Think
Unfortunately, construction site injuries are incredibly common. For example, according to The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 1 in 10 construction workers is injured every year. There are a few main causes of accidents on construction sites. Accidents can usually be broken down into categories. According to Construct Connect, these are sometimes referred to as the “Fatal Four.” These include:
- Falls – From Scaffolding, Roofs and Ladders;
- Being Struck By An Object;
- Electrocutions- Wiring, Electrical Devices; and,
- Caught In/Between.
Parts and Materials are often responsible for injuries on the job site. For example, pipes, lumber, nails, ducts, as well as electrical parts. Tripping over materials, falling into materials, or being struck by falling materials are all risks on construction sites. Between 2002 and 2012, nearly 20% of all workplace deaths happened in the construction industry. These statistics are alarming, and this issue is universal enough that there is now even an official Construction Safety Week. As recently as February of 2018, two construction workers were injured by falling rebar on the job site. Other examples of personal injuries that can occur on a construction site include:
- Fires and explosions
- Machinery accidents
- Vehicle accidents
- Scaffolding collapses
Visitor Injury At Work Site
Workers at a busy construction site are usually well-versed in workplace dangers. However, visitors to a work site are not so educated and are especially vulnerable to injuries from a variety of causes including negligent operation of heavy machinery, improper scaffold construction, wrongful and/or improper excavations, faulty ceilings, and defective floor and wall structures. Unlike an employee of a company, a non-employee visitor is not limited by the rules of workers’ compensation. Therefore, it is all the more important to consult with a construction injury attorney like the law firm of Jackel & Phillips.
Who is responsible?
How do you figure out who is liable when you’ve experienced a construction site accident? This might feel overwhelming, because the answer isn’t normally “cut and dry.” Unlike most personal injury cases, there are multiple people who might be responsible in the case of a personal injury construction site accident. There are regulations for job sites, determined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). For example, if the person(s) responsible for maintaining the job site don’t comply with the regulations, that person may be held responsible if he or she works for a different company.
It’s also possible that equipment malfunctioned resulting in your personal injury. A supervisor might even be held responsible if he encouraged or allowed misuse of equipment that led to an injury. Contractors and subcontractors are both responsible for providing a safe environment for both employees and bystanders. Construction site owners, and even architects or engineers could be responsible when something goes wrong on a construction site. Manufacturers of equipment (if machinery is faulty) could also be liable. The responsible party may be liable due to negligence or intentional misconduct. Even in the case of negligence, it is important to remember that accidentally ignoring responsibilities for safety is still grounds to hold someone accountable and liable. Construction site regulations exist for the greater safety and protection of employees and bystanders. Improper training and supervision of employees is one of the leading causes of negligence that leads to accidents. If you have cause to believe that a contractor, subcontractor, site owner or other party failed to act reasonably, you may have a case for a personal injury claim. A lawyer at Jackel & Phillips can help determine if the circumstances surrounding your accident mean that someone can be held liable.
We Can Help!
You can be assured that, if your job injury is serious, the responsible company’s legal team will hire investigators and photographers to prepare a defense for any civil action. Therefore, it is important to have an attorney on your side to help you evaluate your potential claim and, just as importantly, help you determine the legally responsible parties.
In other words, a lawyer can research and/or hire a private investigator to research critical facts and issues such as the ownership of the construction site and/or the cause of your injury, A good construction attorney can then contact the appropriate companies and demand access to the construction site to preserve evidence or at least place the responsible party on notice that if evidence is not preserved then legal consequences will follow. When necessary, a lawyer can go ahead and immediately file a lawsuit or injunction to help ensure that evidence is not destroyed. More often than not, the faster an attorney gets involved, the better it is for the injured person. Indeed, time is often the victim’s worst enemy in construction accident cases because the construction site is a quickly changing environment where workplaces change, workers move, and witness memories fade.
If you’ve experienced a construction site injury or accident, you deserve to know your options. A personal injury lawyer at Jackel & Phillips has the experience and knowledge necessary to help you get the compensation you deserve. During this difficult time, compensation for missed work and hospital bills can make all the difference. If you’ve suffered a personal injury, don’t hesitate. In Georgia, the statute of limitations on personal injury claims is only two years. Acting fast can help personal injury lawyers get the most accurate information about your accident to help build your case. At Jackel & Phillips, consultations are cost-free and commitment free. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain by reaching out to schedule a consultation.
To learn more about personal injury law, your options when you’ve suffered an accident, and how Jackel & Phillips can help you, visit mariettalawyers.com or call the number above to schedule a free consultation today with an experienced personal injury attorney.
At Jackel & Phillips, we have the experience, knowledge and compassion you need for the results you deserve