Scores of construction workers across New York and other parts of the country suffer owing to serious and often life-changing injuries at work. While this field comes with its fair share of risks, workers rely on their employers, not just to follow the required safety protocols, but also to provide fair compensation in the event of an injury. Unfortunately, a significant number of people have to turn to construction site injury lawyers to get the relief they deserve.
Construction Site Injuries Statistics
Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the construction industry in the U.S. saw 1,034 fatal work injuries in 2020. This number stood at 1,102 in 2019, 1,038 in 2018, and 1,013 in 2017. When it comes to non-fatal injuries/illnesses that resulted in days away from work, this number stood at 31.4 per 10,000 full-time workers in 2020.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made a significant impact on workplace safety over the last five decades. Statistics it has released show that there were 10.9 incidents of worker injuries and illnesses per 100 workers in 1972, and this number dropped to 2.7 per 100 by 2020. Further, worker deaths dropped from 38 per day in 1970 to 13 per day in 2020. However, construction site accidents that lead to injuries and loss of life still take place.
Most Common Construction Accidents
There are various causes of accidents on construction sites, although some are more common than others.
- OSHA classifies slips and trips as well as falls from heights in this category. Injuries that take place because of falls at construction sites usually result owing to uneven surfaces, improper use of ladders, improper mounting/dismounting, spills, leaks, and haphazardly-placed objects.
- While there are stringent guidelines surrounding the stability and safety of scaffolding, one might still become a victim of collapsed scaffolding. In case of a trench collapse, the supply of air to workers could stop. Construction workers who are part of excavation projects may also suffer because of ground collapses.
- Struck by objects. This typically involves some kind of an impact between a piece of equipment or any other object with a construction worker. A falling or swinging object resulting in an accident is one example.
- Instances of electrocution take place despite there being adequate regulations that govern the use of protective devices and equipment.
- Caught-in/between. Caught-in and caught-between accidents involve getting caught, squeezed, crushed, or compressed between two or more objects or parts of objects.
Another common cause of accidents on construction sites is not using the required protective gear, be it safety glasses, hard hats, or harnesses. Repeatedly performing the same task is another probable cause, especially when it includes the use of specific groups of muscles or soft tissue.
Most Common Construction Site Injuries
Where there are accidents, there are bound to be injuries, as is the case with practically all types of construction accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that workers are particularly prone to injuries and fatalities resulting from falls, object strikes, and electrocution. Here are the most common construction injuries.
- Head injuries. These include brain contusions, skull fractures, traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage, hematoma, lacerations, and concussions.
- Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries may lead to brain damage, partial/complete paralysis, and long-term disability.
- Cuts/lacerations. While these injuries are typically easy to treat, they may lead to infections when left untreated.
- Fractured/crushed bones. Bones may crack or break in different ways, and crushed bones are typically harder to fix.
- Loss of limb/digit. While a construction site accident may result in a worker losing an arm, a leg, a finger, or a toe, a worker might also need amputation in case of a severely mangled or crushed limb/digit.
- Loss of vision. Prolonged exposure to toxic gases, chemicals, and other substances may result in partial/complete loss of vision.
Some of the other common construction site injuries include:
- Loss of hearing
- Heat strokes
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Repetitive motion/stress injuries
Construction Site Injury Benefits You May Expect
Workers in the U.S. who have suffered construction site injuries have different alternatives from which to choose when it comes to filing claims. Ideally, you should seek advice from a construction site injury attorney to determine the best way forward.
- Workers’ compensation. If you file for workers’ compensation, you get funds to cover medical expenses as well as payments each week. One drawback is that you stand to receive no more than a predetermined maximum limit, which might not be enough to take care of all associated costs.
- Third-party liability. A third-party claim arises when you hold your employer, a property owner, or any other third-party liable for your injury.
- Wrongful death. If a third party’s action or inaction lead’s to a construction worker’s death, the victim’s family/estate may choose to file a wrongful death claim to seek damages.
What to Do After a Construction Site Accident?
The various causes of accidents on construction sites notwithstanding, if you or someone around you suffers an injury, it’s important to follow a few simple steps.
- Assess the injury and seek immediate medical assistance if required.
- Make a note of all witnesses.
- Take photographs of the accident site.
- Notify your manager/supervisor but don’t provide in-depth details.
- Get in touch with a construction site accident lawyer.
Dealing with construction site injuries can be daunting, especially when they lead to days off work and steep medical expenses. Fortunately, it might be possible to get the financial relief you need. Bear in mind that construction site injury lawyers are adept at determining which types of injuries might qualify for claims, and they may also help you arrive at a suitable amount to seek as damages.
What also helps is that your attorney might be able to negotiate a settlement without even needing to go to court. All you need to do is select a reliable and reputable law firm that can assign a specialist construction site injury attorney to handle your case.