Construction Accident Attorneys in Auburn, Alabama
Construction workers are absolutely vital to development and economic prosperity. And while state and federal regulations exist that are designed to keep construction workers safe, construction site accidents continue to occur at a high rate, leaving workers with serious injuries. At the law offices of Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short, LLP, our Alabama and Florida construction and injury lawyers can help you to understand your rights. Please reach out to us directly if you have been injured in a construction site accident.
Construction Accident Statistics
Construction workers are at an increased risk of injury compared to workers in other industry types. In the state of Alabama, for example, the construction industry is one of the industries with the most reported accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Indeed, in a single year in our state, there were 18 construction and extraction worker deaths; the only industry that reported more worker deaths that year was the transportation and moving materials industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that the trend of more workers being injured in the construction industry than in nearly any other industry type extends to Florida and other states as well. Over 20 percent of nationwide private industry workplace fatalities occur in the construction industry on an annual basis.
Types of Construction Accidents
One reason that construction workers are at an increased risk of injury is the fact that they are often working around heavy equipment and machinery, as well as tools that can be dangerous. Some of the most common types of construction industry accidents involve:
- A construction worker getting caught-in/between machinery;
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Accidents caused by exposure to certain chemicals;
- Explosions or demolition accidents;
- Struck by object accidents; and
- Equipment and machinery accidents.
In addition to the above, other common types of construction industry accidents are:
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Falls from heights (fall accidents are the leading cause of construction worker deaths);
While less common, assault/violence on the job can also lead to an injury.
Injuries Resulting from Construction Accidents
Sadly, the injuries suffered by a construction worker who is involved in an accident are rarely mild. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Back, neck, and spine injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis or partial paralysis;
- Bone fracture injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- Head and traumatic brain injuries;
- Loss of limb injuries;
- External injuries, including bruises, cuts, and lacerations; and
- Psychological injuries.
As stated above, construction accidents can also be fatal. When a worker loses their life, surviving family members may suffer numerous damages, such as medical expenses prior to death, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and a range of non-economic losses, including the loss of companionship, guidance, and support.
Top Causes of Construction Accidents
While construction may have inherent dangers, like working at high heights and working with dangerous tools and equipment, serious construction accidents (especially those that lead to worker deaths) are not inevitable. Instead, most of the time, construction accidents occur because of:
- A lack of proper worker training;
- A lack of worksite supervision;
- A lack of safety tools and equipment; or
- A lack of proper adherence to safety regulations.
OSHA, cited above, reports that violations of fall protection, hazard communication, scaffolding, respiratory protection, control of hazardous energy, ladders, powered industrial trucks, machinery and machine guarding, and eye and face protection standards are very common.
Workers’ Rights Following a Construction Accident
A worker who is injured on a construction site maintains the right to bring forth a workers’ compensation claim. This process is initiated by providing one’s employer with a notice of the injury; afterward, the employer should notify the workers’ compensation insurer, which will kickstart the process. A worker has the right to seek compensation for the full value of their necessary medical expenses through workers’ compensation, as well as a portion of their lost wages if their injury prevents them from being able to return to work. Because the workers’ compensation process can be complicated, and because workers are often denied the benefits they deserve, partnering with a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer is always advised.
Personal Injury Claims and Construction Site Accidents
In addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, or instead of filing a workers’ compensation claim in some cases, an injured construction worker or the surviving loved ones of a worker who is injured on the job may maintain the right to file a personal injury/wrongful death claim against a liable third party. However, there are some important considerations when doing this. These include:
- A claim cannot be brought against a construction worker’s employer, only a third-party other than the employer; and
- While workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, a third-party liability claim requires that an injured worker prove that the third party owed them a duty of care, breached the duty of care, and that the breach was the proximate cause of the worker’s injuries.
While winning a third-party suit may be more arduous than winning a workers’ compensation claim, the payoff is greater, too. In a third-party liability suit, an injured worker can seek compensation for the full value of their losses, including compensation for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
How an Alabama Construction Accident Attorney Can Help
Working with a construction accident attorney following an on-the-job injury as a construction worker can be helpful. A skilled attorney can advise you of your rights, help you to understand the differences between workers’ compensation and third-party liability claims, and guide you through the claims process. Importantly, an attorney can also represent you in all conversations with an insurance company, help you understand your claim’s worth, and negotiate a settlement offer on your behalf.
At the office of Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short, LLP, our Alabama construction accident attorneys understand how devastating a workplace accident can be. If you are injured on a construction site, please call our lawyers directly at 334-821-3892 to learn how we can assist you. You can also send us a message or stop by our Auburn office in person at your convenience.