Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Options for Construction Workers Hurt on the Job
Construction sites are inherently more dangerous than most other workplaces. Large equipment, power tools, vehicles driving around, inexperienced workers, and substandard working conditions can all lead to construction accidents. Although there are standard safety procedures and regulations, they are not always followed. Serious and fatal injuries are not uncommon.
Risk Factors for Construction Accidents
A significant portion of construction work is completed from heights, so it follows that falls are the main cause of worker injuries. Over 10,000 construction workers are hurt and over 200 lose their lives every year in the U.S. Many of these involve scaffolding and ladders. Sixty-five percent of these workers use scaffolding, leading to 4,500 injuries and 60 deaths, and eighty percent of construction worker fall injuries that were sent to emergency departments were due to ladders.
Exposed wires, power lines, and faulty connections can cause electrocution, and account for 10 percent of construction industry workplace deaths.
Falling objects like tools, bricks, machinery, and even cars lead to eight percent of these fatalities.
Workers also become injured or worse if construction equipment or vehicles like forklifts or excavators are not used properly or malfunction.
A more silent threat comes from chemicals that are present at construction sites. Asbestos, silica, coal, and other substances are known to cause occupational diseases like mesothelioma, silicosis, and black lung. Splashes and burns can lead to permanent disabilities or disfigurements.
Other hazards include equipment rollovers and excavation collapses where workers get caught in or between, or devastating building collapses.
Workers’ Compensation for Construction Accidents
All 50 states have Workers’ Compensation systems that entitle employees to some compensation for their injuries. The employee need not prove that the employer caused the accident; it only needs to be proven that the employee was injured during the course and scope of their employment. Workers’ Compensation benefits vary depending on the state, but most have similar attributes.
In general, companies that have at least one employee must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, and they may not compel their employees to pay for this coverage. There may be exceptions for coverage:
- Independent contractors are not covered; construction industry employers are not considered to be independent contractors.
- Farm workers are exempt, but their employers may choose to offer the coverage.
Workers’ Compensation benefits usually cover medical care costs, including temporary disability and permanent impairment, and lost wages. Death benefits are paid to the worker’s family.
Are There Other Options for Compensation?
In most cases, injured employees who are covered by Workers’ Compensation are prohibited from suing their employer for negligence. However, injured workers may be able to file a claim against a negligent third party. This is especially common in the construction industry because there are so many parties involved in the work happening on a construction site.
Third-Party Liability Claims
Depending on the circumstances, injured construction workers may be able to claim damages against a third party, such as an equipment manufacturer, the driver of a vehicle that crashed, or the owner of a building. Construction sites usually have smaller companies, or subcontractors, that are hired to perform certain work on the premises. This could be an engineering company or an electrical contractor, for example. It is also possible that someone not even involved with the job was negligent and caused the injury.
Third-party claims follow some of the same procedures as other lawsuits, meaning that negligence must be proven: The person or entity had a duty to perform in a safe and reasonable way towards the plaintiff, and they failed to do so, resulting in harm to the plaintiff. Plaintiffs may have the option of claiming damages against a person as well as that person’s company.
Defective or poorly manufactured construction tools and equipment can cause injuries that may not be directly caused by one individual. These situations can sometimes be a result of product liability. Defendants can be a parts supplier, an architect, or an entire company. Proving this is a bit different, as it must be shown that the item was being used in the manner it was made for, that it had a serious defect that caused the injury, and that it was unreasonably dangerous once it left the supplier.
Wilmington Work Injury Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Secure Maximum Compensation in Construction Accident Cases
Turn to a knowledgeable Wilmington work injury lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC if you need qualified legal guidance with a construction accident claim. We proudly represent workers in Wilmington, Dover, Newark, and Middletown Delaware. Call us today at 302-888-1221 or complete an online contact form to arrange a free case evaluation.