Construction Accident Injuries in Bradenton
The construction industry is an important part of the American economy. There is no doubt that work can subject workers to serious dangers. Bradenton workers perform skilled tasks, often working in high places or while using heavy machinery. But construction workers who were injured or killed deserve the right to pursue compensation for their injuries, medical bills, and lost wages with the help of a Bradenton construction injury accident attorney. Injured workers not only struggle with the pain and trauma of the injury but also with questions and concerns about the future. A Bradenton Construction Accident Lawyers can evaluate your case and guide you through the legal process.
Common Causes of Construction Accidents
Many construction accidents are preventable. Negligence or violations of important safety standards by the contractor, employer, or machine manufacturer may lead to a serious accident. In some circumstances, there is a shortage of skilled construction laborers. Workers are undertaking large, ambitious projects and working under time pressure. Therefore, some laborers are overworked, and some contractors are hiring workers who are less experienced and may be unfamiliar with the tasks or the equipment.
Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.
The most commonly cited violations of OSHA standards include:
- Training requirements
- Slip and Fall protection standards
- Scaffold safety standards
- Stairway safety standards
- Ladder safety standards
In some cases, the employer was aware of a dangerous condition and did not correct it. Approximately 13 percent of OSHA found one or more willful violations of a critical safety standard.
These willful safety violations included:
- Intentionally using malfunctioning or damaged equipment
- Intentionally disabling safety features on dangerous equipment
- Knowingly violating other safety standards
The “Fatal Four” Hazards
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries found that almost all construction workers will have at least one work-related injury in their lifetime, and have a greater risk of premature death. They also report that someone who works in construction for 45 years has a 75 percent chance of suffering a serious injury and a 1 in 200 chance of being killed on the job.
Research from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) shows that four hazards are overwhelmingly responsible for construction worker deaths. These hazards, which are known as the Fatal Four,” are responsible for 545 worker fatalities in the United States every year.
- Falls. Frequently, construction workers while in high places, such as roofs, ladders, or scaffolding. The regulation requiring employers to provide fall protection systems is the most commonly violated safety regulation in the industry. Falls account for 39.2 percent of construction worker deaths and can happen in all kinds of circumstances.
- Being struck by an object. Construction workers are constantly at risk of being struck by objects. A worker may be injured due to unsecured tools, falling equipment, materials knocked off of a scaffolding, insufficient barricades, or a thousand other hazards.
- Electrocutions. Exposure to electricity is a major hazard to construction workers. Electrical powerline installers have the highest rate of fatal injuries in the construction industry at roughly 67 deaths per 100,000. Contact with electrical lines, transformers, converters, and other electrical hazards may expose a worker to burns, electrocution, shock arc flash, or explosions.
- Getting caught between equipment or objects. Another commonly violated safety and health regulation in the construction industry is the regulation requiring employers to provide machine “guards.” The purpose of safety guards is to prevent workers from inserting a body part, such as a hand or foot, into an operating machine.
Other common construction hazards include:
- Struck-by accidents. These occur when a worker is struck as a result of a force other than gravity. The worker may be struck by a vehicle, or hit by a nail shot from a nail gun, or other items that have been shot, thrown, sprayed, or otherwise propelled.
- Falling objects. Workers are often laboring on different levels of a structure. Often, unsecured tools fall, pallet loads or building materials may fall, or even the structure itself may fall and injure a worker. It doesn’t have to be a large object to injure or kill a worker.
- The tools used in construction can harm workers. Power tools or even hand tools can cause serious injuries.
- Confined space accidents. Construction workers often find themselves in tight spaces to perform their work functions. On a construction site, a worker may have to crawl into or out of a confined space, such as an underground space or manhole. OSHA requires employers to provide training, equipment, and proficient rescue services for permit-required spaces. Confined spaces may expose them to dangerous air conditions, cave-ins, or other dangerous situations.
- Faulty equipment. Defective or poorly maintained equipment can cause amputations, broken bones, or other injuries.
- Work vehicle accidents. All kinds of vehicles, such as trucks and heavy machinery, are in use at a construction site. Workers may be operating a dangerous piece of machinery or in the path of a moving vehicle.
- Unstable surfaces. Collapsing buildings, walls, and other unstable surfaces are a danger for workers.
- Improper storage, loading, and unloading. Employers must train workers in how to move heavy loads safely.
- In addition to asbestos and lead, other chemical exposure risks include solvents and acids, flammable materials, carbon monoxide, industrial cleaners, pesticides, and paints.
Construction accidents happen every day. Injuries may be minor, or they may be catastrophic injuries (or even fatal). Injuries may be caused by faulty equipment, inadequate training, or the negligence of others.
Common injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Knee and ankle injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Respiratory disease
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Many state and federal regulations govern the construction industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates federal worker safety laws to minimize workplace injuries and fatalities. Employers must follow OSHA regulations and properly train their employees. Regular OSHA inspections check on an employer’s compliance. Still, OSHA violations cause many construction accidents.
Florida does not have its own Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-compliant plan, which means that Florida employers must follow federal construction safety regulations. In Florida, OHSA has an alliance with the state through the Safety Florida Consultation Program at the University of South Florida in Tampa. They are responsible for disseminating information about OSHA regulations in Florida.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Construction Accident Victims
The purpose of worker’s compensation law is to provide employees who are injured on the job with insurance coverage that will compensate them for lost wages, medical expenses, disability payments, other costs such as retraining. The injury must have occurred at the worksite or while performing work duties related to the employee’s job.
Florida, like most states, also covers occupational diseases that arise during the course of employment. If workers’ compensation covers your injury, then you will automatically be eligible for benefits regardless of whether you or your employer caused the injury.
Under the Florida worker’s compensation system, an employee must report their injury to the employer within 30-days of the injury. The employer also has certain responsibilities. The injured person must see a qualified doctor to determine the nature and extent of the injury.
Once the injury is confirmed, the worker may qualify for benefits such as:
- Full coverage of medical care. All necessary medical costs related to the injury should be paid for in full, regardless of how long the injury lasts. The Workers’ Compensation Board requires treatment by a pre-authorized doctor.
- Partial wage replacement. Workers receive a portion of their average weekly wage while they are recovering from their injuries.
- Disability benefits. Claimants who are totally or partially disabled can collect up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage until they can resume working. If employees can return to limited work, they may receive payment for the difference in their earning capacity.
- Death benefits. If the injured person dies from a compensable injury, their surviving spouse and children may receive benefits.
Liability in Florida Construction Site Accidents
Generally, under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, injured workers don’t need to prove negligence on the part of an employer to receive workman’s comp benefits. Injured workers, however, frequently call us for help in getting an uncooperative workers’ comp insurance company to pay those benefits. This generally takes the place of directly suing an employer.
However, injured employees may file a third-party claim if their employer does not own the construction site where the injury took place. Construction accidents are very complex, and there may be several parties who may be liable for the injuries. It is important to identify all liable parties because they may have different insurance coverage available to help provide compensation for your losses.
Liable parties might include, but are not limited to:
- Property owners. In some cases, the injured person sues the owner of a construction site for negligence under the theory of premises liability. In general, a property owner is not liable for construction worker injuries, but property owners should limit the level of control exerted over a contractor as to the means and methods the contractor uses to accomplish its work. Property owners may also be liable to visitors, depending on the visitor’s legal status. Typically, property owners must warn a visitor of known hazards. Property owners are generally not liable for trespasser injuries unless the owner harmed them intentionally. However, they must protect children from dangerous conditions, even if the children are trespassing.
- Machinery manufacturers. If someone is injured as a result of defectively manufactured construction site machinery, a court may hold the manufacturer, distributor, or others in the chain of distribution liable for damages.
- Chemical companies. When exposure to toxic substances at a construction site causes illness or injury, a court may hold the company, distributor, and/or retailer of the chemical liable for damages.
- Developers. Under certain circumstances, a property developer may contribute to liability for any injuries that occur on the property.
If you sustained an injury on a construction site and file a personal injury lawsuit, a court may award you the following damages related to your injury:
- Medical costs, including expenses for emergency room care, diagnostic tests, hospitalizations, doctor visits, surgeries, medications, and more
- Rehabilitative costs, such as physical therapy and assistive devices, such as mobility aids, cognitive aids, and modifications to the injured person’s living situation
- Future medical costs, when an injury causes an ongoing health condition or permanent disability
- Lost wages
- Future wages when an injury debilitates a person to the extent that he or she cannot return to work
Non-economic costs, including pain and suffering, emotional anguish, humiliation, diminished quality of life, or loss of consortium.
Construction Accidents by the Numbers
According to the Associated General Contractors of America, more than seven-million construction workers are building about $1.3 trillion worth of structures each year. Construction is also essential to Bradenton’s economy. The commercial building construction industry in our state has shown strong growth for five years, with an expected growth of 4.5 percent in the most recent year available.
However, construction work is demanding and dangerous. Workers are often injured. Work-related injuries affect one in every 50 workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 1,000 construction workers are killed in work-related events every year. Nationwide, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that approximately one in five work-related fatalities in the country occur in the construction industry.
In our state, as elsewhere, the construction industry had a high rate of fatal injuries. The private construction sector had the largest number of fatalities in Florida, with 101, up from 75 from the previous year. The specialty trade contractors performing specific activities, such as pouring concrete, plumbing, and electrical work, accounted for 69 percent of the fatal injuries in this industry. Recently, a construction crane collapsed in downtown Bradenton, killing a construction worker.
Bradenton Construction Accident FAQ
Construction sites contain many potential dangers, from heavy equipment to unfinished construction that can be difficult to navigate. Often, those dangers can lead to substantial injuries for construction site accident victims. If you are suffering from injuries from a construction site accident, an experienced construction accident attorney from Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA or Sibley Dolman could answer questions that relate specifically to your claim.
1. If I work on a construction site and suffered a serious injury, do I only have the right to workers’ compensation, or can I file a personal injury claim?
Workers’ compensation provides vital coverage to accident victims who suffer an injury at work, including those who suffer injuries on construction sites. Workers’ compensation typically provides set compensation: coverage for medical bills directly related to the injury as well as 2/3 of your weekly income.
In some cases, a personal injury claim could provide additional compensation, including compensation for the pain and suffering you faced as a result of your injuries. Many accident victims want to file a personal injury claim even if they suffered injuries at work, particularly when workers’ compensation benefits are insufficient to fully compensate.
Under certain circumstances, accident victims may have the right to a personal injury claim as well as workers’ compensation. In particular, if a party other than your employer caused your injuries, including subcontractors or the owner of the construction site, you may have grounds for a third-party personal injury claim. Consult our Bradenton construction accident attorneys to learn more about how the circumstances of your specific injury could affect your ability to recover compensation.
2. What common hazards often contribute to construction site accidents?
A variety of conditions exist on construction sites that could contribute to the risk of an accident. These include:
- Construction equipment. Heavy construction equipment can cause serious crushing damage, amputations, and lacerations to accident victims. Heavy construction equipment must have appropriate warnings and lighting to let visitors to the construction site know what they have approached and what dangers exist with regards to that equipment.
- Falls from heights. During construction, many buildings lack the supports and railings that help make it possible to navigate heights safely. A fall from a significant height can cause a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, broken bones, or death on impact. Not only must construction companies take care to provide adequate fall protection for their employees, they should provide railings and supports that will protect anyone else who rightfully visits the site.
- Electrical hazards. Whether a project involves erecting a building from the ground up or altering an existing building, construction often involves opening walls and wires left on the ground. Not only can exposed electrical wiring pose a substantial burn risk, electrical burns can result in serious internal damage or death.
- Trip and fall hazards. Construction sites can quickly fill with potential trip and fall hazards, especially while construction workers are working on removing old or damaged construction material before replacing it. All this debris can cause substantial trip and fall risks, which can cause broken bones, severe lacerations, and traumatic brain injury.
- Hazardous chemicals. Construction workers may need to use chemicals that can cause severe chemical burns upon contact. They may also routinely use chemicals that can cause severe illness when inhaled. Workers must properly maintain and store those chemicals, then dispose of them properly at the end of the construction.
3. How much compensation can I expect from a construction site accident?
You have substantial medical bills—not to mention lost wages if you could not return to work immediately after your construction site accident. Many accident victims justifiably need to get a better idea of how much compensation they might receive from the entity that caused their accident.
Several elements can impact the compensation you ultimately receive for your injuries:
- Who contributed to your accident? Multiple parties, including contractors, subcontractors, and property owners, may share liability for your construction site accident. Construction sites often quickly fill with different companies and providers, especially during complex periods of construction. Each one carries a separate insurance policy that protects those injured on the site as a result of the construction company’s negligence. If you can file for compensation from multiple parties, it may ultimately increase the compensation you receive for your injuries.
- How much money did you lose as a result of your construction site injuries? Your construction accident claim could help you recover some of the financial losses you faced as a result of your injuries. Consult an attorney to learn more about the specific expenses you can include. Most eligible accident victims claim compensation for their medical expenses related to an injury, including coverage for any complications arising from the injury, as well as compensation for lost wages.
- What intangible losses did you face as a result of your injuries? In addition to your quantifiable financial losses, you may also face substantial emotional or personal losses related to your injuries. Not only do many injuries cause significant physical pain and suffering, you may also lose the ability to participate in some of your favorite activities. This may be either temporary or permanent, depending on the extent of your injuries. You may also face feelings of social isolation or distance from friends and loved ones during your recovery. Consult an experienced construction accident lawyer to learn more about the compensation you may deserve for pain and suffering related to your construction site accident.
4. When should I file a construction accident claim after a construction accident?
After your accident, get in touch with an experienced lawyer as soon as you can. You do not have to contact a lawyer from the emergency room or from the hospital site, but you should prioritize consulting a lawyer concerning your claim.
That does not mean, however, that your attorney will advise filing a claim immediately. While you should certainly file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out, you may need to wait if:
- You need to identify another party that may have contributed to your accident. Before filing a construction accident claim for a construction site accident, your attorney may need to evaluate all parties that contributed to the accident. An attorney may need time to review any security footage, contact witnesses, or even to evaluate the company’s history when it comes to OSHA violations.
- You need to get a better idea of what your life will look like post-injury. Many types of injuries, including spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, can have dramatically different outcomes even with similar initial symptoms. Your doctors may not have a solid idea of what your life will look like following the injury or how much you may recover, including how much mobility you will retain or how much a traumatic brain injury will impact you in the long-term. Your attorney may advise waiting to file a claim until you move further through your recovery and better understand what your ultimate recovery will look like.
5. What should I do if the construction company or subcontractor offers me a settlement?
Construction companies usually have insurance companies that provide coverage for accidents that occur on those construction sites. Following an accident, you may get a call or written offer from the insurance company that covers a contractor or subcontractor, or from the construction company directly.
Many people assume that this offer will represent a fair and reasonable offer based on the insurance policy and the extent of your injuries. While it might, insurance companies may attempt to minimize their financial liability after a serious construction accident by issuing a low settlement offer. If you accept that offer, you may prevent yourself from receiving the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Before accepting that offer, talk to our Bradenton construction accident attorneys about your accident, your bills, and the company’s offer. Consider how that offer compares to your long-term expenses. An experienced personal injury attorney may help evaluate the coverage likely carried by a construction company and how that could impact the compensation you deserve.
6. I did not follow appropriate safety precautions on a construction site, leading to my injuries. Do I still have grounds for a claim?
You may still have grounds for a personal injury claim against a construction site even if you did not follow appropriate safety procedures, especially if the construction company did not provide you with required safety equipment. If you suffered injuries as a worker on a construction site, you have grounds for a workers’ compensation claim even if you failed to take appropriate safety precautions. Florida workers’ compensation provides no-fault coverage for individuals injured in workplace accidents. It does not matter who caused the workplace accident; workers’ compensation will offer coverage for your medical expenses and ⅔ of your income, unless you deliberately took steps to injure yourself.
7. If I needed counseling services or therapy as a result of my construction site injuries, can I include those as part of my personal injury or workers’ compensation claim?
You may include psychological counseling services from your construction site injury as part of both personal injury and workers’ compensation claims. Your claim will include all proper medical expenses related to your injuries, including the need for psychological assistance after the accident.
8. Who bears liability for construction site injuries?
Consult our Bradenton construction accident attorneys to learn which parties likely bear liability in your construction site injury, since it may vary based on who used the site and how you suffered an injury.
Liable parties may include:
- The construction company primarily responsible for the site. That company often bears primary liability for maintaining safety throughout the construction site, from ensuring that materials get packed up properly at the end of the day to making sure that construction equipment gets secured properly. That company may also set safety standards across the site and ensure that workers on the site maintain those standards.
- Subcontractors working on the site. Many construction companies will bring in subcontractors to complete specific elements of the work for them, from handling specific electrical work to roofing. In some cases, subcontractors may undertake more tasks on the construction site than the primary construction company. Those subcontractors bear responsibility for their specific pieces of the site and the work they do. They must also carefully protect and maintain their equipment to help avoid injury.
- Equipment manufacturers. Construction equipment must work properly to reduce the risk of injury. While the owner of the company typically bears responsibility for maintaining that equipment, the company must also produce equipment that does not pose a substantial risk to the workers who use it or to other visitors to the site. Malfunctioning equipment that the company uses and properly maintains could represent a design defect or other hazard, which would likely place liability on the equipment manufacturer. Even small pieces of construction equipment, like staple guns or electric drills, can pose a serious danger to construction workers and visitors to construction sites if they malfunction.
- The owner of the site. While construction companies and their subcontractors often bear liability for their work on a construction site, the premises owner can still bear liability for specific hazards. For example, if a visitor to the site suffers an injury due to an undisclosed hole in the ground that lacks proper labeling and safety precautions, the premises owner may bear liability for that accident and for those injuries.
Were You Injured in a Bradenton Construction Accident?
Construction accidents are complicated because they touch on many areas of the law, such as worker’s compensation, personal injury, premises liability, and product liability. No matter what type of legal action you take, you will face specific and unforgiving deadlines for filing complicated paperwork, so take prompt action. If you or someone you love was injured in a construction accident, speak with our experienced Bradenton personal injury lawyers.
With offices across both Florida coasts, including Bradenton, you can easily reach Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, and Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, for a free case evaluation at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or our online contact page.
6703 14th Street West Suite 207
Bradenton, FL 34207
Phone: (941) 961-8841
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