If you suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence while on a construction site, either as a worker or as a visitor, Florida law may entitle you to compensation. Call one of Dolman Law Group’s North Miami Beach construction site accident lawyers today at (305) 676-8154, or contact us online, to assess the validity of filing a personal injury claim. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 25 percent of workplace fatalities in Florida occur in the construction industry. Not only are workers at risk, but even visitors run the risk of sustaining serious injuries, some fatal.
Dolman Law Group’s Results in Construction Site Accident Cases
At Dolman Law Group, we have significant experience representing clients in North Miami Beach personal injury cases, including many involved construction site accidents. In past cases, we have secured millions of dollars in damages for our clients. While we cannot guarantee a favorable result in your case, we will fight to enforce your rights and strive to achieve the best possible results given your individual circumstances.
How Construction Site Accidents Injury People
Construction sites pose numerous risks. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the four most common accidents that occur at construction sites are:
- Objects striking people
- Getting caught in or between something
Dubbed the Fatal Four by OSHA, these four scenarios caused more than 60 percent of all construction site fatalities in 2016. The Fatal Four can result in many injuries, including:
- Lacerations, scrapes, bruises
- Head trauma that causes concussions or traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries that might lead to paralysis
- Broken and fractured bones
- Back injuries
- Electrical shock injuries that might include burns and damage to skin, organs, bones, and more
Depending on the status of the victim, most construction site accidents fall under either Florida’s premises liability laws or workers’ compensation program. Workers who suffer an injury while on a construction site should file a workers’ compensation claim and should do so with the help of an experienced attorney. Complex workers compensation claims can escalate into a lawsuit depending on the circumstances of the accident. Your attorney will advise you on the appropriate course of action given your situation. If the injured person is not an employee or contractor working on a construction site, the property owner or developer may bear liability for the victim’s injuries. Florida law requires that they both provide safe conditions for those who visit their properties. Otherwise, a court may determine that they breached their duty of care and hold them responsible for any injuries suffered by a visitor to the construction site. Furthermore, the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer may face liability for an accident that occurred as a result of a defective product or piece of machinery. Your attorney will help you determine liability for your injuries.
Compensation for a Construction Site Accident
If you sustained an injury during a construction site accident, you may qualify to recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses, including bills for ambulance services, hospital stays, doctor visits, surgeries, radiology, and prescription medication
- Future medical costs in the event of a long-term condition or disability
- Lost wages for time missed from work (a workers’ compensation claim will only cover 2/3 of your income, often necessitating the need to file a lawsuit to recover all of your lost income)
- Future wages in the event that the injury disabled you to the point that you cannot return to work
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
The Responsible Parties Will Fight Your Claim to Save Money
Regardless of the circumstances of a construction site injury, defendants oftentimes attempt to avoid paying compensation, even when they are clearly liable. Injured construction workers should expect their employers to deny their workers’ compensation claims outright, or to suggest that their injuries are not as serious as claimed. Injured workers should hire an attorney from the outset to handle their workers’ comp cases and avoid needless delays in their benefits. Workers’ comp claims are not dependent on fault. In cases where workers’ comp is not involved, defendants may attempt to shift the blame onto victims to avoid liability. Florida is a pure comparative fault jurisdiction, which means that if a court determines that the victim was partially responsible for the injuries, the court will deduct the percentage of fault from any damages it awards the victim. For example, if the court calculates your damages at $100,000, and also determines that you were 10 percent at fault for your injuries, the court would reduce your compensation to $90,000. This legal doctrine provides defendants a major incentive to suggest that the victim’s actions caused the accident. Defendants may suggest that the injured person incorrectly used a product or piece of machinery, wasn’t wearing the proper safety equipment, or was improperly standing in a hazardous area. An experienced personal injury attorney will anticipate these strategies by defendants, fight to hold them accountable, and work to get the best possible outcome given your circumstances.
North Miami Beach Construction Accident FAQ
What Statistics Exist For Construction Accidents?
Around 195,600 cases of non-fatal construction accidents happen annually. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), around 5,333 people die in the workplace as a result of their injuries each year. An estimated 20 percent of these workers belong to the construction industry. A percentage of employees have to take time off from work to recover from non-fatal injuries. More than 130,000 workers have missed at least one day of work due to on-the-job injuries and/or illnesses. The United States’ cost of construction incidents reaches nearly $11.5 billion each year. These high costs result from health care treatment, lost income, and a lower quality of life. Workers’ compensation provides billions of dollars annually to reimburse employees for another’s negligence. Around 55 percent of workers believe they need more training. Injuries rank as a common fear in the workforce. Companies only spend a small portion of their budget on safety and health programs; however, the same companies can save more in the long run by investing more in worker training. People of various ages work in construction, but many of them are on the younger side. Most cases of construction site injuries involved employees between the ages of 25 and 34. Many accidents happen during an employee’s first year on the job.
What Causes North Miami Beach Construction Accidents?
Falls constitute one of the most common causes of construction accidents. OSHA lists falling as one of the Fatal Four Hazards in the construction industry. Many fatalities result from falls, and they make up 33 percent of all cases. A fall of even six feet can lead to serious injuries and death. An object hits many workers every year. The object could have been falling, flying, or swinging. Someone may have forgotten to turn on the parking brake, and the vehicle started rolling. If an employee stands in the way of the vehicle, a collision may result. A lack of training for specific equipment can lead to a construction accident. Employers need to teach workers how to use debris nets and machinery correctly. People also should know how to secure an object to avoid it from striking another person. Electrocution constitutes another one of the Fatal Four. Electrocution happens more frequently than one would believe. A person could have come into direct contact with a power line. Sometimes, a construction site may have exposed wires. If workers do not know how to handle an electrical source properly, they could get electrocuted. Occasionally, a heavy piece of equipment pins a construction worker to a wall or another immovable object. The accident can happen suddenly and quickly, and the victim may not have enough time to react. Cave-ins constitute a serious concern during excavations. Sometimes, people fall off a ladder and get hurt. Power tools can lead to an accident as well.
What Safety Regulations Exist in North Miami Beach?
OSHA sets forth certain regulations to keep workplaces safe. Worksites in the construction industry need to follow all OSHA guidelines to keep employees safe. Managers need to put fall protection measures in place. The safety measures can depend on how high the platform extends from the ground. At six feet, general protection should suffice, but once a worker reaches around ten feet off the ground, the site must have scaffolding. OSHA has safety requirements for scaffolding, as well. One regulates the equipment’s weight capacity, and the scaffolds should support its weight plus more than the intended load. A weak structure could collapse and endanger the people around it. A competent person should supervise the setup of a scaffold, and management needs to do regular maintenance. The work site needs to have different types of protective equipment when it comes to electrical sources. Additionally, employees can only use lifelines, lanyards, and safety belts for safeguarding. When an anchorage supports a lifeline, it has to withstand at least 5,400 pounds. Construction managers have to ensure the safety of their workplaces and that they remain OSHA-compliant. Managers could bear liability if an accident occurs due to their negligence.
What Penalties Do Violators Face?
In many cases, companies violate employee safety regulations. Violators might cut corners to save time or money, but they could end up paying significant fines if OSHA catches them. For instance, an employer receives anywhere from $975 to $13,653 in fines for serious violations of regulations. Offenses under the other-than-serious category also can cost up to $13,653 for every transgression. Several companies continuously ignore specific OSHA requirements. As a result, these companies can get a maximum of $136,532 per willful or repeated violation. The penalty can cost over $1 million in a few cases. A company has to correct each offense, or it will face further penalties. Construction employers can receive fines of up to $13,653 for each day they failed to fix a violation, for a maximum of 30 days. Additionally, violators could go to jail for a maximum of six months if a willful violation leads to a worker’s death. A second conviction can lead to up to a year in prison. Many construction workers feel as if the standards for production exceed the standards for safety.
What Types of Injuries Can Someone Get?
Individuals can strain their backs from constant heavy lifting and pushing. Construction workers frequently experience cuts and bruises. An accident can leave a person with one or more injuries. Someone could get a burn from accidentally touching an exposed wire or a fire. High falls pose a risk of fractures and broken bones. Some reported cases stem from a knee or ankle injury. Slips, falls, and impacts with a vehicle may result in a head or neck injury. Multiple construction crewmembers may hurt their backs. The lower back can fall victim to many unsafe situations on a construction site. Spinal column and spinal cord injuries can mean serious complications for a person. Someone could end up with a slipped disc or paralysis. The level of function below the injury site determines if you have an incomplete or complete spinal cord injury. Since a strike from an object proves common on construction sites, a victim of this type of accident may suffer a traumatic brain injury. A few people have had an open head wound. If you work around hazardous waste, the exposure could make you ill.
What Should You Do After a Construction Accident?
Construction accidents can happen quickly and catch people off guard. When workers suffer injuries in an on-the-job accident, they should first visit a doctor for treatment. The injuries may seem minor at first, but they could worsen over time. Medical documentation may serve as valuable evidence down the road, as well. You will want to report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. Multiple states have a set time in which you can notify a company of any injuries. North Miami Beach construction workers have 30 days to mention the damage. Otherwise, you could have less of a chance for compensation. You have seven days to file a workers’ compensation claim afterward. An injured person should gather as much information about the incident as possible. Increased evidence ensures the best chance of success for a claim. You should speak to coworkers and other witnesses for statements. Photographs of the accident, injuries, and any other damage will help you as well. Even an image of a torn shirt can prove useful. Keep track of all of your medical records and correspondence with your employer. Take notes of in-person conversations and phone calls. Finally, you should consult a lawyer to discuss your claim. An attorney will help you uncover all relevant information, and you can avoid missing important deadlines as well.
Does a Construction Accident Report Exist?
Every construction accident should have an official accident report. At first, the report is verbal, but a manager will write a physical report within a few hours. The document usually includes the position of the victim, witnesses, vehicles, and equipment. The report will include the date, place, and time to get an idea. It will also include details of what happened. The accident report will include a description of your injuries and may even have photographs of the scene. Construction accident reports initiate an investigation as well. The investigation will cover the immediate cause, underlying cause, steps to prevent a recurrence, and corrective actions.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer for Workers’ Compensation?
Yes. Workers’ compensation exists to provide injured employees with coverage following an on-the-job accident. As such, injured workers do not have to worry about proving negligence. If you accept workers’ compensation, you usually cannot sue the company further for non-economic damages. The system can get you payments quicker than the average personal injury claim. However, employers and insurance companies do not like to pay workers’ compensation. The company may try to deny your claim to avoid higher premiums. One common defensive tactic involves arguing that you sustained less serious injuries than you claim. Your employer might claim a pre-existing condition led to the injuries instead of a construction accident. A construction accident attorney can come to your defense against wrongful denials. Your attorney can help prove that the company acted negligently and violated safety regulations and that the negligence has directly affected your physical and mental well-being. Multiple parties could bear liability for the accident. A lawyer can identify if the construction site owner, supervisors, and equipment manufacturers bear responsibility. Creators of faulty ladders and fall protection gear should pay for damages in a product liability claim. Speak with a construction accident attorney even if you feel unsure if you need one. You can get a better understanding of your rights.
What Happens if an Employer Fires You?
You most likely will experience stress after a construction accident. You might worry about bills if you need to take time off of work to heal. You shouldn’t have to worry about being fired on top of your other stress. Some employers may fire a worker soon after the worker files for compensation. The situation may not happen too frequently, but some people lose their jobs without advance notice. Many states, including Florida, follow the legal doctrine of employment at will. As such, certain employers in the state may fire employees for any reason deemed necessary; however, workplace injuries constitute an exception to this legal doctrine. A company violates the law when it fires someone for filing a workers’ compensation claim. You do not need to worry about losing your job if you seek reimbursement for construction site injuries. If an employer unlawfully fires you, you can take your case to court with the help of a lawyer.
Do You Have to Provide a Recorded Statement?
No. Insurers want a recorded statement to gather information about the incident. The company later transcribes what you say into a document. Insurance companies do not always require you to give a recorded statement; nevertheless, they may try to talk you into making one. You do not always have concrete answers to many of the questions that insurance companies ask you. Some answers might seem like speculation. Since the recorded statement becomes a document, the insurance company can use what you say against you in the future. Recorded statements constitute one of the many strategies an insurer may employ to deny your claim. Since you do not have to provide a recorded statement under the law or your insurance policy, you should avoid making one. Our lawyers can speak with the agent if the insurance company begins to pressure you.
Call an Experienced North Miami Beach Construction Site Accident Lawyer
Most personal injury law firms offer free consultations to evaluate a case and determine an individual’s eligibility for recovering compensation. Generally, victims do not have to pay any attorney’s fees up front if the attorney chooses to represent you. Rather, most attorneys accept personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, meaning that your attorney will only recover fees if your attorney obtains a settlement or verdict for you. If you were injured on a construction site in the North Miami Beach area, Florida law might entitle you to compensation. Let an experienced construction site accident lawyer investigate your case, worry about the procedural details, and guide you through the complex court process while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Call Dolman Law Group today at (305) 676-8154, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation to discuss the merits of your case with one of our experienced construction site accident lawyers.
North Miami Beach Office
1820 NE 163rd St #306,
North Miami Beach, FL 33162