Injuries can occur on any job. Construction sites, however, are particularly dangerous, and workers who are injured on construction job sites have the legal right to compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at the Dolman Law Group. South Florida workers have trusted our attorneys’ skills and experience for decades to ensure the protection of their legal rights.
Construction Companies Have Legal Obligations to Maintain Safe Conditions on Work Sites for Their Employees
Like any workplace, construction sites must be kept safe for the employees who work on them. Construction sites are, in fact, so dangerous that there are specific regulations pertaining to their upkeep. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) organizes safety campaigns and inspections specific to construction site hazards. Florida Statutes also impose specific safety obligations on construction companies: Chapter 553 of the Florida Statutes, for example, sets building construction standards and safety requirements.
When a company violates federal or state safety standards and a worker is injured as a result, the employer is obligated to compensate the employee for his or her injuries and losses. The many ways in which an employer can be liable for a construction site accident include:
- Failure to meet a specific safety standard set by OSHA, the Florida Statutes, or other state and/or federal guidelines
- Failure to properly train employees on safety protocols
- Failure to adequately supervise dangerous construction activities
- Failure to inspect the construction worksite and maintain it in a safe condition for workers
- Failure to use property safety measures, such as cordons, signs, tape, or other preventative measures
- Failure to provide adequate safety equipment, including hard hats, harnesses, gloves, reflective vests, or other equipment appropriate for the working conditions
How Can an Employee Be Compensated for Construction Site Injuries?
Any employee who is injured within the scope of employment is entitled to compensation through the employer’s workers’ compensation coverage. The employee (or a legal representative) can file a claim directly with the workers’ compensation carrier. Sometimes, the workers’ compensation carrier will deny the claim, contending the injury was not sustained during the course of employment, and this must be overcome to ensure that the claim is covered. Other times, the carrier will attempt to reduce the amount of the claim or argue that medical treatment is excessive or unnecessary. These arguments, too, must be defeated so the employee is not denied the right to fair legal compensation for all losses. These losses include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, projected future medical bills, decreased future earning potential, and any other financial losses that came as a direct result of the workplace accident.
When the Injury Victim Is Not a Construction Employee
Of course, not just construction workers are injured in construction site accidents. Passersby can also receive injuries because of a wide variety of hazardous conditions that are commonly found on construction sites. They, too, can be compensated for injuries sustained on construction sites. Compensation is obtained by filing a claim with the construction company’s liability insurance carrier, as opposed to the worker’s compensation carrier.
To sustain a claim for construction site injuries, a victim must first prove that the owner of the land—or the construction company in charge of the premises—was legally responsible for causing the injuries. This can be difficult to prove—for example, if the injury victim was trespassing on the construction site at the time of the accident, the construction company may have no legal obligation toward him. On the other hand, if the construction site was not properly blocked off, and trespassing could have been foreseeable, the construction company may have a legal obligation to make the site safe, even for trespassers.
This can require a complicated legal analysis. Large construction companies and their insurance carriers have teams of attorneys whose job is to justify the denial of claims in circumstances such as these. It is therefore important for injury victims to have legal counsel protecting their rights to be compensated for injuries.
Once the injury victim has proven that the construction company or landowner was liable for causing injuries, the value of the claim must be ascertained. Like workers’ compensation insurance adjusters, a liability insurance adjuster will be tasked to pay out as little as possible, even on valid claims. The injury victim will often have to defend his or her medical treatments and fight hard to be compensated for pain and suffering.
Other Causes of Construction Accidents
It is not always the construction company who is liable for a construction accident. Here are just a few of the many other parties who may be obligated to compensate victims for injuries sustained on a construction site:
- If a car accident occurs on or near a construction site, the negligent driver may be liable for the injuries sustained, and not the construction company. This is the case even if the injury victim sustains more serious losses as a result of the hazards on the construction site.
- The owner of the land may be liable for dangerous conditions on the premises that are unrelated to the construction. For example, if faulty wiring starts a fire, this may be completely unrelated to cosmetic work being done on another part of the building. In this case, the landowner—not the construction company—would be obligated to compensate losses caused by the fire.
- In many cases, a government entity may be the legal owner of the building. Governments may also perform their own construction work rather than contracting out the project to a construction company. In this case, the government could be liable, either as the landowner or as the construction provider.
The Right Attorney for Your Personal Injury Claim Arising from a Worksite Accident
The Dolman Law Group protects residents and visitors of St. Petersburg to ensure that injury victims are fairly compensated for workplace injuries. Call (727) 222-6922 or to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today. Our experienced, aggressive work injury attorneys have decades of experience in protecting the rights of accident victims across southern Florida.