Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in our economy. Workers do fast-paced jobs with heavy equipment and machinery, often in high places, all while having to deal with uncontrollable factors such as inclement weather, what the guy (or gal) next to them is doing, and many others. About 10% of all workplace injuries and illnesses happen in construction, and six different types of construction industry workers are listed in USA Today’s top 25 most dangerous jobs in America.
On a construction job site, accidents happen all the time. Many are minor mishaps, but others are more serious and can cause injury to workers. Here are five of the most common accidents that occur on construction sites:
- Slips, Trips and Falls: About 40% of all construction accidents are slips, trips and falls, and these types of accidents account for a high number of construction fatalities. As mentioned earlier, construction workers are often situated in high places, such as on ladders, scaffolds, and roofs. When someone is working in a higher elevation and things are not set up properly, they can trip over tools, materials, or debris and sometimes slip and fall a great distance.
- Being Struck by Falling Objects: At a typical construction site, there are typically a lot of materials, waste items, and debris, much of which is heavy and/or contains hard edges. There is always a risk of these and other objects falling and striking a construction worker. Workers are supposed to wear hardhats to protect them from this danger, but even with this protection, about 10% of all construction-related injuries happen because a worker is struck by a falling object.
- Equipment Accidents: Modern equipment and machinery help construction companies get the job done faster and more efficiently. Cranes, hoists, bulldozers, nail guns, and other equipment can save companies a lot of time and money. But what happens if something goes wrong with one of these machines? For example, a nail gun misfires, or a bulldozer gets stuck in reverse and strikes a nearby worker. Some equipment accidents happen because of reckless use, while others are caused by negligent maintenance or a product defect.
- Overexertion: Construction work involves hard physical labor, which is often performed in extreme heat and humidity. This is especially true in southern states like Alabama. Putting in long hours doing hard and repetitive tasks under the hot sun can cause heat stroke, muscle and joint damage, and repetitive stress injuries.
- Getting Caught In-Between/Crush Injuries: Construction workers often work with heavy tools, machinery, and equipment in compact or enclosed areas. This can cause them to get trapped into these areas by the equipment they are working with, which can result in severe crush injuries.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are numerous other accidents that happen on a construction site, such as:
- Misuse of tools;
- Electrical accidents;
- Fires and explosions;
- Collapsing structures;
- Truck accidents;
- Exposure to toxic substances.
Legal Options for Construction Accident Injuries
When a worker is injured in a construction accident, there are several potential legal avenues through which they can recover compensation. In Alabama, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, and if the employer has this type of insurance, this would usually be the first legal recourse.
Workers’ compensation covers the injured worker’s medical expenses, two-thirds of gross wages while out of work, rehabilitation costs, and disability coverage. Worker’s comp is a no-fault system, meaning the employee should be covered regardless of the cause of the workplace accident.
While this is how workers’ compensation is supposed to work, it does not always play out this way. In some instances, employers put up unnecessary roadblocks in an attempt to frustrate workers into giving up on the benefits they deserve. If this has happened to you, speak with an attorney right away to discuss your rights and legal options.
Aside from workers’ compensation, there are several other legal remedies that may be available to recover losses incurred through a construction accident injury:
- If the employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage, you may be able to sue them directly for damages;
- If the injury was caused by a party other than your employer (such as a third-party contractor), you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party;
- If the accident and subsequent injury was caused by faulty or defective equipment, you may have a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, or distributor of the equipment.
Suffered a Workplace Injury in Alabama? Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you or someone close to you was hurt working on a construction site, you need strong legal counsel in your corner working hard to protect your interests. If your injury occurred in Alabama, call Burge & Burge today at 205-251-9000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also message us online or stop by our Birmingham office in person at your convenience.