Interview: Falls on Construction Sites

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Falls on construction sites are the leading cause of death for construction workers, according to the CDC. An employer may try to chalk them up as unfortunate accidents, but the truth is that proper training and adherence to safety codes can prevent construction injuries.

In this interview, we spoke with construction accident attorney Ben Dominguez to learn more about what to do after falls on construction sites.

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What sort of violations frequently cause construction accidents?

Texas (and Houston in particular) is seeing a boom in construction for projects like high rises, apartment buildings, homes, and condos. It’s common for workers to fall from a great height during construction of these buildings.

How can you tell that the construction site is unsafe?

All falls on construction sites are preventable. Either there was a problem on the construction site, or the company failed to properly train the employees. The contractor is responsible for training employees on proper safety regulations. OSHA says that if you working higher than 6 feet off the ground, certain regulations must be enforced by the employer or contractor. The contractor must provide quality safety tools, otherwise they are in violation of OSHA standards.

Does someone’s employment status how to handle a claim, i.e. independent contractor vs fulltime employee?

The employer may attempt to use a workers’ status against them. If someone is an independent contractor, they may claim that this exempts them from compensating for their medical bills. However, an attorney can help any injured worker fight for the compensation they deserve after a construction injury.

Should an injured worker seek workers’ comp or another option?

Texas is unique in that not every employer is required to offer workers’ compensation. If you have workers’ comp, and your employer determines that you are at fault for the injury, workers’ comp will likely be your only option.

However, if you are injured in a fall due a lack of scaffolding, safety rails, safety net, then you would be able to hold the contractor/your employer responsible because they did not provide fall protection. Even if your employer has workers’ comp, you can sue the framing contractor for your medical bills.

Under Texas law, can injured workers sue their employees if negligence caused the injury?

Workers covered by workers’ compensation, in many cases, cannot sue their direct employer for damages caused by a workplace accident. Consult with a Texas workers’ comp lawyer to get a definitive answer about your options.

A lawsuit can be filed against other parties if their negligence played a role in the injury, even if the worker is covered by workers’ compensation.

What should an undocumented worker do if they are injured at work?

Undocumented workers are often taken advantage of in the construction industry. They may be given more dangerous jobs, and any injuries may be swept under the rug under threat of deportation.

It’s important to remember: if you’re undocumented, you have the same rights and protections as an American citizen.

What should a worker do if they are injured in a fall?

The most important thing to do after an injury is to seek medical attention. If you suffered a head injury or went unconscious, check to see if you sustained a brain injury.

After you’ve had your injuries assessed and documented, consult an attorney who has experience helping working with injured construction workers. There’s a lot of moving pieces involved in these types of cases, so you need experienced help.

What type of lawyer should you call after a construction injury?

Construction-related accident requires an experienced attorney. They need to know what types of defenses the contractors and employers will use. They need familiarity with contracts and examining the scene to determine what went wrong and who is responsible.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.