9 Common Construction Site Accidents
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Michele S. Mirman with Mirman, Markovits & Landau, PC.
Like any workplace, construction sites come with their own challenges; these challenges tend to be physically demanding and can easily endanger workers when safety is not a priority. However, with proper attention to and enforcement of industry safety regulations, in many cases it is possible to mitigate these risks and prevent bodily harm to construction workers on the job. However, if a construction worker is injured in the course of their employment, they may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim to seek immediate relief for medical bills and lost wages.
Furthermore, if the injury was catastrophic or could have been prevented by proper attention to safety, it may be possible to file a workplace injury claim against the negligent party. Workplace injury claims or lawsuits allow the accident victim to seek compensation for a much broader collection of damages, including not only past and future medical bills and lost wages, but compensation for pain and suffering and impairment of earning capacity as well, just to name a few.
9 of the most common construction site accidents include:
- Falls from heights
- Falling debris
- Slip and falls
- Burns and electrocutions
- Machinery accidents
- Ground collapse during site excavations
- Struck by a vehicle
- Caught in/between machinery or material
From orthopedic injuries like broken and fractured bones or damaged joints to traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, any injury sustained on a construction site should be taken seriously. Some injuries can significantly worsen if left untreated, and it may also be harder to make a recovery on a workers’ comp or injury claim.
If you or a loved one were injured on a construction site, consider taking the following steps:
- Inform a supervisor. The first thing to do after suffering an injury on a construction site is to report the incident to whoever is in charge. A supervisor may be able to call emergency medical services to the scene and/or quickly report the accident up the chain of command. Additionally, workers who do not report an accident right away may have a harder time arguing for the legitimacy of the injury, especially if the supervisor, manager, or employer claims that they were not informed about the incident. It’s also a good idea to send an email to your employer and/or human resources (HR) department as soon as possible after the accident just in case your supervisor does not.
- Seek medical care immediately. It’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible after a construction site accident. While toughing it out or waiting to see if the injury heals on its own may be tempting, waiting to seek care can have a negative impact on your claim, and may also allow the injury to worsen prior to treatment. This may feel like a difficult concept to accept, but some injuries may take days or even weeks to present symptoms. However, if a worker did not seek care for a potential injury right away, it could lead to the employer or a third-party arguing that they could not have been very injured if they were able to wait to see a doctor.
- Collect evidence. It’s important to collect evidence at the scene of any construction site accident. Evidence in this situation may include pictures of where the accident happened, any equipment involved, as well as collecting the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. If the accident victim is too injured to collect this and other evidence on their own, a friend, family member, co-worker, or attorney may do so on their behalf.
- Contact HR. It’s important to follow-up with your employer’s HR department following an injury. The HR department should be able to guide you through the process of filing a workers’ comp claim, as well as direct you to medical providers that are in network to ensure you pay as little as possible out of pocket until the facts of the event are sorted out. Following up with HR also ensures that official documentation exists regarding the incident, just in case a supervisor or other employee would rather cover up the incident.
- Talk to an attorney. If you suspect that the construction accident occurred due to someone else’s negligence, or your injury was too severe to be fully covered by workers’ compensation, you may be eligible to file a workplace injury claim against the employer or a third-party. Construction site injuries can go on to seriously impact the victim’s life and that of their family, so it’s important to explore every option for recovery after one of these events. Similarly, if your workers’ comp claim is denied, or your employer seems reticent to help you file, reach out to a workers’ comp attorney for assistance with your claim.
To learn more about construction site accidents, or to discuss your options for recovery following an injury at work, reach out to a workplace injury attorney in your area.