Every year, hundreds of construction workers are killed in accidents that occur while working on construction sites. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 1,061 construction industry employees died in work-related accidents in 2019. This number has been rising at an alarming rate over the last few years. There are hundreds of other accidents that leave victims unable to work, or even permanently disabled. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a work-related accident, you may be able to file a liability claim against those at fault for your injury. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical and hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, and in the event that your injury caused you to lose or compromise your ability to work, you may even be able to recover money for loss of wages or pain and suffering.
The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm have recovered millions of dollars in settlements for our injury clients. We are knowledgeable in all areas of law pertaining to construction accidents and other work-related injuries, and our Philadelphia construction accident lawyers work hard to obtain the maximum recovery for our client’s injuries. Contact us at (215) 709-6940 for your free consultation.
Construction Site Accidents and Injuries are Common
Construction accidents are an all too frequent occurrence despite the implementation of many federal and state regulations and industry standards that mandate certain work-site safety measures. These measures, although placed by construction employees, sub-contractors, and general contractors, cannot always guarantee work-site safety, or that an unexpected accident will occur. Unfortunately, construction accidents happen all too frequently. Some of the types of accident cases our firms handle are listed below.
Falls and Scaffolding Accidents
If you work at a construction site, you are likely required to work on very high areas, including platforms, scaffolding, ladders, and unfinished roofs. Statistically, falls account for nearly 35% of all construction-related deaths. When safety equipment or protocols are not in place, the risk of severe injuries increases.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of injuries and are even more dangerous at a construction site. Everything from building materials and stray tools to uneven ground could cause a construction worker to lose their balance and fall. It is not uncommon for an injury to be exacerbated by debris or equipment on the ground.
Construction sites are works in progress. This means that live wires are often exposed throughout the area. Any exposure to an exposed wire or powerline could lead to a serious or fatal electrical accident. Overhead power lines also present a danger to crane operators or construction workers working in elevated areas.
Falling Materials, Debris, Tools, or Other Objects
When a construction project has multiple levels, some materials or objects will likely be dropped from time to time. When heavy tools, equipment, or other construction materials fall from a substantial height, they could injure or kill a worker on a lower level.
Construction sites throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding area are filled with large and heavy machinery, equipment, and materials. If a construction worker becomes stuck between these heavy and immovable objects, they could suffer devastating injuries.
Defective Product-Related Injuries
Construction workers rely on many different types of tools and heavy machinery. Every worker anticipates that the tool they are employing is going to work correctly. However, when a tool or piece of construction equipment malfunctions or is otherwise defective, workers are liable to be injured.
Explosions and Fires
In the same way the exposed wires present a hazard to construction workers, unfinished piping could endanger workers if there is a resulting gas leak. Furthermore, construction sites often contain volatile substances that are liable to explode if mishandled.
Construction Vehicle or Automotive Vehicle Accidents
Large commercial trucks and other heavy machinery moves throughout a construction site. Whether it is a flatbed truck delivering material or a crane lifting building materials to a higher level of the site, these construction vehicles could seriously injury a worker if they unexpectedly strike them.
Additionally, many construction sites are located near highways or busy streets. Unfortunately, and all too often, a construction worker is hit by a distracted or reckless driver.
Common Injuries Suffered in Philadelphia Construction Site Accidents
Because of the nature of a construction worker’s job, injuries sustained in a construction accident are often devastating, and even fatal. Common Injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Head trauma
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Severed limbs
- Burn injuries
Your Rights as a Construction Employee Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Employers are obligated to provide construction workers with workers’ compensation benefits., however, workers’ compensation often does not always cover all costs generated by the injuries and damages sustained by victims of construction accidents. There may be third parties, such as a defective product manufacturer, the property owner, a sub-contractor, a general contractor, an architect, or others that can be held liable for your injury accidents.
Our Philadelphia construction worker injury attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and resources to file personal injury lawsuits against negligent third parties for the harm that you have suffered so that you can obtain financial recovery for medical expenses, loss of consortium, lost wages, and other damages.
It is common for victims of construction accidents to assume that workers’ compensation insurance is their only possible source of recovery if the injury occurred on a worksite, but third-party lawsuits are valid and winnable in many situations involving the negligence of subcontractors, consultants, and product manufacturers. A few of the many types of construction site accidents we are prepared to evaluate for legal action are:
- Falls from scaffolding, ladders and other heights, often resulting in severe spinal cord injury, brain injury or death
- Severe injuries or fatalities resulting from use of defective or poorly maintained equipment including nail guns, other power and hand tools, and construction vehicles
- Cranes and other massive equipment that topple or collapse
- Injuries caused by falling debris or obstacles such as uncovered holes on the site
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Electrocutions, fires, and explosions
Filing a Third-Party Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Construction Site Injury in Philadelphia
As stated above, most Philadelphia construction workers are covered through workers’ compensation insurance. To receive benefits through a workers’ compensation claim, a construction worker only needs to demonstrate that they were injured while on the job. They are not required to prove that anyone did anything wrong or that someone is to blame for their injury.
If you have a valid claim, you will have to prove that the third-party was negligent. While negligent might sound similar to careless or reckless, it actually has a legal definition when applied to a personal injury lawsuit.
To prove negligence, our Philadelphia construction accident attorney will have to prove four elements.
The first element to prove is that the defendant owed you a duty of care. Duty of care is the legal obligation a person or entity has not to cause harm. The relationship between the parties involved often defines this duty. For example, if a company was hired to install scaffolding at a construction site, it has an obligation to ensure that the structure presents no unseen hazard to any workers that use it, including ensuring all safety equipment is installed and that all connections were inspected.
The next element is proving that the defendant breached their duty of care. Simply put, this means the defendant’s conduct deviated from what a reasonable person would have done under the same or similar circumstances. Turning back to the scaffolding example, if the scaffolding was supposed to include a railing to protect workers but the installation company failed to install them to save time, it breached the duty of care.
Once a breach of duty is established, our office will have to prove that the defendant’s conduct caused the injury. If a construction worker fell from a scaffold because a guardrail was not installed, then their injury could be a result of the failure to install the rail.
Finally, the injured worker must demonstrate that they suffered actual damages. Falling from a scaffold could result in a fractured leg, spinal injury, and head trauma. Any of these injuries would require medical attention and likely result in missed time at work. Under the law, these are damages and an injured worker is entitled to seek financial compensation for their losses associated with the injuries.
Third-Parties in a Philadelphia Construction Accident Injury Lawsuit
Liability for a construction accident in Philadelphia will vary based on the facts of each individual case. Therefore, it is important to speak with an experienced Philadelphia construction accident injury lawyer to determine if you have a valid claim against a third-party. Some common liable parties are listed below.
The contractor and Subcontractors
Contractors and subcontractors have an obligation to ensure that the safety of their employees. Often, these outside firms are hired by a construction firm to handle specific jobs. If a contractor, or one of their employees, creates an unreasonable risk or hazard that results in an injury, they could be held accountable.
The Owner of the Construction Site
In some situations, the owner of the construction site could be liable for any accidents or injuries that occur. However, the owner would have to have a substantial amount of control over the construction site to be held accountable. Some property owners are very “hands-on” or exercise decision-making ability regarding the construction site.
Property owners, including construction site owners, have a legal obligation to ensure their invitees are protected from or informed of any potential hazards on the property. In a personal injury case, an invitee is someone on the property with expressed permission from the owner. A construction worker would be an invitee under these circumstances.
Architects of Engineers
The professionals who design the building have a responsibility to ensure that the building they have designed is safe. This means that the building must comply with all applicable building codes and safety regulations. If an injury occurs because an architect or engineer failed to adhere to the appropriate professional standards, they could be held responsible for any harm or damages suffered.
Injuries are also caused on construction sites when a tool or other piece of equipment malfunctions. If the malfunction resulted from a design flaw or a manufacturing error, the company that designed or produced the tool or piece of equipment could be held accountable for any injuries.
Our Injury Lawyers Can Help if You Were Hurt on a Construction Site in Philadelphia
The risks and dangers of construction work are well known, but many catastrophic accidents occur due to the negligence of contractors, subcontractors, equipment manufacturers, and other parties. At The Reiff Law Firm, our proven team of Pennsylvania construction injury attorneys and professional support staff have the knowledge and experience to recover monetary compensation after catastrophic instances of a construction site or manufacturing negligence.
We have handled numerous high-stakes claims after accidents caused by contractors’ failure to comply with federal or state regulations or industry standards, and our personal injury and auto collision lawyers also have extensive experience in products and premises liability cases. For honest legal counsel from an attorney with over three decades of relevant, versatile experience, call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 or contact us online, to schedule your free consultation.