Construction work provides an excellent living for many Americans. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 130 million workers were employed in construction 2013 at more than 8 million construction sites around the country. But although construction work provides a good living for many workers and their families, it is among the most dangerous of all types of jobs. In 2013, 4,585 workers were killed on the job, and untold numbers were injured. Construction deaths averaged about 88 each week, slightly more than 12 fatalities per day. Most of these could have been prevented if employers and others on the job site meticulously enforced all proper safety regulations.
Catastrophic Injuries Are Frequent in Construction
The most catastrophic of the non-fatal injuries that occur in construction include traumatic brain injury, paralysis resulting from spinal cord damage, crush injuries, amputations, and burns. These devastating injuries often cause permanent disability and a radically diminished quality of life. Other injuries, such as fractures, concussions, lacerations, facial injuries, and puncture wounds are also extremely disruptive, painful, and costly, often keeping the victim out of work for months.
In many cases, the injured worker is the primary breadwinner for the family, so the negative impact of the death or injury is on the family as well as the injury victim.
Study Shows Construction Injuries and Construction Site Violations Rampant in Texas
The Center for Construction Research and Training conducted a study in which they inspected construction sites throughout Texas. They found a substantial number of employment violations occurring consistently at construction sites throughout the state, and discovered that one in every five construction workers who were surveyed had suffered a serious injury on the job.
OSHA Violations Cause “The Fatal Four” Accident Types
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) sets safety standards designed to prevent workplace injuries and fatalities. OSHA has found that the most common and serious construction accidents that cause the greatest number of serious injuries fall into four categories, which they call “the fatal four:”
- Falls, the number one cause of construction accident injuries, caused by unstable scaffolding, ladders, and roofs, along with unmarked drop-offs and excavations.
- Being struck by a falling object.
- Caught-in/between accidents, those where a worker is trapped or crushed between objects, often from being caught in the moving parts of heavy machinery or being trapped in a cave-in
- Electrocutions from exposed wires, extension cords, or power lines; also often caused by defective or poorly maintained tools and equipment
OSHA has established safety standards designed to prevent these accidents and attempts to inspect construction sites with the intention of enforcing them. But with only a couple thousand inspectors covering eight million worksites, their effectiveness is limited.
When you’ve been injured in a construction accident, as with other workplace illnesses, injuries, or deaths, you will usually turn to Workers’ Compensation to have your medical expenses and a portion of your lost earnings paid, along with the cost of rehabilitation. If a family member was killed on the job, there is a death benefit. Workers’ Comp is a kind of no-fault insurance, so you don’t need to prove that your employer was negligent, simply that your illness or injury was related to your job. But the relative ease of obtaining these benefits comes at a price. You cannot collect compensation for your non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, and you are not allowed to sue your employer, regardless of any negligence that may have caused your losses.
For many people, the damage to the quality of life is worse than any financial hardship, but with Workers’ Comp, you’re out of luck in that regard. That said, with a good personal injury attorney working in your behalf, you may still be able to recover for those losses. There are two possibilities: If your employer deliberately put you in harm’s way, knowing of the likelihood that you would be hurt, your lawyer may ask the court to exempt you from the exclusionary rule and give you the right to sue them; or, and this is the more likely option, the attorney’s investigation will be aimed at identifying third parties whose negligence may have contributed to your injury.
Third Party Claims Increase Potential Recoveries
If another company or individual at the site besides your employer was in some way responsible for your injury, you may sometimes hold them accountable for your damages, for example:
- A sub-contractor
- A vendor
- An architect
- An engineer
- The property owner
- The manufacturer of a defective tool or piece of equipment that injured you
Legal Assistance in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, for Construction Accident Injuries
When you or a family member has suffered a construction accident injury anywhere in Texas, the law firm of attorney Aaron Herbert is a best bet for legal representation in the Dallas area. For the best chance at receiving compensation for all of your damages, come and talk to us about what happened to you. We will investigate the facts and circumstances and leave no stone unturned in trying to identify a means for you to get everything you deserve.
Aaron Herbert is a Texas Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Specialist with the expertise and resources to help you obtain justice. He has obtained settlements and jury verdicts in favor of thousands of clients in his 14 years of personal injury practice. He has the highest possible AVVO rating—a perfect 10 out of 10—and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
For an Aggressive Pursuit of Justice . . .
Call Herbert Law for a no-cost consultation. We fight to protect your rights, and we give you the personal attention your construction accident case deserves. Time to file is limited, so call now.