Construction workers have the most dangerous job in the country, which is evident from the number of occupational fatalities in the construction industry. Construction sites involve the use of dangerous tools and heavy machinery, not to mention that construction workers are often required to work from great heights on scaffolding and ladders. In addition, workers have to work long hours in extreme heat and inclement weather.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry accounts for about 20% of all occupational fatalities in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of construction workers suffer serious injuries annually.
Being injured on a construction site can be a devastating and nerve-wracking experience for any construction worker. At Iscoe Law Firm, we understand that a construction site injury can affect your ability to provide for your family. That is why our construction accident lawyers are dedicated to helping injured victims and their families pursue the compensation they are entitled to.
If you or your loved one has been injured on a construction site – or worse, you lost your loved one in a construction accident – do not hesitate to contact our Fort Lauderdale construction accident attorneys at Iscoe Law Firm to discuss your options for compensation. Call 800-800-6500 to receive a free consultation.
Common Causes of Construction Accidents
Nearly all construction accidents are entirely preventable when property owners and construction site managers take all the precautions to avoid accidents and follow all the regulations imposed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
Unfortunately, construction accidents are bound to happen when property owners and construction companies fail to take proper safety precautions. As a result, construction workers can sustain devastating injuries, leaving them without the means to support themselves and their families.
Let’s review some of the most common causes of accidents that occur on construction sites:
- Scaffolding/ladder accidents. Falls from heights are the most common cause of injuries and deaths on construction sites. The vast majority of these falls occur when a construction worker is using a ladder or scaffold. Scaffolding or ladder accidents are likely to occur when these items are not installed properly.
- Falling objects and debris. A construction worker may be struck by a falling object or debris on a construction site. While wearing hard hats can reduce the risk of serious injuries caused by falling objects, a worker may sustain severe injuries even if they are wearing a hard hat.
- Improper use of power tools. Power tools are known to be inherently dangerous by their design. That is why people must be extremely cautious when using these tools. Improper use of these tools and other types of equipment on construction sites can result in catastrophic injuries, including the loss of a limb.
- Overexertion. Construction workers often perform one task repeatedly for several consecutive hours. As a result, a worker is likely to suffer a back, shoulder, hand, or knee injury due to overexertion and repetitive stress.
- Collapsing structures. Some construction accidents are caused by collapsing structures. Structures may collapse due to the negligence or carelessness of architects and engineers.
- Mechanical failures. Construction workers have to work with all kinds of machinery and heavy equipment on construction sites. Sometimes, machinery may suffer mechanical failures, exposing operators of those machines and other people around to a risk of injury or death. While some mechanical failures are caused by defects, others are the result of improper maintenance.
- Electrocution accidents. Most construction projects involve the use of electrical wiring. Workers are exposed to a number of electrical hazards on construction sites that can lead to electrocution accidents.
- Fires and explosions. Unfortunately, fires and explosions are not uncommon occurrences on construction sites.
- Caught in/between objects. A large number of construction workers sustain injuries when they get caught, crushed, or compressed between two or more objects.
- Exposure to toxic substances and chemicals. Construction sites are full of toxic substances, chemicals, fumes, dust, and others. When construction workers who lack the necessary protective gear are exposed to these substances and chemicals for a prolonged amount of time, they are likely to suffer injuries.
- Crane accidents. Crane accidents are common on construction sites. When cranes collapse, they put the lives of workers and bystanders at risk.
- Roofing accidents. Roofers face an increased risk of injury on construction sites because they have to work on elevated heights. Falls from roofs can result in catastrophic injuries, disability, or death.
- Transportation accidents. Most construction projects involve the use of trucks and other machines. When a vehicle is not operated properly or workers fail to take reasonable precautions, transportation accidents are bound to happen.
- Adverse weather conditions. Construction workers have to work in adverse and brutal weather conditions to complete projects. Lighting, heavy winds, and other bad weather conditions increase the risk of injuries on construction sites.
- Slip and fall accidents. Slippery surfaces and wet floors on construction sites can result in slip and fall accidents.
There are many other causes of construction accidents. While some of these accidents may not be entirely preventable, the vast majority of them are. When a construction accident occurs as a result of failure to take proper safety precautions, lack of supervision, insufficient training, or other forms of negligent or reckless conduct, injured construction workers can pursue compensation for their resulting injuries and losses.
Construction Accidents and OSHA Regulations
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that makes sure that property owners and construction companies comply with all safety regulations to prevent construction accidents. When property owners, general contractors, subcontractors, construction site managers, or workers neglect OSHA regulations, construction accidents are likely to occur.
Falls from heights are the leading cause of injuries (48%) and deaths (30%) on construction sites. One of the regulations OSHA covers is protecting construction workers from falls. Under 29 CFR § 1926.501(b)(1), construction companies are required to install fall protection when a worker is working on a horizontal or vertical working surface with an unprotected side/edge that is at least 6 feet above the lower level.
There are many OSHA regulations that construction companies and property owners must comply with to prevent accidents on construction sites. That is why it is vital to discuss your particular case with an experienced construction accident lawyer to evaluate the facts of your accident and determine if any OSHA regulations were violated.
Common Types of Construction Accident Injuries
While workers may sustain serious injuries in any industry, construction workers are much more likely to get injured on the job due to their exposure to hazardous conditions. While any type of construction accident injury can require extensive and costly medical treatment, some of the most common types of injuries suffered by construction workers include:
- Broken bones
- Bone fractures
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Permanent scarring
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Back and neck injuries
- Eye injuries, including blindness
- Knee and ankle injuries
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of limbs
Because constriction workers are exposed to toxic substances and chemicals, they are likely to develop chronic diseases, including:
- Respiratory ailments
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Various types of cancer
Work-related traumatic injuries and occupational diseases can dramatically impact construction workers and their families. An injured worker may need to take extended time off work and spend thousands of dollars on medical expenses.
For this reason, it is important to contact a knowledgeable construction accident attorney to seek compensation for all your injuries and losses.
Who is Liable After a Construction Accident?
Under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, employers are generally immune from negligence-based injury lawsuits filed by their injured employees as long as they carry workers’ comp insurance.
That is why suing your employer may not be an option if you have been injured in a construction accident and your employer has workers’ compensation coverage. However, you may be able to pursue a third-party injury claim against other liable parties, including:
- The owner of the property (construction site). Whether or not the property owner can be held liable for your construction site injury depends on the degree of control they have over the premises.
- General contractors and subcontractors. OSHA requires general contractors and subcontractors to ensure a safe working environment for construction workers and warn them of hazards. If a general contractor or subcontractor fails to provide a reasonably safe working environment and a construction worker gets injured, as a result, they may be able to sue the liable contractor/subcontractor.
- Architects and engineers. An architect or engineer of a construction project may be held liable for a worker’s injury when their design of the project does not meet specific standards or codes. In other words, architects and engineers can be held liable for construction accidents when a construction worker sustains injuries due to issues with the building structure or related problems.
- Manufacturers. Many construction accidents are caused by workers’ use of defective products. If someone is injured due to defects in machinery, power tools, or other construction-related equipment, any party in the chain of distribution can be held liable for the resulting injuries. Liable parties include manufacturers, distributors, retailers, designers, and others.
Consult with a skilled construction accident attorney to determine what caused your injury and determine liable parties in your particular case. Our Fort Lauderdale construction accident lawyers at Iscoe Law Firm offer free consultations to prospective clients. Get your free case review by calling 800-800-6500 right now.
What Are Your Compensation Options for a Construction Accident Injury?
When a construction worker is injured on the job, they have several options available to obtain compensation for their injuries and losses, including:
- A workers’ compensation claim. Under Fla. Stat. § 440.02, employers in the construction industry must provide workers’ compensation benefits to all their employees. By contrast, non-construction employers are required to provide workers’ comp coverage if they have four or more employees. Construction workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault. Florida’s workers’ comp system covers an injured employee’s medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and two-thirds of their lost gross wages. The exact compensation depends on whether the worker suffered a temporary or permanent, partial or total disability.
- A personal injury claim against the employer. While Florida law requires all employers in the construction industry to carry workers’ compensation for their employees, it does not mean that all employers comply with the law. If you get injured in a construction accident, and your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can file a personal injury claim directly against your employer.
- A personal injury claim against a negligent third party. If a third party caused or contributed to your construction site injury, you could pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent third party. However, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney to help you prove the elements of a negligence-based personal injury claim.
- A product liability lawsuit. Many construction accidents are stemming from the use of defective or faulty machinery, power tools, and other equipment. If your lawyer can prove that your construction accident was caused by a product with a manufacturing or design defect, you can pursue a product liability lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer, seller, distributor, and other parties.
- A wrongful death lawsuit. When a construction worker is killed on the job, their surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the construction company, the property owner, and other liable parties.
It is advisable to consult with a construction accident attorney to determine what compensation option is best in your particular situation.
What Compensation Can You Seek for Your Construction Accident Injury?
Every construction accident case is different, which is why the exact compensation the injured party can seek depends on many factors, including the severity of their injuries.
Generally, injured construction workers can recover the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses, including hospital bills, medication costs, transportation fees, the cost of medical treatment, and many more
- The cost of rehabilitation and physical therapy to help an injured worker get back on their feet
- Lost wages as a result of taking time off work
- Diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering caused by the construction accident
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
- In some cases, Punitive damages
Unlike all other types of damages, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their particularly egregious conduct. All other damages are compensatory and intended to make the victim whole or return the victim as closely as possible to where they were before the accident.
Fla. Stat. § 768.72 provides that punitive damages may be awarded to an injured party when they can prove that the defendant engaged in gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
Families of construction workers who were killed on the job can seek compensation for the wrongful death. In addition to the above-mentioned damages, surviving family members may also be entitled to:
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of guidance
- Lost support and services
Contact a skilled construction accident attorney if your loved one died on a construction site in Florida. Our knowledgeable lawyers at Iscoe Law Firm are committed to representing construction accident victims and their families throughout the state. We have our offices in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.
How Long Do You Have to File a Construction Accident Claim in Florida?
People injured as a result of someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct have a limited amount of time to take legal action against the negligent parties. The time limit is known as the statute of limitations.
Under Fla. Stat. § 95.11, injured construction workers – or any other injured persons – have four years from the date of the accident to sue the negligent party. If a construction worker died on the job, their surviving family members have only two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida.
While four or even two years might seem like a significant amount of time, it is best to start working on your legal case as soon as possible to achieve a favorable outcome in your case.
Get a Free Consultation with a Construction Accident Lawyer in Broward County
Our knowledgeable and dedicated construction accident lawyers at Iscoe Law Firm are prepared to stand up for your rights if you were injured on a construction site or lost your loved one in a construction accident.
We understand what you are going through. We know that this is a difficult time for you and your family. That is why our construction accident attorneys are committed to helping you obtain the compensation you need to get back on your feet and provide for your family.
Our lawyers will handle the legal aspects of your construction accident claim while you focus on what matters most: your medical treatment. We proudly serve clients across the State of Florida, including in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Schedule a free case review with our attorneys to determine liability in your particular case and discuss your compensation options. You can take comfort in the fact that we do not charge our clients for initial consultations. Feel free to contact our law offices by calling 800-800-6500 or fill out this contact form.