Common Construction Injury Types
Working in construction can be a challenging and sometimes risky job. Injured construction workers often face massive medical bills and other expenses. Some even have a permanent disability. The risk of construction injury is particularly significant to construction workers. This is because they face workplace hazards unique to their industry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), construction workers are especially vulnerable to workplace injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued construction industry regulations. OSHA did this in an effort to limit and reduce construction site accidents and work injuries. Still, work injuries involving heavy equipment, head injuries, and fatal falls continue.
Understanding common types of injuries at construction sites can be helpful. This article provides a brief overview of these workplace accidents.
Causes of Construction Injuries and Some Legal Remedies
Most construction accident cases occur for one or more of the following reasons:
- Mishandled equipment
- Dangerous power tools
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Negligence by general contractors, subcontractors, or property owners
Workers can usually apply for workers' comp when injured on the job. This form of insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits to injured workers. However, an accident victim might also have a personal injury claim if the injury is due to negligence. A personal injury lawyer or construction accident lawyer can help with this process. They can provide a case evaluation and assist with construction accident claims against those at fault.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the causes of construction injuries are numerous and varied. While some causes are easy to spot, others are less obvious. Below, you will find explanations of some of the most common construction injury types.
One of the most common types of construction injuries is falls. Construction workers are at risk from falls from scaffolding, cranes, roofs, ladders, and other heights at work. This can lead to broken bones, back injuries, and permanent disability. Workers' compensation insurance should generally cover medical expenses resulting from these falls.
If you are injured in a fall, you should file a Workers' Compensation Claim. You might also have a personal injury lawsuit against your employer or another party. Construction companies may be responsible for failing to install fall protection mechanisms. Legal action could be an effective tool for enforcement.
Another frequent construction accident injury comes from falling objects. Workers can be seriously injured if they are struck by tools or materials that are not adequately secured. Brain and spinal injuries can occur, even if a worker wears the appropriate safety equipment like hard hats. In such instances, a workers' compensation attorney can help victims understand their rights. They can also help guide them through the claims process.
Heavy machinery equipment used on construction sites can fail or be dangerous. Faulty equipment or inadequate training in handling power tools can lead to serious injuries. These accidents can result in deep cuts, crushed limbs, and even fatalities. Workers' comp is crucial in these situations to help cover medical bills and lost wages.
For example, a forklift could fail to work correctly. A dumpster could fall over unexpectedly, or a nail gun could misfire. Equipment that is unsafe or dangerous and causes injuries. In that case, you may wish to discuss with your attorney a legal theory called "product liability." This legal concept explores who is responsible for defective or dangerous products.
Backovers and Crushing Hazards
Workplace accidents involving heavy machinery can result in backovers and crushing injuries. Workers risk being run over by large trucks backing out of construction sites. They are also sometimes crushed between large vehicles and walls or concrete. These accidents can be related to supervisor neglect in controlling a work site. This type of construction accident can be severe. It will likely necessitate long-term medical care or result in permanent disability.
Fires and Explosions
Construction sites are often filled with hazardous materials. These materials can ignite or explode, leading to burns, lung damage, or other serious injuries. Construction sites often contain hazardous conditions, such as exposed wiring and leaking pipes. Flammable chemicals that could lead to fires and explosions are also present. Workers' compensation benefits can be a lifeline for these accident victims. The aid can help them cover their medical expenses.
Trench or Building Collapses
Another common type of construction injury is when a trench that's being built collapses on the workers inside. A building being demolished or under construction can suddenly or unexpectedly collapse. This can kill or seriously injure those inside. Even if the cause of the accident cannot be directly determined, a legal negligence theory of "res ipsa loquitur" may apply. You may still be able to be compensated without proving how a potential defendant may have been negligent. Trench or building collapses are a hazardous type of construction accident. In these cases, a construction accident lawyer can be instrumental in navigating the legal process.
Repetitive Motion Injuries, Heat Stroke, and Other Overexertion Injuries
Hard physical labor is required for construction work. Employees in this industry often have injuries related to overexertion, including:
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Muscle and joint damage due to overuse
- Heat stress in hot conditions can lead to brain, heart, or kidney damage or death
- Hypothermia or frostbite resulting in the loss of fingers, toes, and parts of the face in cold climates
Repetitive motion injuries occur when workers perform the same action over and over. This can lead to a strain on specific body parts. These injuries can result in long-term pain or disability. Working in intense heat or exposure to smoke or toxic fumes can result in overexertion injuries. Such injuries can lead to respiratory diseases, heart conditions, and other medical problems.
High Lead Levels
Construction workers can be exposed to high lead levels or other toxic chemicals that can cause serious health problems. Unsafe construction sites and work practices can lead to work exposure to lead. Construction workers represent many individuals suffering from elevated blood lead concentration cases. This can include respiratory diseases.
Thousands of construction workers have died from pneumoconiosis. This disease is legally defined as a chronic dust disease of the lung arising out of employment, usually in coal mines. The most common conditions that have led to death in construction workers are asbestosis, Coal Workers' Black Lung, and silicosis. Suppose you are suffering from one of these respiratory conditions. In that case, you may have a product liability claim against your employers or the manufacturers.
Types of Medical Conditions Caused by Construction Injuries
The construction injuries described above can lead to medical conditions, including:
- Amputation of a finger, toe, or limb
- Broken bones or fractures
- Burns for fires, explosions, or electrocutions
- Cuts or lacerations from exposed nails, tools, machinery, etc.
- Death, in which case the construction worker's family should consider a wrongful death claim
- Eye injuries or loss of vision from exposure to dangerous chemicals or gases
- Injuries from being impaled by objects such as shrapnel from grinding metal
- Shoulder, knee, or ankle injuries such as sprains or overuse damage
- Loss of hearing from the loud noises on construction sites
- Paralysis and other spinal cord injuries, especially from falls
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the experience of a traumatic accident
- Toxic exposure to chemicals, such as from welding jobs
- Head or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) from falls or objects being dropped on a construction worker on the job site
Construction accident injuries can lead to various medical conditions. As you can see, these range from broken bones and cuts to more severe issues like traumatic brain injuries. In the worst cases, these injuries can even lead to death.
Get an Initial Review of Your Claim From a Local Attorney
If you have been injured at your construction site, it is best to consult with a construction accident attorney. They can help you protect your legal right to compensation. Typically, your employer's workers' compensation plan will cover your injuries and the time away from work. Every case is unique, and you may need additional legal firepower.
A skilled attorney can help you understand your rights. They can review your claim and guide you on potential compensation. A skilled attorney can guide you through workers' compensation insurance complexities. They can help you through personal injury law and help you fight for the resources you need to recover from your injury. If you or a loved one has suffered from a workplace injury, consider talking to a workers' compensation attorney today.
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Contact a qualified workers' compensation attorney to make sure your rights are protected.