Construction Accident Injury Attorneys in WV
Construction accidents are distinct by nature of the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations that construction contractors must adhere to. When a fall from a roof occurs due to lack of fall protection, or when bad scaffolding or ladders result in spinal cord injury or death to construction workers, the question of employer negligence comes into play. If you have been injured in any construction accident, including ones related to heavy equipment and highway or road construction, it is important to speak with an experienced workplace injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights and options.
At Bailey, Javins & Carter, we have over four decades of experience successfully representing workers who have been injured or the families of workers who have been killed in construction site accidents. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of this area of the law, and we have a proven track record standing up for working people against major players in some of the most powerful industries. We are not intimidated by well-funded adversaries and their vast resources, and we fight hard to recover every dollar of compensation our clients need and deserve.
Common Types of Construction Accidents
Construction is one of the world’s most dangerous occupations. Construction workers face unique hazards day in and day out that are not present in any other industry. Workers are typically required to move at a fast pace using heavy equipment and machinery, and they often have to do their jobs in high places. On top of all this, workers have to depend on their supervisors to manage the construction site properly, and they have to count on others working nearby to perform their tasks safely.
According to OSHA, more than 20% of all work-related fatalities in the United States happen in the construction industry. There are number of reasons construction worker injuries and deaths happen, which include:
- Falling: The number one cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry is falling. With so many workers doing jobs in elevated places, there is a heightened risk of slipping and falling a great distance. This is especially true when things are not well organized and there are unnecessary hazards such as slippery surfaces, tools, materials, and debris that workers trip over, and similar issues.
- Struck by Objects: With workers doing jobs on various levels of a building, there is a greater chance of getting struck by an object that falls from one level to another. This could be a tool, a piece of sheet rock, a beam, or one of numerous other types of hard objects.
- Electrocutions: Construction workers are usually performing tasks around loose wiring, unfinished electrical systems, and power lines. These, of course, are necessary when you are putting electricity into a newly built or remodeled structure. If these wires are not clearly marked and identified, however, there is a risk of electrocution if a worker accidentally comes in contact with one of them.
- Caught In-Between: Construction workers often work in compact and/or enclosed areas with heavy machinery and equipment. This combination puts them in danger of getting caught in-between immovable objects. When this happens, there is a major risk of severe and debilitating injuries such as loss of limbs.
The above-mentioned hazards are what OSHA refers to as the “fatal four”, and these four hazards are responsible for approximately 60% of all construction worker deaths. Other events that can cause construction injuries and death include overexertion, fires and explosions, equipment accidents, being struck by vehicles, and being exposed to toxic substances.
In addition to this, one of the most common sources of injury at the workplace is a demolition site.
Common Hazards on the Demolition Site
In addition to the injuries listed above, here are number of potential dangers involved with demolition work:
- Unknown Dangers from Modified Structures: One of the biggest risks involved with a demolition project is the unknown. More specifically, unknown modifications (whether approved or unapproved) that may have been done to the structure while it was in use. This could also mean undetermined strength or weakness of various types of construction material. The bottom line is that doing a demolition based on a design that might have been altered is a dangerous proposition.
- Exposure to Toxic Substances: Older buildings could contain dangerous materials inside that are not discovered and/or properly dealt with. For example, there could be asbestos, silica, lead, and other toxic chemicals inside the structure, and workers could breathe in these substances or end up with a chemical burn after an explosion.
- Flash Fires from Explosion: A controlled explosion gone bad could result in flash fires in nearby structures, exposing those inside to burn injuries.
Can You Sue an Employer for a Construction Accident Injury?
The answer to this question is, usually not. Most of the time, you would not be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against an employer if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are some limited circumstances in which a personal injury action may be possible under the legal theory known as “deliberate intent”. In other words, if it can be shown that the deliberate actions of your employer caused the injury, then you may have a chance with this type of lawsuit. Deliberate intent cases are very difficult to win, however, and you must always be sure to work with an attorney who has successfully pursued cases like these before.
Construction Injury Lawsuits Against Third Parties
Even if you are not able to sue your employer, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against a party other than your employer if that party caused or contributed to your injury. Examples of third parties that could be responsible for a construction accident include a subcontractor who is working alongside a construction company employee who gets injured, a driver of a vehicle that hits an employee, or the manufacturer or distributor of a defective product that causes the accident and subsequent injury.
A third-party lawsuit may be highly beneficial for injured workers and their families, because they are able to recover damages over and above what is available through their workers’ compensation benefits. A personal injury action also allows them to obtain compensation for non-economic losses such as pain-and-suffering, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life. And in some extreme cases when the actions of the party that caused the injury were especially egregious, punitive damages may be available as well.
OSHA Regulation Violations May be a Contributing Factor in Construction Injuries
A prompt investigation may reveal that basic OSHA regulations were not followed at the job site.
Lack of handrails leading to roofing accidents or failure to follow safety procedures for any type of heavy equipment or work site circumstance as specified by OSHA may mean that a contractor or a supervisor failed to perform his or her job correctly. On the other hand, mining accidents involving forklifts may have been caused by a manufacturing defect. The sooner a lawyer is involved in an investigation into a catastrophic or fatal accident, the more likely it is that a victim will be well-positioned to receive maximum available compensation.
After a construction accident, it is nearly certain that employers will have their own attorneys whose sole job is to limit the liability of responsible parties. An injured worker likewise needs his or her own advocate to ensure that his or her rights are protected, and that all rightful compensation is paid — whether through workers’ compensation or through lawsuits involving manufacturers or subcontractors.
Contact an Effective Workplace Accident Attorney
If you were injured or lost a family member in a fatal construction accident, contact Bailey, Javins & Carter to schedule a free initial consultation and case assessment. We will meet with you to thoroughly review your case and let you know what your legal options are.
We work on a contingent fee basis. We do not get paid unless you do.