Because construction work is inherently dangerous, the risk of injury to workers is greater than in other industries and workplaces. However, construction workers have a right to a safe work environment. While construction injuries are usually covered under workers’ compensation laws, it may be possible to pursue a lawsuit based on negligence against site owners, contractors, subcontractors, their employees and agents for violations of applicable safety laws.
There are number of causes of construction accidents, including:
- Falls – from roofs, ladders scaffolding and other heights
- Falling objects – improperly secured tools, equipment and construction material can fall and strike a worker, causing head, neck, brain and spinal injuries
- Equipment accidents – workers can be injured by machinery and equipment such as forklifts, cranes, nails guns and dumpsters
- Fires and explosions – hazards arise from exposed wires, flammable materials, blow torches and leaking pipes which can lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities
- Trench/ Building Collapses – workers can be buried, injured and killed in trench collapses or by buildings that are being constructed or demolished
- Repetitive Motion Injuries – physical labor often requires bending and lifting that can lead to muscle and joint damage
- Respiratory illnesses – as a result of exposure to dust, asbestos, and other pollutants
Construction accidents can lead to a variety of injuries. For example, many injuries require fingers, toes and limbs to be amputated. In addition, broken bones and fractures are common as are shoulder, knee and ankle injuries. Workers can suffer head or brain injuries from falls or falling objects as well as spinal cord injuries or paralysis. Other common injuries include eye injuries or loss of vision, and hearing loss.
If you are a construction worker who has been injured on the job, you have the right to be treated for your injuries and the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If the injury was the result of negligence, however, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.