Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. OSHA estimates that one in every five workplace deaths in 2017 occurred in construction. Although injured workers can receive benefits through their workers’ compensation coverage, they may also be eligible to make a personal injury claim. If you’ve been hurt in a construction accident, you owe it to yourself to explore your legal options with a dedicated Chicago personal injury law firm. The trusted attorneys of Hale & Monico are ready to help.
Construction Accidents And Injuries
Some of the most common construction site accidents include:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Falling from scaffolding or other elevated positions
- Falling objects
- Being crushed by or caught between objects
- Construction vehicle (e.g. forklift) accidents
- Exposure to chemicals
- Structure collapse
- Fires and explosions
- Equipment malfunctions
These and other accidents result in the following types of injuries:
- Bone fractures
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Blindness and other eye injuries
Consequences Of a Construction Accident
The long-term consequences of construction site injuries can be catastrophic. In some of the worst accidents, the victim is permanently disabled or unable to work at the same level as before. That’s to say nothing of the medical bills and lost time from work during recovery.
These are a few of the damages for which you could be eligible:
- Past and present medical bills, hospital stays, prescription drugs, and related expenses
- Future medical expenses such as follow-up treatments and surgeries
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy costs
- Lost wages due to time missed from work
- Decreased earning capacity and earning potential
- Pain and suffering
Who Is Responsible For Construction Accidents?
Construction sites are by necessity constantly changing environments. Scaffolding can be located on one part of a structure one day, then be relocated the next. Equipment, supplies, cranes, vehicles, wiring, and many other parts of the site will also shift from one place to another. This makes construction sites extremely dangerous places, even for experienced workers.
Construction companies are required to maintain a reasonably safe workplace environment. That means following OSHA rules and regulations and avoiding negligent behavior. Negligence happens when a construction company fails to abide by the applicable standard of care with respect to how the construction site is operated or maintained.
Every construction site is different, but generally, these are some of the things that responsible parties (such as construction companies) must do:
- Ensure the site is reasonably safe and free of unnecessary hazards
- Provide safety equipment, like eye protection, and ensure workers are using it
- Follow all guidelines for using equipment, especially heavy equipment like forklifts
- Make sure construction equipment is in proper working order
- Clean up and remove any toxic or hazardous substances
- Make sure scaffolding is properly assembled and used
- Observe any weight limits when lifting equipment or supplies
- Require that third parties like subcontractors and suppliers observe safety rules
But negligence can affect people other than the construction site workers. For example, let’s say a new house is being built. The builder fails to do anything about live wiring on the site, and the neighbor’s child wanders onto the property and gets shocked. Depending on the circumstances, this may be the result of negligence. Another example would be failure to designate construction sites with detour signs or other guidance for pedestrians. This is especially problematic in urban areas with high foot traffic.
These are some of the parties who could be held responsible for construction site negligence:
- Equipment manufacturers
- Property owners
- Insurance companies
If the accident was caused by an employer, you should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. But you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim if a negligent third party (someone other than your employer) caused your injuries. The important thing is to consult a knowledgeable Chicago construction accident lawyer right away.
Steps To Take After A Construction Accident
If you or a loved one have been hurt on a construction site, time is of the essence. The first thing you need to do is get medical attention for your injuries. This is not only so you can begin recovering. If you don’t get treatment, even for injuries that seem minor, you could jeopardize your recovery if those conditions worsen later. Insurance companies and attorneys always look for ways to deny claims and fight lawsuits, and failing to see a doctor only makes it easier for them.
Depending on who is responsible for the accident – a private party or government entity – you may have anywhere from one to four years to file a claim under the applicable Illinois statute of limitations.
However, you should take action long before running into a deadline. There may be witnesses to your accident who can recount how it happened, but memories only last for so long and it could be much harder to locate them later. You may also forget important details as time goes by.
When you are able, start gathering as much evidence as possible related to your accident, such as:
- Medical records concerning your injuries
- Photographs or video of the construction site
- Witness statements and contact information
- Identities of potentially liable parties
- Personal notes about what happened
What Can Hale & Monico Do For Me?
Construction accidents can be very painful and debilitating disruptions to your life. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will get to work right away and investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident. Our goal is to win the compensation you need and deserve to get back on track. We therefore explore all legal options available to you and seek to hold any responsible parties liable for your injuries.
Don’t wait to get the legal help you need. Call Hale & Monico today to get started on your case.