The construction industry is one of the most dangerous in terms of workplace accidents. Approximately 150,000 workers are injured on construction sites each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The Delaware work accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow are experienced in handling claims for all types of construction injuries including broken bones, lacerations, burns, electrical shocks, head injuries, back and neck injuries, knee and shoulder injuries, repetitive stress injuries and occupational illnesses.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified “the fatal four” types of accidents that account for most workplace fatalities. These include falls, electrocutions, falling objects and being caught in/between objects. The following are some of the most common causes of construction injuries including OSHA’s fatal four:
Building Collapse – Those working in or near old, damaged, or crumbling buildings, as well as those performing demolition services are at serious risk of being crushed if the building collapses. Construction workers; first responders, including firefighters, police, and emergency medical services (EMS) workers; and innocent passersby may suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries in one of these devastating accidents.
Caught In/Between Objects – Four percent of construction accident deaths are attributed to this type of accident. Caught in or between injuries can happen during a trench or excavation collapse, rigging accidents, equipment rollovers, when a worker gets caught in rotating equipment, when a worker is wedged between unguarded parts or when equipment has not been adequately maintained.
Electrocution – Ten percent of workplace deaths in the construction industry occur because of electrocution. Overhead power lines, exposed wires and faulty connections all pose significant danger of electric shock to construction workers.
Equipment-Related Accidents – Construction workers often use heavy machinery such as forklifts, cranes, excavators and bulldozers. If this equipment fails or malfunctions, workers can be seriously injured or killed.
Falling Objects – Eight percent of construction worker deaths happen when a person is struck by an object such as machinery, automobiles, bricks and tools. Items are often stored at higher levels of a building and are not properly secured, endangering the workers below.
Falls – Falls (usually from heights) are the leading cause of construction fatalities and injuries. Each year, more than 200 U.S. construction workers are killed and more than 10,000 are injured from falls.
Ladders – In the last decade, 43 percent of fatal falls involved a ladder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For construction workers, an estimated 80 percent of fall injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments involve ladders.
Scaffolding – Approximately 65 percent of construction industry workers work on scaffolds. The BLS reports that about 60 deaths and 4,500 injuries occur from scaffolding accidents each year, often from the planking or support giving way, the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object while on a scaffold.
Toxic Exposure – Construction sites may contain hazardous chemicals or conditions such as lead, asbestos, coal, silica, leaking pipes and flammable chemicals. Exposed workers may be at risk of developing diseases such as pneumoconiosis, asbestosis, mesothelioma, black lung, silicosis and many more occupational illnesses.
Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault system that provides injured workers with a predetermined level of compensation in exchange for giving up their right to sue their employers. However, sometimes a party other than the employer is at fault for the worker’s injuries. In those cases, injured workers may file third-party personal injury claims simultaneously with their Workers’ Compensation claims.
The Delaware construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you determine if you are entitled to recovery from a third party in addition to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Third-party claims often result in significantly higher awards as the amount of compensation is not limited by statute. Some examples of third parties that may be liable for construction workers’ injuries include:
Construction defects that occur during the design or the building of a structure and violations of scaffolding safety standards are common causes of injuries that may warrant third-party claims. Generally, the injured worker must show that the defendant had a duty to ensure the safety of the worker, that the defendant breached that duty and that the defendant’s breach harmed the worker. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, any of the third parties listed above may be held liable for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, contact a Delaware construction accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. It can be difficult to determine who may be held responsible and whether you should file a third-party claim; our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys can help you secure all the benefits you deserve. From our offices in Wilmington, Bear and Milford, we represent clients throughout Delaware, including those in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County, and those in the communities of Dover, Elsmere, Georgetown, Glasgow, Middletown, Newark, New Castle, Seaford, and Smyrna. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at (302) 427-9500 today.