Data shows that construction jobs are the most dangerous occupations on earth. Injuries on a construction site are frequent occurrences. Construction worker fatalities are not uncommon.
But what happens when a worker suffers an injury at a job site? Who is responsible? Determining construction accident liability is typically complicated and requires legal assistance to sort things out and get questions answered.
Below, personal injury lawyers specializing in workplace injuries, working conditions, and workers’ compensation claims provide answers to the common Illinois construction accident FAQ (frequently asked questions) below.
What Is a Construction Accident?
According to statistics, two construction workers in the United States die every day from work-related injuries. The same statistics reveal that 20% of all work-related deaths occur in the construction industry.
The leading causes of construction-related deaths include:
- Being struck by an object
- Being caught between objects
Typically, the worker is injured when building, repairing, improving, enhancing, cleaning, constructing, or demolishing materials on a construction site. Legally, construction accidents involve personal injury and property damage.
What Are the Safety Hazards That Lead to Construction Accidents?
Most job site workers injured and killed on the job worked on unstable foundations, using heavy machinery, or performing their work duties in a hazardous environment without sufficient training.
Many accidents occur in construction zones on building sites and roadways that alert others to stay away by installing borders, utilizing signage, and putting up fencing to ensure the public keeps out. Workers wear protective gear as a safety protocol when working on the construction job site or in the construction zone perimeter.
Failing to adhere to safety regulations has led to many construction accidents that harm and kill construction crew members every year.
What Should Be In a Construction Accident Report?
OSHA  and the construction site insurance company providing liability coverage require accident reports to initiate an investigation. Reporting an accident helps investigators identify its cause and often rectifies the problem to ensure no one else is harmed.
Every worker at a construction job site must report any accident or incident to their immediate supervisor, including contractual workers, subcontractors, and general contractors. Typically, the initial report is verbal, where a superior official is told what happened.
Next, a written incident report must be submitted to the regulatory bodies within two hours after administering first aid and taking other steps to control a hazardous condition. The investigation should identify:
- The immediate cause
- Any underlying cause
- Steps to prevent a recurrence
- Recommendations and corrective actions
If possible, the report should include the position of the victim, equipment, vehicles, and witnesses who saw what happened. The condition of any equipment should be identified, as should the weather conditions at the time of the event.
The report should include every person involved in the accident and any other telltale indicators to help understand what occurred. Include the:
- Date, place, time, and description of what happened
- Injury details
- Information on the drivers, vehicles, and passengers, if involved
- Photographic evidence of the accident scene and injuries
OSHA – What Happens When There Is a Construction Accident?
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) develops and manages safety regulations in workplace environments to minimize injuries and preventable death. OSHA sets the standards for how its officials perform safety inspections to identify hazardous conditions.
OSHA will investigate every construction accident case involving injury, illness, fatality, or close call. Agency officials will determine if safety rules and procedures were not followed or if the need to meet deadlines played a role that jeopardized worker safety.
OSHA regulators will make demands on the employer to create a workplace free of hazards, equip every employee with safety tools, and establish a hazard communication program to minimize dangerous working conditions in the future.
Who Is Responsible To Initiate and Maintain an Accident Prevention Program in Construction?
Every construction employer is legally responsible for initiating and maintaining general safety and health programs that create a safe environment for workers. The employer is required to frequently inspect the job site, equipment, and materials and only permit workers who have received adequate training or have extensive experience in operating equipment and machinery.
The employer must remain compliant in providing all employees with adequate training on hazards and other matters that could cause an accident with injuries or death at the job site.
How Much Do People Get Paid From Construction Accident Settlement?
The unique circumstances and extent of the victim &’s injuries will determine the worth of a construction accident settlement agreement.
However, a personal injury attorney handling the case on behalf of the injured client can build a convincing workers’ compensation claim through various means.
Construction accident lawyers will clarify the type of construction accident and who was negligent in allowing the incident to occur.
The attorney will compare the value of filing a workers’ compensation system benefits claim versus a personal injury claim seeking all available compensation paid by the employer.
Converse with the injured victim about filing a third-party claim if another company, other than the employer, is also responsible for causing the accident.
Value the case based on the extent of damages that might involve:
- Hospitalization bills and medical expenses,
- the cost of rehabilitation and physical/occupational therapy,
- Lost wages and future lost earnings,
- Mental distress,
- Scarring and disfigurement,
- Long-term impairments,
- Temporary or permanent disabilities,
- Wrongful death damages.
What Happens If City Construction Caused Your Accident?
Were you injured, suffered property damage, or lost a loved one in an accident involving city construction? Was the accident the result of a defective roadway?
Likely, the government attempting to maintain or fix the road led to negligence, resulting in an accident. The city and its hired construction company are legally responsible for ensuring the construction zone remains safe and could be held financially accountable when damages occur.
However, proving a case in court that the government entity was negligent could be challenging. You must prove that the city acted unreasonably or should have known that the road or construction area was unsafe for travelers.
However, you could file a lawsuit against the construction company to be compensated for your car’s damage, your injuries, or the wrongful death of a loved one. However, construction accident cases are complicated and often require having a trusted attorney on your side to ensure a successful resolution.
How Does Construction Accident Death Affect a Construction Company?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) , more people die in construction accidents every year in the United States than in any other occupation. There were nearly 800 fatalities in the United States construction industry in 2018, significantly more deaths than those occurring in warehousing and transportation jobs.
Construction companies held responsible for accident injuries, and preventable death could be held accountable through a wrongful death lawsuit pursued by the decedent’s family members or estate representative.
Many wrongful death lawsuits are settled out of court for $500,000 or more. A million-dollar settlement offer or jury award is not uncommon in preventable death cases.
Typically, the financial damages involved a wide array of expenses and losses, including hospitalization costs, medical expenses, loss of past and future monetary support, funeral and burial costs, and the extent of pain the construction worker suffered before dying.
The deceased construction accident victim’s family members can also seek monetary recovery for the loss of companionship, love, and emotional support that the employee had provided before their death.
Why Do Construction Safety Accidents Still Occur After Training?
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandates that every employer adequately trained employees to maintain a safe working environment that can protect everyone. The employer must develop a safety culture for their construction team based on the best safety training available.
Safety is crucial to ensure every worker’s well-being, the common cause of construction injuries and death. In 2018, nearly 39% of all worker deaths occurred from falling, and approximately 10% involved being struck by an object.
Nearly 90% of all fatalities in the construction industry that year involved electrocutions, and the remaining 7% of workers were killed when caught in or between objects.
Workers must wear PPE (personal protective equipment), including safety glasses, hard hats, gloves, and composite or steel-toed boots.
Every worker must be mindful of their surroundings and use lockout/tag-out procedures while depowering equipment at the end of the shift or when making repairs
Many non-life-threatening accidents in the construction industry involve hand tools, including power tools and non-power tools. The most horrific construction injuries were caused by boring tools, cutting devices, drills, power saws, grinders, and sanders.
How Do I Pick A Construction Accident Lawyer?
Selecting the best attorney to handle your personal injury case could mean the difference between a successful resolution and not receiving workers’ compensation benefits. When looking for the best attorney, ask for personal references, use an attorney referral service, or look online for attorney directories.
When you find an ideal candidate for a personal injury law firm, set up a free consultation and case review for answers and legal advice. Nearly all construction accident attorneys will accept cases on a contingency fee basis, preventing the need to make any upfront payments until your case is resolved.
Discuss the extent of your problem and ask if they can help. Tell the lawyer that you were injured in the workplace as an employee or as a passerby.
Let them know that a defective product caused your injury or that the Workers’ Compensation insurance benefits program denied your claim. Discuss with the victim of assault in your workplace.
Ask your lawyer how they will investigate your case to determine your claim’s value and your chances of winning the compensation you deserve. Work with your lawyer to develop an attorney-client relationship for privacy when describing embarrassing details and facts that can hurt your case.
An attorney can better represent you when they know the weaknesses in your daily life and case to use strategy and tactics to minimize the adverse impact it could cause when negotiating a settlement or presenting evidence at trial.
What Are The Four Main Causes of Accidents in The Construction Industry?
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) identifies the Fatal Four most dangerous construction industry accidents.
The breakdown of the Fatal For deadliest construction site accidents for 2018 includes:
- Falling from a ladder or height claims nearly a thousand building job site workers (39% of all construction fatalities)
- Being struck by an object claimed the lives of nearly 100 workers that year (10%)
- Electrocutions claimed the lives of over eighty construction job site workers in 2018 (9%)
- Being caught between or in machinery killed nearly 70 building site workers that year (7.3%).
- Other leading sources of construction accident injuries and illnesses are caused by the building materials, especially tubing, ducts, pipes, and structural metal material. Fasteners also harmed thousands of construction site workers using screws and nails.
- Many building job site workers became victims of severe injuries when working around generators, building wires, extension cords, and powerlines.
What Construction Accident FAQ Should I Ask a Lawyer?
Choosing the best attorney to handle your personal injury case involving a building accident could mean the difference between losing your claim or getting the compensation you deserve. An experienced construction accident lawyer could assist you in filing a civil lawsuit and a Worker’s Compensation claim if you were injured on the job.
Your lawyer will help you recover your financial losses and relieve you of the burden of handling paperwork and dealing with confusing legal system jargon. Ask the right questions before choosing the best attorney to handle your case, including:
- How long have you practiced law?
- Do you handle mainly building accident lawsuits?
- How often do you settle construction accident cases or litigated them in front of a judge and jury?
- What do you suspect the typical settlement will be for a case like mine?
- What do I do if I cannot afford to pay you your fees?
- How does taking cases on contingency work?
- Will I be responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses?
- Please detail your fee structure on how much I will owe you if you settle the case, present the case at trial, or cannot resolve the case.
- Do you have references?
Who Is Responsible In A Construction Site Accident?
Did your employer follow all of OSHA’s rules and regulations to maintain a safe work environment and provide you with PPE (personal protective equipment) and other safety gear? If so, you are likely responsible for your construction accident, even if you follow the rules.
However, if the employer did not provide safety equipment or the equipment was broken or inadequate, the employer holds responsibility for causing your injuries or the death of your loved one.
There will likely be numerous contributing factors to help identify who is legally liable for the construction accident, including where the accident occurred, the conditions of the site at the time of the event, the equipment that was used, how the equipment was used, and who was controlling the site and the equipment when the accident happened.
An investigator may determine that neither you nor your employer was at fault for causing the construction site accident. There may have been other third parties involved responsible for a portion or all of your damages. These additional third-party defendants in your case could include:
- The property owners
- Construction site owner
- Contractor or subcontractor
- Equipment manufacturers
- Subcontractor vendors
- Truck drivers
Typically, the construction site owner maintains control of the premises whenever construction workers are on the job site. That said, general contractors are legally obligated to ensure that the workplace remained safe and free of any building hazards while work is being performed.
There may be another property owner or worker from other crews or construction sites responsible for causing your injuries outside of your employer’s responsibilities, including building site subcontractors, managers, supervisors, and workers.
Your construction accident lawsuit will list one or more defendants as being legally responsible for causing your damages. In the end, their insurance companies will pay you your negotiated amount or jury trial award based on the policy limits.
Call the construction accident attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers for a free case review and consultation. Their attorneys can answer your questions and, if warranted, file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Have More Ilinois Construction Accident FAQ?
Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who can address any questions you have about your legal rights and options for recovery.