Our Chicago injury law firm is committed to securing the most favorable recovery for workers injured on Illinois construction sites with our team of skilled construction worker injury lawyers. Our construction accident lawyers understand the dangers faced by people employed in the construction industry and know how to use the applicable laws to obtain maximum compensation for each individual.
In a recent case, a construction accident attorney with our firm recovered $2.15 million for a tuck-pointer who injured his hand while performing work on a condominium conversion project in Chicago. In addition to a recovery from the general contractor of the project, we also pursued his employer for benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
If you or a family member was injured on a construction project, we invite you to complete our online case intake form and an experienced construction accident lawyer will personally review your situation and advise you of your legal options, without any cost or obligation to you. Our law firm is proud to represent injured workers in construction accident lawsuits across the entire state of Illinois.
Types of Construction Site Accidents
If you are a construction worker, you are already aware of the dangers present on every job site. Even the most minor of errors can have drastic consequences and render workers unable to return to their duties for months. In the worst-case scenario, you may suffer permanent injuries or the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident.
Construction remains one of the most dangerous industries in America. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fatality rate for workers hovers around 11 per 100,000 annually, and the rate of injuries that require recuperation away from work is 6.3 out of 100 construction workers each year.
Here are some of the most common types of cases our Illinois construction accident attorneys run into on a regular basis:
- Falling Objects: Whether due to debris, a falling tool, or a roof collapse, injuries resulting from falling objects may be severe or fatal due to the momentum of the falling object. According to 2015 OSHA statistics, 9.6% of construction fatalities were attributed to this.
- Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents: Fall accidents are the second most common source of accidents that take place on construction sites, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. An analysis of construction fatalities from 2003 to 2005 revealed that 55% of the deaths were related to falls.
- Scaffolding and Ladder Accidents: A fall from any significant height can result in severe injuries, and many fall accidents occur when a ladder or scaffold contains a defect or is used inappropriately.
- Electrocution: These accidents can occur when workers are unaware that they are working near a live electric current or when they strike a power line while digging. OSHA estimates that 8.6% of construction fatalities are related to electrocution.
- Accidents Involving Machinery: Workers may be injured due to the negligent operation of cranes, hoists, tractors, conveyors or other machines. Heavy machinery is regularly present on road construction sites as well. Manufacturing or design defects may also cause workers harm when the defective components cause the machines to fail or to operate in a way that wasn’t intended. More than 7% of construction worker deaths were related to being caught in or between something(s), and many of these situations involved heavy machinery.
- Explosions: The presence of hazardous materials or the need to dig near a gas line may result in an explosion that injures or kills workers in the blast radius.
Other cases may involve inadequate supervision, lack of training, or poorly maintained equipment.
Injuries Encountered by Construction Workers
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 150,000 people are injured each year while working on construction sites. The largest demographic involved in these accidents is male workers between 25 and 34 years old.
Many of these injuries are significant and will require medical attention and result in the worker losing time from work. Some of the more commonly reported injuries include:
- Back injury
- Joint injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
The Role of OSHA in Protecting Workers on Construction Sites
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a governmental agency responsible for protecting workers in all industries from unsafe conditions. In order to ensure the safety of construction workers, OSHA has a series of specific regulations pertaining to virtually every aspect of work performed on a small or large construction project.
OHSA has 28 standards that apply to the construction industry:
- General interpretations
- General safety and health provisions
- Occupational health and environmental controls
- Personal protective and life-saving equipment
- Fire protection and prevention
- Signs, signals, and barricades
- Materials handling, storage, use, and disposal
- Tools: hand and power
- Welding and cutting
- Fall protection
- Helicopters, hoists, elevators, and conveyors
- Motor vehicles, mechanized equipment, and marine operations
- Concrete and masonry construction
- Steel erection
- Underground construction, caissons, cofferdams, and compressed air
- Blasting and the use of explosives
- Power transmission and distribution
- Rollover protective structures/overhead protection
- Commercial driving operations
- Toxic and hazardous substances
- Cranes and derricks in construction
- Cranes and derricks used in demolition and underground construction
If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in an accident involving a construction project, there is a strong likelihood that an OHSA violation was present and caused or contributed to the incident. When evidence of an OHSA violation has been established, it can be helpful in assembling a case involving responsible companies.
The most commonly cited OHSA violations in 2016 included:
- Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
- Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
- Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
- Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
- Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
- Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
- Machinery and machine guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212)
- Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305)
- Electrical systems design, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.303)
For more information on how to file a complaint regarding a dangerous work condition with OSHA, we invite you to contact our office for a free case review. Our construction accident attorneys can assist you with filing a complaint and advise you of your legal rights with respect to pursuing an Illinois construction accident lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death.
Our Commitment to Holding Responsible Parties Accountable
As an employee, you are generally barred from pursuing a civil lawsuit against your direct employer. Your exclusive remedy is limited to benefits under workers’ compensation. However, if a party aside from your employer caused or contributed to the incident that caused your injuries, you can seek help from a construction accident attorney and file a lawsuit to recover compensation that goes beyond what is afforded to you under workers’ compensation.
By pursuing what is referred to as a third-party lawsuit, an injured construction worker could recover compensation for the following types of damages recognized under Illinois law:
- Medical Expenses: This includes compensation for past and future care related to injuries. Examples of medical expenses would include emergency room care, surgical expenses, physical therapy, ambulance costs, prescription medicine, and doctor visits.
- Pain and Suffering: The law entitles you to recover compensation for pain you experience as a result of your injuries as well as the pain that accompanies medical treatment incurred.
- Lost Wages: Past and future wages and benefits (insurance, retirement, vacation time) are compensable. A construction worker injured on the job and unable to return to the position due to injury is entitled to recover wages for the remainder of their working life. For example, if you are 40 years old and make $50,000 a year, and you suffer an injury that prevents you from returning to your position, you would be entitled to compensation for lost wages for the rest of your working life: Using a retirement age of 70, you would be entitled to $1,500,000 in lost wages (30 years at $50,000 per year).
- Disfigurement: Many injuries, such as burns and orthopedic injuries, may leave visible reminders of an incident. The law allows people with these types of injuries to recover compensation for their disfigurement.
- Wrongful Death: When a construction worker is killed on the job or dies from their injuries, the family of the deceased can recover compensation for their loss of economic and emotional support.
Some of the parties that may be pursued as defendants in third-party construction accident lawsuits include:
- General contractors
- Architects and engineers
- Product manufacturers
- Property owners
- Engineering companies
Why Delaying Your Claim can Hurt Your Construction Injury Case
It is not uncommon for those who are harmed on the job to require more compensation to cover their expenses than their benefits provide. An Illinois construction accident lawyer can help you make up the difference if we are able to identify the exact cause of your injuries and make a case for negligence against the responsible entity.
In order to do so, a construction injury lawyer will need access to the scene of the accident to recover evidence that may be critical for your case. To preserve the integrity of the scene, we will often pull building permits, construction plans, and other documents needed to support your case and obtain a court order to have work stopped while we perform our investigation.
As time passes, memories fade and other workers will disturb evidence that we could have used to argue negligence against your employer, another worker, or an equipment manufacturer. We will leave no stone unturned when evaluating your case, but we will become more limited if you delay in seeking our assistance.
It is also important to remember that all work-related accidents have time constraints for filing a case with a construction accidents lawyer. Your failure to file a lawsuit within the prescribed statute of limitations will forever bar your recovery. You should consult with a Chicago construction accident lawyer before making a determination regarding the statute of limitations for your case.
Illinois personal injury cases generally have a two-year statute of limitations for filing a claim (735 ILCS 5/13-202). The Illinois Legislature has extended the statute of limitations for construction accident cases to four years from the date of the incident when the case is based upon “tort, contract or otherwise, against any person for an act or omission of such person in the design, planning, supervision, observation, or management of construction or construction of an improvement to real property.” (See 735 ILCS 5/13-214.)
Legal Options for Financial Recovery Following an Accident on an Illinois Construction Site
If you have been injured in a construction accident in Illinois, you can generally pursue the following avenues for recovery of compensation for your injuries. The case types set forth below provide some general guidance as to your legal rights. However, we urge you to speak to an attorney who can provide guidance based on your specific situation.
- Workers’ Compensation: Illinois workers’ compensation provides for payment of medical expenses, lost wages while incapacitated, and a lump-sum payment based on the extent of your injury. These benefits are paid by your employer and are paid regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
- Third-Party Lawsuits: When a party who is not your direct employer causes or contributes to an incident that results in personal injuries, you may recover compensation from them that you are unable to recover under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
- Product Liability Lawsuits: In a situation where a defective product causes an accident that results in serious injuries to the worker, a lawsuit may be filed against the manufacturer of the product. Generally, these damages exceed what is available under workers’ compensation.
- Wrongful Death Lawsuits: The family of a person fatally injured on a construction site may have rights to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties for their economic and noneconomic losses.
Tradespeople Our Office has Represented in Construction Accident Cases
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is proud to represent hardworking men and women involved in the construction industry. Many of our cases are referred to us by former clients and coworkers. Below is a sampling of tradespeople we’ve had the pleasure of representing:
- Iron workers
- Union workers
How Our Law Firm can Help Protect Your Legal Rights
Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC today to find out more about your legal options and rights as a construction worker. A construction injury attorney will be happy to come out to see you if you are unable to travel to us. Our Chicago work injury attorneys work on a contingency basis to ensure that you will not pay any attorney fees unless you receive the compensation you deserve.
Resources for Construction Accident Victims in Chicago, IL: