The Occupational Health Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that falls are some of the most common accidents that cause severe injuries to workers at construction sites. Every year, one-third of all deaths on construction sites are attributed to construction falls. If you have been injured in a construction fall or have had a loved one die as a result of a construction site fall, then it is important to know your legal rights and the extent of compensation that may be available in your case.
What Causes Construction Site Falls?
A construction site accident can be caused in a variety of ways, but some of the most common are falls caused by unsafe worksites, a lack of training, or damaged scaffolding. Here are some of the other causes of a construction site fall:
- Unprotected sides of buildings
- Unrepaired scaffoldings
- Worksite filled with debris and harmful objects
- Lack of protective gear for construction workers
- Inadequately maintained work areas
- Lack of training
- Exposed electricity on a construction site
It’s necessary to hold the right parties accountable when there has been a construction fall that is the result of someone else’s negligence. A construction worker may be entitled to file a worker’s compensation claim and may also be entitled to file a third-party liability claim against someone other than their employer. Construction workers should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible in the time following an accident, as it is vital for a lawyer to assemble evidence for their case.
The evidence must link your injuries to a construction fall that was the result of someone’s negligence or recklessness. This could mean that a supervisor failed to place handrails on scaffolding or that an engineer failed to properly repair scaffolding.
Resulting Injuries From Construction Site Falls
Serious injuries can result from a construction site fall, and if a worker suffers from an injury, they may face great expenses during the rehabilitation process. The rehabilitation process can entail additional surgeries, counseling, physical therapy, expensive medications, or expensive medical equipment.
For a worker who does not have health insurance or who has minimal health insurance, it is likely that these costs will add up to an extremely high debt burden. The injuries that a worker suffers can also be hard on their family because they may never be able to return to work to serve as a breadwinner for the family. Falls can cause permanent pain and suffering in the lives of construction workers.
Here are some of the medical issues that construction workers can experience due to a fall on a work site:
- Permanent disabilities
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fractured bones
- Anxiety and depression
- Severe abrasions
- Severe burns
- Bruising and scraping
When a loved one has suffered from injuries or death after a fall accident on the job, it is in your best interest to work with a lawyer to maximize compensation. The only way for a family to weather the financial storm may be to get additional compensation that a lawyer is able to obtain through a third-party liability lawsuit. Additional compensation may also be the only way for a construction worker to afford the extremely high costs of medical care associated with injuries after falls.
Speak With Our Work Accident Attorneys for Help With Your Construction Fall Case
Chicago construction injury attorneys at our firm are here to help you learn about the compensation that may be available after a fall through workers’ compensation and/or a third-party lawsuit against a responsible entity. Our lawyers are here to meet with you and help support you and your family members in this difficult time and provide answers to the questions that you have regarding your legal rights.
Call one of our lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and receive the help that you need to rehabilitate yourself and meet the financial burdens that you now face. There can be severe pain and suffering after a fall, and it is only right that a construction worker is made whole again after a construction fall. Let our team help you.
How Much is my Construction Fall Case Worth?
While there are many factors that contribute to the value of your construction fall injury case such as: medical expenses, lost income, pain and disability (only mention if not mentioned earlier on the page) the cases below will hopefully give you some insight into how these cases are valued by juries, lawyers and insurance companies. While these cases can be instructive, they should not be conclusive in valuing your particular situation.
Plaintiff Verdict for $500,000 in Oregon (2019) – The plaintiff was working at a construction site building a residential home. He was installing something on the roof when he fell through a hole in the floor. The plaintiff was not using any system to arrest his fall. When he fell, he suffered a concussion and a brain injury as well as numerous fractures. The jury found that the general contractors on the site were liable for his injuries.
Plaintiff Verdict for $4,855,280 in New York (2019) – The plaintiff was working at a construction site building a retail complex. He was standing on a scaffolding installing sheetrock when the scaffold tipped over, causing him to fall to the ground. The plaintiff suffered unspecified injuries. One of the claims was that the general contractor allegedly failed to provide him with fall protection. Much of the verdict was for past and future pain and suffering from the injuries.
Settlement for $5.35 million in Massachusetts (2018) - The plaintiff was working as a roofer on a construction project that was renovating a mill building. OSHA regulations require that he was tied down since he was one the roof, but he was not. He fell 40 feet from the roof to the ground below. The plaintiff suffered injuries to his spine, multiple fractures as well as injuries to his aorta. The project supervisor admitted to the fact that the defendant was not in compliance with OSHA regulations at the time of the accident. The verdict was likely magnified due to the defendant’s past history of OSHA violations.
Settlement for $900,000 in New York (2018) – The plaintiff was working on a site and was standing on a scaffold. He fell from the scaffold and suffered a fractured dominant wrist. He required two surgeries, although the plaintiff contended that he would suffer permanent pain because the surgeries could not completely repair the damage. The lawsuit alleged that the employer failed to provide adequate fall protection.
Settlement for $475,000 in Massachusetts (2018) – The plaintiff was working for a landlord performing painting on a building. He was up on a ladder working when he fell 25 feet to the ground. In the fall, the plaintiff injured his spine and the fracture required surgery. The plaintiff had mental health issue and contended that the defendant should have never hired him as a result. The plaintiff also claimed that the defendant failed to provide adequate fall protection.
Plaintiff Verdict for $821,825 in Illinois (2018) – The plaintiff was working on a roof of a construction site. He slipped and fell from the roof. He suffered unspecified personal injuries in the fall. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant failed to properly supervise the site and did not provide him with adequate lookout. The plaintiff also claimed that the defendant failed to follow safety regulations. The plaintiff’s wife also filed a claim for loss of consortium.
Settlement for $7.5 million in Illinois (2018) – The plaintiff was a construction worker who was installing light fixtures on a second floor balcony on an apartment maintenance building. The balcony had been cut and he leaned on the balcony and fell through it to the ground below. He suffered a brain injury and died three weeks later from his injuries. The laborer who had cut the balcony had obtained permission to do so, but there were allegedly no guardrails or other support that would have prevented the fall.
Settlement for $4.75 million in Massachusetts (2017) – The plaintiff was a construction worker who was attached to a concrete panel by a safety harness. The concrete panel shifted and the plaintiff fell to the ground. The plaintiff died in the fall, but suffered conscious pain in the fall and prior to dying. The lawsuit alleged that the defendant failed to provide the proper bracing for the concrete which caused it to shift. The lawsuit further alleged that the defendant failed to follow the concrete panel manufacturer's instructions on support and installation.
Settlement for $425,000 in New York (2017) – The plaintiff was working on the roof at a construction site when he fell to the ground. In the fall, he suffered bilateral wrist fractures. Although the defendant argued that there were safety vests available that the plaintiff did not use, the plaintiff countered that he could not use a vest because the defendant removed all of the safety vests from the site. The plaintiff claimed that his wrist injury was plaintiff and would affect his ability to grip in the future.
Settlement for $990,000 in New Jersey (2017) – An electrician was working at a site. The defendant brought a trailer onto the construction site, but it was placed on uneven ground. There was a ramp that was built leading from the ground to the trailer door, but because of the ground, the ramp was unsteady. The plaintiff fell several feet from the ramp and struck his head. He suffered cervical herniations that required two fusion surgeries and had difficulty swallowing during meals.
Plaintiff Verdict for $3.927 million in New York (2017) – The plaintiff was a construction worker and was performing hole protection work. He was on the seventh floor of the building moving from the exterior to the interior. There was an unprotected and unmarked drain hole that he stepped into, causing him injuries. The lawsuit claimed that the defendant should have adequately marked and covered the holes. $1 million of the verdict was for pain and suffering. Approximately $1.3 million of the verdict was to compensate the plaintiff for lost earnings.
Plaintiff Verdict for $26.508 million in Texas (2017) – The plaintiff was working on the third floor of an apartment complex and performing decking and carpentry work. He fell and suffered injuries that caused him to become a paraplegic. The lawsuit claimed that the plaintiff was not provided with adequate fall protection and safety training to be working at the heights that he was. The jury found that the defendant was grossly negligent and the reason why the verdict was so high was that the jury assessed $15 million of exemplary damages.
Settlement for $1.6 million in New York (2017) – The plaintiff was working on the first floor of a construction site and was using a crowbar to make a hole in sheet rock. He was standing on a scaffolding several feet above the ground when he was struck by concrete that had come lose when there was a partial collapse of the second floor above him. The sections of the concrete that hit him caused him to fall 6-8 feet from the scaffold to the ground and he suffered a skull fracture and a subdural hematoma. He was unable to return to work after his injuries.
Settlement for $1.5 million in New York (2016) – The plaintiff was a plumber who was working on a construction site. He was walking down a staircase when it collapsed beneath him. He fell to the bottom of the stairs and suffered injuries to his legs and knees as well as his neck and back. While his injuries seemed minor at first, he later needed extensive surgeries, including a knee replacement and a discectomy.
Settlement for $5.75 million in Massachusetts (2015) – The plaintiff was working as a subcontractor for a general contractor at a job site. He was on a ladder building scaffolding when he fell 20 feet to the ground. The fall was caused by the fact that he lost his balance. In the fall, he suffered a complete spinal cord injury which resulted in his becoming a paraplegic. The lawsuit claimed that the contractor was negligent by not providing adequate fall protection procedures in place.
Settlement for $10.25 million in Massachusetts (2018) – This was a wrongful death claim. The decedent was working at a job site performing an installation. The building upon which we was standing was made up of pre-constructed building parts. They collapsed, causing his to fall 40 feet to the ground and he died in the fall. He did not die immediately, causing him conscious pain and suffering before he expired. The damages were likely heightened by the fact that the decedent had young children. The lawsuit was filed against both the manufacturer of the building parts as well as the contractor at the site.