There is not much argument that those who work in the construction industry are at the most daily risk of injury or death as virtually any other industry worker. When you consider how many different ways a construction worker could sustain injuries on the job, the mind boggles that any worker can get through an entire shift, or a week of shifts, without enduring some incident.
From debris and building materials falling, to large construction trucks moving about the site, to scaffolding, to electrical wiring to tools and machinery, there are a lot of ways that construction workers can get hurt, even with the best safety protocols in place at the site. Even with a contractor or property owner conducting the necessary due diligence, any of these injuries can occur and a personal-injury claim may be warranted in some situations.
Following are some of the most common causes for injuries on a construction site. Some of these may be worth a legal claim, while others may be considered “unavoidable” and thus would be difficult to get a judgement in court. But if you or a loved one has suffered injuries or death from one of these causes, you owe it to yourself to at least talk to a personal-injury attorney about your case.
- Falls from heights.
The most common cause of an injury or death at a construction site is from a worker falling from a height such as from a rooftop, off a ladder or scaffolding. It is estimated that a third of construction-site injuries are caused by a fall from a height. There are safety measures, such as harnesses and tie-ropes that can keep workers from falling, so many of these kinds of cases can be considered predictable and avoidable.
- Slips n’ trips.
Your kids leave toys and shoes around the house, and yes, grown men and women at a construction site will leave tools and machinery laying around. There may also be water on slick surfaces, uneven ground to walk on, maybe even a hole or pit in which a worker could trip and fall if not paying attention. Most of these types of incidents are minor, but on occasion these can lead to back injuries or broken ankles or wrists from awkward falls.
Virtually every construction project involves electrical wiring for outlets, lights, security systems, garage doors, etc. Installing wiring is a time-consuming project, and often those wires may be left exposed and live for more than a day. Not only are the electricians who work on these circuits at risk, but not taking proper care to protect others can result in electrocution or electrical burns to other worker who may be in the vicinity of a live wire.
- Falling objects – other than workers.
It is one thing to have your own body fall or to have another body fall on top of you, but there is also a danger of building materials, debris or objects falling from over your head onto you. And these aren’t small things, often – maybe it’s a heavy tool falling off a slanted roof, or a whole package of roofing tiles, or it’s a beam, boulder or a pile of dirt.
It is no secret that construction workers are in high demand, but there doesn’t seem to be enough of them. Many workers are put through the wringer physically, working very long hours (10-12 hours a day, five or six days a week), often outside and all kinds of conditions, and often in very warm, hot and/or humid weather. Without the proper breaks and hydration, however, it can be very easy to see workers have problems with heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which may cause them to slip and fall or perhaps fall from heights.
There are safety guidelines and standards for trenches on construction sites, but still the occasion happens where the walls of a trench give way, or maybe a piece of heavy machinery (like a back hoe or crane) perched alongside the trench falls in, crushing workers inside. Some materials may also fall into the trench and on workers’ heads, or perhaps a worker may get trapped between a couple of objects inside a trench and the trench is too deep to climb to safety.
Now let us be clear: There are several other key causes of injuries and deaths on construction sites, and construction contractors and developers have seen them all and most do their best to provide safety for all workers to avoid many of the common causes. And again, while many of these causes could provide a personal-injury claim, every case is different.
Getting a thorough, independent incident investigation completed and discussing the particulars of your case with a personal-injury attorney will always be your best bet. This approach is much better than reacting impulsively and filing a claim without all the facts and spending effort and money pursuing a case that may not be truly valid. The pain of loss is understandable, but not going in with all the facts can be even more painful for you and your family.
About The Author
Abraham Jaros, co-partner and founder of Jaroslawicz & Jaros PLLC, a is one of the top construction accident lawyers in NYC. He began his career over 40 years ago and remembers the struggle of finding which area of law to practice as if it were yesterday. During his career as a personal injury lawyer he has tried hundreds of cases and won numerous multi-million dollar verdicts on behalf of his clients. When not in the court room he can be found writing to help inspire future lawyers everywhere.