Employers who fail to provide a safe working environment in the construction industry may be liable for injuries and deaths that occur as a result of construction site accidents.
Workers can be injured in a number of ways including: scaffolding failures, crane and heavy machine crush accidents, falls from heights, removals of safety features, failing equipment, defective tools, and violations of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace regulations.
Construction is considered a high-hazard industry that comprises a wide range of activities involving residential construction, bridge erection, roadway paving, Roofing Fall Injuries excavations, demolitions, and large scale painting jobs.
Construction workers engage in many work-related activities that expose them to serious hazards, such as falls, unguarded machinery, being struck by heavy construction equipment, electrocutions, and Toxic Exposure.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated construction accident lawyer who has had success representing victims of construction site injury.
The Lyon Firm works with OSHA experts, construction site engineers, and vocational experts to investigate and determine whether poor management, safety violations, worker negligence or defective equipment caused an injury.
Construction Site Safety Violations
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014 over 261,000 workers missed one or more days of work due to injuries from falls. About 798 workers died from such workplace fall accidents.
Following fall accidents, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are the most common serious injury, whether fatal or not. From 2003 to 2010, 2,210 construction workers died of a Traumatic Brain Injury, representing 25 percent of all construction fatalities and abut a quarter of all occupational TBI fatalities. Brain injuries remain one of the major causes of deaths in the construction industry.
Construction accidents can be devastating and career ending. Worker’s Compensation will often not provide sufficient compensation for the injury that was suffered.
Therefore, it is important to contact a qualified and experienced construction accident lawyer to review the case. There are a number of remedies that may be available in addition to Worker’s Compensation to assist the injured worker and his or her family in rebuilding their lives.
Construction Accident Settlement
Construction Site Negligence: Catastrophic leg amputation: (Trenton, Ohio) Joe Lyon represented a construction flagger who lost his leg when excavator rolled over him while he was performing flagging duties. Extensive litigation proved that the accident occurred due to negligent design of the construction site—Including a lack of signs, organization—negligent training of the driver of the machine, and negligent operation of the machine.
The employers had the injured worker sign workers compensation forms in the hospital to attempt to hide behind workers compensation immunity. The court ruled in favor of Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment that the worker was an independent contractor and applied a general negligence standard.
Joe Lyon obtained a $1,200,000.00 settlement in addition to Worker’s Compensation benefit that provided money to assist the family with additional home structural changes for handicap access and provided for loss of income due to permanent disfigurement and disability.
Contractor & Subcontractor Lawsuits
After an injury sustained in a construction accident, often the only remedy outside of Workers Compensation may be to file lawsuits against a contractor or subcontractor.
The legal options will depend on what caused the construction accident. Often there are multiple contributing factors in play and each potentially liable party should be carefully considered.
These injuries are too serious for the injured party to negotiate a fair and comprehensive settlement without an attorney. The interplay of complex liability questions, subrogation, and future life care plans require the attention of an attorney experienced in spinal cord injury lawsuits.
There are personal injury cases where an attorney may not be necessary, but construction accidents have long lasting impact and should be addressed by a lawyer qualified in complex personal injury matters.
Co-Worker Negligence Accidents: The first step is whether the case is limited to Worker’s Compensation. This analysis requires a thorough understanding of Employer Intentional Tort law which has become more difficult in recent years. Often the case requires a removal of an equipment safety guard or a knowing violation of an OSHA regulation to move past a motion for summary judgment.
Heavy Machinery Accident: If the case involved a vehicle or heavy machinery accident being operated by another subcontractor, there is typically insurance available to compensate the injured party.
Product Liability: Where the injury was caused by a defective product, the litigation path is much more expensive and complex. The attorney will need to evaluate the viability of the defendant and cost to prove the case through expert testimony.
Product liability cases can be some of the most expensive types of litigation, but where there is a viable defendant, the cases should be evaluated carefully to determine if a defective product caused the spinal cord injury.
Construction Asbestos Exposure
Workers in almost every construction trade face the risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses, including lung disease and cancers. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ranks construction among the most hazardous industries in the U.S.
Thousands of commercial construction materials once contained asbestos. Though the use of asbestos products has declined because of safety concerns, the toxin can still be found in many materials used in homes and buildings. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that asbestos products are present in the vast majority of the nation’s 733,000 public and commercial buildings.
Asbestos products can become hazardous when the loose fibers are released into the air. This usually occurs when adhesives, seals, cement, roofing and flooring break down over time. Also, during renovation, demolition or regular construction, these materials can also be disturbed.
Asbestos is a known cause of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that can develop several decades after first exposure. Because of the long latency period of asbestos-related illnesses, construction tradesmen who worked with asbestos years or even decades ago continue to develop cancer and lung diseases.
Asbestos dust can spread around job sites easily and expose even those workers who do not handle asbestos directly. Workers can also bring dust home on their clothes, endangering their families, who then become at risk of secondary exposures.
A significant study in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine concluded, “Occupational airborne particulates are an important cause of death and disability worldwide.”
Construction occupations at highest risk for asbestos exposure:
Toxic Construction Materials
Drywall workers are at a particular high risk for asbestos-related disease. Workers often cut, saw and sand drywall panels, which can easily release asbestos fibers into the air.
Masonry workers mixed raw asbestos into construction compounds, and also cut into bricks, sending asbestos dust in the surrounding area. Roofers handled asbestos shingles, and also sprayed toxic seals and adhesives.
Construction workers have been exposed to many toxic materials over the years, including asbestos. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 27 million American workers were exposed to asbestos in the last 50 years. Unfortunately, the problem persists.
It is estimated that over 1.3 million construction workers are exposed to asbestos materials every year, putting them at risk of developing diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis.
A study published in 2015 concluded that there is an “increased risk of lung cancer for subjects who ever held an occupation in the construction industry.” The researchers named asbestos as a known trigger for pulmonary issues like lung cancer.
A 1999 study undertaken by the Duke University Medical Center found elevated rates of cancers in general construction workers. The research noted that the following trades were at the highest risk of developing occupational-related cancer: laborers, roofers, painters, carpenters, brick masons, operating engineers, and dry-wall workers.
It is important to note that construction workers with longer careers have a higher risk of illness. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
Construction Accident Lawsuits
Construction accidents cause the second most fatal occupational industries in Ohio. Furthermore, the CDC reported that although the construction industry has roughly 8 percent of the U.S.’s workers, construction accidents account for 22 percent (nearly a fourth) of the nation’s work related fatalities, the largest number reported for any industry.
Regardless of the direct cause of injury, employers and equipment manufactures may be workers comp and deaths if OSHA violations have been observed or defective equipment and machines contributed to construction site accidents. Victims have a right to recover lost wages, past and future medical expenses and damages related to pain and suffering.