Although state and federal guidelines are in place to make job sites safer, construction accidents are unfortunately still common. Construction crews deal with countless potential hazards while on the job, including heavy machinery, explosives, and toxic chemicals. These hazards and others can cause catastrophic injuries that can lead to permanent disability and even death.
If you or a loved one has been injured while working on a construction site, we urge you to contact the Canton construction accident attorneys at Slater & Zurz. Our legal team has helped injured construction workers get the compensation they deserve for over 40 years. We are committed to our clients and will do everything possible to help them get the medical care they need to help them heal and fully recover from the losses they have endured.
Most injured workers understand they can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, covering a portion of their lost wages and medical expenses. What many don’t know is that they may be able to receive a significant amount of additional compensation. To find out if you may recover additional damages, we recommend speaking to one of our skilled construction accident lawyers in Canton.
The “Fatal Four” Construction Accident Hazards
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the four leading causes of construction site accidents, referred to as the “Fatal Four,” are:
- Falls – Approximately 36% of all construction accident injuries are caused by falls. Workers are at high risk of falling from ladders, roofs, and scaffolding. Fall injuries include internal bleeding, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
- Struck-by object accidents – Making up about 10% of job site accidents, these occur when there is forcible contact or impact between the worker and an object or piece of equipment. Workers are often struck by heavy equipment, falling tools or debris, and vehicles generally resulting in severe injuries.
- Electrocution – Approximately 9% of construction accident injuries are caused by electrocution. An electric current can pass through the body when a worker comes in contact with overhead power lines, live wires, transformers, or operates tools or other machinery. Electrocution can result in muscle, nerve, and tissue damage, thermal burns, cardiac arrest, and death.
- Caught-in or caught-between accidents – These accidents make up approximately 8% of all job site accidents. According to OSHA, caught-in or caught-between accidents occur when a worker is “squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched, or compressed between two or more objects.” Examples include getting your hand caught in a piece of machinery, getting pinned between a wall and a piece of heavy equipment, and being buried in a trench collapse.
The fatal four hazards make up approximately 67% of all construction accidents. However, there are several other causes of accidents that occur on construction sites. In addition to the fatal four, Ohio construction workers can be injured by the following:
- Fires and explosions – Exposed wiring, flammable chemicals, and unattended welding tools can cause fires and explosions on a job site.
- Gas leaks – Fractured gas mains and worn-out gas pipes and seals can cause gas to leak out. Gas leaks can result in pulmonary contusions, suffocation, severe burns, and brain damage.
- Toxic chemical exposure – Prolonged exposure to toxic substances can lead to long-term health complications, such as internal organ damage, nervous system complications, eye and skin damage, and death.
- Hand and power tools accidents – According to a recent study, hand and power tool injuries send an average of 400,000 people to the emergency room each year. Hand and power tool accidents can cause serious injuries, such as deep lacerations, puncture wounds, dismemberment, burns, and death.
- Heavy equipment and machinery accidents – Heavy machinery is widely used in construction and accounts for a significant portion of construction accidents. Forklifts, cranes, bulldozers, dump trucks, excavators, trenchers, and hydraulic presses expose workers to a significant risk of injury. Common injuries include broken bones, amputations, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
Workers’ Compensation in Ohio
Workers’ compensation insurance is business insurance that provides benefits to workers who suffer on the job or job-related injuries or illnesses. Its purpose is to give injured workers the financial assistance they need to recover and return to work and protect employers from lawsuits brought by injured employees. Under Ohio law, every business employing one worker or more must carry workers’ compensation insurance.
When you are injured on the job, you can file a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation or your company’s private workers’ compensation insurance carrier to obtain benefits covering your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. In Ohio, you must file a workers’ comp claim within one year of your accident. As previously stated, workers’ compensation regulation generally prevents you from filing a lawsuit against your employer. However, when a negligent third party causes your injuries, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim in addition to receiving workers’ comp benefits.
Third-Party Construction Accident Injury Claims
When a negligent third party causes your construction accident injury, you have the right to seek compensation through a third-party personal injury claim. This claim is in addition to your workers’ compensation claim and is typically a much larger source of compensation. In a third-party claim, you can pursue damages not covered by workers’ compensation, such as future medical care, the portion of your lost wages not covered by workers’ comp, pain and suffering, the loss of your future earning capacity, psychological care, disfigurement, disability, loss of consortium, and loss of quality of life.
Construction Accident Wrongful Death Claims
The unfortunate reality is many construction accidents result in an injured worker’s death. It is estimated that over 1,000 construction workers die each year from injuries sustained on a job site. If your loved one died as a result of a construction accident, you might have the right to seek wrongful death damages from the responsible party in addition to receiving financial assistance provided by workers’ compensation. Wrongful death damages generally include funeral and burial expenses, the amount the deceased would have earned as income, and compensation for the loss of your loved one’s companionship and support.
Experienced Construction Accident Attorneys in Canton
At Slater & Zurz, we have a well-earned reputation as dedicated advocates of injured construction workers. If you have been seriously injured in a construction site accident, we will provide you with the legal representation you need. Our skilled legal team will pursue every legal avenue to get you the maximum recovery for your losses.
Because we understand the physical, emotional, and financial challenges you and your family face, your initial consultation is free. To learn more about the construction accident injury claims process and the compensation you may be entitled to, we welcome you to contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced and dedicated Canton construction accident lawyers. Call 888.534.4850 or contact us online.