Construction is one of the most dangerous industries to work in. When a construction accident occurs, it generally inflicts serious injury and all too often has fatal consequences. If you have been hurt on the job, you have likely been told to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, workers’ comp benefits will typically not cover all of your damages. But if your accident was caused by a third party (someone other than your employer), you may be able to recover your losses by filing a third-party personal injury lawsuit. Taking legal action may allow you to recover additional losses, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, and lost quality of life.
An experienced Columbus construction accident lawyer from Slater & Zurz can help you explore all of your legal options after a job site injury. We have helped injured workers get their entitled compensation for over 30 years. We know the devastating consequences a construction accident can cause. It can completely change both your career and your future. If your injury results in a temporary or permanent disability, you may not be able to return to your original job. Our attorneys will help you find the highest level of medical care, giving you the best chance at a full recovery. But if you cannot return to work, we will advocate on your behalf to recover the compensation you need to get your life back on track.
Construction Accident Causes and Injuries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 150,000 construction accidents occur annually. These accidents can take place in a wide variety of manners, including:
- Slip and falls – Uneven walkways, wires, wet surfaces, poor lighting, and other hazardous conditions can contribute to slip and fall accidents.
- Falls from heights – Falling off scaffolding, stairs, ladders, and roofs commonly result in serious injuries.
- Crane and hoist accidents – Crane accidents include overturned cranes, dropped loads, and boom collapses.
- Fires and explosions – Exposed live electrical wires, unattended equipment, combustible materials, improperly executed demolition, and gas leaks can all lead to fires and explosions on a job site.
- Hand and power tool accidents – Table saws, power drills, air compressors, and nail guns contribute to the majority of power tool accidents, with nail guns causing the highest number of injuries. (Approximately 22,000 injuries each year).
- Forklift accidents – These accidents are frequently caused by speeding, driving with an elevated load, improperly parked forklifts, and operator fatigue.
- Electrocution – Electrocution can be caused by faulty equipment, exposed wires, overloaded circuits, and temporary wiring.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals – Hazardous materials, such as chemical solvents, industrial cleaners, paints, gasoline, hot tar, and carbon monoxide, are frequently found on construction sites.
- Struck-by accidents – Struck-by accidents include being struck by a flying, falling, swinging, or rolling object.
- Caught-in or caught-between accidents – Examples include getting your hand caught in a piece of machinery, being buried by a trench collapse, and getting pinned between a piece of heavy equipment and a wall.
While a construction site presents the risk of nearly any kind of injury, some injuries are sustained more than others. Common job site injuries include the following:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – A TBI occurs when the brain is injured after a violent blow or jolt to the head or body and are frequently a result of falls and struck-by accidents.
- Spinal cord injuries – The spinal cord consists of a bundle of nerve fibers in the spine that connect the brain to the rest of the body. When it becomes crushed, cut, compressed, or severed, the injured victim can suffer symptoms ranging anywhere from muscle weakness to total paralysis and death.
- Burns – Burn injuries can cause severe skin and tissue damage to large areas of the body. In some cases, severe burns can lead to amputations and other surgeries, such as skin grafts. Burn victims may suffer from serious infections, lingering nerve damage, and permanent disability.
- Fractured and broken bones – Fractured and broken bones generally require surgery, as well as a prolonged period of rest and rehabilitation.
- Eye injuries and hearing loss – Exposure to toxic chemicals, extremely bright light or debris can cause both temporary and permanent eye injuries. Hearing loss is caused by exposure to extremely loud noises. In some cases, a single loud noise, such as an explosion, can result in hearing loss.
Construction Accidents and Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation benefits are often the only option for compensation after a job site injury. Ohio’s workers’ compensation covers an injured employee’s medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages. If the injured worker is unable to return to work, workers’ comp will provide temporary or permanent disability benefits, depending on the nature and extent of the injury.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system designed to quickly provide financial assistance to an injured employee without the employee needing to prove another party was responsible for their injuries. But in return for quick and easy compensation for their injuries, an injured employee generally gives up their right to file a lawsuit against their employer. There are some exceptions, however. If the injury was caused by an employer’s intentional misconduct or the employer did not carry workers’ compensation, the employee may still have grounds for a lawsuit.
Construction Accident Personal Injury Lawsuits
There are often substantial losses not covered by workers’ compensation following a construction accident injury. However, there may be other remedies available. When a worker’s injuries are caused by a third party, someone other than their employer, they may have the right to pursue a third-party personal injury lawsuit. Examples of third parties include contractors, subcontractors, and product and equipment manufacturers.
In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party must prove the third party’s negligent act or intentional wrongdoing caused the accident, the accident caused the victim’s injuries, and the injury resulted in damages. If successful, the injured party may obtain both tangible and intangible losses not covered by workers’ comp. These include:
- Uncovered medical expenses
- Diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Diminished quality of life
- Wrongful death damages
As previously stated, workers’ compensation makes it nearly impossible to obtain fair compensation for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering. If your injuries resulted in a considerable amount of pain and suffering, or you sustained a disfiguring injury, it is essential to consult with a qualified construction accident attorney in Columbus. He or she can help you explore your legal options and determine an appropriate course of action.
Consult with a Qualified Construction Accident Lawyer
Our Columbus personal injury lawyers at Slater & Zurz are proud to stand up for the rights of people who suffer life-changing injuries on the job. We understand the seriousness of construction accident injuries and have seen how they can derail an injured worker’s life. Our attorneys fight to minimize these accidents’ catastrophic effects on our clients and their families by pursuing the maximum recovery for their losses.
Our firm also understands the financial strain a workplace accident has. For this reason, we offer a free initial consultation to ensure you get your legal questions answered by a qualified construction accident attorney in Columbus. We welcome you to contact our office to arrange your complimentary consultation. Call (614)756-2714, or you may also contact us online.