The construction industry is home to some of the most dangerous jobs in our nation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction workers consistently find themselves near the top, if not number one, on the list of the most dangerous jobs in our nation.
If you work in the construction industry, it’s important to know the risks involved with this line of work. Even more so, if you get injured while on the job, it’s important to understand your rights and protections if you decide to move forward with a claim.
Types of Injuries That Occur In Construction
Construction sites present numerous opportunities for injuries to occur if proper safeguards are not in place or if workers do not follow proper safety protocol. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, the most common types of injuries in construction include the following:
- Getting struck by objects
- Getting trapped or crushed by heavy machinery or other objects
- Exposure to harmful chemicals, toxins, and dangerous substances
- Ergonomic injuries due to repetitive movements
Injured on a Construction Site, Now What?
If an individual has been injured on a construction site, there are typically two legal paths to move through. Which path one takes largely depends on who they are and how they were injured.
Employees who get injured on a construction site can move forward with a workers’ compensation claim and in some cases a personal injury claim as well. Non-employees injured on a company site can only move forward with a personal injury claim.
Under workers’ compensation, an individual is compensated for injuries they sustained while on the job. Workers’ compensation claims are filed with the employer and do not need to go through a legal avenue to get paid unless the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier delays, denies or underpays the claim. Workers’ compensation pays for all medical expenses plus two-thirds of the worker’s salary as wage replacement or other disability benefit payments.
Personal Injury Claims
Workers injured by a third party (building or property owner, general contractor) and non-employees (independent contractors, passers-by) can also move forward with a personal injury claim. When filing a personal injury claim, plaintiffs can seek compensatory damages including economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Tangible losses that a plaintiff has incurred because of an accident fall under economic damages. These damages are typically easy to document and can include things like medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Economic damages are not capped.
Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are more subjective and are often harder to calculate. These damages take into consideration a person’s pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other related losses as a result of the accident. Non-economic damages are often calculated in relation to the economic damages; the more severe and costly the physical injury, the higher the non-economic damages as well.
While not as common, plaintiffs can be awarded punitive damages in certain circumstances. Punitive damages are compensation designed to deter both the defendant and society from behaving in a similar negligent manner. To be eligible for punitive damages, you must be able to prove that the defendant engaged in “wanton and reckless conduct,” which is defined in the law as demonstrating “conscious indifference and utter disregard of its effect upon the health, safety and rights of others.”
Speak With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured due to a construction site accident, seeking out legal representation is the best way to recover the damages you are entitled to. Reach out today to speak with one of our dedicated representatives who will help you navigate your personal injury claim.