Construction-related accidents can lead to many types of injuries. While safety is the goal, some construction accidents lead to injury or death.
What causes these accidents? Falls, equipment malfunctions, overloaded equipment, scaffolding incidents, and motor vehicles are some of the drivers of such injuries and death. Other dangers include scenarios that aren’t frequently considered: odorless gasses, confined spaces, and structural cave-ins.
So, what can you do when a construction accident occurs? Alternatively, what can a family member do on behalf of a loved one who has passed due to a construction accident? Read on to learn more about the legal options available.
Common Construction Accidents
It is reported by the CDC that nearly 12 million people are employed in construction. According to OSHA, construction is a high-hazard industry that encompasses a wide variety of jobs. Construction workers engage in many activities that may expose them to serious hazards, such as falling from rooftops, unguarded machinery, being struck by heavy construction equipment, electrocutions, silica dust, and asbestos, just to name a few.
The industry organizes most injuries into four categories, commonly referred to as the “Construction Focus Four”. These categories include:
These four hazards are the baseline for many pieces of training that construction workers are implored to learn, in an effort to prevent accidents and death.
According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, on average, middle-aged construction workers (45-64 years) accounted for the most fatal injuries between 2016 and 2019. However, the 65+ age group had the highest rate of fatal injuries at 22 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers, over double the rate for workers under 55 years.
In 2020, the Construction Focus Four accounted for 646 deaths, with more than half of the deaths caused by a fall to a lower level.
Common Construction Injuries
In accidents where construction workers are injured, but not killed, the effects of the injury can be permanent and life-changing.
Examples of these common, life-changing construction injuries include:
- Spinal cord damage
- Loss of vision
- Amputation of limbs
- Brain trauma
- Third-degree burns
- Back injuries
When accidents are life-changing, the injured should seek counsel from a personal injury attorney who can help the injured party file a claim.
If successful, the injured may receive compensation which can help offset medical bills or loss of income. In a personal injury claim, the injured must prove there was negligence at the hands of someone else. In a construction injury, the negligence may lie at the hands of the equipment manufacturer, construction companies, contractors, or the property owner.
Your Legal Options — Construction Accidents and Death
To prove a personal injury claim, a personal injury attorney is responsible for the burden of proof that negligence occurred. This is proven using the following four-prong test:
- Duty: Did the defendant owe a legal duty to the plaintiff within these circumstances?
- Breach: Did the defendant breach that legal duty by acting (or failing to act) in a certain way?
- Causation: Did the defendant’s actions (or inaction) actually cause the plaintiff’s injury?
- Damages: Was the plaintiff harmed or injured as a result of the defendant’s actions?
If the construction accident resulted in death, the case is no longer a personal injury case, but a wrongful death case. Wrongful death is exactly as it sounds—someone’s wrongful conduct causes another person’s death.
In a wrongful death suit, it is imperative to seek counsel as soon as possible due to the statute of limitations. The Illinois Wrongful Death Act exists to compensate the family of the deceased person for their “loss of society” or their lost relationship with the deceased person. The Wrongful Death Act also allows families to recover the income and other benefits the deceased person would have contributed to the family.
Whether you or your loved one suffered from an injury or passed away due to a construction accident, a consultation with a skilled attorney is crucial in your journey to justice.
Personal Injury Attorneys, Specializing in Construction Accidents and Death
At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, we offer free consultations to victims of construction accidents, as well as their families.
We are prepared to handle your personal injury or wrongful death case as it pertains to a construction accident. Our attorneys will help you in the pursuit of financial compensation, educating you along the way and keeping you informed at every turn.
For more information or to book a free consultation today, please contact our office.