The construction industry is one of the most dangerous industries for workers, and construction accidents account for many of the catastrophic injuries workers face. Construction job sites often contain heavy machinery, hazardous jobs, and sharp tools. Construction workers are more likely to work at great heights, putting them at risk of falling and suffering catastrophic injuries. Catastrophic injuries in construction accidents range from being crushed by a heavy machine to touching a live wire and suffering electrocution.
In many cases, victims of catastrophic injuries are entitled to compensation through personal injury lawsuits. Construction employers have a legal responsibility to provide their employees with safety equipment and a safe working environment. When they fail to do so, they are liable for the damages caused by the injuries the employees experience.
Falls From Heights
Many construction job sites require scaffolding high above the ground. Construction workers have become injured after falling from ladders, roofs, balconies, scaffolding, and lifts. Painters, roofers, and window washers are all at risk of falling from great heights and becoming injured. When construction workers fall from great heights, they often die immediately. If they do happen to survive, they will likely experience severe medical challenges, such as paralysis from spinal cord damage or limb amputation. Many catastrophic injuries caused by falling could have been prevented by managers and employers taking steps to ensure their workers’ safety.
There are several different causes of catastrophic injuries incurred by falls. In some cases, employees must work on scaffolding that is dangerous or not well maintained. The scaffolding structure itself could become compromised and fall with the workers on it. In other cases, employers do not provide their employees with the proper safety harnesses that will protect them from slipping and falling off the edge of the scaffolding. Or, a manager may not require employees to wear safety harnesses when working at great heights.
Finally, some fall accidents are the result of construction workers being fatigued or dehydrated. Employers are required to give their employees mandatory 15 and 30-minute breaks throughout the day. Additionally, they cannot ask construction workers to work extremely long double shifts. When construction workers become exhausted, they are more likely to make errors such as slipping and falling or failing to operate a heavy machine properly. Employers should ensure that their employees receive mandatory breaks so they do not become too fatigued.
Catastrophic Injuries From Machinery
Heavy machinery causes a large number of catastrophic injuries on construction sites. In some cases, a worker will become trapped in between a heavy machine and a wall. His or her body can become crushed, squeezed, or pinched by the machinery. In other cases, a construction worker is struck by a moving object such as a crane or a large vehicle such as a forklift or truck. Catastrophic injuries caused by machine accidents include:
- Concussions and skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Electrical Burns
- Traumatic amputations of one or more limbs
- Crushed limbs, hands, and fingers
- Severe internal bleeding
- Severe internal organ damage
Anytime a worker uses heavy machinery, there is always a risk of a catastrophic injury happening. Unfortunately, many employers will require a new or experienced employee to operate a piece of heavy machinery. When workers with adequate training are asked to use machinery, they can cause serious injuries.
For example, when a worker is asked to operate a crane in a busy city without experience, he or she can cause the crane to tip over or slam into a building, resulting in multiple catastrophic injuries. In other cases, an employee who does not have experience using a forklift may collide with another co-worker and crush him or her against a wall or shelf.
Machines can also malfunction, resulting in catastrophic injuries. When employers do not ensure that their machines are correctly maintained, the machine can malfunction. Malfunctioning machines can cause the operator to drop heavy items such as steel beams on co-workers below them. When a machine is faulty, the operator can lose control, and the machine can crash into co-workers, crushing them.
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Burns and Electrical Shock
Anytime workers are working around hazardous materials, there is a chance that an explosion could occur. Whether the construction site is on land or located on a vessel at sea, gas explosions are always a risk. It only takes one flame and a room full of dangerous gas to cause a disastrous explosion, resulting in severe third-degree burns or even death for those at the construction site.
Additionally, when employers fail to maintain a safe working environment, dangerous electrical wires can cause severe burns and electrocution. Workers can also become burned from coming in contact with hazardous chemicals or extremely hot machinery.
Proving Liability After a Catastrophic Injury
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury in a construction accident, the first step you should take is to contact an experienced lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to investigate your case in determining who is liable, or at fault, for your injuries. In many construction accidents, the employer or job supervisor is responsible because he or she acted negligently.
Some cases that result in cash traffic injuries involve an employer or manager who failed to provide proper safety equipment on the construction site. Many employers failed to provide a safe working environment for their employees, which directly causes accidents. Unless the injured worker was intoxicated or was acting recklessly when the accident occurred, the employer is often liable for the worker’s catastrophic injuries.
Contact a Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
If you have experienced a catastrophic injury from a construction accident, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. You may be entitled to damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Contact the experienced catastrophic injury lawyers at James A. Rice, PC, to schedule your free initial consultation.