Construction work is one of the most dangerous occupations a person can take on. Many construction workers routinely use dangerous equipment and perform tasks at extreme heights or on unstable surfaces (such as scaffolding). Workers must have extensive training in order to avoid accidents, and employers have a duty to keep their working environment as safe as possible. In a construction company, everyone needs to be on the same page about safety.
Construction accident injuries can take an immense toll on workers and their families. An accident may mean hospitalization, rehabilitation, surgery, long-term medication, physical therapy and recovery. When these expenses are added on top of lost income and wages, many injured workers are overwhelmed.
It is essential to consult with an experienced Maryland accident attorney if you’re been injured on the job –– or if your family member lost their life –– while performing construction work in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington D.C.
Construction Accidents: The Scope of the Problem
Each year, a thousand or more construction workers die in construction accidents – a fatality rate three times higher than the national average for other industries. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):
- On an annual basis, one out of every 25 construction workers is involved in a serious workplace accident
- In 2010 alone, construction accidents led to over 145,000 job-related injuries.
- Workers between 25 and 34 years old are the most likely to be injured in a construction accident.
- Fifteen (15%) percent of all national workers’ compensation costs are spent on injured construction workers.
The majority of these accidents involve serious injuries that require medical care, hospitalization, and time off from work. Other construction workers may face permanent disabilities that impact their ability to earn an income in the future. For all of these reasons and more, it is essential to consult with an experienced Maryland construction accident attorney if you have been injured on-the-job as a construction worker.
Causes and Types of Construction Accidents
Construction accidents are most frequently caused by employees who are under-trained and overworked, and a lack of attention to safety by managers on-site. Faulty equipment, crowded construction sites, and tight deadlines often cause companies to cut corners, compromising the safety of their workers. When builders are faced with a project that may come in over budget, or are running behind, the first thing they usually cut back on is safety equipment and oversight because of the increased pressure to get the job done quickly.
Some of the most common types of construction accidents are:
- Falls from scaffolding
- Faulty equipment or tools
- Crane collapses
- Building or trench collapses
- Explosions and/or fires
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Falls on and over loose debris
- Negligent management
- Inadequate training and safety instruction
- Violations of safety rules established by OSHA
When employers make unrealistic demands of their workers or fail to provide necessary safety equipment or don’t take the time to train them or make the work site safe, they can and should be held responsible for any injuries that arise because of their negligence.
Liability in Construction Accident Cases
A wide range of parties (contractors, laborers) and dangerous items of equipment are usually involved in a single construction project, which means that construction accident claims often involve multiple responsible individuals and companies. If you have been injured in a construction site accident, the following parties can potentially be held responsible for your injuries and losses:
- Construction site owners – Owners of construction sites have a duty to warn “invitees” (anyone invited on the site for business purposes) of any dangerous conditions. However, since construction site/property owners are not always deemed the persons in control of the site during a construction project, they may be excused from this obligation for the duration of the construction project.
- Design architects and engineers – These individuals have a duty to ensure safety at a construction site in that their design and building plans meet proper safety codes and engineering standards.
- Contractors and sub-contractors – These individuals are also obligated to provide a safe working environment, warning employees of potential hazards at the construction site. Contractors are also responsible for training workers to ensure they comply with all safety regulations and providing adequate safety equipment e.g. hard-hats, safety belts. They are also required to inspect the site regularly for dangers.
- Manufacturers of construction machinery – If construction machinery is defective in any way, the manufacturer and/or supplier can be held responsible under product liability law.
- Insurers – These parties are responsible for covering all of the costs incurred as a result of construction site injuries. Insurance coverage for a construction project usually includes premises liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and other forms of liability protection. Each party involved in the construction project usually has a separate insurance contract.
If you were injured because of your employer’s negligence, or the reckless actions of a co-worker at the same company, you most likely will only be able to receive benefits through workers’ compensation. For more information, please visit Construction Accident Lawsuits and Workers’ Compensation.
Experienced Maryland Construction Accident Attorneys
Maryland accident attorney Stuart L. Plotnick has over a decade of experience as a construction and insurance defense attorney, which has given him unique insight into both sides of construction accident cases. We understand the complexities of these types of cases, and are dedicated to helping injured construction workers obtain the compensation they need and deserve.
If you have been injured in a construction accident in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington D.C., please contact the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC today to schedule a free case evaluation.