In the United States, the construction industry is considered a high-risk industry. Thousands of workers experience construction accident injuries every year. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2003, the largest number of fatal work injuries was in the construction sector with a total of 1,126 deaths.
Likewise, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has also reported that the highest level of nonfatal worker injuries, as measured on a lost-workday basis, is again in the construction industry with a rate of 5.7 days per 100 workers. This is in spite of the fact that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has budgeted a significant portion of its resources into the publication and enforcement of safety standards on construction sites.
This should not be thought of as an isolated trend. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 17,000 construction workers died from injuries suffered on the job between 1980 and 1995. NIOSH added that construction lost more workers to traumatic injury death than any other major industrial sector during that time period.
Many states, including New York, have enacted special statutes to protect workers involved in construction-related accidents. These statutes exist because no matter how stringent the regulations concerning job safety, workers are at risk on a daily basis because of the inherently dangerous nature of their jobs. This is exemplified by situations involving:
- Scaffolding Accidents
- Roof related falls
- Falls from elevated work surfaces
- Workers hit by falling objects
- Trench collapses
- Fire and explosions
- Machinery accidents
- Crane, forklift and vehicular accidents
- Equipment failure
- Failure to provide safety equipment
- Welding accidents
- Industrial gases
Who Is Held Liable for Construction Accident Injuries?
In many of these situations, owners, their agents and contractors face absolute liability for failing to supply and operate safety equipment to prevent worker injuries. For example, workers engaged in the construction, alteration, repair or cleaning of a building or structure — other than single- or two‑family residences — that are injured by falling from a ladder or scaffold, or by being hit by objects falling from an elevated worksite, are given special legal rights by statute. Likewise, owners, as well as their agents and contractors, are required to provide a reasonably safe place to work, inspect the work site and warn of dangerous conditions.
Failures by an owner, agent or contractor to conduct themselves consistent with these principles can lead to legal liability on their part for injuries to a worker or even a passerby.
Workers injured on construction sites may be able to sue the owner, its agents and contractors, for all damages sustained by virtue of any physical harm which has occurred to them. Such suits are permitted on behalf of injured workers in addition to workers’ compensation benefits they may have received. Unlike workers’ compensation however, where an owner, agent or contractor is negligent or liable by statute, recovery can also be made for past and future lost earnings, pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses, loss of benefits, and many other types of damages.
If you have suffered a serious injury at a construction site you may be entitled to recover significant damages, in addition to worker’s compensation benefits, for your injuries. Please Contact Oshman & Mirisola, LLP. Even if you are already receiving benefits, it may be to your advantage to consult an experienced attorney to ensure that you are receiving the maximum benefits available under the law.
Contact us today at 1-800-400-8182, or contact us online for a free case evaluation.