16 Aug Wrongful Death in Construction Accidents
Construction is possibly the highest-risk industry one can work. The nature of the jobs are very dangerous, and they require extensive training and safety measures. Although they are fairly common, The Cochran Firm believes that the majority of construction accidents can be prevented. Too many construction workers suffer from life-altering injuries and too many families lose loved ones to work-related accidents. Guidelines and regulations have aided in the decrease of construction accident claims, as well as wrongful death cases over the years. However in 2019, construction accidents still accounted for 1 in 5 worker deaths.
Just last month, in early July, a 55-year-old Philadelphia man succumbed to serious injuries after a crane collapsed and fell on top of him. Various media outlets covered the story of Kirankumar Mistry’s tragic passing, and revealed that the crane operator was also severely injured. Mistry’s co-worker was eventually released from the hospital, but unfortunately Mistry himself passed shortly after first responders were able to rescue both men from the collapsed machinery.
It is equally up to employers and employees to maintain a safe work environment. Employers are responsible for providing sufficient training, and for the proper upkeep of tools and equipment. And employees must adhere to rules and regulations put in place by the organization. Continue reading to learn more about construction accidents and what to do if you have been involved in one. If a loved one has suffered a wrongful death from a workplace accident, your next steps can be found in this article as well.
Common Construction Accident Injuries
The types of injuries that most frequently occur on construction sites vary, but they can all have life-altering effects and even cause death. In order of highest to lowest frequency, the top six most common construction injuries are: slip and falls, falling debris, electrocution, burns, machinery, and overexertion. Before moving forward, we are going to dive into a little more detail about each of these injury types.
Slip & Falls: 10% of all occupational fatalities are attributed to slip and falls from an elevation. This may seem like a small percentage, but 10% still accounts for hundreds of deaths every year in the workforce.
Falling Debris: The most common injuries workers suffer from falling objects are bruises, fractures, strains, and sprains. However, depending on the object, the person, and the trajectory of the object, falling debris can leave someone with a serious head or brain injury. The objects that commonly fall range from large steel beams to small hand-held tools.
Electrocution: These types of injuries and deaths occur from contact with power lines, or from contact with energized sources such as faulty equipment or exposed wires and improperly used extension cords. According to OSHA, electrocution injuries accounted for 82 construction worker deaths in 2016, which was 8.3% of the 991 fatalities caused by construction site hazards.
Burns: The source or result of a burn injury can be from electrocution, contact with flammable gas or other dangerous chemicals, or machinery usage (such as welding machines).
Machinery: Injuries and fatalities from machinery are generally a result of one of two scenarios. Either the machinery malfunctioned or an employee was not suitably trained to operate the machinery. No matter the scenario, these types of injuries are usually the most severe and result in the most deaths. It doesn’t matter how fit or strong you are, no human can withstand the weight and power of large machinery.
Overexertion: This last injury type is often overlooked. However, the consequences can still be serious. Construction workers typically work long hours and especially in the warmer months, can become dehydrated, overheated, and overexerted. If you are in the construction industry, it is crucial to take breaks from the sun and the intensive labor. If your employer refuses to allow such breaks, that’s another issue.
Now that we’ve covered the most common injury types that occur in the construction industry, let’s address what one should do if they find themselves or a loved one involved in a construction accident.
I Have Been Severely Injured On a Construction Site
If you find yourself injured on the job, the first thing you should do is notify a supervisor. The injury needs to be documented, and management needs to be aware of the situation. Some workplaces acknowledge verbal notification, but the majority of organizations will require a written form that a supervisor of some sort will fill out.
After notifying a supervisor, seek a medical evaluation or assistance immediately. This is the next most important step because your health should be your top priority. Medical records and documentation are also critical to pursuing workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim.
Keep in mind that if you file for workers’ compensation, you are waiving your rights to sue. In other words, you cannot file a personal injury claim if you decide to go the workers’ compensation route. If you are not sure which route to take, our experienced Philadelphia attorneys are happy to meet with you and discuss your legal options.
My Loved One Has Been Severely Injured In a Construction Accident
If your loved one has suffered severe injuries in a work-related accident, they should follow the steps and information in the previous section. However, if your loved one is a minor (under the age of 18) then the process may be slightly different.
Every State has their own set of laws regarding minors in the workforce, but assuming your child is at the legal age to work and they are in fact employed, then they have the right to workers’ compensation. This would be handled by the employer in the same way it would be handled for any other employee. But in the event that your child is denied workers’ compensation or you believe their injury was a result of negligence, then you do have the option to file a personal injury claim on their behalf. Discover your family’s legal options by scheduling a case evaluation with one of our expert attorneys today.
I Believe My Loved One Suffered a Wrongful Death
Each State dictates who can sue on behalf of a lost family member, but generally speaking any immediate family member can decide to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one. This includes spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children. Other beneficiaries may include distant family members, such as siblings and grandparents.
For a wrongful death claim to be considered, negligence must be proven. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, an investigation must take place which reveals the negligent act of another individual or organization. Potential damages that surviving family members may receive compensation for in a wrongful death claim include:
- the deceased person’s pre-death “pain and suffering”
- the medical treatment costs that the deceased victim incurred as a result of the injury prior to death
- funeral and burial costs
- loss of the deceased person’s expected income
- loss of any inheritance as a result of the death
- value of the services that the deceased would have provided
- loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the deceased would have provided
- loss of love and companionship, and
- loss of consortium.
In the tragic case of losing a loved one to a workplace injury, please contact The Cochran Firm Philadelphia today.
Contact Us Today
In a city where construction injuries and fatalities are far too common, it is our mission to hold negligent parties accountable for the actions. Whether you have suffered a severe injury yourself, a loved one has suffered an injury, or you have tragically lost a loved one, our construction accident attorneys are here to fight for you.
During this time, The Cochran Firm Philadelphia is continuing to take our own precautionary measures amidst COVID-19, but do not fear – we are still here for you. We will review your case and proceed if we feel we can obtain a favorable outcome, while keeping the health and wellbeing of everyone a priority. We will ensure your case remains on track and keep you in the loop throughout the entire process.
The attorneys at our Philadelphia office have secured numerous multimillion-dollar awards for victims of serious injury and many have even been recognized as Super Lawyers for their personal injury successes.
When you are the victim of serious injury or illness, you deserve someone on your side who is both intimately familiar with state and federal laws, and fully devoted to helping you get maximum compensation. Call us today to schedule your FREE case evaluation at 1-800-THE-FIRM.