Causes of Construction Accidents
Causes of North Carolina Construction Accident Injuries
Aggressive Charlotte lawyers representing injured workers throughout the state
Construction sites are some of the most dangerous workplaces in the United States. The heavy equipment, the dangerous heights, the electrical risks – workers may not think about it, but many of them put their life at risk every day. If you’ve been injured in a construction site accident, you may be struggling to recover, to keep up with medical bills, and to figure out whether or when you’ll be able to work again.
If this sounds familiar, you need to talk to the Charlotte construction accident lawyers at Warren & Kallianos, PLLC today. Our dedicated workplace accident attorneys have spent decades representing injured workers in these types of cases, and we know what it takes to determine the cause of a construction accident and to win full and fair compensation for clients. In fact, our construction accident attorneys have developed a stellar reputation for standing up for North Carolina workers’ rights. When your livelihood is at stake because of a construction accident, you need an aggressive attorney who will fight for you.
Common Construction Accidents and Their Causes
Although many types of accidents are possible on a construction site, some accidents are more common than others. In terms of accidents that result in death, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified construction’s “Fatal Four” – fall hazards, electrical hazards, struck-by hazards, and caught-in or caught-between hazards. There are many other types of construction accidents that cause serious injuries that result in lengthy recoveries and lifelong disabilities in many cases.
Here are some of the most common construction site accidents and their causes:
- Construction Site Falls. Falls from a height are among the most common construction site accidents that cause severe injuries. Falling from a roof, ladder, or scaffolding can cause traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, or other severe harm. Falls most often occur when proper attention is not paid to safety procedures or equipment. They may also occur when safety equipment such as harnesses, handrails, or scaffolding is not set up properly, or when these items contain a hidden defect that impairs their ability to protect the user in case of a fall.
- Car Accidents. Motor vehicle accidents are quite common on construction sites, especially those that are set up on or near roadways and parking lots. A car, truck, or other motorized equipment may strike a construction worker, pedestrian, construction equipment, or another vehicle, causing harm not only to the vehicle’s occupants but also to anyone else who may be in the vicinity. These accidents are frequently caused by drivers who are speeding, distracted, or refusing to heed warning signs about the need to travel carefully through the upcoming construction site.
- ‘Trapped-Beneath’ or ‘Trapped-Between’ Accidents. Accidents in which a worker is trapped beneath something or trapped between two large objects are far more common on construction sites than in most other workplaces. For instance, the walls or ceiling of a trench may collapse, trapping workers inside. Workers may be pinned between a moving piece of heavy equipment like a bulldozer and another object, such as a wall, beam, or stack of materials. A load falling from a height can easily pin a worker beneath its weight. These accidents most commonly occur when another worker has failed to follow safety procedures to ensure that everyone is out of the way or that loads, walls, and other items are properly secured. They can also occur when efforts have been made to secure trench walls or heavy loads, but the items used to secure them contain hidden defects that cause them to give way.
- Crane Accidents. Cranes play a critical role on construction sites, particularly when a tall structure is being built. Their ability to lift heavy loads high in the air makes them not only useful but also incredibly dangerous. Crane operators must receive proper training and use attentive skill and caution when lifting loads. The crane itself must be set up in a secure and stable fashion. Failure to follow proper safety protocol can result in serious injury when, for example, a crane collapses, makes contact with power lines, drops a load, or strikes a worker.
- Excavation Accidents. Trenching and excavation are major parts of almost any construction project. Digging in the ground can pose a significant safety risk to workers and others on a construction site. Accidents can occur, for example, when a trench or excavated area caves in or collapses because it was not properly reinforced. Underground utilities such as electric lines and gas lines also pose a risk when digging. Improperly ventilated excavations could create a low-oxygen environment that results in injuries or death. Falls and accidents involving excavation equipment are other concerns.
- Electrocution Accidents. Electricity causes many construction site injuries and deaths each year. Extreme caution is mandatory when performing work around sources of electricity. Accidents can result from contact with power lines, improperly grounded electrical systems, malfunctioning electric tools and equipment, arc flashes, unsafe use of extension cords and more. Lightning poses another major electrocution hazard on construction sites.
- Heavy Equipment Accidents. All sorts of machines and heavy equipment are common on most construction sites, including bulldozers, backhoes, rollers, diggers, trucks, cranes, tractors and forklifts. Any type of heavy equipment requires thorough training and careful operation to prevent accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, shortcuts and oversights can result in severe injury or death – to the operator, bystanders or both. In some cases, accidents stem from defects in the heavy equipment. The manufacturer or another responsible party could be held liable in such situations.
- Falling Object Accidents. There are reasons why hardhats are required on construction sites, and the risk of falling objects is chief among them. Unfortunately, hardhats often fail to provide enough protection from the impact of a falling object. Anything from a small hand tool to a large steel girder could fall on someone working below on a construction site, frequently with devastating effects. Other safety measures such as nets and tethers are intended to reduce the risk of falling objects, but these measures may be absent or fail even if they are present.
- Burns, Amputations, and Crush Injuries. Burns, amputations, crush injuries, and other injuries can occur when workers are attending to electrical or gas heating systems or plumbing systems, or when they are carrying out one of the dozens of tasks on a construction site that requires the use of handheld power tools. An accident may be caused by a worker becoming distracted or the employer’s failure to provide proper training and safety equipment – or the accident may result from a hidden defect in the tool or the material on which the tool is being used. Employers who fail to enforce proper “lockout” and “tagout” procedures can also contribute to a serious accident in some cases.
What to Do If You’re Injured on a Construction Site
Regardless of the cause, all accidents have one thing in common: the potential to inflict serious injury.
If you’re injured in a construction site accident, the first thing to do is to seek medical attention for your injuries. Don’t hesitate to call 911, or to ask someone else to do it for you, if you need emergency care. You should also tell your supervisor that an accident has occurred or ask a co-worker to do it for you if necessary.
- Start by getting the medical care you need. Follow your doctor’s instructions. If your doctor sends you for X-rays, testing, or to visit a specialist, make sure you keep all these appointments. Taking care of your medical needs does two things: it guarantees you the best chance at recovery, and it establishes records of exactly what injuries you suffered and how they are affecting your ability to function from day to day.
- As soon as you can, notify your supervisor in writing about the accident. Note the day and time and give a brief description of what happened. This will help you establish your right to workers’ compensation benefits. You may also need to fill out paperwork to seek workers’ compensation.
- Speak to a qualified construction injury lawyer for help handling your workers’ compensation claim and other insurance claims that you may be able to file. Your attorney can focus on your paperwork and claims while you focus on healing.
- If you were injured on a construction site but you weren’t a construction worker, seek medical attention and notify the foreman or other supervisor as soon as you can.
How Warren & Kallianos Will Fight for Your Rights
No matter the cause of your construction accident, our attorneys will get right down to business in determining the best options for pursuing maximum compensation for your injury. Our dedicated legal team can:
- Identify which party has the workers’ compensation insurance that should cover you. Even if your boss told you there is no insurance, we will track down the responsible party, and that includes cases in which you may have been working for a subcontractor.
- Determine whether you are eligible to pursue additional compensation through a third-party claim, such as if you are hurt due to the negligence of a worker from a different company.
- Examine your case for defective equipment or unsafe handling of equipment that may have led to your injury. If you are hurt by defective equipment, you may be able to pursue compensation from the manufacturer or designer of the defective item.
- Outline how workers’ compensation may apply to your type of injury. For example, we will look at how much an injury limits your ability to work, and we will go over your rights for pursuing compensation for non-accident-related injuries such as repetitive stress damage or diseases caused by inhaling particles or fumes over time.
At Warren & Kallianos, our goal is to provide you with the thorough and committed representation that you deserve, and to pursue all compensation that may be available to you.
When Winning Means Everything, the Lawyers You Choose Will Make the Difference
Whether we are fighting for you in the courtroom or at the negotiating table, our goal is the same: to secure full and fair compensation for you and your family. To achieve this, we prepare thoroughly, advocate aggressively, negotiate assertively, and litigate skillfully. At Warren & Kallianos, our success with countless clients over the years is a testament to how effective we can be for you.
Here are a few examples of the construction accident awards we have secured for our clients:
- $4,000,000 for a client who suffered catastrophic burn injuries in an arc flash explosion while working on an electrical panel.
- $1,550,000 for a client who suffered severe electrical injuries and burns on a construction site when a light pole he was helping to erect touched a high-voltage power line.
- $1,500,000 for a client whose car hydroplaned while traveling through a work zone due to a contractor’s failure to provide proper storm water drainage.
- $1,120,000 jury verdict for a client who suffered crush injuries when a crane that was being dismantled collapsed on top of him, resulting in severe fractures and permanent injuries.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Charlotte Construction Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a construction accident, contact the knowledgeable worksite injury attorneys at Warren & Kallianos today, to schedule a free and confidential consultation. We will go over all your legal options for pursuing compensation and will discuss the next steps you need to take. You may call 704-377-7777 or fill out our contact form now to get started.