Over 11 million construction workers build and maintain roads, houses, workplaces, and physical infrastructure. This work includes many inherently hazardous tasks and conditions such as work at height, excavations, noise, dust, power tools and equipment, confined spaces, and electricity. Construction has about 8% of U.S. workers, but 22% of the fatalities – the largest number of fatalities reported for any industry sector. These statistics do not include all of the workers injured in the construction industry nationwide. Every day employees lose limbs, suffer deep lacerations, broken bones, brain injuries, and more as the result of accidents on the worksite.
Our Houston construction accident lawyers have worked with many injured workers to preserve their rights to full medical services and financial compensation for lost wages, medical bills, future lost wages, disability, disfigurement, and more. If you or a loved one have been involved in a construction site accident, reach out to us to discuss your legal rights. We offer free consultations and won’t charge you anything unless we win your case!
Who’s Responsible for a Construction site Accident?
When we take on a construction site accident or industrial plant accident case, we immediately begin the process of a thorough investigation. Understanding what happened and why an accident took place is central to establishing responsibility for a construction zone injury. We work closely with investigators to clarify what and if any safety rules were violated, and if the worksite complied fully with OSHA requirements.
We collect the facts of the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine if any shortcuts were taken to finish the job quicker in order to save costs. Establishing the negligent party or parties who contributed to our clients’ injury is painstaking and costly. We pay all of the upfront costs for investigators and expert witnesses to prepare your claim for court if it comes to that. Our commitment to you is to put all of the resources, expertise, knowledge, and experience to work for you at the settlement time or in the courtroom.
Houston Construction Accident Attorney
Construction workers put their safety on the line every day. They are surrounded by dangerous equipment, heavy building materials, and work in a variety of unsafe conditions. It should come as no surprise that construction workers are prone to injury. In fact, it is one of the most injury-prone professions. According to data from the Occupational Health Safety Administration (OSHA), nearly 20% of all fatal on-the-job injuries – 1 in 5 – are in the construction industry. Learn the most common causes of construction accidents and when to pursue a personal injury claim.
The most common type of construction injury is falling. Of the 859 construction-related deaths in 2014, 399 were from falls. Several factors may relate to falls, according to OSHA. In fact, the most common OSHA violations reported in 2015 were:
- Lack of fall protection
- Lack of hazard communication to workers
- Failure to comply with scaffolding requirements
Workers are vulnerable to falls from scaffolding, equipment, cranes, and ladders. Without adequate protection, they can face permanently disabling injury. Failure to comply with OSHA’s protection standards constitutes negligence and may make you eligible for a personal injury claim.
Another source of injury in the construction field is falling objects such as tools, debris, or construction materials that aren’t secured properly. Nearly 10% of all construction deaths in 2014 were due to workers being struck by falling objects. Even workers who wear proper safety equipment, such as hard hats, are vulnerable to spinal cord and brain injury.
If you’ve suffered an injury from a falling object, file a Worker’s Compensation claim with your employer. In certain instances, like a case of improperly secured materials, you may be able to file an additional personal injury claim. Speak to a qualified personal injury attorney about your options.
Construction workers spend much of their day either working around or operating heavy machinery. As a result, equipment-related injuries are common. Examples include misfiring nail guns, forklift failures, and equipment tipping over from improper loading. In cases like this, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim based on the theory of product liability. If construction equipment malfunctions, you may be eligible for a settlement from the manufacturer.
Electrocution may be as a result of equipment malfunction, or it may be due to exposed or grounded wires on the site. Of the 899 fatal accidents on construction sites in 2014, 74 were the result of electrocution.
Lastly, another common type of construction injury is the result of workers being caught in between vehicles and walls of concrete or being run over by trucks. Trench or building collapses also fall under this category. Injuries of this type are often due to supervisor negligence. In some cases, you may not even need to prove negligence in order to reach a settlement. For more details, speak to a construction injury attorney.
If you were severely injured in a truck collision at a construction site, find out what you should do next by speaking to a Houston truck accident lawyer.
Third-Party Lawsuits for Construction Accidents
When examining who may be responsible for a construction site accident, possible defendants include the site manager, employer, another worker, or a third party. If you have grounds for a third-party lawsuit, you can pursue it in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ comp laws in Texas only bar an injured worker from pursuing a claim against the employer, not a third party. Seek legal counsel from Attorney Brian White for third-party construction accident claims in Houston.
What Is a Third Party?
A “third party” is any entity other than a coworker or employer who might be responsible for your workplace injury. This could include an individual, an organization, or a municipality. Common third parties involved in construction site injuries are subcontractors working on site or the general contractor. In some cases, another party completely unrelated to the work site might be responsible. For example, the driver of a vehicle who struck a roadside construction worker would be a third party.
Other examples of potential third parties include a construction site visitor who accidentally dropped a tool on the head of a worker, a subcontractor who left a trip and fall hazard behind, a general contractor who did not provide the right safety equipment to workers, or a contractor who erected an unsafe scaffold. If you sustained your injury because of a defective tool or product, the manufacturer may be the third party. There is no end to the number of third parties who may have played a part in the causation of your injuries.
Establishing Third Party Liability
You may bring a claim against a third party if you have sufficient evidence proving the party’s contribution to your worksite injuries. Evidence could come in the form of an investigation, photographs, video footage, eyewitnesses, or expert testimony. A third-party lawsuit is similar to any other type of personal injury claim – as the plaintiff, you bear the burden of proof to show the defendant’s liability in causing your injuries. This burden of proof involves four main elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- The defendant failed in this duty.
- You sustained an injury because of the failure.
- You have real damages from the incident.
These four elements are enough to demonstrate to the court that a third party has some responsibility in causing or contributing to your accident. An injured worker can file a third-party lawsuit on top of workers’ compensation. Typically, a worker can receive more for the lawsuit, as a successful case can result in compensation not only for medical bills and lost wages but also for intangible losses like pain and suffering and emotional distress. It is always worthwhile to speak to an attorney regarding the possibility of filing a third-party suit after a construction accident.
Do You Have Grounds for a Claim?
The third-party does not have to have sole responsibility for your injuries for you to have a third-party claim. You must only prove the third party contributed to your injuries. For example, say a general contractor failed to train a worker on the proper protocol for handling a piece of machinery. The worker then runs over his coworker on accident. In this case, the coworker technically caused the injury, but the general contractor is liable for failure to train. The injured worker would still have grounds to sue the general contractor as a responsible third party.
Always seek advice from an attorney regarding construction site accidents and third-party claims. These cases are somewhat common in the construction industry and can garner greater compensation for a worker’s injuries than workers’ comp alone. Ignoring third party liability can mean limiting your financial recovery. To discuss your case with an experienced construction accident attorney, contact Attorney Brian White.
Talking to a Personal Injury Attorney
Falls, falling objects, electrocutions, and crush injuries are so dangerous that OSHA calls them the “Fatal Four.” Even when these accidents aren’t fatal, they can be catastrophic, requiring lifelong rehabilitation. Serious injuries result in days, weeks, even months of missed work time, as well as expenses for surgery and other medical procedures. Worker’s compensation may not cover the full extent of your costs and lost wages.
A personal injury settlement can help pay for your bills and give you the tools to heal. At Brian White & Associates, our personal injury lawyers, offer free initial consultations to identify candidates for personal injury settlements. Our services are on a contingency-fee-basis, so you only pay if we win. To schedule your risk-free case evaluation today, contact us.
Houston Construction Site Injury Attorney
Houston construction injury lawyer Brian White will never charge a fee until we win your case. In most cases, you have up to two years from the time of the accident to file a claim. But as time progresses, it becomes harder to collect evidence and find witnesses. Don’t compromise your rights to recover the compensation you need and deserve by waiting to act. We will listen to your concerns and answer your questions, and help guide you through the process.