A 28 year-old Georgia man was seriously injured in a construction accident while working on the new Falcons Stadium that was built in Fulton County. Metal scaffolding fell on his head, resulting in bleeding of the brain, facial and spinal injuries and a severed ear. This was just one of the thousands of construction accidents that happen across the country and in Georgia every year.
Overall Dangers of the Construction Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), working in the construction industry is the tenth most deadly job a person can have. Workers dig trenches, use power tools, use large equipment, run power lines, erect and work on scaffolding just to name a few specific jobs. Each type of job has its own set of risks.
The Fatal Four
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 4,000 construction workers are killed every year while on the job. Thousands more are injured, some so severely their lives will never again be the same. In fact, 20 percent of all on-the-job deaths occur in the construction industry. OSHA refers to the “fatal four” causes as:
- Workers fall off ladders, off scaffoldings, off cranes and the list could go on and on. Nearly 40 percent of all construction deaths are due to falls.
- Electrocution accounts for 8.5 percent of construction worker deaths.
- Being hit with an object takes the lives of another 8.4 percent.
- Being “caught-between” results in 1.4 percent of all deaths. A caught-between accident is somewhat self-explanatory and occurs when a worker is crushed between two objects, like sliding doors, a truck frame and a lowering hydraulic bed, between a trailer and the trailer hitch, or between two shifting trailers.
In addition to the thousands who die, thousands more are seriously injured.
Most Common Injuries Suffered in Construction Industry Accidents
Although any kind of injury can occur in a construction accident, some of the most common are:
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Head injuries
- Amputation of fingers or toes
- Cuts and lacerations
- Eye damage
- Loss of hearing
Almost all construction employers are required by the State of Georgia to carry workers’ compensation insurance. It will pay for the medical expenses, rehabilitation and lost wages of injured workers. If a worker is killed on the job, workers’ compensation will provide benefits for the surviving spouse and children.
What is Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that, with only a few exceptions, employers are required to carry that covers the injuries of a person working on the construction job. It is designed to remove the issue of fault from consideration and provides for workers to be compensated for their injuries without having to file a lawsuit against their employers and become involved in expensive and protracted litigation.
The injured worker does not have to prove the employer was negligent and, in turn, the employer cannot claim that the worker was injured due to his own carelessness. The only proof required is that the employee was indeed injured while working on the construction job.
How Does it Work and What Benefits Are Available
If you were injured on the job, you must give your employer notice of your injury within 30 days. If you miss this deadline, you may lose forever your right to collect for your damages.
You will choose your doctor from a panel of doctors provided to you by your employer. All authorized medical bills will be paid. This includes doctor and hospital bills, physical and vocational rehabilitation, prescription drugs and travel expenses associated with obtaining care. If you will need ongoing or additional treatment in the future, you may also be compensated for that.
You are also entitled to lost wages, including wages you may lose in the future if you are unable to return to your former employment. You may qualify for lifetime disability depending on the nature and extent of your injury.
Third Party Lawsuits
Although you cannot sue your employer for negligence, if a third party was responsible for your injuries, you may bring a third party claim for compensation. One example may be if you fell off a ladder and then learned that the rungs were not properly attached to the ladder creating a dangerous condition. You can then sue the manufacturer of the ladder for negligently marketing a defective product.
A Worker’s Compensation Attorney Can Help
If you were injured in a construction accident, or your spouse or someone you love was killed, you need the services of a skilled and experienced workers’ compensation attorney who will know how to best present your case in order to maximize your compensation.