Unfortunately for construction workers in Texas, construction accidents are all too common as new construction projects pop up across the state every day. Construction accidents range in type and severity and can leave workers injured, permanently disabled, or even dead. Construction accidents not only affect construction workers, but also impact bystanders, pedestrians, and even drivers near a construction site. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019 the number of fatalities caused by construction and extraction accidents increased by six percent – the most significant increase since 2007. Also, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries found that over a 45-year long career, a construction worker has a 75 percent chance of experiencing a disabling injury and a one in 200 chance of being fatally injured while working on the job.
But why do construction accidents occur and what can those working in this busy industry do if they have been injured on a job site? Our team of experienced Texas workplace accident attorneys is here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve after being injured in a construction accident.
Common Causes of Construction Accidents
Many safety organizations warn construction employers and workers about the “fatal four” causes of construction site accidents – falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions, and getting caught between or pinned by equipment. These four types of accidents account for more than half of all construction fatalities across the nation; however, these are not the only causes of construction accidents. Constructions sites are inherently dangerous to work environments that must be closely monitored to prevent accidents from occurring. Sadly, Texas is notorious for safety compliance issues in the construction industry.
On top of the “fatal four,” additional common causes of construction accidents in Texas include:
- Large truck and vehicle accidents on the job site
- Faulty or malfunctioning equipment
- Lack of proper safety equipment (gloves, goggles, boots, etc.)
- Failure to follow safety protocols
- Improper use of hazardous materials
- Lifting heavy objects improperly
Construction Accident Injuries
Construction work typically involves the use of heavy machinery, large vehicles, heavy-duty materials, hazardous chemicals, electricity, and more hazardous items that are very dangerous for any worker who is required to work with them. Accidents that occur on construction sites, therefore, result in some of the most horrific injuries. Broken bones, severe burns, lacerations, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, amputation, disfigurement, and even death are all possible in a construction accident. Injured construction workers are often left to pay for extremely expensive medical bills that are impossible for them to afford. On top of their personal injuries, they may have lost wages and benefits as they take an appropriate amount of time off from work to recover. We must also take into account the emotional injuries a worker suffers after being in a terrifying construction accident.
What Do I Do if I am Injured in a Construction Accident?
First and foremost, seek medical treatment immediately after being in any type of construction accident. Even if you have tripped or fallen and do not necessarily feel injured at the moment, a medical exam could reveal damage that has not presented itself at the moment. Many accident victims go into a state of shock during the event, which masks the pain an injury may cause. Within 36 to 48 hours after an accident, when the shock has worn off, the pain begins and the victim will realize they have been injured in the construction accident. Seeking medical attention from a doctor right away will help recovery begin and can be used as evidence to show the accident directly caused your injuries.
When the accident occurs, report it to your manager or supervisor (or have a family member report the incident while you are seeking medical treatment). You must report your injury to your employer in writing for a workers’ compensation claim to begin. Your manager or supervisor will begin an investigation into how the accident occurred and may begin the process of opening a worker’s compensation claim if they have workers’ compensation insurance. Texas does not require employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance, which directly affects the financial compensation you can recover after a construction accident. If your employer subscribes to the Texas workers’ compensation insurance system, your injury may be covered by their policy if it was sustained in the course and scope of your employment. You will essentially only be covered if you were injured doing your job or engaged in approved work-related travel. Being covered means you are able to receive compensation for medical bills associated with the injury, income benefits, and/or death benefits for the family of a worker killed in a construction accident. Subscribing to workers’ comp serves as a bar to a lawsuit against your employer, meaning your only potential recovery against the employer is via this insurance process.
Just because your employer has workers’ compensation insurance does not mean that this is your only source of recovery. As is often the case on construction sites, many different companies have a presence. If any one of these companies that is not your employer or any of their workers caused or contributed to your construction accident injuries, you can sue them directly in a civil lawsuit for monetary damages. These cases are often called third-party workers’ compensation claims because a third party is liable for your on-the-job injury.
What if Workers’ Compensation Is Not Available or Does Not Pay Enough?
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance (called a nonsubscriber), you are legally able to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against them. In addition, as mentioned above you can also take action against any third parties that may have been involved in causing your construction accident. This means the manufacturer of a defective product, a negligent general contractor, property owners, and other responsible parties. If you are the victim of a construction accident caused by the negligence of another person or entity, you have the right to compensation for your damages.
Texas Trial Lawyers for Construction Accidents
Overall, the law surrounding construction accidents is very complex and intimidating to tackle without legal help. Our team at Lovell, Isern & Farabough, LLP is ready to help you and your family during this trying time. We focus on the details of your case so you can focus on healing. If you have been injured at a construction site, contact us today to discuss your case and learn how Lovell, Isern & Farabough, LLP can help.