Construction site injuries and fatalities occur far too often. In fact, the construction industry had the second-highest number of occupational fatalities for any industry in California for the years 2013-2017 (the latest data available). These accidents can be life-altering and cause the victims and their families long-term financial and emotional stress. At Pathway Law Firm, PC, our construction accident attorneys have the experience needed to guide you through the entire legal process so you can recover the compensation you deserve.
What Qualifies as a Construction Accident Injury?
In order to qualify as a construction accident injury, the injury must have been sustained while the victim was working on a construction project. Furthermore, the accident must have been caused by the negligence of another party, such as an employer or coworker. Common construction accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
Even if an injury does not initially seem serious, it could still result in long-term complications. For this reason, it is always best to seek medical attention immediately after a construction accident.
Common Types of Construction Accidents
Some of the most commonly seen types of construction accidents include:
- Electrocution: Construction workers are regularly exposed to incomplete electrical systems and downed power lines. Also, construction workers handle multiple types of electrical equipment in their everyday jobs, which increases their risk of being electrocuted. As a matter of fact, electrocution is the fourth leading cause of death for construction workers in the United States.
- Falls: In 2016, falls accounted for 24,700 injuries and 384 deaths among construction workers. This is due to constantly working on scaffolds, ladders, rooftops, and other equipment of great height.
- Falling Debris: Flying shingles, tiles, work tools, and other objects are a common site on construction sites. Thrown from great heights, these articles can cause grave injury to persons on the ground. “Struck by object” comprised 11.1% of construction worker fatalities in 2018.
- Fires & Explosions: Fires & explosions account for an average of 36 construction worker deaths per year. Gas leaks, exposed wires, and defective electrical equipment all contribute to this number.
- Caught-in/Between: Caught-in/between refers to instances when a construction worker is caught-in between or compressed by equipment and other objects. It also encompasses instances where workers are caught, crushed, or hit during a collapse of a structure or other material. Caught-in/between accidents accounted for 5.5% of construction worker deaths in 2018.
Who is Responsible For my Injuries if I am Involved in a Construction Accident?
The liable party in a construction accident will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident.
- The Property Owner: The property owner may be held liable if they did not properly maintain the construction site or if they were aware of a dangerous condition on the site and did nothing to fix it.
- The General Contractor: If the property owner hired a general contractor to oversee the construction project, the general contractor may be held liable for any accidents that occur on the job site. The general contractor has a responsibility to ensure that all safety protocols are followed and that the job site is free of hazards.
- The Subcontractor: A subcontractor may be held liable for an accident if they were responsible for the specific work that led to the accident. For example, if an electrocution accident occurs, the subcontractor who was responsible for electrical work on the site may be held liable.
- The Manufacturer: In some cases, a construction accident may be caused by a defective tool or equipment. In these instances, the manufacturer of the defective product may be held liable for any injuries resulting from the accident.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, it is important to speak with an experienced Bakersfield, CA, construction accident attorney who can help you determine who is responsible for your injuries and get you the compensation you deserve.
How do I prove that someone else is responsible for my construction accident injuries?
To prove that someone else is responsible for your injuries, you will need to prove that they were negligent or careless in their actions.
The Doctrine of Negligence
Negligence is defined as the failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person.
There are four elements that must be proved to establish negligence:
- Duty: The first element that must be proved is duty. The injured party must show that the other person owed them a duty of care.
- Breach: The second element is breach. The injured party must show that the other person breached their duty of care by acting in a way that was not reasonably careful.
- Causation: The third element is causation. The injured party must show that the other person’s breach of duty caused their injuries.
- Damages: The fourth and final element is damages. The injured party must show that they suffered some type of loss or injury due to the other person’s negligence.
If you can prove all four elements of negligence, then you will be able to hold the other person responsible for your injuries.
Proving negligence can be a complex task, so it is important to have an experienced construction accident attorney in Bakersfield, California on your side. Your attorney will be able to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf.
The Doctrine of Strict Liability
In California, construction accidents are also governed by the doctrine of strict liability. Under this doctrine, a property owner or general contractor can be held liable for an accident even if they were not negligent in their actions.
To prove strict liability, the injured party must show that the other person was in control of the job site and that they failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the workers.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, it is important to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney in California who can help you determine whether you have a negligence or strict liability claim.
What type of compensation can I recover if I’ve been injured in a construction accident?
If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, you may be entitled to recover various types of compensation for your injuries, including:
- Medical expenses: You may be able to recover the cost of all medical treatment related to your injuries, including hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitative care.
- Lost wages: If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, you may be unable to work while you recover. You may be entitled to recover the wages you lost during this time.
- Pain and suffering: You may also be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your injuries.
What should I do if I am injured in a construction accident?
If you are injured in a construction accident, it is important to take the following steps:
- Get medical treatment: Even if your injuries seem minor, it is important to see a doctor so that they can be properly diagnosed and treated.
- Report the accident: The second step is to report the accident to your employer. You may be ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you do not report the accident.
- Gather evidence: This may include photos of the accident scene, witness statements, and any other relevant information.
- Do not give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster: The insurance company will likely try to get you to give a recorded statement. It is important to avoid doing this as it may be used against you later.
- Speak with an attorney: It is important to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and recover the compensation you deserve.
Do I need an attorney if I’ve been injured in a construction accident?
While you are not required to have an attorney if you’ve been injured in a construction accident, it is highly recommended. An experienced construction accident attorney will know the applicable laws and how to build a strong case on your behalf.
An attorney will also be able to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and will fight to recover the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Contact Our California Construction Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation
If you have been injured in a construction accident, contact the skilled attorneys at Pathway Law Firm, PC, today. We know how to help construction accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. Our clients are our first priority, and we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And, as always, we don’t collect any money from you until your case successfully concludes in either a settlement or verdict through the courts.