Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 5, 2020

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Construction accident injuries are not uncommon – the industry has one of the highest worker injury rates and the highest fatality rate of any other industry sector, yet construction workers only make up a small percentage of the entire U.S. workforce.  Most construction injuries have fairly basic causes, such as unsafe equipment, work methods or site conditions, workers not using the safety equipment they were given, a poor attitude towards safety and a lack of proper training.  If you have suffered a construction injury, make sure you know who is at fault so you can take the necessary steps to receive full compensation.

Construction Injury Responsibility

Unlike an auto accident, finding fault in a construction injury case can be complex due to the number of parties and factors that could contribute to the conditions leading to the accident. Construction injury claims usually involve a variety of parties: owners; contractors and subcontractors; individuals who might have made an error; manufacturers who sold faulty equipment; management that didn’t keep equipment in good working order; foremen that didn’t give clear instructions, etc. There could even be government agencies involved, including building and safety inspection, or other departments involved with a public location.  Weeding through the parties and circumstances of the accident to find responsiblity is not easy, and often requires the assistance of a construction injury attorney – particularly if the injury is serious.

A good place to start the search for responsibility is the prime or lead contractor on the job.  The prime contractor is always responsible for the job safety on the entire site and for compliance with all government regulations. Prime contractors have the most influence over safety issues because they monitor and coordinate the work, and often provide equipment that is shared by subcontractors and employees.  If the prime contractor farms out work to a subcontractor, this subcontractor also assumes responsibility for job safety and for following safety rules that apply to the part of the construction project the subcontractor performs. However, the prime contractor still shares some of this responsibility. For instance, if a prime contractor is building a restaurant and hires a subcontractor to build the kitchen, both the prime contractor and the subcontractor are responsible for the safety of all employees working on the kitchen no matter who has hired the employee.

TIP: In addition to the contractors on the job site, consider looking towards the companies who manufactured, sold, and maintained the equipment.  Equipment failures are a common cause of construction injury, and the parties in charge of the equipment can share in the responsibility.

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Workers’ Compensation Injury Coverage

Workers’ compensation always covers lost wages and medical bills in connection with injuries or deaths at a construction site. However, if there are causes to the accident other than job safety, such as defective tools or other equipment, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of these items too.  Workers’ compensation claims often require strict attention to deadlines and procedural details when filling out and filing forms.  When filing a workers’ compensation claim, particularly for serious injuries, seek out the assistance of a construction injury attorney to ensure the process is mistake-free.

Long-term injuries

Employees are entitled to workers’ compensation for costs in connection with both short and long term injuries based on the specific laws in the state where they live. In addition, they may be entitled to: compensation for any complete or partial permanent loss of any body part, re-training to enter into a different type of job than the one held before the accident, physical therapy and vocational rehabilitation benefits that allow the employee to get another type of work altogether.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a construction accident, you may want to consult an attorney. A good place to start is JustAnswer Legal where you will find a listing of experienced attorneys in your area. If you would like feedback on your specific case, simply fill out our free case evaluation form and an experienced personal injury attorney will contact you for consultation at no cost and no obligation.