Working in the construction industry is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. According to OSHA, there are 2.8 worker injuries or job-related illnesses per 100 construction employees each year. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 135 fatal work injuries in Illinois for 2020, 21 in construction.
Construction companies that violate regulations that protect construction workers put employees’ lives at risk. If you’ve been in a construction accident caused by someone else’s negligence, pursuing legal action will hold the at-fault parties responsible. It can also ensure that you get financial compensation for the medical attention you need to return to your everyday life.
A personal injury lawyer at Nessler & Associates can protect your rights and help you pursue the maximum compensation you are owed. We’ve been helping construction site injury victims across central Illinois for more than 35 years. Our law firm has a successful track record of helping clients get what they are rightfully owed, while providing them with the respect and compassion they deserve.
If you are an injured construction worker seeking restitution for your accident, contact our law firm for a complimentary consultation to discuss your construction accident claim.
Potential Liable Parties in a Construction Accident
Several different parties often work on a construction site simultaneously. Any individual contributing to a building project, whether physically present or making decisions remotely, can leave workers vulnerable to an accident.
Landowners can be liable for a construction accident depending on their degree of control over the site. Property owner negligence can extend to injuries from slippery surfaces, unprovoked dog bites, and failure to notify of a hazardous condition.
Under Illinois law, the owner is liable for any injury to workers on the property that the owner should have reasonably had knowledge of and prevented.
OSHA states that general contractors must provide workers with reasonably safe working conditions on a construction site. If a contractor fails to warn of job site hazards or dangers regarding the job, an injured party can pursue compensation for financial losses.
A subcontractor takes on a part of a larger construction project. If you are working for a subcontractor and sustain an injury, you may be able to file suit against the subcontractor or the general contractor. The distinction depends on “retained control,” which defines how a general contractor retains control over the work.
Architects and civil engineers
Architects and civil engineers have the task of overseeing the progress of a construction project. Their duties include ensuring that a construction site is compliant with blueprints and appropriate code regulations.
Determining whether an architect or engineer is liable for your accident hinges on their stated responsibilities and whether they influenced your accident through job site code compliance mistakes or inaccurate site design.
Defective construction equipment can cause catastrophic injuries to a worker. Companies that supply heavy machinery are responsible for their upkeep, and any accident resulting from poor maintenance warrants a compensation claim against the equipment provider.
Defective safety equipment may make the manufacturer liable for your workplace injury in a product liability case. Contact our law firm to discuss your next legal steps.
Types of Construction Accidents
Construction accident sources are virtually unlimited. Heavy machinery, working high off the ground, and dealing with electrical current, power tools, and toxic chemicals provides a dangerous environment for construction workers.
Cranes are useful heavy machinery that get materials and equipment to workers on the uppermost floors of a construction site. However, as shown in a recent incident in Chicago, cranes can tip over and collapse, leaving workers at risk of serious injury.
Welding can be dangerous for workers in the long run as constant exposure to fumes can cause lung damage, including cancer. Besides illnesses like ulcers, eye damage, and nerve damage, welding can also cause deadly accidents.
Electric shock can cause burns or damage to the body internally, leaving marks on the skin. In some cases, even small amounts of electrical current can end in death for a worker who comes in contact with loose wiring.
Falls from heights
Falls are the most common accidents that occur on construction sites. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports falls as comprising nearly 18% of occupational injuries in Illinois. Falls can happen in conjunction with aerial lifts or scaffolding. Elevator accidents are also a source of injuries and fatalities on building project sites.
Types of scaffolding accidents include falls, trips on improperly placed scaffolding, and unsecured objects falling below.
Various construction equipment such as woodworking tools can exert large amounts of shearing or puncturing force and damage a construction site accident victim’s body. Nail gun accidents and mishaps involving saws can be hazardous and lead to excessive bleeding, damage to vital organs, and amputation.
Construction workers often handle toxic substances in their day-to-day tasks. Damage to the body can occur from inhalation of a toxic substance, ingestion, or contact with the skin. Substances such as mercury, flame retardants, and perfluorinated compounds are found in common building materials and can cause allergies, hormone disruptions, and even cancer.
Employers must provide appropriate protective equipment for handling dangerous chemicals, including masks that will prevent workers from inhaling dangerous fumes.
Construction Site Injuries
Construction site injuries can be serious or even life-threatening, and many can affect your livelihood and quality of life. Some common construction site injuries include:
With falls being the most common construction site accident, broken bones are among the most common resulting injuries. Falls from heights greater than 30 feet carry a high likelihood of causing serious injury to vital organs and can also result in blunt trauma, chest injury, and rib fractures.
Spinal cord injury can cause paralysis, while expensive surgery may be necessary to restore disc integrity in fall victims.
While healthcare providers agree that an average bone break usually takes between six and eight weeks to heal, some breaks can take years for a full recovery.
Whether from heat, steam, or a toxic chemical spill, burns can cause severe disfigurement to workers who encounter dangerous substances. Depending on the severity of the burn, you may need to spend significant time in the hospital and require multiple skin grafting and plastic surgeries to restore your function and appearance.
Glues, cleaning supplies, paint thinners, wet cement, and solvents can all irritate the skin to the point of causing burns. Compared to burns from a fire or hot steam, a chemical burn can be more dangerous as the symptoms may not be immediately evident.
Falls and crush injuries can be severe and debilitating construction accident injuries. A compound fracture can affect a worker’s ability to walk even after healing, while spinal cord damage can result in paralysis.
Permanent disability in a construction accident can often mean that the victim is unable to return to work, or they may have to seek a new vocation. Seeking compensation for a loss of wage-earning abilities is essential for anyone suffering permanent disability from a negligent party’s actions.
After losing a loved one in a fatal construction accident, investigating the incident to look for negligent acts by coworkers or employers is your right. Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, 740 ILCS 180/1, you can act as a personal representative of the deceased to bring a lawsuit to recover damages.
If negligence is the cause of your relative’s death, you can seek damages for your loss and the income that your loved one was providing. In a workplace fatality, you may be entitled to a death benefit; a payment that beneficiaries receive while their insurance policy is active.
What Damages Can You Recover From a Construction Accident?
A workers’ compensation claim is a legal action that results in restitution for your accident. You do not have to prove fault by a responsible party for workers’ compensation. If you claim workers’ compensation, you cannot sue your employer or coworker under Illinois law.
The workers’ compensation benefit can include:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Temporary disability
- Permanent partial disability
- Permanent total disability
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Wage differential
If you move forward with a personal injury claim, you can potentially recover damages such as medical expenses and non-economic damages that include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of income
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment
- Punitive damages
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Construction Accident
The first thing you should do is to seek medical assistance. Don’t pursue any other action until a medical professional can evaluate your health. An underlying injury such as internal bleeding or a traumatic brain injury can be life-threatening if not diagnosed.
After receiving medical attention, file a report on the accident. The law requires that workplace accident victims file a report with their employer within 30 days of the accident in which they detail every aspect of the incident that they can recall.
Failure to report your injury within 30 days may prevent your employer from investigating the injury and you could lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
Your employer files a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board by filing an Employee Claim Form. This form must be filed within two years of the accident.
Use your mobile phone to take as many photos and videos of the accident scene as possible. Visual evidence can help you remember key points of the incident and may help you prove your claim.
Your next step should be to contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to discuss your work-related injury. Avoid speaking with adjusters from insurance companies until you have consulted with a lawyer. Our legal team can help project your rights and file a claim so you receive the maximum benefits available to you.
Workers’ compensation cases have a limited time of five years of compensation of two-thirds of your average weekly wage and a lifetime of benefits for only injury-related care for a permanent particle disability. For a permanent total disability you get two-thirds of your average wage for life which may be insufficient, so it is important to have legal counsel guide you on how you can pursue general damages and receive restitution for your injuries.
Request a Free Case Review
If you or a loved one has suffered a construction site injury, or you’ve had a relative die while working on a building site, our law firm can negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf through a personal injury lawsuit.
At Nessler & Associates, our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience dealing with construction injury lawsuits. A construction accident lawyer at our law firm can ensure you recover compensation for current and future medical bills and damages for pain and suffering and lost wages.
In the event of a wrongful death, our attorneys will hold all responsible parties, from the construction company to the subcontractors, accountable for their negligence.
We handle your case on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to worry about paying legal fees. Our firm doesn’t receive payment unless we win your personal injury claim.
Let us help you handle all legal issues that arise from your accident. Contact our law firm today at (800) 727-8010 for a no-obligation, free consultation with an experienced construction accident attorney and get the compensation and justice you deserve.