Construction sites are some of the most dangerous places to work. The workplace environment involves heights, which increases the chances of fall-related accidents. There's also exposure to dust, like silica (which scars the lungs), wood and gypsum dust (which cause asthma, nose cancer, and other persistent ENT problems), and large machinery and vibrating tools (the latter which causes Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAV). As you can see, the dangers and high risk of injury and illness are real and a large cause of concern.
At Serpico, Petrosino, DiPiero & O'Shea, Ltd., our attorneys understand these dangers and will identify the best legal options available to you and your family. Contact us at (312)-207-0000 to schedule a free consultation.
Construction Site Accidents in Illinois
Construction site accidents involve unplanned incidents that occur on a construction site, injuring an employee in the course of their work.
Classified as a category of workplace accidents, construction site accidents are also often covered by workers' compensation insurance.
But be aware that some situations are typically considered as being outside the scope of an employee's work and, therefore, workers' compensation. For example, when an employee is:
- Traveling to and from work
- On a break outside of the workplace
- Attending an offsite event (depending on the circumstances of the event)
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work
The availability of workers' compensation depends entirely on the facts of a case, and there are exceptions to the above exclusions. If you're injured or become ill as a result of a construction site accident or environment, speak to a construction site accident attorney to confirm whether workers' compensation applies because there are other legal options available.
Construction Site Accident Claims and Lawsuits
There are several ways you may be able to seek compensation for injuries caused by a construction site accident. Mainly, these ways include workers' compensation (as mentioned above), personal injury lawsuits, and defective product claims.
Most states require employers to take out workers' compensation insurance to cover an employee's lost wages, medical expenses, and disability resulting from a workplace accident.
While you can't recover damages for pain and suffering via workers' compensation, you are not required to prove fault. You only need to show that the injury occurred within the scope of your employment.
If your employer has workers' compensation insurance, you are usually barred from pursuing a personal injury claim against them.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
Some circumstances allow you to file a personal injury claim, like in cases where the accident was intentional or where your employer does not have workers' compensation insurance. In personal injury claims, you must prove fault by showing:
- There was a duty of care.
- The duty of care was breached.
- The breach caused the accident or situation that led to your injury or illness.
- The damages are monetarily quantifiable.
Also, if you are injured in a construction site accident caused by the negligence of a third party, such as a vendor or sub-contractor, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. Doing so allows you to seek non-economic damages for pain and suffering.
For example, if a worker is injured as a result of a collision when driving between two work sites, they may be able to file both a workers' compensation claim, as the injury occurred in the course of their work. Also, a third-party personal injury claim can be filed against the at-fault driver.
Defective Product Claim
If your injury is the result of a defective tool or piece of machinery, you should consider filing a product liability lawsuit against the designer or manufacturer of the product.
To succeed, you need to show that the product was defective and caused your injury and that you were using it in the way it was intended at the time of the accident.
Wrongful Death Action
Construction site injuries can be severe and lead to fatalities. In those instances, family members or the decedent's estate may file a wrongful death action. Wrongful death actions may only be available in certain circumstances, like those where a personal injury or defective product claim would have been available to the decedent.
Death benefits are available to family members or dependents of the deceased under workers' compensation. Speaking to a personal injury or workers' comp attorney will help you understand what is available to you and your family.
Common Causes of Construction Site Accidents in Illinois
Falling from a height, such as scaffolding or a ladder, is one of the most common causes of construction site accidents. They often occur as a result of poor safety precautions or failure to follow correct procedures.
Electrocution injuries can happen on a construction site as a result of exposed wiring, downed power lines, or electrical currents when working with onsite machinery or tools.
Design faults, unexpected conditions, excessive weights, or errors made during demolition can lead to collapsed structures. Collapsed structures put workers at risk of crush injuries or injuries caused by falling debris. crushing workers or injuring them by falling debris.
Explosions or Fires
The materials commonly used on construction sites increase the risk of explosions and fires. Electrical faults or incidents involving chemical agents such as liquid petroleum gas or combustible liquids are common causes of construction site explosions or fires.
Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals
Construction sites potentially expose workers to toxic materials such as paint, solvents, heavy metals, air pollutants, and asbestos, especially on sites that mix or manufacture these chemicals. Employers must provide workers exposed to these chemicals with adequate personal protection equipment (PPE).
Construction sites almost always involve the use of heavy machinery or specialized equipment such as power tools, cranes, forklifts, and conveyor belts. Machinery accidents can occur due to a defect or improper use, injuring workers.
Common Construction Site Injuries in Illinois
Common construction site injuries include:
- Broken bones or fractures, for example, as a result of falls
- Burns from explosions or fires
- Back or spinal cord injuries due to falls or crush injuries
- Eye injuries
- Loss of hearing
- Head or traumatic brain injuries as a result of falls or falling debris
In certain circumstances, construction site accidents can also result in death.
What Should You Do After Injuring Yourself in a Construction Site Accident?
If you have been injured while working at a construction site, there are steps you should take to protect your interests and rights.
- Report the accident and injury.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible.
- Follow any care plan exactly as it is provided.
- Gather evidence, like photographs, video, and witness statements, and maintain a diary outlining the accident in detail and how the injury has impacted your day-to-day life.
- Contact a construction site attorney.
Your future is dependent on the help you get after a construction site accident.
Contact a Construction Site Accident Attorney Today
If you have suffered an injury or illness caused by an accident at a construction site, getting adequate and just compensation will make the difference in your recovery. There are time limits restricting how long you have to act. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.