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Construction Accidents

A construction accident injury can have a significant impact on workers and their families. Workers with a serious injury often require extensive treatment, and the medical bills add up quickly. Because they cannot work because of their injury, less money is coming in. Other bills do not stop, including rent, mortgage payments, car payments, and grocery bills. It can become very hard for families to get by during this time.

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Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation LawyersWorkers in New Jersey can receive Workers’ Compensation coverage if they are full employees of the business, but they must contend with insurance companies that might make this process more complicated. If a third party business is responsible, the victim might be forced to wait even longer for compensation.

Those injured on the job should reach out to a Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation lawyer after a construction accident. While the victim recovers, their lawyer can seek compensation or ensure that Workers’ Compensation is paid appropriately. In certain cases, both types of compensation are available to help victims get back on their feet.

Are Construction Accidents a Problem in New Jersey?

Owing to the massive development and growth throughout New Jersey, construction accidents occur every day. With projects in progress across the state, an accident is likely to occur on every site as a result of the sheer number of people working and the many variables they must face.

Construction workers should be aware of what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) calls the Fatal Four. Falls, struck by an object, electrocutions, and caught in-between accidents are the most common incidences that might happen to construction workers. These four scenarios represent 60 percent of all fatal accident scenarios.

A few statistics to keep in mind include the following:

  • Twenty percent of all employee deaths in the United States occur in the construction industry, but construction workers represent only six percent of the total workforce. It has been reported that 1061 construction workers died at work in 2019 alone.
  • Approximately 42 crane deaths occur every year.
  • Slip and fall accidents account for around 33 percent of all fatalities every year.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics report that 1.7 percent of construction workers miss work after an injury.
  • Injury rates in the construction industry are 71 percent higher than other industries, as noted by the National Institutes of Health.
  • The average cost of a work injury is over $42,000, and the average cost of a work death is over $1.2 million.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over half of all construction accidents happen when the worker is in their first full year of employment.

Unfortunately, 25 percent of construction workers injured on the job failed to report their injuries, according to research by The Center for Construction Research and Training. Given these statistics, construction workers should be especially careful when they are on the job.

What Types of Construction Accidents Might Occur?Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Construction sites are busy places filled with people, machines, and vehicles. Because the accidents can occur across a broad range of worksites and scenarios, construction workers should understand common issues that they will face on the job. Common scenarios include the following:

Slip and fall accidents. A slip and fall incidence can occur in almost benign circumstances. Construction workers might slip on wet concrete as they cross a worksite, or they might slip on half-finished stairs, ramps, or walkways. These slip and fall incidents can become more severe as workers contend with large machines or use special lifts around the worksite. Workers must use all available safety gear and try to avoid dangerous situations whenever possible. For example, working in heavy winds or in a heavy rainstorm is not advisable. In every case, workers should report their injuries.

Falls from heights. These accidents are even more dangerous, as victims could fall a story or more. Construction sites include open air and unfinished spaces without floors or ceilings. As the building rises higher, the victim is susceptible to more severe injuries or even death. A fall from a height might also include tools, parts, or materials that fall from a great height. Although this may be gruesome to consider, something as simple as a nut, bolt, or screw that falls several stories could severely injure or kill the person it strikes. If the materials are even larger, the accidents will be even more serious.

Falls from heights can also include incidents in which the victim is struck by an object that should have been restrained. Falling cranes or imbalanced loads could spill all over a construction site and cause severe injuries.

Trench collapses. Trench collapses are not considered enough because workers must climb into trenches when installing sewer and water pipes. Those building the foundation of a large structure could experience a trench collapse, and those working in underground locations face the same risks.

Construction vehicle accidents. Accidents involving a construction vehicle occur every day, but they may be fairly benign compared with accidents on the road. A construction vehicle might bump into another vehicle or machine. The victim might be struck by a slow-moving vehicle, or smaller work vehicles might tip over or injure workers during a collision.

Road work zone accidents. These accidents can occur when construction crews do not post the appropriate signs or take safety precautions while working near the road. At times, these accidents occur when drivers strike workers. Other times, accidents might occur as workers suffer injuries when debris is kicked up from the road. Water runoff can make the work area slick, or victims might suffer burns as they work with hot materials in the sun all day.

Nail gun accidents. An accident involving an air gun can be traumatic for the victim even if the person holding the nail gun did not intend to inflict harm. Nail guns use extreme pressure to force nails into objects across a work site, and they make it easy to drive several nails in a short period of time. Workers must be aware of who is near them while using a nail gun. The nail gun should not be engaged unless it is touching a work surface, and the power should be disengaged the moment the worker has completed their task.

Electrocutions. Unfortunately, electrocutions are another reality of working on construction sites. Someone who is working with large power tools could be electrocuted by a power surge or frayed cable. Workers might plug into wet or damaged power sources, or they might be injured when they touch electrified work surfaces.

Although workers can take steps to avoid these accidents, they must report incidents and seek medical attention immediately. Whether the incident was purely an accident or a third party caused the victim’s injuries, there is a legal course of action for everyone.

Who is Responsible for My Construction Accident?

Under Workers’ Compensation law, the employee receiving Workers’ Compensation coverage cannot sue their employer. Instead, the insurance provider assumes liability for the employer. When the worker is injured on the job, the insurance provider should pay their medical bills and wage-loss benefits. Third parties involved in the accident can face a lawsuit for their negligence, depending on the steps the third party took that might have caused the accident. Generally, a third-party company can face a lawsuit if it has made a mistake at any point when providing services or materials to the employer. Common third parties involved in construction accident lawsuits include the following individuals or entities:Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

  • Providers of raw materials
  • Manufacturers of power tools
  • Scaffolding and ladder companies
  • Large machine rental companies
  • Vehicle manufacturers
  • Parts manufacturers
  • Landowners
  • Subcontractors
  • Machine leasing agencies

When the manufacturer of a product or part does not build an effective product, it can face a lawsuit for its negligence or misconduct. Companies that provide raw materials to the construction firm must make declarations of the state of these materials and how they are to be used.

Landowners must maintain their properties to avoid accidents, and subcontractors must complete their work in the proper fashion to prevent further accidents or injuries. For example, a subcontractor visits the worksite to provide gas line installation and piping services. After the gas lines are installed, accidents involving the gas lines or leaks that cause toxic exposure can rightly be attributed to poor work completed on the part of the subcontractor.

Workers should not make accusations when an accident occurs. Instead, the worker should speak to a lawyer about how the accident occurred, discuss how a third party may be responsible, and review the compensation the third party may owe. If these third parties reach out to the victim, the victim should forward those calls to a lawyer for further review.

What are Common Injuries Suffered on Worksites?Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Construction accidents happen for many different reasons, mostly because there are many hazards in these areas. Materials including steel beams, boards, brick, and concrete are transported and set in place, or they must be lifted a second time by a crane or other machine. There are safety measures that must be followed, and workers should receive the appropriate safety gear when they arrive at work. Even so, an accident can happen in an instant.

The injuries suffered in a construction accident can be quite serious. Workers can suffer head and brain injuries, lifting injuries, knee and leg injuries, arm and shoulder injuries, or broken bones. Some injuries can be life-altering, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord injury. It can take months for an injured worker to recover from an injury, but some victims never fully recover. Common injuries that victims should be aware of include the following:

  • Bruises
  • Cuts or lacerations
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Burns
  • Soft tissue damage

These injuries either present as relatively minor or hide under the surface where the victim cannot see that they have been hurt. It may seem like an inconvenience to stop work every time a minor injury happens, but that is better than suffering from even greater injuries because of a lack of treatment.

Moreover, victims should ensure that they report these incidents. When an incident goes unreported, the employer cannot possibly file an insurance claim, and the insurance company might allege that the accident never occurred. The victim does not have proof of medical care, and they do not have anything else to substantiate the claim.

If the victim starts to feel nauseous or experience severe headaches, lightheadedness, or dizziness, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible. There are, however, certain medical conditions that could become even more serious. Accidents might suffer from the following:

  • Hairline fractures
  • Organ damage
  • Internal bleeding

Hairline fractures could cause pain and discomfort for years to come. Organ damage could be fatal, and internal bleeding could slowly kill the victim if they do not seek medical care. The victim might feel pain they cannot place, and they should go to the emergency room as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis.

Although reporting injuries and seeking medical attention is imperative, victims must understand how to retain legal representation. Speaking to a lawyer in the aftermath of an accident helps jumpstart the legal process.

How is Workers’ Compensation Provided?Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Workers’ Compensation is provided to victims through an insurance carrier chosen by the employer. When the victim reports an accident, the insurance provider is prepared to pay wage-loss benefits if the victim misses seven days of work. The insurance firm might investigate the accident, but it should pay all the victim’s medical bills in the interim.

As part of the Workers’ Compensation process, the employer should post a list of all the doctors it uses. These doctors are accustomed to handling Workers’ Compensation cases, and the bills are paid by the insurance provider. The victim need not file any claims because the doctor’s office bills the insurance carrier directly. Medical coverage should continue until the victim reaches full recovery.

Wage-loss benefits continue so long as the victim cannot return to work, and they are termed either temporary partial disability or temporary total disability. The victim can receive these benefits for up to 450 weeks before the insurance company or employer requests an assessment of the situation. Either of these parties can request a medical examination to determine the extent of the victim’s injuries. Most times, the insurance company or employer chooses the doctor, and the victim should prepare for this examination with a lawyer. The lawyer can help the victim gather evidence for the examination and understand that they are being watched every second of the examination.

Someone on temporary disability receives 70 percent of their weekly pay until they are cleared to go back to work. These victims might have such severe injuries that they cannot return to work as normal. They might go back to work at a new job, and disability will pay the difference.

Severe injuries might also be converted to a scheduled loss that is determined from a chart published by the state. Someone who loses, for example, an arm or loses the use of their fingers receives a percentage of the total compensation available under the law. The victim receives a lump-sum payment, but their other medical bills are paid as needed.

If the victim does not receive a payment for a scheduled loss and cannot be cleared for work, they will receive permanent total disability payments that equal 70 percent of their weekly wages. Death benefits may be required if the victim dies during the accident or while recovering. The victim’s family receives $3500 for burial expenses, and the dependents receive 70 percent of the victim’s weekly wages. Dependent children receive benefits until they turn 18, or until age 23 if they are college students. The spouse continues to receive these benefits until they remarry.

Employers can dispute claims. Insurance companies can delay or deny needed tests or treatment. The obstacles placed in front of the victim are difficult to navigate without a lawyer, and it helps to allow a lawyer to explain how this process works. At that point, the victim can seek the appropriate compensation for the accident.

If the victim does not receive Workers’ Compensation benefits immediately, they can file suit against the insurance company for additional damages they incurred because they were not receiving benefits. If there are questions about the circumstances of the accident, the victim and insurance carrier can come to an agreement on a Section 20 settlement. The victim receives a lump sum of money to cover their medical expenses, recovery, and wages, and the insurance company closes the claim. A Section 22 settlement is similar, but it allows the victim to reopen the claim up to two years after the settlement if new information comes to light.

Can I Sue a Third Party Business for My Injuries?

When a third party is responsible for the accident or the victim’s injuries, it can face a lawsuit in civil court. Personal injury claims of this type seek traditional damages that include the following:

Medical expenses. Expenses for medical care start with emergency care and continue until the victim reaches full recovery. The lawyer may consult medical experts to explain how long and expensive the victim’s recovery may be. Serious injuries often require extensive medical treatment, including diagnostic tests, surgeries, months of physical therapy, medications, home medical equipment, and follow-up appointments. The cost of this care can become overwhelming in a very short time.

Lost earnings. Compensation for lost earnings begin when the victim cannot go back to work; these earnings help the victim pay their bills and support their family. Lost earnings should be equivalent to the money the victim would have continued to make if they were not hurt. This is important because victims do not earn their full salary when they are receiving Workers’ Compensation payments.

Lost earning potential. This is calculated by the lawyer as part of building a lawsuit. The lawsuit depends on the lawyer demonstrating that the victim would have received raises, seen promotions, and had the opportunity to receive additional training.

Pain and suffering. The term pain and suffering refers to the way victims suffer as they attempt to recover. Someone who is capable of working or nearing full recovery might suffer aches and pains. These aches and pains diminish the victim’s quality of life, and the victim should be paid to help them move forward.

Emotional turmoil. This is something that the victim feels as they recover, even if they recover fully. Depression and anxiety are common, or the victim may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Punitive damages. An award for punitive damages can total up to $350,000, but typically rises only to five times the compensatory damages. The lawyer must prove that their client was the victim of wicked and malicious conduct to recover these damages.

Do I Need a Lawyer After a Construction Accident?Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Hiring a Workers’ Compensation lawyer is a good first step for anyone who wants to recover the compensation they know they are owed. Lawyers can send cease and desist letters, reach out to insurance companies, and coordinate with employers. The lawyer will collect as much evidence as possible to ensure that they can proceed with the claim and file a lawsuit.

At that point, the insurance company or liable third party can respond and begin negotiating a settlement. Settling the case ends the litigation process quickly and provides the victim with the compensation they require. Going to trial may prolong the case, but more compensation is generally available at trial.

If insurance companies delay or deny the claim, the lawyer will take further action. If denied, the lawyer will appeal to the Division of Workers’ Compensation. In some cases, the lawyer may want to cover the cost of an independent medical evaluation to show that the victim is injured and unable to work. Lawyers guide the legal process, give their clients advice, and speak on behalf of their clients until they reach a favorable conclusion.

Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC Help Injured Workers Recover After a Construction Accident

If you are involved in a construction accident, you can reach out to the Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC for assistance with Workers’ Compensation claims and third-party lawsuits. Our board-certified lawyers know what you are going through. We are ready to do what it takes to get you the benefits you deserve. Call us at 856-751-7676 or contact us online for a free consultation. Our offices are in Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, Trenton, and Vineland, New Jersey; and Trevose, Pennsylvania. We serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

856-751-7676 16000 Commerce Parkway
Suite C
Mt Laurel Township, NJ 08054 Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm

856-751-7676 1913 Greentree Rd
Suite C
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm

856-751-7676 1234 Bridgetown Pike
Suite 200
Feasterville-Trevose, PA 19053 Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm

Trenton, NJ Office
Vineland, NJ Office