Construction Accidents & Workplace Injuries
New Jersey Workplace & Construction Accident Attorneys
Hardworking construction professionals face workplace hazards on a daily basis – some of which are extremely dangerous or deadly. If you have ever seen a construction site or have a loved one who works in construction, you know that active worksites are not always the safest work environments.
The truth is, our country would not thrive without the 5.6 million men and women who work in the construction industry. Unfortunately, the workers in this industry are subject to inherent risks that come with using heavy equipment, dangerous tools, and complicated machinery. Add to that the additional risks of a negligent employer, contractor, or subcontractor ignoring the most basic standards of safety, and there is cause for major concern.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 20 percent of all private industry worker fatalities happen in the construction industry each year. In 2016 alone, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses.
In the construction industry specifically, these injuries resulted in death for 781 workers in 2011, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
In a more recent study, BLS reported that 101 workers were fatally injured in the State of New Jersey in 2016.
Here at Dansky | Katz | Ringold, we believe that when workers are injured, they deserve full and fair compensation for their injuries and other damages. We work hard to fight for the rights of our clients who suffer from construction place accidents and injuries.
Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
As we mentioned above, there are many aspects of a construction worker’s job that involve risk and dangerous conditions. In fact, the construction industry in the private sector has the high number of fatalities in New Jersey.
The most common cause of fatal accidents in construction is falls, which accounts for roughly one-third of all deaths. In New Jersey specifically, BLS found that approximately 63% of fatal workplace accidents are due to falls, trips, slips, and transportation accidents.
The Fatal Four
In the construction industry, most of the dangers of injuries leading to death occur because of what is called the “fatal four.” These causes include:
- Being struck by an object
- Electrocutions or burns
- Being caught in or between machinery
Other Causes of Construction Injuries
In addition to the leading causes of fatal injury in the construction industry, there are a wide variety of situations that can result in workplace injuries, including:
- Hazardous working conditions
- Toxic chemical exposure, including silica and asbestos
- Accidents with equipment or machinery
- Lack of or improper use of safety gear
- Motor vehicle use such as tractors or dump trucks
- Being crushed by a heavy object
- Falling debris
- Defective stairs
- Fault elevators or escalators
- Ladders falling or falling off of a ladder
- Unstable or broken handrails
- Using defective machinery, such as forklifts, cranes, hoists, and conveyor belts
- Unsafe scaffolding
- Lack of proper security or fencing
- Insufficient safety training
- Structural Failure or building collapse
- Exposed electrical wires or outlets
- Unsafe holes in a floor or loose boards
- Supervisors or workers careless handling equipment, machines, tools, or chemicals
- Construction equipment intruding onto roads or sidewalks
Types of Workplace and Construction Injuries
Due to the nature of construction work, there is a high risk of serious injury if an accident occurs.
Considering the wide range of the causes of workplace accidents, the types of injuries themselves cover a broad spectrum. Injuries can range from muscle strains to as severe as death, and include:
- Muscle sprains
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Loss of hearing
- Chest injuries
- Back injuries, especially from lifting heavy equipment
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Brain injuries
Negligent Behavior & Safety Requirements in the Workplace
The construction industry is inherently a dangerous and hazardous work environment. As such, there are strict regulations and safety requirements in place to protect workers from harm.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Construction Standards are the minimum legal requirements for the industry. Employers must abide by these standards, such as regulating exposure to chemicals and providing proper protective gear, or they risk putting their employees and contractors in harm’s way.
Unfortunately, some employers violate these OSHA requirements, either knowingly or unknowingly, oftentimes leading to citations and in the serious cases, injury or death for their workers. The most common violations cited by the OSHA in 2008-2009 were the following:
- Head protection
- Training requirements
- Fall protection practices
- Respiratory problems
- Hazard communication or lack thereof
- Aerial lifts
- Wiring methods
These regulations are in place for a reason: to keep our hardworking constructions workers safe and healthy. When an employer, manufacturer, or company in the construction industry ignores the strict safety requirements, it can be considered negligence.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by negligent or careless behavior, a New Jersey construction or workplace accident lawsuit may be pursued.
Your Right to Compensation for Workplace & Construction Injuries
If you do choose to file a claim for an injury sustained by a workplace accident in New Jersey, you will first want to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney.
There are many different types of compensation you can seek, depending on the details of your case. Since these cases can be very complicated and involved a few different parties, a personal injury attorney will be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
The types of compensation you can seek for an injury or death sustained in the workplace include:
- Physical injuries
- Permanent disability
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Cost of future medical treatment or rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Mental distress
- Wrongful death
The Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Workplace Injury Cases
Before you consider filing a claim for a workplace injury case, it is important to understand the difference between workplace personal injury lawsuits and Workers’ Compensation.
In the state of New Jersey, the Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault insurance program. This means that workers who have been injured while on the job can receive benefits, regardless of if negligence occurred. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development defines Workers’ Compensation as:
“Workers’ compensation provides medical treatment, wage replacement and permanent disability compensation to employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses, and death benefits to dependents of workers who have died as a result of their employment.”
While this program is intended to protect workers, it is rarely enough to cover all the costs if a serious injury has occured. An injured worker is able to pursue both a workplace accident case against a negligent contractor and receive benefits from Workers’ Compensation at the same time.
Additionally, there are limits on the types of damages that will be compensated for by Workers’ Compensation, workers generally recovery a much higher compensation for the construction accident from a personal injury claim. This is why many workers choose to file a personal injury lawsuit as well.
What is a Construction Accident Case?
If an injured worker has suffered as a result of an employer’s negligent actions, that person may be able to pursue a legal action against the employer in addition to receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits.
While a worker can receive Workers’ Compensation no matter who was at fault for an injury sustained on the job, he or she must prove that someone was at fault for an injury to pursue a personal injury case. For example, a property owner who fails to provide a safe workplace or site or a manufacturer of defective equipment or machinery may be held responsible for an accident or injury.
In order to file this type of claim, the accident must have occured at a commercial or residential construction job that had more than one contractor working at the site.
It can be confusing to navigate and understand the differences between Workers’ Compensation benefits and a workplace accident case, which is why it is extremely important to consult with an attorney about your construction accident before taking legal action.
Workplace Accident Statute of Limitations
If you choose to pursue a claim against a negligent third-party, it is important to be aware of the Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitations is the amount of time that you have to file a claim, and it can vary by state and by the type of legal action pursued.
If you do not file your lawsuit within New Jersey’s Statute of Limitation, your right to compensation for your injuries may be lost. In New Jersey, the time limit to file a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. This would be the same case for other personal injury lawsuits such as a motor vehicle accident.
There are some exceptions to this deadline, depending on the type of injuries and the nature of the accident. For example, there may be cases where a worker was not aware of the injury sustained from the job until a later date. If you have questions regarding the Statute of Limitations for your workplace accident, we highly encourage you to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Hiring a Workplace Accident Attorney in New Jersey
At Dansky | Katz | Ringold, we take on these kinds of complex workplace injury claims for construction professionals. In these cases, there are oftentimes a few different parties that may be liable for your injuries or responsible for the unsafe conditions that caused your accident. Third party claims may be filed against property site owners, architects, engineers, equipment manufacturers, general contractors, and subcontractors.
As there are complex legal issues involved in these types of claims, we highly recommend that you seek the assistance of a New Jersey workplace accident attorney before taking legal action.
Our team of legal professionals is completely dedicated to personal injury law, serving the towns of Marlton, Woodbury, Philadelphia and many other locations across New Jersey & Pennsylvania. When you retain one of our experienced construction accident attorneys, we work hard to maximize your compensation for damages. We have skilled trial lawyers on our legal team, including a New Jersey Supreme Court Civil Trial Attorney, who excels at fighting to protect your rights.
More importantly, when you retain our firm, we promise to not only treat you like a member of our family, but to fight for you in the courtroom as if you were.
To arrange a free consultation to discuss your workplace accident injury claim, please contact us today at our toll free number: 800-609-7577