Construction sites are the hub of accidents and, often, deaths. Due to the nature of the work and the precarious sites, accidents at construction sites are generally commonplace. From electricity shocks to falling to death, construction accidents contribute significantly to all workplace deaths in Illinois. A Chicago construction accident lawyer can help you determine your best option after being involved in an accident.
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Causes of Construction Accidents
Though the causes of construction accidents can be many, owing to the large worksites and the number of people working on it, the most commonly reported causes of construction accidents cite the following four as the causes. So much so that these four have become notoriously named ‘the Fatal Four’ within the construction industry.
Slip and Fall
The majority of workplace deaths, including within the construction industry, are caused by slipping and falling. Slips and falls can, in fact, be fatal, especially in a location such as a construction site. Slipping at the wrong place can even cause you to fall to your death.
The higher up you are working, the more chances there are of your slip and fall is much more serious and even deadly. If you are lucky enough to survive the fall, you could still end up with a lot of broken bones, injuries to the spinal cord, and even injuries to the head.
Electrocution is another major reason for death in construction sites. During the construction phase, the electrical lines and connections are also being worked at. Naked wiring and other such elements may be lying around in places, and if they are not handled with care, they could cause the worker to be severely electrocuted. Electric currents could also cause fires at construction sites, killing more people.
Struck by object
Another prime reason for construction accidents and deaths is being struck by falling objects. Though helmets are supposed to provide some protection against objects, if the object is large enough or has significant force, it can still injure you badly. Objects that can strike you at a construction site are bricks, stones, construction tools, etc.
Caught in Between
About 5.1% of workplace deaths were caused by being trampled beneath or between objects. There is a lot of heavy machinery present on a construction site, and in the unfortunate case that someone gets stuck in one of them could result in loss of limbs or even death. Workers can also get trapped beneath rocks, boulders, and other construction material.
Other causes could include being trampled by moving vehicles on the large sites, elevators failing due to heavy loads, inhaling of toxic fumes and gases while constructing, suffocation due to low oxygen levels, and many others of the sort.
Regardless of what the causes are, if any such incident occurs on a construction site, resulting in severe injury or death, the employer is liable for it and will be answerable in court for why such an accident was allowed to occur at the premises.
Laws Surrounding Construction Sites
Keeping in mind the dangers that workers at a construction site are exposing themselves to, the government has taken steps to ensure that they are provided adequate safety gear and that construction companies are bound to provide them with the highest working conditions possible.
The OSHA (Occupational Safety Hazards Act) already establishes several laws for employers to follow to ensure the welfare of employees across all industries. Some of which apply directly to construction companies are listed below.
It is imperative that the correct signage is used across construction sites to warn employees, and other people on the site, of the potential danger ahead. Signs warning people of slippery or wet floors, of naked electrical wiring, toxic material, loud sounds, steep drops, broken stairs, etc. are supposed to be erected in plain sight throughout the construction site.
Other signage to be placed inside a construction are signs reminding people to wear safety gear and equipment, directions to the nearest fire exit, and warnings of excessive loads. These signs are supposed to be color-coded for better understanding and communication.
Proper Safety Equipment
It is the responsibility of the employer to provide the employees with proper safety equipment and gear that they must wear on the job. Employees working at great heights are to be provided safety harnesses that would prevent falls, and those working underground must be given masks to protect them from the fumes and excessive dust. Jackets must be provided to make them more visible in low lighting, and helmets must be mandated to prevent harm from being struck by a falling object.
Proper training of Mechanisms
Construction sites are littered with heavy, ominous-looking machinery. It is mandatory that the employer formally and extensively train the employee before assigning him control of working the machines. The correct usage and troubleshooting must be taught, and SOPs must be established, so the machines and the untrained worker do not become a danger to everybody on the site.
Access to Medical Services and First Aid
First aid and basic medical service must be provided at the site by the employers to ensure that the construction workers have immediate assistance in case something happens.
If these requirements are not met, the employer is liable and answerable in court and is fully responsible for the losses an injury that the employee bears under their employment.
What Damages Can I Pursue With A Chicago Construction Accident Lawyer?
On the off chance that you are involved in a construction accident and choose to document an accident claim with a Chicago construction accident lawyer, the damages you might be qualified for include:
Your wounds from the construction accident might be severe and need medical consideration. The medical bills, depending upon the gravity of the circumstance of your wounds, might be substantial. Also, healing and rehabilitation costs will also need to be covered by compensation.
Present and future lost wages
Your wounds may make you unable to contribute to the family like before. In the time it takes you to recover, there will be no constant income flowing in. It is conceivable that because of your wounds, you may never again be able to work in a similar capacity at the construction site or earn a similar amount.
The compensatory damages should compensate for the present, and future wages lost to give financial security to the person and their family in question.
Agony and Suffering
The wounds you bear may cause you incredible pain and suffering. The suffering may not merely be physical, and there may be emotional injury caused by the accident. Though your mental and emotional pain cannot be removed or healed, you can get monetary rewards and acknowledgment to compensate for it. A Chicago construction accident lawyer can help you determine the value of your injuries and pain.
Loss of Consortium
Frequently, in a construction accident, individuals don’t make it out alive. The accident may have been incredibly disastrous, and the victim may not have persevered through the grave injuries. In the event that the victim of a construction accident dies, the case would fit the bill for a wrongful death lawsuit, which can be filed by close relatives of the deceased. Compensation for the life lost and the suffering of the grieving family may have to be paid by the at-fault party.
If you wish to file a construction accident lawsuit, counsel a personal injury lawyer who can endeavor to get you the best settlement for your case and distinguish extra factors that you can claim damages for.
Why Can’t Employees Sue Their Employers?
Employers across Illinois are required by law to provide insurance to their employees, called Worker’s Compensation. Worker’s compensation is a type of insurance that provides medical assistance and compensation f wages for the worker in the event that the employee faces an accident at work and sustains injuries. In return, the worker loses the right to sue the employer and bring a lawsuit against them.
This works for and against the employees in some ways. The worker’s compensation can be availed by the employee regardless of whose fault it was that the accident occurred (it may have been the employee’s too). In a formal, personal lawsuit, the employee would have had to prove the fault of his employer.
However, the personal lawsuit could get the employee far more compensation than just enough to cover up medical bills and lost wages. Thus, the worker’s compensation protects the employees and employers to some extent. A Chicago construction accident lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible to file for workers’ compensation.
Exceptions to Employer Immunity
Though through the worker’s compensation, most employers get out of being held liable for workplace injuries, it does not provide them complete protection. There are some cases where the employer can still be held legally liable in court, despite the insurance. A Chicago construction accident lawyer can help you determine if your employee is liable.
If the negligence that caused the accident is of an undeniable, unmistakable nature, the employer, despite the insurance, will need to be answerable in court. As an employer, the responsibility to take action to prevent such incidents was their responsibility, and if there is proof of extreme negligence by the employer, there will be not only compensatory damages but also punitive ones.
Intentional Injury Cause
If the employer had directly or intentionally caused the injury, they cannot escape a lawsuit. If it can be proven that the injury was caused because of the direct consequences of an employer’s actions to actively harm an employee out of malice, the employer can and will be sued in court.
Only permanent employees receive worker’s compensation. Contractual labor does not fall under permanent employees and thus are not given the same benefits. This, however, in case of an accident, leaves them completely free to file a lawsuit against the employer under whose employment the accident occurred.
Talk to a Chicago Construction Accident Lawyer
Construction accidents are extremely injurious and traumatic, not just physical but also mental. In such a situation, do your part in holding the ones responsible accountable. Talk to a Chicago construction accident lawyer and get proper legal counsel before making a move.
In most circumstances, you can perhaps file a lawsuit against the construction company and get compensation not just for the physical wounds you bore, but also for the mental trauma of going through such a harrowing incident.
Going to court against large construction corporations is daunting, which is why you need to hire a professional Chicago construction accident lawyer at CCAL who can represent you and handle the case for you, striving to get you the justice that you deserve and doing their best to hold the at-fault parties responsible so that such accidents are not repeated.