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Every year, people become injured at work and are involved in construction accidents. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 5,250 workers died on the job in 2018, and there is an average of 100 deaths per week, or 14 deaths per day.
Most construction worker fatalities fall into OSHA’s “Fatal Four.” The fatal four include injuries suffered from falls, being struck by objects, electrocuted, and caught in-between accidents (these occur when a worker is killed when caught in between a machine or equipment).
For a free legal consultation with a workplace accidents lawyer serving Corpus Christi, call 800-863-5312
Who is Liable in a Construction Accident?
A liable party is the person responsible for causing the accident. In construction accidents, finding who is liable may be complex. There may be a chain of liability that involves several parties who caused your injuries. Possible responsible parties could include:
- The property owner
- The construction company or companies
- The manufacturer of the equipment used
- The maintenance company of the equipment
An experienced attorney at Zinda Law Group may help locate the parties that were ultimately responsible and seek compensation for your injuries.
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Types of Construction Accident Claims
Different types of accidents will produce different kinds of harm depending on the circumstances. Our experienced attorneys may help guide you to the best possible outcome in your case. Potential claims include:
If your employer carries workers’ compensation, this may be your only way to seek compensation to cover your injuries. Texas, however, does not require employers to subscribe to workers’ compensation, so if your employer does not subscribe, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim under a theory of negligence. You may also be able to sue third parties that caused your injuries, such as the property owner of the construction site or a manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment. Talk to an experienced attorney to determine if any of these circumstances may apply to you.
Types of Hazards
Construction sites pose different kinds of danger that can lead to an injury or death. Some of these hazards include:
- Falling from heights
- Falling objects
- Getting caught between equipment
- Injuries from machinery
- Failing to use appropriate protective gear such as hardhats, goggles, gloves, or safety nets
- Fires or explosions
- Lifting heavy objects incorrectly
- Being exposed to hazardous chemicals
The reasons for these types of hazards include faulty equipment that is not maintained, improper training for employees on how to operate equipment, lack of licenses to operate machinery, lack of safety equipment, failure to follow OSHA regulations, or improper guidelines on how to lift heavy objects.
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Types of Injuries
The types of injuries that could occur are endless. However, the most common injuries found on construction sites include:
- Broken bones
- Head or neck injuries
- Back or spinal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Burns (either chemical or fire)
- Lung damage from chemical inhalation
- Cuts, lacerations, or contusions
Sometimes the person injured at a construction site is not even an employee. Any person who is injured at a construction site may be entitled to compensation for their damages. This includes people walking on a public sidewalk who are somehow injured by a construction company’s negligence.
Steps you Should Take if you Have Been Injured in a Construction Accident
1. Call 911
Safety comes first. Be sure to call 911 or have someone else call for you to make sure help is on the way
2.Contact a Construction Accident Lawyer in Corpus Christi
The experienced construction accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group may be able to direct you as to the steps to take next to help you recover the maximum benefits possible.
3. Notify your Employer
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) provides that workers have 30 days to report an injury to your employer for a construction accident. Your employer should then provide you with a list of approved healthcare providers to contact. Be sure not to delay notifying your employer, as waiting too long could affect your ability to recover workers’ compensation.
4. Seek Medical Attention
Contact one of the approved healthcare providers your employer has provided.
5. File with the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC)
If you are filing a workers’ compensation claim, you must fill out the DWC Form-041 for workers’ compensation within one year of your accident. If your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance denies your claim, you can appeal the denial through the DWC.
Texas Laws on Construction Compensation
OSHA maintains the standard for workplace safety in the country. There are guidelines for safety training programs dedicated to each field of construction, which can be found on the TDI website. The TDI also offers OSHA safety classes, including a 10-hour or a 30-hour construction class that covers the basics of construction safety, industry-specific standards, and safety awareness training.
According to OSHA, Texas has nine federal OSHA offices throughout the state that can help protect employees who are injured. One of the top OSHA violations leading to construction accident fatalities is vehicle transportation and material movement. Some of these accidents are preventable if employers are following OSHA guidelines.
Not every employer will carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, many construction companies may still choose to carry insurance. If your employer does carry workers’ compensation insurance, then the first step would be to file for workers’ compensation.
When it comes to Texas laws associated with construction site accidents, the law can be complex to navigate without one of our attorneys to guide you. There are some situations in Texas, such as when a governmental entity contracts with a building or construction company, where the employer must show that they carry workers’ compensation.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ compensation benefits could help with the cost of a work-related injury. According to the TDI, there are four types of workers’ compensation benefits:
- Income benefits: To help replace your income while you recover. These include temporary income benefits, impairment benefits, supplemental benefits, and lifetime benefits
- Medical benefits: To help cover medical costs incurred for a workplace injury
- Burial benefits: To help pay for an employee’s funeral services
- Death benefits: To help families recover money that is lost when an employee dies from a workplace accident
The TDI explains how these benefits are paid out. Payment can be made either to the injured construction worker or to the beneficiary. The TDI will calculate an average weekly wage of what the worker was paid and determine how much income benefits will be.
A construction company’s insurance will typically not cover an employee’s injuries if the injuries resulted from the employee being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, caused as a result of committing a crime or violating company policy, or if the injuries were self-inflicted.
Other Types of Compensation
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance or the injury was caused by a third party, then you may have the right to sue. If another construction worker caused the injury or if you were injured as a nonemployee bystander, then you may be able to pursue a construction injury claim. The types of claims include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disabilities or diminished functioning
Construction Accident Statistics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Texans suffered a total of 488 deaths in 2018. Almost half of these deaths were transportation incidents. Other causes of construction site deaths include trips and falls, exposure to harmful chemicals, and contact with equipment or machinery.
Texas had more fatal injuries due to cranes in 2011-2017, which amounted to 43% of all construction accident deaths, according to the BLS. The manufacturing industry in Texas was responsible for an additional 24% of crane deaths, per the BLS statistics.
Construction accidents count for about 20% of fatal workplace accidents, which makes construction one of the deadliest injuries in the country, according to the BLS. About 2,000 construction workers are injured each year and about 1,000 are killed. Texas has the highest rate of construction accident fatalities in the country.
According to the 2010 census, Texas employed just under 1 million people in the construction industry, which accounts for more than 10% of the construction output in all of the country. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries found that over the course of the average construction worker’s career, there is a 75% chance of being injured on the job and a 1 in 200 chance of suffering a fatal injury on the job.
Get Help from Our Corpus Christi Construction Accident Lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced Corpus Christi lawyers have handled many cases involving workplace injuries due to construction. Construction accidents are common in Texas, which is why Zinda Law Group is here to help you. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek the maximum compensation you may be entitled to.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.