Across the U.S., millions do construction work forty or more hours a week. It’s a dangerous job. In fact, construction workers suffer many more serious injuries than people in almost any other field of work. Who is responsible for the safety of construction workers? If you’re a construction worker in Indiana, and you are injured on the job, what are your options? Keep reading, and you’ll learn some answers.
How hazardous is construction work? About one in five job-related fatalities are construction work fatalities. Thousands of construction workers are seriously injured every year. Any construction worker who is injured on the job in southwest Indiana should immediately consult with an experienced Evansville construction accident attorney.
WHY ARE SO MANY CONSTRUCTION WORKERS INJURED?
The state of Indiana aggressively enforces construction site safety regulations, but construction work is by its nature inherently dangerous. Lax safety practices, inadequate safety training, and worn or faulty safety equipment are just some of the reasons why so many construction workers are injured. Nevertheless, Indiana construction workers have the right to a job site that is reasonably safe and the right to protection from unnecessary hazards.
If you are an Indiana construction worker and you are injured on the job, what is your legal recourse? The circumstances and specifics of every construction accident and injury are unique, so injured construction workers should seek sound legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer – and they should seek that advice as quickly as possible after obtaining medical treatment.
Most construction workers injured in Indiana will be covered by the state’s workers’ compensation system. To receive workers’ compensation benefits, in most cases an injured construction worker has only to prove that an injury occurred on the job in the normal course and scope of that worker’s duties. Workers’ compensation usually pays for medical expenses and for a percentage of an injured construction worker’s lost wages.
HOW CAN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER HELP WITH YOUR CONSTRUCTION INJURY?
In other words, workers’ comp provides only minimal benefits, so when construction-related injuries are serious or catastrophic, the families of injured construction workers can quickly face financial hardship. However, an experienced Evansville construction accident attorney may be able to help an injured construction worker who needs additional compensation.
A construction site injury often means substantial medical costs, weeks or even months without wages, and a long recuperation period. Workers’ compensation can help, but it often will not be enough. However, when a party other than the construction worker’s employer is fully or partially responsible for that worker’s injury, the worker may qualify to bring a legal action against that third party.
Third parties that may sometimes be liable for construction site injuries include subcontractors, general contractors, property owners, construction managers, equipment manufacturers, and even in some cases engineers and architects. If you have been injured working construction, a personal injury attorney can examine the details and circumstances of the incident to determine which third party or parties may have liability.
WHAT KINDS OF INJURIES CAN HAPPEN AT CONSTRUCTION SITES?
Some construction injuries are catastrophic and/or permanent, such as severe brain and spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and injuries that require amputation. These and other severe medical conditions require substantial compensation – considerably more than workers’ compensation provides.
And while construction site injuries may or may not be catastrophic, permanent, or fatal, they can quickly become legally quite complicated. Scores of overlapping federal, state, and local regulations govern construction and construction site safety, and a variety of government agencies have a role in the enforcement of those regulations.
Thus, injured Indiana construction workers who are seeking damages in addition to workers’ compensation benefits will need experienced help navigating the complicated legal landscape. If a third party is liable for a construction worker’s injury, a construction accident attorney will identify and hold that third party accountable.
WHO’S REALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR CONSTRUCTION SITE SAFETY?
So who is responsible for the safety of construction workers on the job? Legally, employers are primarily responsible, and workers’ compensation covers employers. Third parties may also have legal responsibility and may be held accountable for injuries, but in a practical and very real sense, every person on a construction site is responsible for safety.
Construction site safety begins with appropriate safety training, proper safety equipment, and routine safety practices and procedures that become habits. Everyone on the job site should report and/or resolve safety violations or concerns at once.
Construction site safety violations that far too frequently lead to serious injuries include – but are in no way limited to:
– a failure to provide comprehensive safety training
– a failure to provide, replace, or use safety equipment
– defective or inadequate scaffolding or guard rails
– insufficient protection from electrical equipment and wiring
– a failure to notify construction workers about known hazards at a construction site
A third-party personal injury lawsuit arising from a construction accident in Indiana is comparable in some ways to a lawsuit arising from a traffic crash. To prevail with a personal injury lawsuit, a “plaintiff” (the injury victim) must prove that the “defendant” had a duty to act safely, failed that duty and thus was negligent, and as a result of that negligence, the plaintiff suffered injury.
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT FOR TAKING LEGAL ACTION?
How much time do you have to take legal action after a construction injury? Quite honestly, you should speak with a construction accident attorney as quickly as you can after you’ve been treated for your injury. Indiana enforces a two-year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit, but if you have been injured doing construction work, do not wait two years – or even two weeks – to obtain legal help.
Why is quick action imperative? If you have grounds to file a third-party personal injury claim after a construction accident, put your attorney on the case at once. If there is physical evidence, it could deteriorate or disappear over time. If there were witnesses to the accident, their memories may also fade over time.
Don’t take any chances with your health or with your future. If you’ve been injured doing construction work in Indiana, do not wait two years and then try to take legal action hastily to beat the statute of limitations. Instead, get legal help right away, adhere to your attorney’s advice and recommendations, and let your attorney fight for justice on your behalf.