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What Are Some Common Construction Injuries?

Common Types of Injuries in Construction Sites

A construction site is one of the most dangerous work environments out there. The work involved is quite physical and often requires the use of heavy machinery. Because of their work's inherent nature, construction workers face serious risks of injuries while on the job.

Head Injuries

Head injuries at construction sites mainly arise from falling objects, materials, and tools. They mostly happen to workers who are digging or building from the bottom up. Head injuries can include concussions, lacerations on the head, and traumatic brain injuries. You can help protect yourself from head injuries by wearing a hard hat.

Burns and Scarring

The likelihood of explosions and fires around construction sites makes burns among the most common construction site injuries. Dangerous chemicals, exposed wiring, and leaking pipes all pose potential fire risk. If not handled properly, these fires could endanger nearby workers.

Injuries to the Spinal Cord

Spinal injuries in construction sites are mostly brought about by falls from scaffolding, ladders, or other high areas of the construction site. Spinal cord injuries can lead to full or partial paralysis, brain damage, or other lifelong disabilities.

Cuts and Lacerations

The leading causes of cuts and lacerations on construction workers are unsecured machinery, defective tools, exposed nails, and other on-site hazards. If not treated properly, these cuts and gashes could get infected. You should wear gloves and be mindful of your surroundings to prevent these types of injuries.

Fractured, Broken, or Crushed Bones

Broken, fractured, and crushed bones arise from the abundance of heavy machinery involved in this line of work. If not operated or appropriately secured, cranes, bulldozers, and other machinery could hit or crush a nearby worker, thus inflicting severe injuries.

Loss of Hearing

Hearing loss is common among construction site workers who operate heavy machinery. The loud noises and vibrations from these machines damage a person's eardrums, thus causing hearing loss. Workers can also develop partial or permanent hearing loss when hit on the side of the head by an object or falling debris.

Heatstroke

Construction work runs all year round. Therefore, workers are often expected to work no matter how hot it is outside. For workers in scorching areas, this immense heat can pose a serious hazard. Overexposure and excursion, especially during the summer, can cause workers to suffer heatstroke, commonly accompanied by nausea, lightheadedness, and even fainting. If left untreated, heatstroke can lead to heart, brain, and kidney damage. It can also result in death.

Steps to Take After a Construction Accident

Regardless of your situation, following these steps may increase the odds of you being properly cared for and compensated after a construction injury.

1. Seek Medical Attention

The first and most important step you should take after being in a construction accident is to seek medical attention. Even if you think your injuries are minor, you should never skip this. In many cases, symptoms of severe internal injuries don't show until days or even weeks after the accident.

2. Notify Your Employer

Once you address any health concerns, you need to report the incident to your employer immediately. Some states in the US have statutes that require employees to report any accidents within a certain period. Even if your state doesn’t have such statutes, you should report the incident promptly since it will aid in accelerating your workers’ compensation claim process.

3. Gather Information

You should gather all information pertaining to your injury. This information will ensure that you are adequately compensated. The information you should gather includes witnesses' contact information, medical records, and correspondence with your employer.

4. Consult With an Attorney

An attorney will advise you on the best legal option to take. They will also take you through the entire process and ensure that you are properly compensated.

What Options Are Available for Injured Construction Workers?

Depending on the extent of your injuries, you might find yourself requiring some time off or quitting work altogether. The cost of medical services, coupled with the sudden loss of income, can cause a financial disaster. On the upside, Pennsylvania laws are meant to protect workers from bankruptcy when they sustain injuries on the job. According to the law in Pennsylvania, you have two legal options of seeking compensation after sustaining injuries on a construction site.

I. Seek Workers’ Compensation Benefits

All employers are required by law to buy worker's compensation insurance. These policies are meant to cover workers who sustain any work-related injuries. If you are injured while performing work, all your medical expenses should be covered, even if you are not at the construction site itself. The policy stands whether or not your employer is at fault. As long as you aren't going against company policies and are taking reasonable precautions--like staying sober while at work and communicating with coworkers--the policy also should cover you. Workers' compensation insurance covers your medical expenses along with any lost wages. It also provides you with disability benefits if you are disabled (both temporarily or permanently). If the extent of your injuries is such that you are unable to work after the accident, you are eligible for comprehensive disability benefits. Suppose your injuries cause you to switch to a lower-paying job because of any physical limitation. In that case, you can receive partial disability benefits to cover the lost income due to your forced job change. In the event of death, your next of kin will receive death benefits through your workers’ compensation insurance. Apart from seeking workers’ compensation benefits, keep in mind that you generally cannot take further legal action against your employer for an injury you sustained at work. However, the coverage is broad. You can make a compensation claim for repetitive stress injuries, illness due to toxic exposure, or acute injuries caused by an accident.

II. Third-Party Law Claims

You might be able to sue if your injury was caused by somebody else. For example, if a project manager was overseeing the construction, and their actions or negligence led to your injuries, then you have a right to file a third-party lawsuit claim against them. Likewise, if a defective machine or tool led to your injuries, then you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Third-party lawsuit claims enable you to obtain compensation that is not available through worker's compensation, like payment for suffering and pain. However, in the case of suing a manufacturer, you will need to prove that their machine is defective, even when used correctly.

How We Can Help Injured Construction Workers

If you or a loved one was hurt when working on a construction site, an Allentown personal injury lawyer from Metzger & Kleiner could provide you with comprehensive legal representation. We can help you:
  • Follow up with the insurer if they fail to compensate you.
  • Gather all necessary evidence to prove your eligibility for compensation.
  • Keep your claim moving forward.
  • Appeal if your workers’ compensation claim is denied.
  • If there is a dispute over benefits, an Allentown personal injury lawyer will negotiate a settlement.
  • File a third-party lawsuit in court, or negotiate a settlement with the responsible party.
Metzger & Kleiner is committed to providing our clients in Pennsylvania with quality services. If you have any questions regarding how to seek compensation after a construction accident, contact us to schedule a free consultation by going to our website or calling 215-567-6616 for our Philadelphia office or 610-435-7400 for our Lehigh Valley office.

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