Construction sites can be extremely dangerous, even for highly skilled and experienced professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 1,000 fatal construction worker injuries in 2019. In the same year, West Virginia saw nine fatal injuries in construction occupations. With heavy equipment and unstable structures, construction sites can also be dangerous to visitors.
In many construction site accidents, insurance companies will try to deny claims by insisting that the accident was not caused by the employer’s or property owner’s negligence. If you are dealing with the consequences of a catastrophic construction injury or occupational-related death, you may not have the time or resources to fight insurance companies.
At Prim Law Firm, PLLC, we understand that construction accidents can have devastating consequences for individuals and their families. If you have been injured on a construction site or have lost a loved one on a site-related accident, our team of injury attorneys can help. We’ll pursue fair compensation from a negligent employer, insurance company, or liable third party. Get started by scheduling a free consultation to discuss your case. The phone number for our Hurricane, West Virginia, office is 1-866-201-7985. You can also use our online contact form.
Catastrophic Construction Accidents
A construction site is full of potentially dangerous equipment and materials. Even if you take the appropriate precautions, there is still a chance that serious accidents can happen, including:
- Failure of safety equipment
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Falls from ladders, bridges, or heights
- Accidents with heavy equipment and vehicles
- Falling objects
- Accidents with power tools, cranes, rigging, or machinery
- Scaffolding problems
Many of these construction accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries:
- Crushing, squeezing, or pinching of body parts
- Burns from explosions or chemicals
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back injuries
- Damage to joints, nerves, and muscles
- Vision and hearing loss
Unfortunately, many construction accidents lead to lifelong disabilities or even death.
Who Is Liable for a Construction Accident?
Pursuing compensation for construction accident injuries can be complicated. While it may seem like workers’ compensation benefits would cover any employee’s injury or death, insurance companies will often deny claims.
Even if you do get workers’ comp benefits, you may not get enough support to recover from the loss of income, high medical bills, or future lost compensation in the event of death. In these cases, you may be entitled to additional damages if you can prove that negligence contributed to the incident. A workplace injury attorney can help you understand all the factors involved in your case to determine if you have enough evidence to file a claim.
In some cases, you may be able to apply for multiple forms of compensation by proving the need for workers’ comp, as well as premise liability and/or negligence.
In West Virginia, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits to employees who are injured at work. If you’re injured on the job in a construction accident, you may be entitled to certain workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical care for the injury (including payment of medical bills and prescriptions)
- Temporary disability payments (partial coverage for lost wages during recovery)
- Permanent disability benefits (financial rewards to compensate for diminished ability to work)
- Rehabilitation payments (partial income replacement during retraining for a new job)
To qualify for workers’ compensation for a construction accident, you have to prove that your injury occurred on the job.
Some construction accidents may fall under premises liability claims, especially if the injured party isn’t a construction worker but a visitor to the construction site. The law requires property owners to maintain certain safety standards to protect visitors from accidents and injuries.
You may be able to make a premises liability claim if the construction site owner failed to meet certain safety requirements. However, if your own unsafe actions contributed to the accident, it may be harder to have a successful premises liability claim.
Making a premises liability claim can be challenging in West Virginia due to the state’s “open and obvious” hazards doctrine. Essentially, this means that the property owner isn’t responsible for an accident that occurs when a visitor ignores an obvious and reasonably apparent danger. In this situation, the law places the fault on the visitor who proceeded anyway after encountering a situation that a reasonable person would recognize as dangerous.
Negligence sometimes plays a part in construction accidents. You may be able to pursue a negligence case if you were injured in a construction accident, especially if you weren’t an employee on the site. There are also some circumstances that allow employees to qualify for negligence damages.
There are several things a plaintiff must show in order to prove negligence:
- A “duty of care” that the defendant owed to the plaintiff
- The defendant’s breach of that duty through inaction or careless action
- Evidence that the breach of duty contributed to the plaintiff’s injury
- Damages resulting from the plaintiff’s injury
In West Virginia, even if you meet the eligibility requirements for a workers’ compensation, negligence, or premises liability claim, your employer, the property owner, or the insurance company may fight your claim. Going through the appeals process is often easier with an experienced injury attorney.
Pursuing Additional Damages
Construction accidents, especially catastrophic ones, can be extremely complex in terms of liability, due to the variety of factors that contributed to your accident. In some instances, you may be eligible for additional compensation or claims.
A Mandolidis case involves a circumstance where an employer knowingly places an employee in a dangerous situation without that employee’s knowledge. You may be able to file a claim if you can show that your employer’s intentional disregard for safety measures lead to the accident. Pursuing a Mandolidis claim usually requires you to forego workers’ compensation benefits.
If your construction accident was caused by malfunctioning equipment, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Another example of a third-party lawsuit is a claim against a manufacturer that failed to provide adequate warnings about dangerous machinery, exposure to chemicals, or recalled parts.
A construction accident that causes a fatal injury may be eligible for death benefits. If you lost a loved one in a construction accident, you may be able to pursue this type of compensation. You’ll need to know more about wrongful death limitations before filing, however.
Trust an Injury Attorney with Your Construction Accident Compensation Case
As a construction worker, you are dedicated to getting the job done well. However, if you’ve been injured on the job, insurance companies may resist your compensation claim, even if your injuries were caused by your employer’s negligence or defective equipment. Having an experienced workplace injury attorney on your side can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Pursuing compensation for construction accidents can be challenging, especially if you are recovering from an injury. At Prim Law Firm, PLLC, we have experience proving liability and securing fair settlements for construction accidents in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. We also help survivors pursue death benefits for fatal workplace accidents.
If you are dealing with an injury or the death of a loved one from a construction accident, contact our team. We’ll schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and help you understand your options. You can call our office in Hurricane, West Virginia, at 1-866-201-7985 or fill out our contact form.