Construction sites are arguably the most dangerous workplaces in the U.S. Of the 4,175 private-industry worker fatalities in 2012, nearly 20 percent were working in construction. Construction workers are charged with operating complex machinery, manipulating heavy objects, and meeting deadlines, often while working outdoors in tough conditions. Workers are nearly three times more likely to suffer an on-the-job construction accident injury than the average American worker.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 849 construction workers were killed on the job in 2013. And for every 100 full-time workers, an average of 3.7 suffered a work-related injury or illness. All too often, these accidents arise from projects being rushed on the backs of the innocent workman. Supervisors, contractors, and engineers work to keep costs low and keep projects moving along, which can lead them to neglect safety requirements and put workers in danger.
If you have been injured on a construction site as a result of unsafe working conditions, contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi. Our team of lawyers has years’ worth of experience litigating construction accident claims, and we are committed to investigating your claim thoroughly. Call (201) 585-9111 or submit an online inquiry to schedule your free and confidential consultation.
What Are the Common Causes of Construction Accidents?
In the construction industry, four major safety hazards persist year after year. Known as the “Fatal Four,” the leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites are:
- Falls, which make up 34.6 percent of all construction deaths
- Struck by object, which accounts for 9.8 percent of construction deaths
- Electrocution, which contributes to 8 percent of construction deaths
- Caught in or between, which adds up to 1.6 percent of construction deaths
All too often construction accidents arise from projects being rushed on the backs of the innocent workman.
Falls are the No. 1 cause of construction accidents, and many can be prevented by following the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s fall protection regulations. Falling from stairwells with no guardrails, falling from roofs without fall protection, and falling from scaffolding are all-too-common incidents that can result in serious injuries or death.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration reports that eliminating the Fatal Four would save the lives of 437 U.S. construction workers every year.
But the Fatal Four aren’t the only safety hazards present in construction sites. Unfinished plumbing and electrical work can contribute to explosions and fires, and falling debris like tools, plaster, or other building materials can cause serious injuries to workers standing below. Construction projects operate on a deadline, and workers are required to work long hours to meet the demands of the project and adjust to weather patterns or other factors; these long hours cause fatigue, which can be deadly when combined with heavy materials or complex machinery.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have handled a number of serious construction claims, including:
- Scaffolding accidents
- OSHA violations
- Failure to provide safety equipment
- Unsafe/dangerous equipment accidents
- Roofing collapse
Verdicts and Settlements
To a 35 year old iron worker who fell from a steel frame building under construction due to the failure of the general contractor to provide a safe workplace which included supervision for the use of safety equipment and guide wires.
Settlement was obtained for a 34 year old schoolteacher who claimed work related injury to her neck, back, shoulders, knees and head suffered during two separate work related accidents.
To an HVAC worker who fell through an opening in a roof. The defense argued the opening was obvious and he should have watched where he was going. We proved that the unprotected opening was an OSHA violation and the worker was entitled to a reasonable cover to protect him from an inadvertent slip and fall as required by Federal regulations to an HVAC worker who fell…
What Injuries Are Common in Construction Accidents?
Construction injuries can vary based on the circumstances of the incident, the safety protections provided (or lack thereof), and medical attention at the scene. Possible injuries cause by construction accidents include:
- Skin lacerations
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of limbs or amputation
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Back and torso injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
- Chemical burns
- Exposure to toxic substances (including lead, asbestos, and toxic chemicals)
- Wrongful death
Who is Responsible for a Construction Accident?
Depending on the circumstances of your injury, there are several parties that could be held accountable. If a construction worker is injured as a result of unsafe worksite conditions, he or she could have a claim against the:
- General contractor
- Construction manager
- Owner of the work site
- Equipment manufacturer
For larger construction projects, the owner of the work site will often delegate legal responsibility and work to a general contractor, who can then delegate to a subcontractor. For each worksite and each individual case, the court will have to determine who had control over the worksite and who was responsible for maintaining safe conditions.
When it comes to complying with OSHA standards, the general contractor is responsible. Despite the management of day-to-day operations, the general contractor is in charge of providing equipment, overseeing the project, and ensuring that workers are provided with a safe and functional worksite.
MDL partners, Michael Maggiano and Christopher DiGirolamo as members of the plaintiff’s counsel trial team successfully settled the Tropicana garage collapse case for a record $101 million, the largest construction accident settlement ever. MDL was able to demonstrate that the garage was poorly constructed which allowed the floors of the garage to slide down the structure as it was being built, tragically killing 4 people and wounding 32 others.
In another case, MDL succeeded in winning $3,200,000 for a 35 year old iron worker who fell from a steel frame building under construction due to the failure of the general contractor to provide a safe workplace which included supervision for the use of safety equipment and guide wires.
What Can You Win in a Personal Injury Case?
In a personal injury case, plaintiffs are entitled to compensatory damages, which includes both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity. Noneconomic damages deal with more intangible losses, including pain and suffering and emotional trauma. The state of New Jersey has no caps on compensatory damages, meaning you are entitled to full compensation for your injuries insofar as you can prove them to the court.
Punitive damages can also be awarded in cases of extreme negligence or outrageous conduct. Punitive damages are intended to punish the negligent party for intentional or highly negligent actions; punitive awards are limited to $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages (whichever is greater) in New Jersey.
The statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years in New Jersey. In other words, you must file suit within two years of the incident to be eligible for damages.
Contact Our Top Rated Bergen County Construction Accident Lawyers
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have years of experience investigating construction accidents. As part of the trial team for the Tropicana garage collapse, Michael Maggiano and Christopher DiGirolamo settled for $101 million, the largest construction accident settlement ever. In another case, Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi won $3.2 million for an iron worker who fell from a steel frame building due to unsafe work conditions.
The team at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi will thoroughly investigate your case to determine every possible claim you may have. We work with highly respected construction and technical experts from around the country to find the right answer for you and your case, and we are committed to holding the guilty parties accountable.
Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizi at (201) 585-9111 or fill out an online inquiry to set up your free, confidential consultation and start the process of recovering your losses.