Construction workers are charged with very demanding and often dangerous work. There are certain safety measures in place to protect workers from falls and debris, but it is essential to also protect workers from their own tools and equipment.
Nearly 4,000 construction workers were killed on the job in 2013, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On average, this adds up to 85 deaths per week or more than 12 every single day. Construction-related worker fatalities account for 20 percent of all worker deaths in the United States. Falls account for more than 35 percent of all construction worker fatalities.
Unsafe construction equipment puts everyone on the job site at risk of serious or fatal injuries. Whether it is a result of poor maintenance, cutting corners, or manufacturing defects, injured construction workers deserve compensation for injuries caused by unsafe equipment. If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury due to unsafe construction equipment, contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. In addition to any workers’ compensation benefits, you could be entitled to seek additional damages in a personal injury claim. Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to schedule your free and confidential consultation today.
What Types of Accidents Can Occur?
Construction workers are expected to work with powerful engines, rotating blades, heavy machinery, complex lifting devices, and more—often on top of scaffolds or other tall surfaces. These devices require a high level of skill and focus when operating normally; when the equipment is in disrepair or was manufactured incorrectly, it exponentially increases the risk of serious injury.
Unsafe construction equipment can include a variety of structures and tools, including:
- Scaffolding or ladders
- Dump trucks
- Nail guns
- Table saws
- Punch presses
- Earth moving equipment
- Cherry pickers
- Power tools
If an unsafe piece of construction equipment leads to an on-the-job injury, the injured worker could be entitled to several types of compensation through either a civil suit or workers’ compensation program. Injured workers can typically recover damages for current medical expenses, future expected medical expenses, lost wages, decreased earning potential in the future, partial or total disability, and even wrongful death.
What Are the Causes of Unsafe Construction Equipment?
Construction equipment can be unsafe for a number of different reasons, and each reason places the burden of liability on a different party.
Improper maintenance or inspection can cause formerly functional construction equipment to malfunction and become unsafe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has outlined a number of safety regulations for the construction industry, including rules for inspections. Failure to follow these rules is not only illegal, but also increases the risk of serious injury or death for those operating the machinery.
If lack of maintenance or inspections causes equipment to malfunction and results in an injury, the direct managers of the job site are typically liable. However, if the contractor or owner of the job site is responsible for establishing and enforcing a maintenance schedule, then he or she could be found liable instead.
Design or manufacturing defects can cause serious and unexpected malfunctions. If a piece of machinery is improperly designed, leading to an injury, the company responsible for the blueprint is typically held liable under products liability. If a product is designed properly but not manufactured according to the design specifications, resulting in an unsafe final product, the manufacturer can be held liable for a worker’s injuries.
Product liability can also include marketing defects. If a piece of construction equipment does not include proper instructions for safe use, leading to an injury, the manufacturer could be found liable for failing to follow safety requirements in labeling.
What Role Does Workers’ Compensation Play?
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job, including compensation for medical treatment, wage replacement, and compensation for permanent disability if the employe is unable to work at full capacity for an extended period of time. As a “no fault” program, workers’ compensation allows the injured worker to receive benefits regardless of who was at fault in the incident. In exchange for these benefits, the injured employee forfeits the right to sue the employer for pain and suffering or other damages.
However, an injured worker can still file a civil suit against a third party. If a third-party person or company—such as the manufacturer of the defective equipment—caused your injury, you can file a personal injury suit (often in addition to a workers’ compensation claim). If the negligence of a third party contributed to your injury, a personal injury suit is often the best way to hold the guilty party accountable and recover damages not available through the workers’ compensation program.
Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi
The complexity of construction equipment and job site can make it difficult to pin down the exact cause of an accident. Our experienced attorneys have the skill and commitment to thoroughly investigate your claim and determine what led to the injury.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have won numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements, collecting more than $300 million for clients over the years. Michael Maggiano and Christopher DiGirolamo co-lead the largest settlement of a construction accident case in U.S. history, winning $101 million after a parking garage under construction collapsed in 2003. As members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Association of Trial Lawyers, Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have won numerous other large verdicts and settlements, including $3.2 million for a 35-year-old iron worker injured in a fall and $2.6 million to the widow and child of a dock builder who was killed in a pile driving accident.
Construction site accidents are serious and deserve a thorough investigation conducted by experienced attorneys. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have the trial experience and expertise to see your case through and stand up to insurers or construction companies. Don’t let unsafe working conditions affect your livelihood—call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to schedule your free and confidential consultation.