Construction Site Accidents: How Do They Happen And Who Is Liable?
In Florida, construction seems to always be going on somewhere. But with construction sites come injuries—both to workers on site, and to the people around the sites, given many projects’ close proximity to commercial and retail areas.
There are a number of kinds of construction accidents that tend to cause the most injuries. Here are some of the leading causes.
Just like away from a construction site, on a construction site, falls can be a leading cause of injury and death. Construction workers are often on scaffolds, ladders, beams, or the sides of buildings. Any combination of factors, from inclement weather to bad footing to debris, can lead to a fall.
Because of the vertical nature of a construction site, the dangers of a fall become magnified; someone from high up falling can cause others below him or her to fall as well.
Cave-ins are also common. Many buildings need to have underground components, such as plumbing or underground garages. Construction underground is very delicate, and even with the best, most careful plans, things like weather, uneven ground, or sinkholes, can cause cave ins.
Cave ins are particularly deadly because time is a factor (as it is in all rescues), but rescuers often cannot just go rescue the injured. They need to make sure the area is safe and ensure that they won’t cause an even greater cave in. Victims of cave-ins also have the additional danger of lack of oxygen; in many cave-ins, even if the victim is not initially injured, the lack of oxygen can kill a construction worker.
Scaffolding falls are often common. As mobile platforms that the public can walk under, scaffolds are ideal for doing construction in busy, pedestrian-used areas like sidewalks. But being above the general public, it means that things that fall from scaffolds, can cause injury to the people underneath. Because scaffolds can go very high in the air, or stack on each other, objects that fall can do serious damage to those underneath.
Additionally, workers are mobile on scaffolds, and often sit their equipment on the scaffold. This can easily lead to falls off of the scaffold platforms.
Who Can be Sued?
Many workers who are injured on construction sites may find that they cannot sue their employer in personal injury because of what is called workers’ compensation immunity.
However that immunity is limited, and can be overcome by showing that an employer acted recklessly, or with intentional carelessness towards employee safety. While this can be hard to show in many environments, in a construction environment it may be much easier, as many contractors or employers do not follow basic, accepted safety protocols on a construction site.
Additionally, the workers’ compensation immunity, even if it does apply, does not prevent suing third parties who are not your employer. In many cases, entities, companies or people can cause accidents to happen on construction sites, who you do not have an employment relationship with, making it easier to sue for personal injury damages.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today if you have been injured in a construction site accident.