The Florida real estate industry is booming and attracts many investors. Every time you turn around, it seems like there’s always a new retail space, apartment complex, or freeway coming up. Most Florida residents are often annoyed by the traffic jams caused by heavy construction equipment moving around and closing off roads, as well as the unsightly construction cranes. However, the booming real estate industry creates more employment opportunities for construction workers. These are professionals who usually carry out strenuous labor, even late into the night under extremely dangerous working conditions. Unfortunately, these conditions can contribute to serious accidents that require the victim to seek the legal assistance of a qualified Florida construction accident attorney to recover compensation.
Indeed, statistics show that the construction industry is incredibly dangerous for workers. If you look at the data, you may conclude that it’s the most dangerous industry for the average worker. After all, construction workers are often required to work at terrifying heights and lift incredibly heavy equipment and materials while at the same time exposing themselves to many risks. Unfortunately, thousands of construction workers are often seriously injured or killed at construction sites. Fortunately, the lawyers at Sternberg / Forsythe, PA are ready to help the victims of construction accidents and their immediate families.
Common Types Of Construction Accident Injuries in Florida
Construction accidents are a norm in life nowadays. Fortunately, most construction accidents usually cause minor injuries that often don’t require medical attention. However, there are still accidents that usually cause serious injuries and even fatalities. Unfortunately, these types of accidents are quite common. The following are some of the most common injuries reported at construction sites:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
TBI or traumatic brain injury occurs after a heavy impact to the head. Any accident that causes a penetrating wound to the head also leads to traumatic brain injuries. An estimated 1.7 million people usually experience traumatic brain injuries annually, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. One of the leading causes of TBIs is falls. It is important to note that TBIs can range from a mild concussion to a coma that the patient may never recover from. In most cases, TBI victims usually lose consciousness immediately, but in some cases, TBI may not be apparent immediately. Common TBI symptoms include: sensory problems, fatigue, headache, breathing difficulty, and confusion among others. In the long term, TBI can cause sleeping difficulties, seizures, fatigue, and poor memory.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spine consists of nerves that transmit signals from the body to the brain and vice versa. If the spinal cord is injured or damaged in any way, the results can be catastrophic. Spinal cord injuries, just like TBIs, are caused by a penetrating wound or a hard blow. These injuries can compromise mobility and hearing functions, and can easily cause paralysis.
Our bones provide the structural strength needed to support the body. Bones are often strong and rigid, but they can easily be broken. The impact of another object and falls are common causes of fractures. Bone fractures can be as simple as minor hairline fractures or as severe as compound fractures, where bones stick out of the skin. The type of bone fracture and its severity will determine the duration of the recovery period. In addition to chronic pain, broken bones can also cause permanent mobility problems.
When construction workers get into direct contact with hot surfaces or open flames, they can suffer serious burns. Burns can also be a result of electrocution as well as exposure to chemicals and other dangerous materials. The severity of burns is usually rated as either, first, second, or third-degree burns. If a construction worker experiences pain in the injured area coupled with some redness, the burn can be rated as first-degree. If there are blisters and swelling, the burns can be rated as second-degree. The most severe burns are third-degree burns as they may leave a permanent scar after healing. They usually cause damage to not only the top layer of the skin, but also the inner layers, the bones and muscles. Third-degree burns usually require surgical intervention.
Loss Of A Limb
Some construction accidents can lead to serious injuries that may require amputation of one or more limbs. A limb may also be severed during a construction accident. Whatever the case, the loss of a limb is a catastrophic injury that can have a serious impact on a workers’ life. In most cases, prosthetic limbs are required, and they are usually costly. Unfortunately, prosthetic limbs often give the user unpleasant sensations. Besides, the patient may experience chronic pain.
Top Four Fatal Types Of Construction Accidents
According to OSHA, 20% of all workplace fatalities occur in the construction industry, making it one of the riskiest industries to work in. In 2017 alone, 600 construction workers lost their lives while thousands of other workers were seriously injured. In recent years, the number of fatal construction accidents has reduced considerably, but they are still a serious problem. Over 60% of all construction accidents are caused by the “fatal four”, which are: electrocutions, falls, machine entanglement/getting caught in between objects, and being struck by objects.
1. Construction Accidents Caused By Falling
The leading cause of death at construction sites are falls, accounting for around 39% of all construction-related deaths. The Safety and Health Magazine states that workers whose job requires them to work at heights of over six feet off the ground need to protect themselves properly. Unfortunately, most fall fatalities are due to lack of proper protection and safety gear at construction sites. OSHA prescribes a 3-step process for mitigating the risk of falls: plan, provide and train. When planning a project, employers need to determine whether or not their employees will need to work at heights of over 6 feet and include safety gear in their budget. Before the construction work begins, employers must provide their workers with these safety gear. In addition to that, employers need to train workers on how to properly use these devices to improve not only their safety, but also that of their fellow workers.
2. Construction Accidents Caused By Being Struck By An Object
At least 80 people died in the year 2017 as a result of getting struck by an object at a construction site. After all, there are usually many types of heavy moving equipment at construction sites. Since equipment operators usually have limited visibility, it is important for other construction workers to be aware of their surroundings at all times to avoid getting hit by moving objects.
In addition to heavy moving equipment, there are also other types of objects that can cause struck-by accidents. Flying objects, rolling objects and falling objects are also known to cause construction accidents. Tools, construction materials, and equipment falling from a height can cause serious injuries to workers on the ground. Nails from nail guns, on the other hand, are projectiles that can cause serious injuries. With proper protection, proper training, and staying alert at all times, struck-by accidents can be significantly reduced.
3. Construction Accidents Caused By Electrocution
Direct contact with naked live wires accounts for 60% of electrocutions. This is according to the CDC who report that construction workers also account for over 61% of all work-related electrocutions. It is estimated that construction workers are more likely to be electrocuted than workers in other fields (up to 4 times more than all other workers in all the other high-risk industries combined). Most electrocution incidents are usually fatal, but workers who survive electrocution accidents are usually left with spinal cord injury, brain damage, and severe burns among others.
4. Construction Accidents Caused By Machine Entanglement
The fourth leading cause of deaths at construction sites are caught in or between construction accidents. These accidents usually occur when a construction worker, their clothes or a body part gets stuck under, between or inside a piece of equipment or object. While most of these accidents often involve heavy machinery, there are many types of caught-in accidents. These accidents mostly affect excavation workers. When a cave or deep trench caves in or collapses, one or more workers may be stuck underneath or within the rubble. A worker may also be injured if they get pinned in between equipment or if they are pulled inside a piece of equipment.
Why Do Construction Accidents Still Occur?
The best way to prevent a construction site accident is by finding out how previous accidents occurred and taking measures to prevent future incidents. While not every accident can be prevented, most can be avoided. Below are common reasons why construction site accidents still occur:
While employers may provide construction workers with safety harnesses, boots, reflectors, hard hats, work gloves, goggles, and other types of safety gear, they will have little impact if workers do not know how to properly use the equipment to prevent accidents. Therefore, each and every worker in the construction industry should be provided with the best possible safety training. In fact, training should be continuous to ensure workers are always reminded of how to stay safe at the construction site.
Inadequate Safety Equipment
Construction workers may have construction equipment, but they can fail to use these equipment, or they may not use the equipment properly. Others may use the wrong equipment, which will not provide the expected protection. Employers need to work hand-in-hand with their employees to ensure everyone has the right equipment and knows how to use them properly when working.
Faulty Tools Or Defective Equipment
Heavy equipment and power tools can be dangerous even if they are operated by a qualified operator. If power tools and equipment are not serviced properly, they can cause a serious construction site accident.
There are environmental issues that can contribute towards construction accidents. For instance, lightning, rain, and unstable earth can lead to unpredictable accidents. For instance, rain can lead to slippery surfaces, which may increase the risk of slipping and falling. Rain can also increase the risk of sliding and falling objects causing injuries, not to mention increasing the risk of electrocution.
Typical Damages Awarded In Florida Construction Accident Lawsuits
The main purpose of workers’ compensation is to allow employees to get prompt medical attention to help them recover from workplace accidents without having to worry about financial issues. Workplace injuries can cause both financial and physical strain. According to Florida law, employers are obligated to ensure injured workers get back to their feet. If you are injured at work, you’re entitled to get reimbursement for:
- Medical expenses: Workers’ comp will pay for all medical bills that are related to the work-related injury, including surgery, medical services, medication, medical transport, and doctor visits.
- Lost income: If your injuries force you to skip work or to return with limited capacity, you may receive temporary disability payments. These payments are based on your weekly earnings and are often paid at the rate of two-thirds of your average weekly earnings.
- Vocational retraining: If you are not able to return to work or find a job that can pay you at least 80% of what you used to earn before the injury, your employer will be required to pay for vocational retraining.
- Disability: If you are permanently disabled due to a workplace injury and your doctor does not expect your situation to improve, you can be entitled to a disability award.
Should You Contact A Construction Accident Attorney?
The short answer is yes.
The reason why you should hire a Florida construction accident attorney is because insurers may refuse to pay up fully for your injuries. They can also delay benefits. A competent construction accident attorney will ensure that you are properly compensated for all your injuries and losses. Call Sternberg / Forsythe, PA today for a free consultation or contact us online.