As we approach summer, construction workers across Missouri will ramp up work on residential and commercial buildings, roadways and more. Experience shows that many employees will be injured at work in the scramble to finish these projects before cooler weather sweeps through our state. In 2022, approximately 4,133 workplace injuries were reported in the construction field. Many of these workers turn to a Workers’ Compensation lawyer to help them navigate the aftermath. Casey, Devoti & Brockland is here to answer your questions about construction site accidents and provide steps for you moving forward.
Construction Site Accidents & Injuries
In our experience as Workers’ Compensation attorneys, we’ve seen falls make up the overwhelming majority of construction site incidents. 2021 reports showed that nearly 38% of all worker deaths were due to construction site falls from an elevated surface.
Fatal or injurious falls may happen for a multitude of reasons. For example, we’ve helped a worker who fell when a subfloor collapsed, another injured when a co-worker failed to replace an opening cover, another who fell to the ground while standing on an awning that came off a house and yet another who fell when the truss on which he worked broke.
We’ve also represented workers injured on construction sites after being struck by forklifts, tripping on construction debris and electrocuted when the ladder they handled made contact with an electrified overhead wire. Generally, OSHA warns of four construction hazards to avoid:
- Falls. The majority of our Workers’ Compensation clients are injured at work due to a fall. Job sites should seek to avoid falls by providing personal fall arrest equipment, perimeter protection, opening covers, ladders and scaffolds.
- Struck-by Objects. Some workers may accidentally position themselves between a moving and fixed object — that’s why highly-visible clothing is critical on a job site.
- Caught In or In-Between. Construction site accidents may involve being caught in or between open spaces. Trenches or excavations must be protected by sloping, shoring, benching or trench shield systems — otherwise, a worker could become stuck.
- Electrocutions. Workers may encounter electric machinery or power lines on the job — improperly maintained equipment or poorly planned job sites may result in an injury via electrocution.
We’ve found that most of these construction site injuries tend to be orthopedic. Shoulder and knee injuries are the most common in our practice, including injuries involving the rotator cuff and tears to the meniscus and ligaments that support the knee.
Steps to Take After Being Injured at Work
Immediately after being injured at work, a victim should report the incident to their supervisor.
A construction site accident report will include what the worker was doing at the time of the injury and when, where and who witnessed the events leading to the fall. Injured workers who fail to promptly report their injury to a supervisor risk the liable party later questioning whether the injuries happened at the job site.
Additionally, a report allows the employer to timely investigate any fault or negligence at play in the incident. Risk managers on the scene document the circumstances contributing to the fall by taking statements from witnesses, photographing the scene and collecting other additional physical evidence.
Reporting will ultimately benefit your case, as your employer is a potential ally in a civil case involving injury caused by another contractor, a product manufacturer or a utility.
The Value of Working with an Attorney
Those injured at work may question the value of working with an attorney after a traumatic construction site accident. While you have the ability to file a Workers’ Compensation claim independently, an attorney acts as your educator, investigator and advocate.
To start, we walk you through the details of the legal process, particularly how to file a Workers’ Compensation claim and obtain all of the benefits you’re entitled to in a prompt, efficient manner. We’ll investigate the totality of circumstances that caused your injury, collect evidence and see if there are other potential sources of recovery.
Workers’ Compensation keeps those injured at work financially afloat until returning to work is possible — but there may also be an opportunity for a personal injury claim against a third party involved in the construction site accident. Our goal is to use the legal system to make you whole. If you choose to pursue a claim without legal representation, you may miss out on additional redress available to you outside of Workers’ Compensation.
Contact Casey, Devoti & Brockland
Workers’ Compensation lawyers are invaluable in ensuring you receive every bit of compensation you deserve during this difficult time. Your attorney will be vital in navigating the legal proceedings and helping you understand the results waiting at the finish line. Wondering what you can do after being injured at work? Contact an attorney at Casey, Devoti & Brockland for clarity and guidance as you pursue your construction site accident case.