Construction is one of the most dangerous industries, and workers in this industry face inherent hazards on the job every day. Construction workers perform tasks in a fast-paced environment using heavy materials, tools, and machinery, and often working in high elevations. When work safety standards are not properly maintained in this environment, construction accidents are more likely to happen.
When a construction worker gets hurt on the job, it can be a very painful and difficult experience. Medical bills start to pile up, and without any income coming in while they are out of work, household finances can become a lot tighter. If the worker’s employer has workers’ compensation insurance, then benefits should be available through their policy to the injured worker.
Unfortunately, collecting workers’ comp benefits is not always easy, and employers often put up unnecessary roadblocks to make the process even more confusing. Workers’ compensation is supposed to be a no-fault program that provides benefits no matter how the workplace accident was caused, but it is not uncommon for workers to be denied the compensation that they are entitled to.
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a construction accident in Charleston or a nearby West Virginia community, it is a very good idea to speak with an experienced workplace injury lawyer. As we have talked about, securing workers’ compensation benefits can be tough to do on your own. In addition, there could be other legal avenues available for injured construction workers to recover compensation over and above what is available through workers’ comp.
Before dealing with the employer and/or their insurance company, it is strongly advisable to at least speak with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney to review your case and find out what your legal rights and options are. This way, you will know where you stand and be able to make the most informed decision on how you wish to proceed.
At the office of The Masters Law Firm, we have several decades of experience representing clients who have been injured in construction site accidents in Charleston and throughout West Virginia. Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the complexities involved with these types of cases, and we work closely with our clients, exploring every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation. Our firm is focused exclusively on personal injury and related areas of the law, and over the years, we have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.
Injuries on Charleston, WV Construction Sites
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that three out of every 100 construction workers suffers an injury on the job each year that keeps them out of work. As we mentioned previously, construction workers face dangers on the job every day. But things are made worse when companies and contractors cut corners to save a few dollars at the expense of their workers’ safety.
OSHA lists several common safety violations that occur at construction sites:
Hazardous energy control
Powered industrial trucks
Machinery and machine guarding
Eye and face protection
Approximately 21% of all workplace fatalities that occur in private industry are construction related. This equates to around 1,000 construction worker deaths each year. About 60% of these deaths happen because of what OSHA calls the “fatal four”. These are:
Struck by/struck against events
Getting caught in between/crush injuries
If these four hazards could be eliminated, it would save the lives of approximately 600 construction workers each year.
Beyond the four most dangerous construction-related accidents, there are a number of other events that frequently happen on construction sites that result in injuries. These include:
Heavy machinery accidents
Power tool accidents
Fires and explosions
Repetitive stress injuries
Repeated exposure to toxic substances
Motor vehicle accidents
Legal Options for Construction Accident Victims in Charleston, WV
When a construction worker gets injured on the job in West Virginia, they will usually start by filing a workers’ compensation claim provided their employer has this insurance. Workers’ comp provides benefits for reasonable and necessary medical expenses, a percentage of lost earnings while out of work, rehabilitation expenses, retraining for a new position if the worker cannot return to their old one, and benefits for a permanent disability.
Although workers’ compensation provides coverage for the economic losses that an injured construction worker suffers, the program does not pay benefits for the noneconomic losses that workers and their families face. For example, the ongoing physical pain that results from the workplace injury, the anxiety, stress, and other emotional trauma related to the injury, and the loss of the ability to participate in activities the worker once enjoyed.
In general, an injured worker in West Virginia is not allowed to sue their employer if they have workers’ compensation insurance. So, in most cases, workers’ comp benefits are the best you are likely to get from your employer.
That said, construction accident cases can be very complicated, and there are numerous potential contributing factors. This means that in many instances, there could be a party other than the employer who could be held responsible for a construction-related injury. Some examples include:
Third Party Contractors/Subcontractors: There are a lot of different “moving parts” at a typical construction site. There are architects and engineers that work on the building design, iron and steel workers building the structure, electricians wiring the building, and many others. A lot of those who work at the site each day are contractors or subcontractors that are not directly employed by the construction company. If one of these parties were responsible for a construction accident, the injured worker could bring a personal injury claim against them directly.
Faulty Product Makers/Distributors: Construction workers count on all of the heavy equipment and machinery that they work with to function properly. And when something malfunctions, it can result in a serious injury. If the injury is caused by a defective or inherently dangerous product, it may be possible to bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or any other party within its supply chain.
Outside Vehicle Drivers: Many construction workers are assigned the duty of transporting materials onto the job site each day and hauling away waste. While off-site, if another vehicle driver crashes into the worker’s vehicle, then they may be able to bring an accident injury claim against that driver’s insurer.
Contact our Experienced Charleston, WV Construction Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one got hurt in a construction site accident in West Virginia, The Masters Law Firm is here to help. We can meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and inform you of all of your legal rights and options, so you have a better understanding of what legal avenues may be available to you. To get started, message us online or call our office today at 304-342-3106 or toll free at 1-800-342-3106 for your free, no obligation consultation.
We accept all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we win your case