Though the construction industry has introduced new safety protocols in recent years, it remains one of the most dangerous occupations. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), construction sites are responsible for one of every five private workplace fatalities. OSHA also reports that 10-percent of construction workers will be injured every year.
Negligence plays a large role in the thousands of annual deaths and serious injuries that occur in the construction industry. Because construction sites contain such a wide variety of hazards, employers are required by law to take active steps to ensure the safety of their workforce. Unfortunately, far too many fail in this endeavor.
If you’ve been injured while working in construction, it’s imperative that you know what steps to take next, as doing so can help ensure that you’re treated fairly under the law.
The Facts About Construction Injuries
Construction is vitally important work, but it comes with elevated risk. Some of the most common hazards faced by construction workers include the following:
- Falls (according to OSHA, fall protection is the most-violated safety rule).
- Eye injuries.
- Exposure to the elements.
- Cuts and scrapes from sharp objects.
- Being struck by an object.
- Being caught in between objects.
It should be noted that bystanders and those passing by can also be seriously injured on a construction site, whether from falling debris or other hazards. Should this be the result of negligent behavior, compensation may be in order.
What to Do if You’ve Been Hurt in a Construction Accident
California law protects construction workers by requiring that all employers take steps to ensure the safety of a work site. This includes establishing a safety program and conducting regular inspections.
Should employers or property owners fail to maintain a safe work site, those injured as the result of this negligence have legal options. If you’re a construction worker, you can choose to pursue a claim through California’s workers’ compensation system, or file a personal injury lawsuit, or pursue both at once. If you’re a bystander, site visitor or someone not employed by the company, you are limited to a personal injury lawsuit.
If you’ve been injured, it’s essential that you report this injury as quickly as possible. Document any hazards that contributed to your injury with photos or video, and speak to any witnesses. Get contact information if possible.
Pursuing a claim through the workers’ compensation system and/or filing a lawsuit is typically the next step taken. It’s critically important that you find a law firm that has a demonstrated record of handling tough construction injury cases. The law that governs these cases is often quite complex, so it’s essential to have an experienced advocate in your corner.
By working with an attorney who specializes in California construction injury cases, you can rest assured that you’ve done everything you can to protect your legal interests — and receive the compensation to which you’re entitled.