It seems as though new construction projects can be seen around every corner. Construction workers are hard at work, twelve months a year. The downside to all the available jobs is that this can create an even more dangerous work environment.
Management sometimes violates OSHA standards, pushing workers to get jobs completed faster. You may have experienced one or more of the 10 most common safety violations. Workers without the necessary skills or training in safety procedures present a danger to others. Every year, one construction worker in 10 will be injured on the job. Some injuries are so severe the worker is permanently disabled. An unfortunate few suffer fatal injuries.
Construction’s “Fatal Four”
Heavy equipment, rushing workers, trailing power cords and scaffolding are only a few of the dangers faced by construction workers. OSHA reports that the “Fatal Four” are responsible for over half of all injuries in the construction industry.
- Falls are the cause of almost 40% of the injuries and deaths of construction workers, either from high above ground level or into a deep pit or tank.
- More than 9% of injured workers are struck by a tool dropped from scaffolding or a similar falling object.
- Electrocutions are responsible for over 8% of the injuries, perhaps as a result of a frayed power cord in a puddle.
- Over 7% of workers are hurt when they are caught between two objects, such as a truck and a piece of equipment.
There are Two Ways to Receive Compensation for Your Injury
- Workers’ Compensation
Florida law requires most construction companies to carry Workers’ Compensation coverage for their workers. Since this is a “no-fault” benefit, the employer must pay regardless of the cause of the injury. An injured worker may feel initially that everything will be taken care of.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Most companies purchase Workers’ Compensation insurance. The cost of this insurance for the employer is based on both the industry and the number of claims the company has had – the employer’s safety record. Instead of dealing directly with their employer, the injured worker is now dealing with an insurance company. Both the employer and the insurance company are motivated to settle the claim for as little as possible, regardless of what the injured worker is actually entitled to.
- Personal Injury Compensation
“Although Workers’ Compensation claims has its purposes in helping an injured client, it is often limited. Personal injury claims regularly include more benefits and greater results for the client.” says attorney Erik Abrahamson. This is why, in addition to filing for Workers’ Compensation benefits, it’s extremely important to discuss your situation with an attorney experienced in construction site injuries.
What to Do When You Are Injured on the Job
Following an injury, it’s critical that you take the steps necessary to protect your legal rights.
- Report Your Accident: File an accident report with your employer as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you may jeopardize your right to compensation. Even if you feel your injuries are minor or nonexistent, report the accident. Some injuries take time to appear.
- Get Medical Help: As soon as possible after the injury, go to the emergency room or see a doctor. Your employer may send you to a specific doctor, not your personal physician. If you aren’t happy with the employer’s doctor, ask about getting a second opinion. Even if you had to pay for a visit to your own doctor, you could potentially lose much more in benefits than the cost of seeing a doctor not hired by the insurance company or your employer. If you have health insurance, the visit to your own doctor might be covered.
- Talk to an Attorney: An initial consultation with a Workers’ Compensation/Personal Injury attorney is usually free. It may take time to settle your claim, but it’s important to preserve any evidence related to your injury as soon as possible after the accident.