The Federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics ranks the construction industry as the fourth most dangerous industry in the United States, with the second highest number of fatal injuries. An average of two construction workers are fatally injured each day in work-related accidents. The most common causes of these accidents include falls, electrocution, and being caught between and struck by objects on the job. Medical bills and lost wages can quickly deplete a family’s finances. Workers’ Compensation benefits can ease the financial burden caused by the injury, so victims can focus on their recovery.
Causes and Types of Construction Accidents
There are various jobs within the construction industry, with each having their own set of risks. Electricians, carpenters, masons, steelworkers, plumbers, and heavy equipment operators work side by side in a construction zone, which becomes a haven for potential hazards. As varied as the job responsibilities are, so are the types of accidents that can occur.
Falling from high places is the number one cause of serious and often fatal construction accidents. Construction workers often work on scaffolding that can be installed incorrectly or poorly maintained. Workers are also at risk of falls when they are working on ladders. When the scaffolding or ladders break or become unstable, workers can suffer serious back and head injuries, broken bones, and internal organ damage.
When buildings are constructed or refurbished, there are intricate electrical systems involved. There are many risks to electricians that handle live wires, but other construction workers are also at risk. Burns and electric shock can occur when a worker encounters a live circuit. The electric current can also run through other conductors, electrocuting a worker that is standing nearby or touching the conductor.
Caught Between/Struck-By Objects
Serious and often fatal injuries occur when construction workers are hit by heavy objects, or when they become wedged between objects. When a worker is hit with a heavy object, the results can be catastrophic. Brain and back injuries, broken bones, and internal organ damage can leave a worker permanently disabled or even cause fatality.
Construction workers are also at risk for falling or becoming wedged between two objects. Heavy machinery with moving parts, trenches, ditches, and spaces between permanent structures can be hazardous. When workers become stuck between objects, they can suffer from respiratory damage, amputations, broken bones, and severe lacerations. Extraction can be difficult and require time to obtain equipment necessary to free the injured worker.
Claiming Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ Compensation benefits can provide injured workers with compensation for lost wages, medical procedures, therapy, prescription drugs, and hospital costs. Employers and construction companies have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment that is free from unnecessary hazards. Proper safety training and protective gear can help prevent serious injuries. When employers fail to comply with federal and state safety mandates, they can suffer significant fines and citations.
If you are injured in a work-related accident, it is important that you follow your company’s procedures for reporting the accident. South Carolina law requires that the injury be reported within ninety days but reporting as soon as possible is the best practice. Once you are medically stable, you should report the accident to your supervisor and HR department. Keep copies and logs of medical procedures and expenses. Ensure that your claim is processed with your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier. If your company or their insurance company denies your right to benefits, you should seek the counsel of an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer.
Even if your claim is initially denied by the Workers’ Compensation insurer, a competent Workers’ Compensation lawyer can handle your case and help you claim the maximum benefit that you are entitled to receive. Time is of the essence, and medical bills can add up quickly, so it is vital to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.