Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Did you know that annually thousands of construction workers are injured or killed while on the job? To be honest, it’s not surprising. These individuals work with heavy equipment, operate hazardous machinery, and often build at great heights. The opportunity for both accidents and injuries is considerable.
Additionally, harm to bystanders from construction accidents occurs regularly. Think about it. Most construction occurs in public areas, especially projects underway in Atlanta. How many times have you walked or driven past a busy construction site with individuals hard at work either next to or above you? It’s easy to see how an accident on site could impact an innocent person. Sometimes you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Atlanta is host to a significant number of construction projects. If you live and work here, you can attest to the fact that organizations are always building, renovating, or repairing something. It is virtually impossible to drive around town without seeing a busy construction site.
Construction injuries in Atlanta are a very real problem. And they can be serious, resulting in costly medical treatment and rehabilitation services and impacting the way those who are injured can function.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a construction accident, consulting with an experienced construction accident attorney is a wise move.
This professional can review what happened and provide advice and counsel on how to move forward. You should not go about this alone. The team at The Stoddard Firm is experienced in handling construction injury cases. Contact us today at 470-467-2200 to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you move forward.
All About Construction Accidents
Understanding the Construction Industry
Over ten million people in the United States have made a career out of building the structures we use every day. The construction industry, quite literally, shapes the world around us, and the people who make it possible deserve to take pride in creating things that others will use and enjoy for years to come.
Unfortunately, construction is also one of the most dangerous careers in the U.S. today. Statistics show that many construction workers, including those who work in Georgia, suffer injuries while at work. In fact, construction injuries can be catastrophic, drastically affect the quality of life not only for the survivors but also for the families who depend on them.
What Causes Construction Accidents?
Causes of construction accidents are incredibly varied. More often than not, though, construction site accidents can and should be prevented through adherence to the safety code.
Circumventing or ignoring construction site safety regulations is tragically typical, however, often leading to lost lives, limbs, and livelihoods.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists the most common safety code violations on construction sites as:
Inadequate fall protection
Unsafe or improperly used ladders
Lack of fall prevention training
Eye and face protection not being used
Inadequate hazard communication
Head protection not being used
Improper use or maintenance of aerial lifts.
Construction workers can protect themselves by wearing protective gear and abiding by all procedures and warnings. Of course, this only works if employers provide the necessary training and equipment.
Workers can also proactively report unsafe conditions to OSHA, with legal protection from workplace retaliation. Many are uncomfortable doing this, however, and it is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee, to be able to recognize code violations at construction premises in the first place.
What Are Common Construction Site Injuries?
As you might guess from the top four code violations, falls are the most frequent type of construction site accident. In fact, falls account for a full third of construction injuries, according to the Center for Construction Research and Training. This includes falling into trenches and manholes, falling from upper levels to lower levels, and falling from ladders, scaffolds, and lifts.
The costs associated with these injuries can be considerable. Based on your injuries and their cause you may be entitled to compensation, either as the result of workers’ compensation or even a personal injury lawsuit. Talk to a construction site accident lawyer to get more information on how you should move forward. This professional advice is critical, as you want to ensure you understand both the options open to you and how best to pursue them. Construction accidents and personal injury law can be incredibly complicated. Assistance from someone who understands both can help make the process more manageable.
Hazards of Working Outdoors
Working outdoors is a standard part of a construction job, but that doesn’t mean the dangers of exposure should be taken any less seriously on construction sites than anywhere else. On the contrary, exposure precautions are essential to the well-being of workers who battle the elements every day. Shade, water, and rest breaks can be the difference between a productive workday and being hospitalized with heat exhaustion. Responsible employers should not only allow but encourage healthy preventative practices during working hours.
On-site vehicle accidents can also be particularly treacherous, with the combination of heavy machinery and busy construction crews. In addition to the usual vehicular danger of fractures, concussions, and spinal injuries, construction workers can often end up pinned between or behind vehicles, leading to crushed bones, severed limbs, and death.
Questions After a Construction Accident Are Common
Our Construction Accident Lawyers Respond
If you or a loved one works in construction and has been injured on the job, you probably have a lot of questions. It’s not surprising. Accidents are traumatizing, and when you’re hurt at work there is a lot to consider.
The answers to many questions depend upon the specifics of your personal situation. That said, there are a number of concerns that can be addressed more broadly and provide you with important information. Below, we have shared some of the questions our professionals hear most often, along with their answers.
Who can be held liable in a construction site accident?
Depending upon the circumstances surrounding your incident, any number of people/organizations may be held liable. These include, but are not limited to:
The construction company: The organization for which you work is responsible for abiding by all safety laws to protect you, but they don’t always do what they are supposed to. If your injury was the result of the negligence of your employer, they could be held liable.
The equipment manufacturer: If your injury was caused by a manufacturing defect in the equipment you were using, or if you were hurt by an incident caused by malfunctioning equipment, the company who manufactured it may be liable for your injuries.
Architects and engineers: These professionals are responsible for the design of buildings and for creating site plans. If a structure (or part of a structure) collapses because of inadequate design, they could be held liable.
Others who may be liable include property owners, subcontractors, and safety managers. An experienced construction accident attorney will investigate the situation surrounding your accident to determine the party, or parties, who are responsible. Yes, more than one person or organization may have been negligent.
Under what circumstances could my employer be negligent regarding my injury?
Your employer is legally responsible for taking care to protect you. If any of the following occurred, they could be deemed negligent. Issues that can result in injuries for which they may be held responsible include failing to:
Abide by OSHA rules
Properly inspect the site
Provide appropriate safety equipment
Appropriately mark the worksite with caution tape and signs
Inspect all equipment and machinery.
How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit?
According to Georgia Code Section 9-3-33, the statute of limitations for personal injury in Georgia, in most cases, is two years from the date the injury occurred. However, some exceptions do exist. Your construction injury attorney can explain these to you. If you have been injured on a construction site, you should contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in construction site accidents as soon as possible; you don’t want to waste time. The clock on filing has begun to tick.
What steps are involved in a personal injury case?
Personal injury cases can be complicated and include many steps. First, of course, you should get the medical attention you need. Your health and well-being should always be your primary concern. Then, you would engage an attorney. The process going forward would include an investigation of the case (which your attorney will manage), negotiations with the insurance company, and then, if necessary, litigation. Quality counsel during a personal injury case can positively impact the compensation you receive. You want to work with professionals who are experienced in handling construction accidents.
How much can I expect to receive?
Your compensation will depend upon a number of things, including the severity of your injuries. The state of Georgia allows for the following damages:
Economic: These damages are quantifiable and include medical expenses (current and future, including rehabilitation if necessary), lost wages, and lost future earnings.
Non-economic: These damages are more difficult to quantify, but are equally relevant in construction accident cases. These can include emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and permanent disability or disfigurement
Punitive: Finally, if the negligence in the case was deemed willful or gross, the courts may also award punitive damages. These are not meant to compensate you for any type of cost. Instead, they are used to deter similar behavior in the future and punish the individual/company for their actions.
A skilled attorney can help you quantify your expenses and ensure the settlement you request is comprehensive. You must remember that some injuries require years (or even a lifetime) of medical intervention.
Safety Is Key
Legally, Your Employer Is Responsible for Your Well-Being
Quite often, employers don’t report injuries to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Sadly, the laws and regulations in place to protect workers are not universally followed, and violations are often covered up.
Employers have been known to buy required safety equipment after an accident has already occurred and intimidate workers into pretending it was available all along. In one instance, a company went so far as to try to block an OSHA inspection by parking forklifts in front of the doors and turning off all the lights. These are just a few concealment attempts that OSHA knows about; there could be many more that have gone unexposed.
Are Regulations for Safety at Your Construction Site Followed?
Construction site safety regulations are clear and extensive, and failure to follow them puts the lives and well-being of workers at risk.
Even in a career as physical and potentially dangerous as construction, you have the right to a workplace free of unnecessary hazards, with comprehensive training on how to navigate it safely.
Your employer is likely well aware of the responsibility to provide that safe workplace and safety training. Before writing off an injury as clumsiness, or as the inherent risk of construction work, think seriously about whether your employer has lived up to this vital obligation. You may need to consult a construction accident attorney to find out if your employer violated safety regulations.
Your Actions Following an Accident Are Key
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Construction Accident
If you’ve been injured while working on a construction site, seek immediate medical attention, and follow your employer’s procedure for accident reporting. What happens to this report depends on your employer’s internal policies and level of honesty.
Remember, even the most law-abiding company will always consider the bottom line. Your employer has every incentive to keep your accident as quiet and inexpensive as possible. You might find yourself facing pressure and intimidation, on top of the physical and emotional consequences of the injury itself.
Contact Experienced Construction Accident Lawyers in Atlanta
Having an expert on your side can make all the difference in these situations. At the Stoddard Firm, we are well-versed in personal injury law and experienced in handling Atlanta construction accident cases. Our team appreciates the stress you are under as you recover from your accident. We have a reputation for being kind and sympathetic communicators with our clients and aggressive negotiators and litigators with insurance companies.
When you work with the team at the Stoddard Firm, you can rest assured that we will handle every aspect of your case. We manage everything from investigation through negotiation and litigation, including all administrative processes. You can focus your energy where it is most needed — on your recovery.
Those whose negligence has contributed to the injury of others should be held responsible. This tenet is one which we hold dear. Call us today at 470-467-2200 or contact us online for a free consultation and learn how we can help you.
Attorney Matt Stoddard
Matt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]
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