According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Florida’s construction industry continues to have a high and growing number of workplace injuries and fatalities, with 76 fatalities in 2016—25 percent of the state’s total workplace fatalities. Visitors to construction sites also face a high risk of injury. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the four most common types of construction site accidents, referred to as the “Fatal Four” because they cause 60 percent of all workplace injuries, are: (1) unintentional falls, (2) being struck by an object, (3) electrocution, and (4) getting stuck in machinery or a structure.
Whether you are injured at a construction site as an employee or a visitor will determine your course of action following the accident, but in either case, you can often recoup losses related to your injuries. If you lost a loved one as a result of a construction site accident, Florida law also entitles you to seek compensation in civil court. Call one of the experienced Tampa construction accident attorneys at the Florida Law Group at (813) 463-8880, or contact us online, to schedule your free consultation and to determine the best path forward following your construction accident.
What Types of Construction Site Injuries Might Lead to a Claim?
Serious and catastrophic injuries that cause significant financial loss and require extended time away from work for healing require the guidance of a skilled personal injury attorney who understands Florida’s workers’ compensation procedures and premises liability laws, which deal with accidents and injuries that occur on another party’s property. The most common types of construction site injuries that lead to a workers’ compensation claim and/or a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Deep lacerations that might leave permanent scars
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Back injuries, including slipped discs and cracked vertebrae
- Spinal cord injuries that might result in partial or full paralysis, temporarily or for life
- Electrocution injuries, including burns, organ damage, and more
Workplace Injuries on Construction Sites in Florida
If you have been injured on a construction site while working, you should file a worker’s compensation claim as your first course of action. Your employer pays for workers’ compensation insurance for these very occurrences. The issue of fault does not affect a workers’ compensation claim; if the carrier approves your claim, benefits typically include the cost of medical treatment as well as two-thirds of your average weekly salary. Workers’ compensation benefits generally don’t cover all of the costs and losses related to your injury, which sometimes causes families to endure a heavy financial burden.
It’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney, who can guide you through the claims process and help you handle a denial or reduction of benefits. In some situations, your lawyer also may be able to help you seek additional compensation. Additionally, he or she will advise you about whether to escalate your worker’s compensation claim to a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, you cannot sue your employer if you were injured at work; this is why workers’ compensation insurance exists. Yet, there are some situations that may lead to a lawsuit, including if:
- Your employer has not purchased mandatory workers’ compensation insurance.
- Your employer retaliates against you for filing a claim.
- The insurance carrier takes excessive time to process your claim and pay out your benefits.
Liability in Florida Construction Site Accidents
Construction site accidents that involve an injured individual who is not an employee working on the site open up a variety of parties to potential liability. Also, injured employees may file a third-party claim if their employer does not own the construction site at which they were injured. Liable parties might include, but are not limited to:
- Property owners. Florida law mandates that property owners maintain a safe environment for visitors. The exact duty that a property owner owes a visitor hinges on his or her legal status, but generally speaking, property owners must warn a visitor of hazards that they know about or should know about. Trespassers who are injured on a construction site generally cannot hold the property owner liable unless the owner set traps or intentionally harmed the trespasser. However, property owners must protect children from dangerous conditions, even if they are trespassing. Construction sites are sometimes considered attractive nuisances, because they have enticing machinery and/or piles of lumber that attract children. If a child is injured in these circumstances, a Florida court might hold the property owner liable for related damages.
- Machinery manufacturers. If someone sustains an injury on a construction site due to defective machinery, a court may hold the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the equipment partially or wholly liable for damages.
- Chemical companies. When exposure to toxic substances at a construction site causes illness or injury, a court may hold the company, distributor, and/or retailer of the chemical liable for damages.
- Developers. Under certain circumstances, a property developer who is not the property owner may share liability for any injuries that occur on the property.
Recovering Damages After a Construction Site Accident
In the event that you sustained an injury on a construction site and file a personal injury lawsuit, a court may award you the following damages related to your injury:
- Medical costs, including for ambulance rides, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, follow-up visits, surgeries, X-rays, prescription medications, and more
- Rehabilitative costs, such as physical therapy and assistive devices—such as crutches, wheelchairs, artificial limbs, and more
- Future medical costs when an injury causes a long-term condition or permanent disability
- Lost wages for time away from work and beyond what workers’ compensation covers, if the injured individual is an employee
- Future wages when an injury debilitates a person to the extent that he or she cannot return to work
- Non-economic costs, including pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, loss of consortium, and other losses that apply to a specific case
Get the Legal Help You Need After a Tampa Construction Accident
Construction sites injuries are often serious and may significantly alter the injured individual’s life. If you were injured on a construction site, you should seek compensation for your injuries. Let a skilled construction accident attorney handle the details of your case and pursue compensation while you focus on healing. Call the Florida Law Group at (813) 463-8880, or contact us online, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today.