Construction Accident Attorneys in New Jersey
Although necessary, construction sites are frequently hazardous places for construction workers, visitors, and those in the vicinity. Construction accidents often result in severe injuries and even death. Sometimes these accidents result from negligence by an employer, a general contractor, or someone else on the worksite.
If you become a victim of a construction-related injury in New Jersey, our experienced injury attorneys at Reinartz Law Firm can help you and your family pursue compensation. Our skilled construction accident lawyers will work tirelessly to protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve. Learn about the millions we obtain for clients and how we might help with your construction accident claim.
Table of Contents
- Construction Accidents and Injuries
- Frequent Causes of Construction Accidents
- OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards
- Common Construction Accident Injuries
- Do You Have an Injury Claim?
- Did You Suffer Injuries in a Construction Accident?
Construction Accidents and Injuries
The construction industry takes on many projects for government entities, commercial enterprises, and private endeavors. They employ many people and get assistance from various contractors along the way. Whether it's road work and bridge construction or the demolition and construction of new buildings, construction work is nearly unavoidable and ever-present in our daily lives.
Across America, construction workers make up about 6 percent of the workforce. Still, the dangers of working in this industry far outweigh those of nearly all other sectors. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that the construction industry is responsible for one out of five work-related deaths annually.
Construction jobs are both physically and mentally challenging. Those working construction-type jobs are prone to overexertion from pushing, lifting, pulling, and carrying materials and equipment. If they must operate heavy equipment, it can be mentally taxing.
As such, construction workers are more susceptible to accidents. Sometimes they must work in extreme weather conditions or large, loud, dangerous equipment. Even though safety equipment is required, many employers and construction site managers cut corners to save time and money, thereby failing to give their workers the adequate gear or quality equipment they deserve while on the job.
OSHA regularly cites New Jersey construction companies for various safety violations, including:
- Exposing workers to fall hazards
- Using unsafe equipment
- Occupational exposures
Despite OSHA's continuous efforts, construction accidents continue to happen. In fact, over 20 percent of accidents and injuries occurring in the workplace are in or related to construction industry work. Suppose you suffered an injury at a New Jersey construction site. In that case, our skilled construction accident lawyers can help you and your family hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Frequent Causes of Construction Accidents
Construction sites are inherently dangerous places. Workers have exposure to countless hazards in the field. Unsafe work conditions place employees and contractors at high risk of falls, in the path of falling objects, injuries from heavy equipment, and several other dangers.
Some of the hazards that construction industry workers face every day on the job include:
- Falls from ladders, roofs, scaffolding, and other heights
- Floor or scaffolding collapses
- Falling debris, tools, or equipment
- Slip, trip, and falls
- Crane collapses
- Forklift accidents
- Explosions or fires
- Toxic chemical exposures
- Chemical burns or lung injuries
- Environmental-related health issues such as heat stroke, hypothermia, and frostbite
- Electrocutions or electrical burns
- Cave-ins/crush/caught-in/between accidents
- Trench collapse
- Barricade accidents
- Protective gear and clothing failure
- Poor on-the-job supervision or training
- Defective or malfunctioning equipment
- Inadequate safety measures and procedures, including lack of supplies
- Negligent actions by co-workers
The deadliest types of accidents in the construction industry are called the fatal four.
They are responsible for almost 64 percent of all construction work accidents and include:
- Falls result in around 400 deaths every year
- Struck by an object claims about 100 lives every year
- Electrocution fatally injures approximately 100 individuals each year
- Caught-in/between accidents result in around 100 deaths every year
The fatal four claim the lives of roughly 630 construction workers each year.
OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequenatly Cited Standards
OSHA inspects all industry worksites. In addition, the federal agency publishes a list to alert employers about the commonly cited violations so they can take steps to identify and correct the recognized dangers addressed in these and other standards before their OSHA inspections. Sadly, far too many preventable workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities are related to these top 10 cited standards.
Between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021, these were OSHA’s most frequent violations and industries cited:
- Fall Protection, construction
- Respiratory Protection, general industry
- Ladders, construction
- Hazard Communication
- Scaffolding, construction
- Fall Protection Training, construction
- Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout), general industry
- Eye and Face Protection, construction
- Powered Industrial Trucks, general industry
- Machinery and Machine Guarding, general industry
As you can see, many of these are in or related to the construction industry. Despite being cited for these violations, many in the construction industry continue to cut corners to save time and money while placing others' lives at risk. When these accidents are easily preventable, another person or party is likely negligent.
Common Construction Accident Injuries
Construction accident injuries can range from minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises to fractures and spinal injuries. Closed head and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) often result from falling objects, slips and falls, and falls from significant heights. In addition, knee, ankle, back, neck, and shoulder injuries often result from construction site falls.
Other common construction accident injuries include eye injuries (often causing vision impairments), burns, limb and digit amputations, strains, sprains, lacerations, hearing loss, chemical-related illness or disease, and electrocution. Many accidents can also result in death.
Depending on the extent and severity of an injury, a worker may require extensive medical treatments, rehabilitation, surgery, therapy, and long-term care (LTC). Unfortunately, the related medical bills and loss of income can devastate the victim and their entire family.
These circumstances highlight how necessary just and fair financial compensation is to help deal with the repercussions of a severe or catastrophic construction accident injury.
Do You Have an Injury Claim?
Many of these injuries and accidents are entirely preventable. Negligence, carelessness, and other factors frequently lead to construction site injuries. Employers should implement and strictly follow the safety policies and procedures set forth by OSHA, other governing bodies, and equipment manufacturers to reduce the possibility of injury. Yet, they often fail to do so.
They should also adhere to safety measures such as job training and supervision of laborers and other employees to prevent construction site accidents.
In addition, employers need to properly inspect and maintain equipment to prevent dangers like poor lighting, cluttered work areas, missing safety guards, and defective machinery. Each of these factors can result in devastating accidents and life-altering injuries. However, when workers suffer injuries in a construction accident, they might have a right to compensation for damages under the law through an injury claim.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
Sadly, construction job site injuries can negatively affect your life in multiple ways. For example, your injuries will likely come with medical bills, a decreased ability to earn income, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and a lasting emotional impact on you and your loved ones. The first recourse many injured workers seek after a construction accident is often workers' compensation.
However, there are pros and cons to a workers’ compensation claim. For example, proving negligence in such a case is typically a non-issue in workers’ compensation. Generally, you and your attorney don’t have to establish that your employer did anything wrong that resulted in your accident and injury - as long as you suffered an injury while on the job, you can usually seek workers’ compensation benefits. It doesn’t matter who is at fault regarding a workers’ compensation claim. These types of benefits include both payments for medical care and temporary disability during the time you are unable to work as a result of your accident.
If you suffered an injury on the job or know or suspect that you suffered an illness related to your job, report it to your employer as soon as possible. We can file your workers' comp claim, meeting any applicable deadlines. Even if your workers' comp claim receives an initial denial, we can help you file an appeal.
One of the drawbacks to a workers' compensation claim is that you cannot file a legal claim against your employer. In some cases, however, you might file a separate lawsuit against other parties who might have caused your construction accident injuries.
The law lets injured workers file legal claims against negligent third parties unrelated to the injured worker's employer. For instance, they might file a claim against the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment or a contract worker.
These lawsuits may involve claims for:
- General negligence
- Failure to follow OSHA guidelines
- Manufacture or design of defective equipment
- Unsafe premises
Depending on the situation, injured workers might file suits against general contractors, subcontractors, safety trainers and supervisors, construction site managers and owners, architects, engineers, and designers and manufacturers of faulty products in use at the construction site, among others.
If your injuries happened due to one of these third parties, you might file a claim for both economic and non-economic (also known as general) damages, including pain and suffering, which workers' comp claims won't pay. This claim can be in addition to your workers' comp claim as long as they are each against different and appropriate parties.
However, you must meet tight deadlines set by the statute of limitations. In New Jersey, this deadline is two years from your injury. If you or an attorney acting on your behalf fails to file a legal claim within this two-year deadline, you won’t use a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for your damages.
Since it can take time to settle or prepare a construction accident case for trial, you must reach out to a construction accident attorney as soon as possible after your injury to preserve your rights.
The workers’ compensation insurance system is a no-fault system. As such, you don’t have to prove that your employer was negligent in filing a claim. You must only show that you sustained an injury within the course of your work responsibilities. On the other hand, If you plan to pursue a third-party claim proving negligence is imperative to a successful claim.
To file a claim for damages, you must establish:
- The other party owed you a duty of care for example, an equipment manufacturer should provide proper warnings with the products they sell
- That party violated or breached their duty of care, committing negligence for instance, maybe a subcontractor failed to follow safety protocol on the job site.
- The other party’s negligence was the proximal cause of your injuries.
- As a result of your injuries, you suffered damages such as medical expenses, pain, suffering, scarring, disfigurement, or loss of enjoyment of life.
Did You Suffer Injuries in a Construction Accident?
Third-party claims for construction accident injuries involve complex legal issues. With many parties and people on a construction site, you need a proper case investigation surrounding the accident. Getting to the bottom of how your accident happened and who might have carelessly or negligently caused it is imperative to the success of receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries.
A seasoned New Jersey construction accident attorney from Reinartz Law Firm can investigate your claim and seek compensation for it. It won't cost you anything to meet with one of our attorneys to discuss your accident and injuries.
After reviewing the facts of your case, we can provide you with your options and help you move forward either with a workers’ comp claim, personal injury claim, or something else.
Reach out to our firm today at (201) 778-HURT or contact us online to get your case started.
The Reinartz Law Firm - Hackensack Office
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