Construction sites are full of dangers, from powerful machinery to toxic chemicals to fire and electrical hazards. Some of the most dangerous construction site hazards are heights, such as rooftops, scaffolding, or walkways. Every year, falls from heights consistently rank among the top causes of death and injury at construction sites nationwide. If you were injured after falling at a construction site, or if your spouse was killed in a fatal fall, you should know that you are not alone – and that legal help is available to you.
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we are proud to fight on behalf of construction workers and their families. Construction injury lawyer Randolph Rice has years of experience handling accident claims involving falls from heights, slip and fall accidents, and fatal falls, making him a formidable adversary in the courtroom. For a free legal consultation about your construction site accident, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras online, or call 24 hours, seven days a week, at (410) 694-7291.
Construction Worker Fall Fatality Statistics
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), has identified falls as one of the “Fatal Four” accident types that cause the most construction deaths annually. According to OSHA, falls were the number one cause of construction industry deaths in 2018, responsible for more than 33% of all accidents. More than 330 construction site fall fatalities were reported that year, significantly more than the second most common cause of death (being struck by objects, which caused 112 deaths). In fact, falls killed more construction workers than the other three Fatal Four accident types combined, causing 338 fatalities compared to 253 from struck-by, caught-in, and electrocution accidents.
What Causes the Most Falls in the Construction Industry?
It is an undeniable fact that fatal and injury-causing falls occur frequently in the construction industry. The question is, why? What types of hazards cause or allow falls to occur, and how might they affect your case?
If your fall occurred because of negligence, you may have a lawsuit against the negligent parties. Negligence is a person’s or company’s failure to meet reasonable standards of care, taking into consideration the relevant factors and circumstances. Here are a few examples of ways in which negligence can lead to preventable construction site falls:
- Failing to erect scaffolding or support structures properly
- Failing to provide safety gear to workers
- Failing to maintain functional equipment (such as harnesses), resulting in dangerous defects
If you file for workers’ compensation benefits, you do not need to prove that your employer, coworkers, or other parties were negligent in order to be compensated. However, you may lose certain rights, as the next section explains. An attorney can preserve your rights and pursue the most effective means of getting compensated, so that you do not miss crucial opportunities or “fine print.”
Common Injuries from Falls on Construction Sites in Maryland
Falls from heights can cause debilitating injuries, which may be permanently disabling or even fatal. Examples of injuries that can result from construction site falls include:
- Back injuries and spinal cord injuries (SCIs), which can cause paralysis
- Bone fractures, especially of the legs or ankles
- Internal bleeding or damage to organs
- Severe contusions (bruises)
- Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including concussions
How Do Injured Construction Workers Get Compensated for an Accidental Fall?
There are several ways that an injured construction worker can seek compensation following a work-related accident. Your attorney can explain the potential benefits or drawbacks of each strategy, what steps are needed to start the process, and what sorts of deadlines or filing requirements apply.
Sometimes, an injured worker will seek benefits by filing for workers’ compensation. While workers’ compensation does not require you to prove fault or negligence, you may be limited in your ability to recover damages, such as compensation for pain and suffering. If your injuries are severe or were caused by negligence, it may be a better option or additional option to file a lawsuit. Even if you file a workers’ comp claim, you may be able to sue third parties whose actions contributed to your accident, such as engineers or architects. It is in your best interests to review your options with a knowledgeable and trusted attorney like Randolph Rice, who has experience handling both personal injury cases and workers’ compensation claims in Maryland.
Maryland Attorney for Construction Site Falls
Construction workers deal with high rates of on-the-job injury – but you don’t have to deal with the consequences alone. If you were hurt at work, you deserve a detailed investigation into your accident. You may be entitled to compensation for lost earnings, disability, and assorted medical costs, such as medication, surgery, hospitalization, or physical therapy. For a free consultation about getting compensated for a construction injury in Maryland, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras online, or call (410) 694-9271 for help.