Experienced Construction Accident Lawyer – New Hampshire
Some occupations by their nature qualify as “inherently dangerous.” Military service and law enforcement are two examples. Working in the construction field is another. Despite considerable improvements in safety regulations and their enforcement over the years, every year across the United States hundreds of construction workers are injured or even die in job-related accidents.
If you’ve been hurt in a construction site accident, it is important you hire a qualified construction accident lawyer. To learn more about your rights and to get answers to your questions contact Attorney Charles Teale directly. Please call 603-935-7425 today to schedule your free confidential consultation at our Manchester office.
Dangers to construction workers
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the government agency that is most closely connected with workplace safety, including safety at construction job sites. It responds to worker reports of unsafe conditions and conducts investigations not only to respond to workplace accidents but also to try to help employers prevent them. As a result, OSHA has built up a considerable body of information about how construction accidents can happen.
The most common sources of worker death and injury in this area are:
- Inadequate protection against falls
- Poor communication concerning workplace hazards
- Problems with scaffolding and ladders, such as lack of training, inadequate training and improper use
- Inadequate respiratory protection
- Issues with industrial trucks, including maintenance shortcomings and poor training of vehicle operators
- Problems with electrical wiring, systems design, components and equipment
- Inadequate guarding of machinery
Of these causes, the most serious are the ones that OSHA refers to as the “fatal four:” falls, electrocution, being struck by an object, and being either run over by a construction vehicle or being crushed between a vehicle and a physical object like a wall. There are many ways to suffer harm at a construction site, and from the moment you set foot on one, you find yourself at a significantly higher risk.
It is bad enough that your chances of being hurt as a construction worker make your job inherently dangerous. What can make things worse is that many times the mechanisms that the government has put in place to help you when you are injured, such as workers’ compensation and Social Security disability, do not always provide the help you might think they do. According to OSHA, about four of every ten workers eligible for workers’ compensation never file for benefits, and about half of those who qualify for benefits end up paying the majority of their medical expenses out of pocket. Further, if you are disabled and are collecting workers’ compensation benefits, there is a good chance that Social Security will cut back on your disability benefits.
Dangers to a Passerby – Construction Injury to a Non-Worker
You do not need to be a construction worker to be injured in the vicinity of a construction site. Sometimes unsafe conditions or practices at these locations can reach beyond the boundaries of the site itself, especially when construction vehicles, falling objects, or scaffolding collapses are involved. In this sense, you might be even worse off than an injured construction worker because you would not qualify for workers’ compensation.
What can you do if you are injured on the job at a construction site?
If you are injured as a construction worker, and you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you are usually precluded from suing your employer even if the employer was negligent. But with legal assistance you may be able to avoid problems that might otherwise prevent you from collecting workers’ compensation benefits (problems with the application, or problems if your employer or its insurer dispute your eligibility, such as claiming that you are a “contractor” instead of an employee, or claiming that your injuries were pre-existing).
What is more, not all construction injuries are the fault of the employer. Third parties may also contribute to or be wholly responsible for the harm you have suffered through negligent or intentional behavior of their own, and workers’ compensation does not preclude you from seeking compensation from them.
Construction Accidents & Injury Claims: Non-Worker
If you are not a construction worker, but have been injured because of something that took place on the construction site, you might have recourse against one or more of the companies and individuals responsible for what takes place there (the owner of the site, the general contractor or its subcontractors, or individual employees). These cases or claims are generally brought under the doctrine of Respondeat Superior. Respondent Superior is a legal doctrine, most commonly used in tort actions like non-worker construction accident cases, that holds an employer or principal legally responsible for the wrongful acts of an employee or agent, if such acts occur within the scope of the employment or agency.
Other recourse may include, for example, if you are walking adjacent to a construction site and are injured by the wrongful conduct of one of the construction company employees there, and that employee had problems with workplace safety or discipline before being hired that his employer knew or should have known about, then you may have an argument upon which to build a legal case for negligent hiring. Or, if a construction vehicle strikes you (even off of the construction site), and the driver was incompetent and the employer knew or should have known about the driver’s incompetence, you may have a case for negligent entrustment.
Lastly, if you are the spouse or child of a construction worker who was killed on the job, workers’ compensation provides death benefits and you may have a claim against any responsible third parties for wrongful death or what is known as a “survival” action in court.
Seek legal help if you are injured in a construction accident
We can’t cover here all of the numerous ways in which you may have a legal claim for money damages against a negligent construction site owner, contractor, employee or third party. Depending on the facts of how you were injured (or, if you are related to an injured construction worker, how he or she was injured or killed), different kinds of compensation (I.E. Workers’ Compensation or Social Security disability) or legal causes of action may be available to you. It is best to speak to an attorney who is experienced with personal injury law as well as workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims. A qualified accident attorney can help you to learn about your options, and will assist you in pursuing your remedies against all of the people and companies responsible.
Experience. Integrity. Results.
Attorney Charles Teale is a personal injury lawyer with experience handling accident cases throughout New Hampshire. Contact Attorney Teale directly at 603-935-7425 for a Free Confidential Consultation today to learn more about your rights and to get answers to your questions.