Across the country, most workers take having a safe work environment for granted. Unfortunately, unsafe work environments can be found all across our country as well as the state of Texas.
Construction workers in particular have to contend with unsafe working environments daily. Things such as falling debris, unstable scaffolding, errant machines, crane accidents, and falls from height tend to plague a construction site.
It's estimated that thousands of construction workers die yearly in America due to scaffolding accidents alone. Working on a job site where cranes are present means the risk of falling booms, tipping cranes, and rigging failures. On top of those occupational hazards, welding and electrocution accidents are also common to construction workers.
According to a survey done by news officials in the Lone Star State, workers in Texas are 12% more likely than those in any other state to have an injury on the job. What's more, construction sites in Texas are 22% more dangerous than the national average. This suggests that almost 580 more employees in Texas died in the last decade than predicted based on the national average mortality rate.
Injuries and deaths on construction sites are often caused by employer negligence. Some construction supervisors don't pay attention to safety standards, nor do they attend to hazards in a timely manner. If this type of negligence has contributed to your injury after a construction site accident, you may be able to sue your employer to recover lost wages, medical bills, and pain & suffering. For this reason, it's important to consult a Dallas construction accident attorney as soon as possible.
Some occupations are more hazardous than others, yet nearly every profession comes with the risk of injury. According to statistics published by the Texas Department of Insurance, nearly one in fifty employees are injured annually in the state.
When it comes to particularly hazardous sectors, worker safety must be the first concern. Unfortunately, this is not the case for far too many workers. A major accident may profoundly alter the lives of victims. Workers must be aware of their rights under the civil justice system and meet with a construction accident lawyer as soon as possible if they've sustained injuries on the job.
Texas law allows injured workers in construction accidents and other work related incidents to file a claim to recover damages for wounded employees and relatives of those killed on the job. However, the legal system is complex, and it is crucial to understand your rights and alternatives in these various circumstances. This is why working with a knowledgeable Texas construction site accident attorney can help.
Because some construction companies have become so good at manipulating the system, it may be challenging to succeed in litigation of construction accident cases without the aid of an experienced attorney to help navigate the unique complexities that may arise. Various contractors and subcontractors will work together on many construction projects, meaning that several parties could share the fault for a single construction accident.
The apparent basis for this arrangement is that different construction companies specialize in various tasks. However, the more misleading aspect is that companies in the construction industry feel they can escape liability by obfuscating the details surrounding an accident or by using contractors instead of employees. These tactics leave workers with less protection in the event of a construction accident.
The nature of construction work is inherently dangerous, which is one of the most notable differences between a construction accident and other workplace accidents.
This means that employers in the construction industry have a greater legal duty to ensure the safety of their employees. But despite the elevated level of danger, many Dallas construction companies do not emphasize safety as much as they should. Neglecting safety on the job site inevitably causes a construction accident, which means severe injury or even death for workers.
Furthermore, Texas law governing injuries sustained by workers in Dallas construction accidents is somewhat complicated. For instance, these laws have overlapping zones and contain other highly particular nuances. A portion of the complexity of Texas's construction accident legislation may also be attributed to tort reform measures implemented decades ago. These tort reform proposals have effectively established two sets of regulations that regulate your employee rights. This is one of many reasons why if you or a loved one has been hurt, you should consider calling an attorney as soon as possible.
In Texas, a construction accident claim can fall into two categories:
Your rights will differ significantly depending on the state of your business. This status will also affect the kind of attorney you'll need, any potential limits or caps on the amount of compensation you may collect, the specific strategies your attorneys can use to defend you and establish your employer's liability, as well as several other crucial issues.
Many construction workers in Texas are from Mexico and other countries. A worker's legal status should not influence their rights in the case of a terrible death on the job.
However, there is a unique set of obstacles that must be met. It is typical for a worker's permanent dwelling to be in the United States while their family lives in Mexico. In the event of death, arrangements must be made to return the decedent's remains to their nation of origin.
This condition becomes rather tough for a decedent's family members in Mexico since their employer seldom, if ever, contacts them. In this case, attorneys may communicate with the Mexican consulate to return the decedent to their family for burial.
Of course, a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death suit for construction accidents involving undocumented workers is more complicated. Some construction companies feel little pressure from the rules and regulations that protect citizen workers in construction site accidents, which results in more injuries.
Many of these construction companies habitually employ undocumented immigrants. Unfortunately, they are aware that their workers' fear of deportation makes injury victims less inclined to complain of unjust treatment. Moreover, these workers may be unaware of the ins and outs of the Texas workers' compensation system or may not know the steps to take to get their construction accident damages covered.
The majority of workers killed by some type of construction accident are roofers, electricians, and members of other specialist building crafts. These workers are often independent contractors in Texas, which means they are responsible for their own training and safety, which may not be sufficient to prevent them from being injured or killed on the job.
Of course, federal workplace safety officials also note that construction is a high-risk business. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States, one in five (20%) yearly worker fatalities occur in construction.
Falling from roofs, being hit by heavy construction equipment, coming into contact with unsecured power tools and machinery, receiving an electrical shock, and breathing silica dust and asbestos, which may cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, are all risks construction workers encounter on the job.
All sorts of occupational injuries may occur on construction sites, including but not limited to:
An excessive number of these construction accidents mean a large portion of workers will suffer injuries or die. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction workers accounted for over a quarter of the deaths among Texas employees in a recent year.
Due to the hazardous nature of the typical construction site, it is relatively common for fatalities to occur in these accidents. The top causes of mortality on construction sites include accidents involving heavy equipment, falls, crushing, and exposure to hazardous chemicals, explosive substances, or electricity.
When a fatal construction accident occurs, it is of the utmost importance for the deceased's family to consult an attorney promptly. Workplaces seldom remain static for long. In a setting that changes so frequently, it is vital to involve an attorney as soon as possible so that they can secure the site to allow for a fair investigation. This allows your legal team to preserve the evidence required to win a wrongful death case. For example, a construction accident lawyer might request a subpoena to render any machinery involved in your construction site injuries inoperable.
Although most firms will attempt to comply with the standards after an accident, an unscrupulous construction company owner might engage in elaborate cover-ups to hide their responsibility or fault for a construction accident.
OSHA and local police investigators will typically ask questions geared to recreate the circumstances immediately before the construction accident and not much more. So, without an accident lawyer to expose such a plot via deposition evidence, it is improbable that the truth would emerge.
Moreover, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there were 1,061 fatalities in the private construction business in 2019, a 5% rise from 2018 and the highest number since 2007. In 2019, 5,333 people died on the job (an incidence rate of 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers).
According to the BLS, more than 129 construction workers died in workplace incidents in Texas in 2019, including 32 involving motor vehicles and 13 involving exposure to hazardous conditions or chemicals. Assuming a five-day work week, this corresponds to a construction accident fatality every other day.
In 2019, 608 Texas employees perished due to occupational injuries, representing about 20% of the total.
The Division of Workers' Compensation of the Texas Department of Insurance said in a November 2020 report that 11,300 non-fatal injuries and illnesses were documented in the state's construction sector in 2019. This is a rate of 1.5 incidents per 100 employees with full-time equivalents in Texas. Using a five-day workweek as a basis, this corresponds to 43 construction site accidents daily.
187,600 non-fatal injuries and illnesses were recorded in the Texas private sector in 2019. Construction-related injuries and illnesses accounted for 6% of the state's total, making it clear that the construction accident rate in Texas is too high.
Diverse regulatory and industrial environments are usually seen as the primary cause of this significant disparity across jurisdictions. When it comes to business and construction projects, Texas has, at times, resisted government regulation and its stringent safety procedures.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for occupational safety inspections in Texas due to the absence of a state-level organization. Unfortunately, this organization's resources are often inadequate for protecting workers, despite being tasked with all safety regulations and investigations of every construction accident that occurs.
An OSHA official will be called to the accident location immediately after a construction accident to conduct an investigation. OSHA will then submit an official report with its findings upon the inquiry's conclusion. Most individuals mistakenly believe that OSHA will eventually require a negligent employer to compensate an injured or killed worker. In truth, OSHA does issue sanctions to careless businesses, but the punishments are woefully insufficient, even in the case of a deadly construction accident.
OSHA also details how much each company is penalized for a fatality on the job. For instance, one Dallas construction company was assessed a first fine of around $34,000 for an employee who died after a fall. The penalty was then decreased to roughly $12,600.
The maximum penalty OSHA may levy for a single fatality is a mere $7,000. Even if the employer is found to be guilty of many negligent actions, the sanctions are seldom substantial.
Unfortunately, until regulations are enacted that provide OSHA with more authority to impose hefty penalties, it is more cost-effective for some businesses to neglect safety and pay this paltry penalty after a construction accident.
Per safety officials and the latest available statistics, more than a quarter of fatal construction accidents in Texas involve motor vehicles. Over half of the workers who died in a construction accident were struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment. Some of the most common construction accidents are caused by motorists driving through a work zone or dump trucks reversing and hitting employees.
OSHA and the U.S. Department of Transportation have standards and recommendations for the correct placement of highway work zone signs, barriers, and flags, which may help prevent several types of work-zone construction accidents in Dallas and elsewhere.
Digging and trenching remain two of the most hazardous activities on a construction site. Compared to other excavation-related incidents, trench cave-ins provide the greatest risk of injury and are more likely to result in worker deaths. After all, one cubic yard of soil has the same mass as a car.
If you are a construction worker, it's important to keep in mind OSHA's notorious "Fatal Four" primary causes of construction worker deaths so you can avoid them. Those causes include:
Construction workers fall from ladders, rooftops, scaffolding, and other high places due to exposed edges or holes and badly designed walking or working surfaces. Utilizing suitable fall protection helps avoid falls. Falls account for more than one-third of all occupational fatalities.
Impacts, also known as struck-by injuries, occur when a worker is struck by a moving, falling, or swinging item or piece of equipment or by a motor vehicle on a construction site. Officials say that 10% of occupational fatalities are attributable to struck-by incidents.
Lightning strikes, exposed wiring, wet conditions while outlets are exposed, and contact with overhead power lines or energized conductors or circuit parts in electrical and equipment panels are responsible for electrocutions. Other causes of electrocution include poorly maintained extension cords and power tools and contact with energized conductors or circuit parts in electrical panels and equipment panels. All of these pose electrocution risks to construction workers, making 9% of all construction accident deaths caused by electrocution.
This type of construction accident includes collapses of trenches or excavations, employees stuck between moving or rotating equipment or mechanical pieces, and workers caught in falling buildings or materials. Luckily, accidents involving being caught in something or trapped account for only a small percentage (just over 2%) of all workplace deaths.
Several other things may go wrong on a building site, ultimately causing a construction accident. Mishaps involving heavy machinery or power instruments that are common on a construction site, like nail guns, happen often. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke may also be severe dangers for outdoor construction sites in warmer weather.
The bulk of these tragedies shares the common denominator of being avoidable. When a construction worker gets severely injured, it is often due to human error or carelessness on the part of a construction company, such as miscommunication, faulty equipment, or cutting corners with regard to safety.
For this reason, injured employees must pursue legal remedies when they've suffered injuries on a Dallas construction site.
There are three primary avenues to seek financial compensation for a workplace or construction accident in Dallas: workers' compensation, non-subscriber claims, and third-party claims. The alternatives accessible to you depend on the circumstances of your construction accident. Regardless, almost all construction accidents in Dallas require the assistance of a qualified attorney.
The Texas Workers' Compensation Act was enacted in 1993. This legislation protected companies by letting them purchase workers' compensation insurance, which protects them against any personal injury lawsuit filed by wounded employees.
Theoretically, if an employee is injured in an on-site construction accident and the company subscribes to workers' compensation insurance, the worker's medical expenses and a portion of their pay are reimbursed by the insurance provider.
Unsurprisingly, this is not always the case since several firms violate the law and underpay their employees. If you believe your injuries should be covered, but your employer is refusing to cooperate, contact a personal injury attorney at our law firm as soon as possible.
Texas does not require companies to have workers' compensation insurance, unlike most other states. And due to Texas's relatively lax worker protections, it may be more difficult for a person who has been injured on a construction site to acquire payments from workers' compensation insurance, even though the vast majority of larger businesses and companies in Texas do carry it.
You should also be aware that many employers will pretend to have workers' compensation in order to fool you into thinking you cannot sue. The only real way to verify this is to check with the Texas Department of Insurance. When you contact the Rasansky Law Firm, our Dallas construction accident attorneys will do this for you at extra cost.
Keep in mind that some construction workers are covered by workers' compensation insurance provided by their employers via the government. This state-run insurance compensates injured victims after a workers' compensation claim to a certain extent.
However, in the event that your employee does have this type of coverage, you can’t file a lawsuit for damages. You will have to go through the claims process that is outlined for the state run program. To be clear, if you live in Dallas and your employer has such coverage, you as an employee are barred from filing a lawsuit due to a workplace injury or wrongful death after construction accidents in Dallas, except in cases of gross negligence.
Keep in mind that if there are any additional parties that could be responsible for your injury, they can still be sued. These are called third party claims and will be explained more below.
In Texas, companies are not obligated to provide workers' compensation insurance or subscribe to it. Thus, non-subscribers and any other at-fault party are liable for the harm they cause to employees. A non-subscriber claim occurs when an employee sustains serious injuries or is killed in a construction accident due to the employer's or another employee's carelessness and the employer does not have workers' compensation insurance coverage. When the employer has private workers’ compensation insurance, it is often cheaper and less impactful than the state-run program. Therefore, employees do have the right to sue when they get injured at a workplace where only private insurance is carried.
Given all of the legal protections it provides, one would assume that every construction company or related business would choose to subscribe to worker's compensation. However, many building firms and general contractors will attempt to save money by declining to get this expensive insurance. Ultimately, they are putting your livelihood at risk for profit, particularly considering the high construction accident rate.
When these construction accident victims are wounded, the company must compensate them out of its own pockets. As you can expect, most companies would prefer to terminate these injured construction workers or otherwise avoid their legal duties. If you've been injured on a construction site and this situation applies to you, we advise contacting a Dallas construction accident lawyer immediately.
As we stated above, if your company participates in workers' comp, you cannot sue them directly for a workplace accident. However, this protection applies only to your immediate employer. If a third party, such as a contractor, vendor, or equipment maker, caused your injuries, you may bring a claim against them for personal injury.
Almost any construction accident in Dallas and beyond may include third party claims. Multiple groups are often working together on a single build site, including property owners, general contractors, subcontractors, architects, and engineers.
A worker who is wounded by a coworker employed by a different firm has every right to file a construction accident lawsuit against that company. Injuries caused by faults in construction equipment are also the responsibility of the equipment's makers.
Again, a third-party claim may seek money that an employer's workers' compensation insurance does not pay, but you must establish the third party's fault to win. This demands an in-depth investigation and immediate contact with construction accident attorneys to prevent the loss or destruction of evidence from the construction site.
If a worker covered by workers' compensation benefits dies in a tragic accident, the surviving spouse and dependent family members can receive compensation payments. These benefits consist of a portion of the deceased employee's average weekly pay and funeral costs.
But in cases where the deceased worker may have filed a personal injury claim had they survived, surviving family members may bring a wrongful death claim against the party at fault.
A construction accident claim for wrongful death might seek compensation for losses such as funeral costs, lost future income, and other expenditures linked with the decedent's death, as well as losses experienced by the remaining family members, such as loss of consortium which describes the loss of familial relations with a close family member or spouse.
If you are wounded on the job, you should immediately report the incident to your supervisor. Next, we recommend that you contact an experienced Dallas construction accident lawyer.
You need counsel immediately, particularly if you're dealing with mounting medical bills and lost wages or if you are the surviving family member of a worker who died due to a construction injury.
Insurance company administrators might try to diminish legitimate workers' comp claims to minimize how much they have to pay. Don’t trust anything they say without consulting with a Dallas construction accident lawyer. They have experience that can help you detect whether you are being fairly treated and compensated for the injuries sustained.
From a legal standpoint, a construction injury is more complicated than other kinds of workplace injuries for a variety of reasons, including:
Due to the complex legal environment after construction accidents in Dallas, employees who sustain a serious injury on the job may need clarification on their legal choices or how to determine the best path forward. This is precisely why our Dallas construction accident lawyer and legal team at Rasansky Law Firm give injured construction workers and their families a free consultation.
In the majority of workplace accident lawsuits, the stakes are tremendous. Your case may be worth tens of thousands of dollars or more, and you have just one year to make a workers' compensation claim and two years to file a lawsuit in Texas. The clock starts ticking on these deadlines from the moment you suffer a serious injury on the job. And the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes to find the evidence necessary to create a solid legal case.
This is why it is essential to speak with a Dallas construction accident lawyer immediately. Your attorney may immediately begin working on your case and researching your options for financial recovery.
Experienced lawyers know where to go for the evidence necessary to support a successful construction accident case, whether through a thorough analysis of official records, interviews with witnesses, or safety specialists.
By and large, for your construction accident case to be successful, you need to prove negligence on the part of your employer. Not only do you have to prove negligence in a construction injury case, but you also have to show that your employer's negligence caused your injury. Often, achieving this feat is only possible through the assistance of an experienced Dallas construction accident lawyer.
Do not undervalue the difficulty of your construction accident case. Consult a team of construction accident lawyers immediately about your prospective lawsuit or claim. At the Rasansky Law Firm, we operate on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will only be required to pay if we obtain financial compensation or a successful judgment on your behalf.
Schedule an appointment with our local Dallas personal injury attorneys immediately to learn more about getting your medical care, lost wages, and lost earning potential covered by fair, full financial compensation.
Rasansky Law Firm has experience with construction accident cases involving injury and death, and we invite you to call our construction accident attorneys to discuss the facts of your case completely free of charge. Our Dallas personal injury attorneys believe that accident victims deserve proper representation in order to win their cases and get financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and so much more.
Call our law firm 24/7 at 214-617-1886 to learn more about how our team can help you build your construction injury case and seek compensation to cover your medical care or medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
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