Construction accidents: a primer

Construction site accidents are all too common across America.

Look anywhere at the New Haven skyline, and you will see cranes and other construction equipment, evidence of the ongoing building boom. The Quinnipiac River Bridge is nearly complete. The reconstruction of the Interstate 95-Interstate 91 interchange is in the late stages. There is major bridge work ongoing in West Haven. Downtown, a major biotech research center has reached its full height. A massive residential and commercial construction project is scheduled for the old Coliseum site. Yale University is expanding. Everywhere, companies are putting up steel, or renovating existing buildings. These sites are alive with the activity of heavy equipment (including cranes lifting loads weighing a ton or more, Bobcats and front-loaders moving earth, and trucks hauling materials), crews of workers, power tools and more.

Amidst all the hustle-and-bustle on a construction site is a seemingly endless list of tasks that need to be completed, often by numerous different companies, before the job is done. If exacting safety rules and procedures aren't followed, and things don't move precisely according to plan, the threat of injury - or death - is very real. Construction is, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), among the deadliest industries in America; more than 20 percent of on-the-job fatalities in 2014 occurred on construction sites.

Safety isn't always first

While myriad safety and health regulations exist to protect workers on these dangerous job sites, the lure of early completion bonuses and the constant worry about meeting deadlines leads many companies to cut corners where safety is concerned. When that happens, so do injury-causing construction accidents.

Again according to OSHA data, by far the leading cause of injury on construction sites is falling. Falling from any height is an injury risk, but falling off the roof of an under-construction home or down the unsecured elevator shaft of a multi-story commercial building could easily be fatal. Connecticut state and federal regulations govern construction safety, including the wearing of safety harnesses and tethers for working on ladders, scaffolds, roofs and building frames, but these steps are often overlooked, particularly by smaller and non-union companies.

Unfortunately, when general contractors, sub-contractors, material suppliers and other companies involved in construction projects don't follow safety protocols, people get hurt. Because of the size of these job sites, and the types of heavy equipment and power tools often involved, construction accident injuries are commonly serious, and can involve:

  • Broken bones (often to the lower extremities and back or neck due to falling from heights)
  • Crush injuries that can lead to amputation
  • Head injuries (frequently caused by objects falling from heights)
  • Power tool accidents (both from misuse and from defective or faulty products)
  • Trench and ditch collapses
  • Electrocution

If you have been injured - or you have tragically lost a loved one - in a Connecticut construction site accident, the legal issues involved are complicated. There could be both a workers' compensation claim and a claim against a third party (if the injuries were the result of the actions or negligence of someone other than an employer).

Seeking much-needed compensation following an accident can be difficult if you don't understand the interplay between work comp benefits and the judicial system; that is why you need the skill and experience offered by an experienced personal injury law firm like Jacobs & Dow, LLC. Contact their New Haven law office today by calling 203-772-3100 or sending an email.