Construction Site Accidents
The Center for Construction Research and Training estimates that nearly 25% of construction workers do not report the injuries they suffered at work because they considered the injury minor or they were worried about retaliation from their employers.
Construction is a dangerous industry, but you have a right to expect your worksite to be safe and free of hazards. If you or a loved one have been injured at a construction site, you do not need to shrug off the injury or suffer in silence. An experienced construction accident attorney can help you evaluate your legal options for recovering damages from your employer and others involved in the construction project.
What laws apply to construction site accidents in Washington State?
Employers are subject to safety regulations developed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In Washington State, employers must also abide by the regulations contained in the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), which are “a more specific and detailed set of rules that detail and amplify the OSHA laws.” Additionally, employers are subject to the safety and health rules developed and enforced by the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), part of the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), regarding unsafe worksite conditions.
Under the laws of Washington State, if you are injured at a construction site, you must go through the state’s workers’ compensation system if you want to try to recover lost wages and medical costs from your employer. You may not sue your employer directly. However, you do have the right to file a third-party claim against others—individuals and companies—who could also be responsible for your injuries. An experienced construction attorney can help determine who else might bear responsibility for the injuries you experienced.
What is the role of OSHA on construction sites?
OSHA is responsible for setting and enforcing the standards of a safe and healthy workplace, including construction sites. The organization lays out the required safety procedures, equipment and training that must be followed by construction industry companies and their employees. When their guidance is not followed, OSHA steps in to ensure the safety of employees and others at the construction site.
What is the most common cause of injury on a construction site?
According to OSHA, falling is the most common cause of injury on a construction site. Other top injury causes include being struck by an object, being caught in or between machinery and being electrocuted.
What are the most important steps to take after sustaining a construction site injury?
Regardless of whether your construction site injury is minor or severe, get medical attention immediately. Afterward, it is important you take the following steps:
- Write down a detailed description of how you were injured, including what happened before and after you were injured
- Tell your employer about your injury
- Ask for additional information to fully document your case, including your full medical records related to the construction injury, any input from other witnesses and photos of the site and any resulting damage
- Keep all documents sent to/from your employer and others involved in the case
- Talk with an experienced construction accident attorney to discuss the details of your case and possible recoverable damages
What are the benefits of hiring a construction accident attorney?
An experienced construction accident lawyer can help you determine whether you have a case to pursue and, if you do, the best options for recovering damages from your employer and others.
Who is liable for my injury on a construction site?
Construction sites involve multiple parties. Your direct employer’s liability is covered by its workers’ compensation policy, which it is required to carry. You may not sue your employer directly, although other third parties—everyone from the site’s landowner to equipment manufacturers—may be liable for your injuries. An experienced construction accident attorney can review your case to determine whether others might be at fault for your injuries.
What damages are recoverable following a construction site injury?
Potential recoverable damages following a construction site injury include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of function
- Permanent disability
- Death of a loved one
How quickly must I file a claim?
In Washington State, you have one year from the date of your accident to file a workers’ compensation claim for your injuries. You have three years from the date of your accident to file a third-party claim against other individuals and companies involved with the construction project.
What is the best way to stay safe on a construction site?
There are a few ways you can stay safe while working on a construction site, including:
- Review and understand the site’s written safety plan
- Use required personal protective equipment (hard hats, eye protection, respirators, etc.)
- Use required fall prevention equipment
- Inspect your tools and equipment to ensure they are safe and working properly
- Clean up the site to remove debris and clutter to prevent falls
- Report hazards and accidents to company management
What does an investigation into a construction accident entail?
The investigation into a construction accident usually involves the supervisor on duty at the time of the accident and other company personnel. It may also include additional safety experts from OSHA and Washington state and local agencies.
An experienced construction injury attorney can conduct a separate investigation to review the accident findings and determine who else may be responsible for your injuries.
How can PCVA help if you have been injured at a construction site?
PCVA’s experienced attorneys can help you understand your options for pursuing compensation and damages from your employer, landowners, equipment manufacturers and others who may be responsible for your construction injury. If you would like to speak with a PCVA lawyer, complete our intake form or call us at (253) 948-3199 or (206) 536-2850. All conversations are confidential.
How much does PCVA charge?
Our work is done on a contingency basis. This means we only get paid if we win your case.