CHICAGO, IL – The construction industry is the most dangerous industry for U.S. workers, although other sectors have higher numbers of non-fatal injuries. On-the-job construction work can result in serious injuries and even fatalities.
When a construction worker is hurt on the job, they are mostly commonly compensated for medical costs and wage loss through a claim filed against their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy; however, in some cases, they can seek out compensation through the personal injury claims process.
Continue to read this week’s blog to learn the common injuries that occur on construction sites and how construction workers can seek compensation and benefits they need to treat and recover from their injuries.
Types of Accidents Associated with Construction Work
More than 1,000 construction workers die on the job annually and nearly 174,000 suffer non-fatal injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some of the most common causes of workplace injuries and deaths on construction sites include:
- A lack of fall protection for workers working in areas that are elevated off the ground.
- Using power tools without proper guards or protections.
- Injuries sustained in slip and fall accidents occurring as a result of tools, materials, and other clutter in walkways.
- Workers being caught between moving parts of a machine or between a piece of heavy equipment and a stationary object.
- Tools, construction materials, and other objects dropped from an elevated area onto those walking or working below.
- The use of equipment that is unsafe or requires a higher level of training than the worker has.
- Lack of policies and procedures that govern the safety of workers around overhead power lines and other sources of electricity.
- Improper procedures used when working around or in trenches.
- Transportation accidents occurring in construction work zones.
Construction workers are surrounded by hazards, such as power-operated machinery, sources of electricity and high elevations. Injuries sustained in construction site accidents may include:
- Broken bones, such as wrists, ankles, legs or arms.
- Repetitive stress injuries to hands, wrists, shoulders, knees or back.
- Burns caused by contact with chemicals or electricity.
- Injuries to the eyes resulting in the loss of vision.
- Illnesses resulting from contact with toxic chemicals.
- Catastrophic injuries, including injuries to the brain or spinal cord, amputations and injuries incurred from electrocution.
These injuries result incurring medical treatment, in addition to a loss of earnings, loss of future earning capacity, possible permanent disabilities and even death.
What Should an Injured Construction Worker Do After an Accident Occurs on the Job Site?
The worker must obtain medical treatment for their injury. If a severe injury occurred, the worker should go to the nearest emergency room and tell the emergency room staff that they incurred an injury in the workplace.
If the injury does not require emergency treatment, the worker should report it to their employer as soon as possible. In many states, to receive coverage of medical expenses through a workers’ compensation claim, the worker must seek treatment for their injuries from a healthcare provider authorized by the employer or the insurance company that services their workers’ compensation policy.
Once treatment has been received, if the worker has not yet made an official report of the injury to their employer, they should do so. The employer is then required to report the injury to their insurer. The insurer will inform the injured worker about how to obtain the workers’ compensation benefits they need.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Compliance Division investigates reports of employers failing to provide workers’ compensation coverage and works with them to ensure compliance with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. When necessary, the division works with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to pursue civil and criminal penalties before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and in criminal courts. The division also coordinates with business and labor groups to help inform employers about compliance.
In Illinois, workers’ compensation covers medical expenses, temporary disability, permanent disability, vocational rehabilitation benefits and death benefits. Click here to learn more about each of these.
However, workers’ compensation may deny claims because:
- The worker failed to seek medical treatment for their injury.
- The worker’s injury occurred while they were impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- The employer or their insurance companythat the injury did not occur at work or that the worker deliberately caused the injury to obtain benefits.
- The worker’s injury occurred while they were impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- The worker has pre-existing conditions that make it unclear if their injury is work-related.
- The insurer received insufficient supporting documentation to consider the claim, or the claim included errors.
- The worker failed to report the injury to their employer within the required amount of time.
What Benefits Can a Workers’ Compensation Claim Provide?
Depending on what state you live in, it has its own workers’ compensation program and the details of that program can differ slightly. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer from the state you were injured in can help you understand the legal procedure for obtaining benefits.
Workers’ compensation programs generally provide benefits that include:
- Coverage of all reasonable medical expenses incurred in the treatment of your injury.
- The replacement of a portion of your wages during the time you recover from your injury and are unable to work. In cases involving permanent injuries that prevent the construction worker from returning to their job or working at any job can result in wage replacement until the worker reaches retirement age and is able to obtain social security benefits.
- Compensation and wage replacement for the family members of construction workers who suffered a work-related fatality.
How Long Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Last?
Different types of wage replacement benefits are typically available for a workers’ compensation claim. These benefits include:
- Temporary total disability payments
- Temporary partial disability payments
- Permanent partial disability payments
- Permanent total disability payments
Contacting an Attorney to Help You Obtain the Benefits You Need
Once an injured construction worker has obtained consultation from a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer and decides they want the lawyer to help them navigate the workers’ compensation or personal injury claims process, they will generally be asked to sign a contingency fee agreement. This agreement allows the lawyer and their legal team to represent the worker throughout the claims process without any upfront payment or hourly fees.
An experienced attorney can help in a workers’ compensation claim by reporting the injury to the worker’s employer, gathering the documentation needed to prove the severity of the injury and that it occurred on the job site, appealing a denied claim, sorting out discrepancies between them and their health care provider about whether they can return to work, expedite any delay in receiving the benefits they qualify to receive and much more.
If the injury results in a third-party personal injury claim, the attorney will calculate the value of the claim, communicate with the at-fault party’s insurance provider, negotiate a settlement, file a lawsuit within the state’s personal injury statute of limitations, present the case in court and collect the compensatory settlement or verdict for the claimant.
An experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney have the skills and resources to determine if injured construction workers qualify for other assistance, including Social Security Disability Insurance if they suffer permanent work-related injuries.
Contact our team of skilled workers’ compensation attorneys if you or a loved one has suffered an injury to learn more about your legal options and how you can obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation at (312) 384-1920.