Brain Injury From Construction Accidents
Construction site workers risk injury every day, in an industry that sees more deaths annually than any other private sector. Brain injuries are common types of injuries for construction accidents, permanently altering a worker’s way of life, and necessitating lifelong medical care. Such injuries can occur when a worker is struck in the head by a falling object, crushed by heavy equipment, or falls from scaffolding or other great height. We know that construction sites expose workers to a wide variety of risks and hazards, many of which are avoidable. Each year, thousands of construction workers suffer brain injuries nationwide in various types of construction accidents, including:
- Building collapse accidents
- Crane accidents
- Electrical accidents
- Elevator shaft accidents
- Nailgun accidents
- Roof related falls
- Trench collapses
- Struck-by heavy falling objects
- Run-over by operating equipment accidents.
Liability for Construction Site Brain Injuries
Numerous parties may be financially liable for damages in a construction site accident, including the landowner, general contractor, subcontractors, architects and engineers, equipment manufacturers and insurance companies. The degree of liability may depend of who is in legal control of the construction site at the time of the accident. In many situations, the contractor assumes the responsibility for injuries and fatalities from construction site accidents, and any associated financial damages.
The Duty of Contractors
Construction site contractors have the duty to take measures to decrease worker and passerby injury risks. This includes proper training of employees, proper maintenance of construction equipment, posting warnings in hazardous areas, and supervising construction sites. A contractor deemed negligent may be liable for brain injuries and other injuries resulting from construction accidents. Failure to utilize available safety precautions such as safety nets and guardrails may also be grounds for liability.
Workers Compensation and Construction Accidents
Most states have strict worker’s compensation laws in place that limit available compensation. However, these limited payments are often not enough to cover mounting medical bills. Fortunately, the law allows construction accident victims to make claims against third parties, not just employers.
Scaffolding and Ladder Falls
Heights pose unique risks for injury, especially head and brain injuries. More than half of those working in the construction industry spend time on scaffolds. Falls from scaffolds, ladders, and various types of lifts and hoists account for the majority of brain injuries caused by construction accidents, along with employees being struck by objects falling from ladders, lifts and scaffolds. An estimated 4,500 people fall from scaffolds or ladders each year. Injuries may occur when companies use defective scaffolding or ladders, or improperly maintain equipment.
OSHA Scaffolding Compliance
Because so many workers are seriously or fatally injured in construction accidents, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a department of the U.S. Department of Labor, has set for standards and regulations for scaffolding manufacturing and use. At all times the platform must be able to support at least four times the intended weight load. All components, including runners, frames, arms, legs, outriggers and decking must also be able to support more than the intended weight load. Other rules include:
- Scaffolding shall never be moved with someone on it.
- Scaffolding construction shall include all pins, braces and bolts.
- Walk boards and planks must always be at least 36 inches under the top of the scaffolding.
- Workers shall never work below or within the fall-zone of the scaffolding.
- Wheels must be locked and rigid before stranding or climbing on the scaffolding.
Strict Liability For Scaffolding and Ladder Accidents
Some states, like New York, impose strict liability on general contractors, employers and property owners for scaffolding accidents and ladder falls. Such laws hold all parties involved in the chain of command above the injured construction worker liable for the worker’s injuries. For more information about the laws in your state, or to discuss your situation with a construction accident attorney at The Brain Injury Legal Help Center, call (800) 610-1892.