Construction workers face some of the most dangerous working conditions in the country. In fact, construction accidents accounted for the third most frequent injury-caused deaths. It is not uncommon for injured construction workers to find themselves struggling to pay medical bills, therapy costs, and maintain their basic living requirements.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a construction site accident, you should not wait around before you contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Our Sebastian County, AR construction accident attorney has more than twenty years of experience helping victims of all types of construction accidents in Sebastian County and throughout Arkansas. Call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, at (479) 316-0438 today to get started.
Frequent Causes of Construction Accidents in Sebastian County
Nearly one in every ten construction workers will be injured in a given year while working on a construction site. While some of these injuries can be attributed to pure accidents, a startling amount of accidents and injuries however happen because safety regulations were ignored, equipment was properly maintained, or assembled.
- Improper scaffolding procedures;
- Falling objects
- Collapsed structures
- Negligent blasting and use of explosive devices
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Electrical shocks
- Insufficient or defective safety devices
- Crane accidents
These construction site hazards pose a risk to all workers. Out of the estimated 150,000 construction site accidents, workers in the prime of their life between the ages of 25 and 34 years old are statistically the most likely to be injured in a construction site accident.
The “Fatal Four” Types of Construction Injuries
Construction work is dangerous. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified four common construction accidents that are commonly referred to as the “Fatal Four” that often result in death.
Construction workers in Sebastian County are injured and killed falling off scaffolding, roofs, cranes, and other construction equipment. Elevator shafts present a danger when they are being built and even ordinary ladders are hazardous.
Construction tools and equipment are heavy. Additionally, materials such as bricks, sheetrock, pipes, and other objects are also stored and moved around construction sites. When materials or tools are not properly secured or handled carelessly, they could fall and injure or kill a worker below.
Construction work requires power and electricity. Many workers are electrocuted when the cords of their power tools are improperly grounded. Furthermore, live wires could be running through a construction site. Workers operating or working on cranes are also subject to hitting overhead power lines.
Construction equipment is heavy and if a worker is caught between moving equipment and a wall, they could be easily crushed, suffering severe or fatal injuries. Walls being built sometimes fall down and trenches could cave-in. If a worker is caught in these types of accidents, they are liable to be crushed by the falling material.
Suing an Employer for an Injury on a Sebastian County Construction Site
Typically, a construction worker in Sebastian County waives their right to file a lawsuit over a construction site injury. Under Arkansas Workers Compensation law, an injured employee is entitled to benefits to cover their medical expenses and a portion of their lost income. One of the advantages of receiving compensation through a workers’ comp claim is the injured worker is not required to prove negligence in a civil court. Typically, if the injury occurred while you were working, you are entitled to benefits through your employer’s insurance provider. Another advantage is that workers’ compensation benefits are obtained much faster. However, the process is complicated, so it is a good idea to have the assistance of an experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney.
While Arkansas law generally prohibits lawsuits against an employer, there are some exceptions. Workers’ compensation only covers employees in Sebastian County. Therefore, if you are self-employed or work as an independent contractor, you are not necessarily bound by the limitations placed on employees. It is crucial to have an experienced Sebastian County worker’s injury attorney assisting you because, in some situations, a person who believes they are an independent contractor for employment purposed is actually considered an employee under workers’ compensation.
In cases where the injury was the result of intentional conduct instead of carelessness or negligence, a construction worker could sue their employer. For example, if your employer pushed you off scaffolding, they could be held liable for your injuries through a civil lawsuit.
Most employers in Sebastian County are required to carry insurance to protect their employees. In cases where an employer violated these rules, an injured construction worker could bring a personal injury lawsuit.
Third-Party Injury Claims for Construction Accident Injuries
Workers’ compensation only prohibits employees from suing their employer. However, accidents on construction sites often occur because of the negligence of other parties.
For example, if you were injured because the scaffolding you were on was defective, then you could have a claim against the company that manufactured the equipment. Products liability claims are not limited to scaffolding. Defective products could range from tools and safety equipment to the heavy machinery used at the construction site. When equipment fails to function as intended and results in an injury, the manufacturer or distributor could be held responsible.
Many jobs on construction sites are contracted out to other subcontractors. For example, an outside firm could be hired to assemble the scaffolding or operate heavy machinery that your employer does not own. When an injury occurs because of a subcontractor’s carelessness, or the conduct of their employees, they could be held liable for any damages. If your injury was caused by the negligent conduct of someone other than your employer, it is critical to speak with our knowledgeable Sebastian County personal injury attorney to determine if you have the necessary grounds to file a claim against them.
Injury Lawsuits vs. Workers’ Compensation for Sebastian County Construction Accidents
As stated above, one of the advantages of receiving benefits through workers’ compensation is you are not required to go through a lengthy trial. When you sue a third-party, you will have a more significant burden of proof to overcome to be awarded any compensation. As with most lawsuits based on negligence, if you sue a third-party for a construction injury, you will have to establish four elements: the defendant owed you a duty of care, the defendant breached that duty, the defendant’s actions caused your injury, and you suffered damages.
While a lawsuit is time-consuming, challenging, and the eventual outcome is not guaranteed, there are substantial benefits to filing a civil court claim.
Injured construction workers are usually able to recover the full cost of their medical treatment through workers’ compensation. However, in most cases, a construction worker who cannot work will only receive two-thirds of their salary. Furthermore, you are not permitted to recover for your pain and suffering through a workers’ comp claim.
In a personal injury lawsuit, an injured construction worker is entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Medical expenses are included under economic damages. Unlike benefits under workers’ compensation, an injured worker is not restricted to going to doctors that their employer’s insurance provider approves. Additionally, a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is entitled to collect the full income they would have earned if they were not injured.
Non-economic damages are only available through a lawsuit. These damages include intangible harm, including pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. Construction site injuries are often devastating, resulting in much more than just the physical injury.
Recovering for Damages After a Construction Accident in Sebastian County
Construction site injuries are all too common and in many cases are fatal. Tragically construction site fatalities accounted for nearly forty-seven percent of all occupational fatalities and continued to go up. In 2019, the total number of construction workers who lost their lives reached 1,061. Even the number of construction workers who are injured every year is startling. The number of injuries on construction sites is seventy-one percent greater than in other industries. In 2017 the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that there were an estimated 2.8 injury cases for every 100 workers.
With the amount of injuries facing construction workers every day, it is crucial that an injured worker know that they are not without rights. Working with a personal injury attorney who has been representing injured workers through Sebastian County for decades may be an ideal way to handle the extensive medical bills and the lost time from work. In the event that you have been injured on a construction site you may be entitled to any one of the following types of compensation.
- Loss of wages;
- Medical expenses;
- Counseling costs;
- Physical therapy;
- Property damage;
- Ongoing living expenses;
- Mortgage and rent;
- Pain and suffering; and/or
- Loss of consortium for widows or widowers.
Many construction site injury cases are handled by filing a claim through the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Authority. While this may be daunting to an injured worker, Ken Kieklak has experience filing personal injury claims and has represented workers in worker’s compensation claims for more than 20 years.
Contact a Sebastian County Construction Accident Lawyer
If you have suffered a serious injury or if you have lost a loved one due to the recklessness or carelessness of another, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law can fight for you. For more than 20 years Ken Kieklak has stood up for hard-working people who have been injured through no fault of their own. To schedule your free and confidential personal injury consultation call (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.