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Who Was at Fault for Your Road Work Zone Crash?

Road construction seems to be never-ending in Chicago. Both the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) have a constant stream of projects on roads and highways around the city, especially during the warmer months. Road work can cause delays and frustration among drivers, especially due to lane closures. However, this work is necessary to ensure our streets are as safe and efficient as possible for all Chicago motorists.

While road construction happens to keep us safe, road work zones are also common locations for traffic accidents. Cars can crash into one another or into members of a construction crew, and serious injuries may result. Despite increased penalties for traffic violations in work zones, as well as safety initiatives for the public, road work zone accidents continue to occur with surprising frequency. In fact, according to IDOT, 6,741 work zone crashes took place in the state of Illinois during 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. That comes out to an average of nearly 18.5 construction zone accidents per day!

At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are committed to representing the rights of people injured in construction zone accidents. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago personal injury attorney, call our office today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

Various Parties Can Cause Serious Motor Vehicle Accidents in Illinois Construction Zones

In any injury case, it is necessary to identify which specific party or parties caused your accident. Motorists can file claims against various parties, which may include:

  • Other motorists – The negligence of other motorists causes a significant percentage of construction zone accidents. When drivers are driving in narrow lanes and in close proximity to other vehicles, small mistakes can cause disastrous results. Some examples of negligent driver conduct that can cause serious accidents in construction zones include texting, speeding, following too closely, and making improper lane changes.
  • Construction crew workers – Sometimes, the negligence of the crew working the site is responsible for accidents that occur in construction zones. Issues like failing to display adequate signage, misplacing cones or barrels, performing shoddy work, leaving materials in the road, working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or negligently operating machinery can cause serious, injury-causing motor vehicle accidents.
  • State agencies – Many construction crews work directly for CDOT or IDOT, making the city or state agency responsible for the negligence of workers. In addition, if the city or state improperly plans or executes a project, the agency itself may be negligent. These cases often require the analysis of construction experts who can assess whether negligence caused your accident.

Importantly, if your accident occurred due to the negligence of a construction crew employed by a state agency or a state agency itself, you may have to bring your claim under the Illinois Court of Claims Act. This law allows individuals to bring claims against the government, but places certain limits on the amount of time victims have to file a claim and the amount of compensation they can ultimately recover. For this reason, if you have any suspicion that your claim will be against the government or a construction company hired by the government, you should speak with an attorney immediately.

Injuries to Construction Workers

Occupants of cars are far from the only people who may suffer severe injuries in work zone crashes. In many situations, a driver may collide with a construction worker standing in or near the road. Illinois has many laws aimed at keeping workers safe, such as increased fines for speeding or cell phone use. However, drivers may make mistakes or may choose to disregard the safety of workers, resulting in an accident.

Many negligent or reckless acts can result in a construction worker getting hit by a car. Such acts may include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Speeding
  • Dangerous lane changes
  • Failing to adhere to signs and traffic direction
  • Aggressive driving

Construction can slow traffic, which can make it tempting for drivers to look at their phones. In addition, delays can frustrate drivers, which can escalate into aggression or even road rage.

As with any pedestrian accident, construction workers can suffer life-altering injuries if they get hit by a car. Even with safety gear, the impact of a collision can cause a wide range of traumatic injuries, including spinal cord injuries and shattered bones. Even with a hard hat, a construction worker can still suffer head trauma, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries. The losses associated with such catastrophic injuries can be astounding and can include:

  • Medical expenses for emergency care, hospitalization, rehabilitative therapy, surgeries, and more.
  • The estimated costs of any anticipated future medical care
  • Lost income from time away from work
  • Lost future earnings due to disabilities
  • Permanent disabilities, disfigurement, or impairments
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

When a driver hits a construction worker, a criminal case can penalize the driver with costly fines and possible jail time. However, the injured construction worker also deserves to receive full compensation for all of their injury-related losses. By filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit in civil court, an accident victim can seek the financial recovery they deserve. You should not wait to call an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a serious crash.

Hurt in a Construction Zone Accident? Call Abels & Annes, P.C., Today to Speak with a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

If you suffered injuries in an accident that occurred in a construction zone, it is imperative that you speak to an attorney as soon as you can. You may be entitled to significant compensation under Illinois law, and an attorney at Abels & Annes, P.C., can review your case at no cost to you and let you know whether you have a legal claim. If you choose to retain us to represent you, we will never collect legal fees unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. To schedule your completely free, no-obligation case evaluation with an experienced attorney, call our office today at (312) 924-7575 or send us an email through our online contact form.

What Causes Scaffolding Collapses at Construction Sites?

Scaffolding is an integral part of many construction sites, elevating workers and materials during construction, maintenance, or repair projects. If you walk around downtown Chicago for just a few minutes, you will almost certainly see scaffolding on dozens of buildings. Unfortunately, when these structures fail, workers can sustain extremely serious injuries, including some that can result in permanent disabilities and long-term medical complications. Fortunately for people who are injured in scaffolding collapse accidents, Illinois law may entitle them to benefits or compensation for their injuries and other losses.

At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are dedicated to helping people injured in and around construction sites recover compensation. We thoroughly evaluate every case we handle and make sure that our clients get the full and fair value of their claim. To schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney in Chicago, call our office today at (312) 924-7575 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Scaffolding Collapse Accidents Can Occur for a Number of Reasons

Scaffolding can take many different forms, and individual scaffolds can> vary significantly in sophistication and durability. They tend to be temporary structures that constriction companies build very quickly for a specific purpose. Unfortunately, this fact means that they are often built without sufficient planning and care, putting the individuals who work on them and bystanders at a significant risk of injury.

When scaffolding collapses, both workers bystanders can be seriously injured. Here are some of the most common causes of scaffolding collapses in the Chicago area:

  • Poorly constructed scaffolding
  • Scaffolding built with substandard or defective parts or materials
  • Overloaded scaffolding platforms
  • Poor or non-existent scaffolding maintenance
  • Vehicle or equipment collisions with scaffolding support beams
  • Noncompliance with OSHA scaffolding regulations

If you were hurt in a scaffolding collapse accident, you should remember that this is just a partial list of reasons that a scaffold may collapse. In addition, you should also be aware of the fact that the party responsible for the scaffolding collapse may try and deny liability if at all possible. For this reason, you should always have your case reviewed by an attorney to determine whether you can file a claim. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we will review the facts of your case at no cost to you and let you know how we think you should proceed. In addition, we will only collect legal fees from you if we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.

Scaffolding Collapse Accidents Can Cause Extremely Serious Injuries

When scaffolding collapses, anyone on it will almost certainly fall a significant distance, potentially resulting in extremely serious injuries. In addition, the scaffolding materials and any equipment on the scaffolding can cause severe harm to anyone below it. Some of the more serious injuries that people sustain in scaffolding collapse accidents include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Severe lacerations
  • Accidental amputations
  • Crush injuries
  • Facial fractures
  • Concussions
  • Spinal cord injuries

These and other injuries that people can sustain in scaffolding accidents can often leave victims with extensive medical bills, an inability to work, and significant physical and emotional pain and suffering. Additionally, in more serious cases, victims develop long-term problems that affect their ability to do their jobs or even perform everyday tasks like dressing themselves, eating, or getting from place to place. Because of these potentially serious and long-term issues, scaffolding accident victims should speak to a Chicago personal injury attorney as soon as they can to ensure that their legal rights are protected. Remember, time is of the essence in these matters, as waiting too long can result in the loss of critical evidence or the loss of the right to file a claim at all.

Workers Compensation or Personal Injury?

Many injured construction workers are confused as to whether they can file a personal injury lawsuit or need to seek benefits through Illinois’ workers’ compensation system. While it true that, in most cases, workplace accidents victims will need to file a workers’ compensation claim, there are certain circumstances in which an injured worker can file a personal injury lawsuit. Why is this important? Because workers’ compensation claims only provide benefits for victims’ medical expenses and lost income. On the other hand, in a personal injury claim, victims are able to seek compensation medical expenses, lost income, and a variety of other losses—such as physical and emotional pain and suffering and lost quality of life. For this reason, the compensation recovered in personal injury claims tends to far exceed the benefits that are available through workers’ compensation for the same accident.

Here are some of the circumstances under a construction worker may be able to file a personal injury claim after an injury-causing scaffolding collapse:

  • If the negligence of the party who manufactured scaffolding materials caused the accident
  • If the negligence of an independent contractor at the construction site caused the accident
  • If the negligence of a construction site visitor caused the accident
  • If the intentional acts of the injured worker’s employer caused the accident

>Remember, the cause of an accident is not always obvious, so it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney before deciding that your only course of action is pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. If you choose not to, you may be forgoing thousands of dollars in additional compensation.

Injured in a Construction Accident? Call Abels & Annes, P.C., Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have sustained injuries in a scaffolding collapse accident, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as you can. You may be able to recover compensation for the losses you have sustained, including your medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, lost quality of life, and lost income. At Abels & Annes, P.C., our personal injury lawyers in Chicago are dedicated to helping injured victims obtain justice and work hard to secure the highest possible settlement or award in each case we handle. To schedule a free case evaluation, call our office today at (312) 924-7575 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Construction Accidents Are a Leading Cause of On-the-Job Injuries and Deaths

Construction sites are notoriously dangerous places. Construction workers are killed and injured on the job almost every day of the year. While employment in the construction industry accounts for only 4 percent of total employment, construction workers constituted 21 percent of workplace fatalities in 2015. Injuries also are more common in construction than any other industry — nearly 72,000 construction workers suffered on-the-job injuries in 2015. And in 2016, out of the 4,693 employee on-the-job deaths in private industry, 991 were in construction – once again, about 21 percent of all on-the-job fatalities in the private sector. In other words, one in five employees in the private sector who suffered a fatal accident on the job during 2016 was a construction worker.

Construction workers face tough odds when it comes to injuries. Almost all construction workers will suffer some sort of injury over the course of a career in construction, often more than one. The risks of on-the-job injuries for construction workers include:

  • Ten percent of construction workers are injured to some extent on the job every year.
  • During a 45-year career, the odds of a construction worker suffering a fatal injury is 1 in 200.
  • The industry is particularly hazardous for young people – 60 percent of workplace injuries in the construction industry occur in the first year on the job, and the industry ranks second for fatal injuries suffered by workers younger than 18.
  • From 2002 through 2012, 19.5 percent of all workplace deaths occurred in the construction industry.

Causes of Construction Deaths and Injuries

There is no doubt that a construction worksite is a hazardous place. Potential causes for injuries – minor, serious, or even fatal – abound. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that other than highway collisions, four major categories account for the vast majority of construction deaths. These are:

  • Falls
  • Being struck by an object
  • Electrocution
  • Being crushed between or by objects. This includes being run over by a vehicle, trapped in a collapsing structure or tunnel, or crushed between vehicles or pieces of equipment.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that these leading causes of death for construction workers also ranked among the leading causes of injuries, although with some differences. The four most common causes accounted for more than two-thirds of construction-worker deaths in 2015 and a similar proportion of serious injuries. Of those causes, though, falls are the greatest cause of fatal construction injuries and the third-leading cause of non-fatal injuries. In addition, the most-violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations involve fall protection measures.

However, not all of the leading causes of fatal construction accidents rank among the leading causes of non-fatal construction accidents. The leading cause of non-fatal injuries resulting in time lost from work is over-exertion. While almost never fatal, exertion was the top cause of lost-time injuries in 2010, accounting from more than a third of the lost-time injuries that year. As noted above, falls lead the non-highway related fatalities, but are third in non-fatal injuries. Still, falls accounted for one in four lost-time construction injuries in 2010. Highway-related accidents accounted for 26 percent of construction fatalities in 2010, but only 4 percent of non-fatal injuries. Being struck by an object caused one-third of non-fatal injuries in construction in 2010, but only 18 percent of fatal injuries. While exertion was the leading cause of days away from work (DAFW), being struck by an object was the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in the construction industry in 2010.

A lesser source of construction injuries in terms of total numbers involves workplace injuries that result in amputations. While these accidents represent less than one percent of all construction accidents, they account for a disproportionate amount of time lost from work and costs per claim. From 1992 through 1999, construction workers suffered 171 fatal construction site amputations and more than 88,000 non-fatal construction site amputations. These injuries tend to be more severe and result in more lost time from work as well as higher claims costs. In 1996-97, amputation injuries were the most costly claims by injured workers, averaging more than $18,000 per claim. These injuries also resulted in more lost work time, averaging 18 days of DAFW for non-fatal amputations, compared to just 6 days of DAFW for all other injuries and illnesses combined.

The BLS estimates there are thousands of non-fatal workplace amputations each year. Primary causes include defective machinery and workplace negligence, as well as improperly maintained heavy machinery, poorly manufactured heavy machinery, and improper employee training and supervision.

The construction trades are dangerous. The jobs that make up the construction industry entail the use of heavy equipment, potentially dangerous tools, working far above the ground where the risk of a fall frequently carries the risk of death, and many other potentially dangerous situations. The death and injury statistics show that the perception of danger in the construction industry is, in fact, reality. While statistics on leading causes of construction-site accidents often purposely omit highway-related accidents, highway accidents also constitute a significant risk to construction workers.

Worksite accidents are almost never the sole fault of the injured employee. When a construction worker is injured on the work site, even if the only recourse is workers’ compensation, the construction worker almost always has recourse to recover compensation for his or her injuries. In instances where employer negligence plays a role in the injury, the options for recovery can expand beyond workers compensation. No matter what the circumstances of your injury, you should consult with an attorney to determine what your options are and to protect your rights to just compensation for your losses.

If You Have Been Involved in a Construction Accident in the Chicago Area, Contact the Attorneys of Abels & Annes

If you have been involved in a construction accident, you may have legal options available to recover compensation for your injuries. The attorneys of Abels & Annes can help. You can reach us at (312) 924-7575 or through our website.

Construction Accident FAQs

Over 216,000 people work in the construction industry throughout Illinois, more than half of whom work in the Chicago area. Many more people work as contractors on construction sites and may not be included in the above statistics. This means that hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of being involved in a construction accident on any given work day. The following are a few frequently asked questions about construction accidents in Illinois.

What are the most common construction accidents?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the following are the four most common construction accidents that result in serious or fatal injuries:

  • Falls
  • Electrocutions
  • Being struck by a vehicle or object
  • Getting caught in between two objects

Any of the above can cause severe injuries, including head or brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, burns, broken bones, and more.

Who can be held responsible for my construction accident?

There is no straight answer to this question, as the answer will depend on the circumstances of your accident and who or what caused the accident. For example, many construction accidents may be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, which can pay for your medical treatment and reimburse you for some lost income.

In some cases, however, you may also have the right to file a legal claim for personal injury following a construction accident. This may be the case if your accident occurred because of the negligence of a third party, such as the manufacturer of defective equipment or an independent contractor working at the site. The best way to answer this question is to consult with an attorney.

What should I do following a construction accident?

After a construction accident, you should always report the accident to your employer and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Once your injuries are stabilized, you should not delay in contacting a construction accident and injury attorney to determine the best course of action for seeking compensation.

Discuss Your Case with a Chicago Construction Accident Lawyer Today

At Abels & Annes, our personal injury and workplace injury attorneys help injured construction workers in and around the Chicago area. Call our office at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation today.

Common Injuries at Construction Sites

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),1 the most common fatal accidents at construction sites are falls, electrocutions, being struck by something, and being caught in between two objects or vehicles. Even if a construction worker survives these accidents, they will still likely face a lengthy recovery for serious injuries.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – Construction workers can sustain a TBI if they hit their head in a fall, get hit by a falling object or piece of equipment, if they are near blasting sites, and other similar incidents. Direct trauma to the head or extreme vibrations can damage the brain tissue, leading to a variety of effects2 depending on the location and severity of the TBI. Brain injuries can often result in lifelong cognitive and/or physical impairments.

Broken bones – Broken bones are common injuries in general, however, they can be particularly serious if a construction worker falls or has an accident with a power tool or heavy machinery. Many construction workers suffer compound fractures that require surgery to insert several pins and rods to replace the broken bone. In addition, if a worker is caught in between something, a bone can get completely crushed and may not be repairable.

Spinal cord injury – Any direct trauma to the spine can cause damage that may disrupt a number of bodily functions. Depending on the completeness of the injury, a spinal cord injury victim may be temporarily or permanently paralyzed from the point of injury down. This can lead to a reliance on wheelchairs and other assistance for the rest of their lives.

The above are only some of the many serious injuries sustained in construction zones and others may include burns, severed digits, and lacerations, among others. Anyone who has been in an accident should seek medical attention immediately and should discuss their legal rights with an attorney.

Contact Our Chicago Construction Injury Attorneys for Help

The legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. in Chicago knows how a construction injury can change your entire life and we know how to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Please call for a consultation with a construction accident lawyer at (312) 924-7575 today.

1https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html

2http://www.brainline.org/content/2008/07/what-impact-will-moderate-or-severe-tbi-have-persons-life_pageall.html