Falls are one of the most common types of accidents on construction sites and many construction workers sustain severe injuries when they fall. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers falls to be one of the construction industry’s “fatal four” accidents due to the number of deaths that result from falls on construction sites each year.Falling can be a frightening experience in itself and dealing with the aftermath of a fall injury can be devastating. Many fall victims have their lives completely changed for a period of time—if not forever. With the costs of medical treatment and the limitations caused by traumatic injuries, it is important to understand when you have the right to financial compensation after a fall.At the Chicago law firm of Abels & Annes, we regularly help construction site fall victims recover for their losses. We can evaluate your situation and advise you on the best path to financial recovery, so please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your situation today.
Falls from Heights on Construction Sites
Construction jobs often require working from high places. Whether you are building a multi-level structure, repairing or building a bridge, installing roofing, or doing work from cranes or other types of heavy machinery, you are at risk of falling.Scaffolding collapses are a major cause of falls for construction workers. Scaffolding is a temporary structure that allows work to be done on the outside of buildings and other structures. While OSHA has specific safety standards regarding scaffolding, such regulations do not always prevent scaffolding from malfunctioning. Sometimes, an entire scaffolding structure will collapse while there are people working from the scaffolding. These workers can fall numerous floors to the ground and any scaffolding equipment above them can crash onto them. It should be no surprise that scaffolding-related falls can result in catastrophic injuries.Construction falls are also commonly caused by a construction company’s safety violations. Anyone working from heights should be properly trained to do so and should have all of the required safety equipment—including harnesses. Too many construction companies allow workers to work in high places without being adequately strapped in or trained on fall safety. Such safety violations can easily lead to falls from heights.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
It is easy to understand how falling from a high place can cause severe injuries; however, you may not realize that falls on level ground can also result in life-changing injuries. Slips, trips, and falls are a leading cause of accidental injuries in the United States.Construction sites have many different hazards that may cause a worker to slip or trip, leading to a fall. Some hazards may include:
- Electrical cords across walkways
- Tools or building materials left on the ground
- Inadequate footwear that causes a worker to slip
- Wet or slippery surfaces
- Holes or other irregularities in the ground surface
Sometimes, a construction worker will slip or trip simply because he is not paying attention. This can cause the worker to end up on the ground in serious pain and require extensive medical treatment.
Common Fall-related Construction Injuries
Anytime you fall—whether from a high place or on even ground—several types of traumatic injuries can occur. These injuries almost always require emergency medical attention and an often lengthy treatment plan. Some common fall-related injuries include:Traumatic brain injury – Many people who fall down hit their heads on either the ground or a nearby object. Any trauma to the head can result in damage to the tissue of the brain. Such damage can be worsened if the skull fractures and part of the bone pierces the brain. Brain injuries can range from concussions to severe conditions that leave you in a coma for a long time. There are many possible complications of a brain injury, including hemorrhaging or excessive intracranial pressure. The effects of a brain injury can affect your physical, cognitive, and behavioral functioning, and can even leave you with permanent impairments.
Spinal cord injury – Any trauma to the spine can damage the discs, nerves, and other tissue of the spinal cord. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, victims may lose functioning and sensation in the body below where the injury occurred. While some spinal cord injuries can heal and patients can regain functioning, others can leave victims permanently paralyzed in their lower body or even from the neck-down.
Broken bones – Some broken bones can heal relatively quickly if immediate medical attention is received. However, even minor broken bones can prevent you from using that body part and keep you from working or performing certain everyday tasks. Furthermore, some broken bones are far more serious, as compound fractures can require multiple surgeries and may never fully heal.
Soft tissue damage – Sprains, strains, and tears of the soft tissue may not seem like a serious injury but these injuries can substantially restrict your movement and can cause severe pain. Physical therapy or surgery is often required as part of a treatment plan for soft tissue injuries.
Seeking Financial Recovery after a Fall
Fall victims can require costly medical care and often have to miss work—and income—while they recover. For this reason, it is critical to know your legal rights and the best method of seeking compensation for your losses.If you are an employee of a construction company, you will likely be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits to cover your losses. This is generally the case, regardless of what caused your job-related injury. On the other hand, if you are an independent contractor, you may have to determine who was responsible for your fall and file a legal claim against any and all negligent parties.
Contact a Chicago Construction Injury Attorney for Assistance Today
No matter what the circumstances of your fall may be, it is always important to be represented by a construction injury law firm that knows how to obtain the compensation you deserve. The legal team at Abels & Annes in Chicago can advise you of your rights, so please contact us today online or at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation.