Understanding Construction Accident Risks

Workers in the construction field build our highways, bridges, overpasses, buildings and our homes. They maintain and repair our infrastructure. Threats to worker safety are both constant and shifting on a construction site depending on the stage of the construction and the number of workers and subcontractors on site. Construction site accidents remain one of the most dangerous places to work and result in many injuries and deaths. Even the most careful and safety conscious person can be injured by mishaps or the negligence of other people. This type of work is dangerous because it involves working at heights, excavations of land, use of power tools and equipment and outside electrical work. The Law Offices of John P. Zanelotti, PC, have been assisting injured construction workers with workers' compensation claims for more than 25 years.

Experience Helping Construction Workers

OSHA, the federal department responsible for worker safety, noted that there were nearly 2.9 million on the job injuries in the U.S. with over 6 percent attributable to construction sites. But of the 3,929 worker fatalities in 2013, about 20 percent were in the construction field. The leading causes of construction worker death, called the "Fatal Four," are deaths caused by falls, being struck by objects, electrocution and being caught in between objects. Although the rates of injuries and deaths on the job have been falling over the years, such is not the case for Latino workers, whose incidents of injury and death have steadily increased.

In many cases, construction workers, who have suffered serious injuries, have two separate claims — first a workers' compensation claim under the employer's insurance, and secondly, a lawsuit against a third party who caused the accident through their negligence. In such cases we can investigate and pursue both your workers' compensation claim and the potential third party claim so as to obtain all benefits available under the law. Examples where this may happen occur when an employee of another subcontractor drops an object onto a worker or when a worker is struck by a vehicle or truck being driven by the employee of another subcontractor on the job.

The Workers' Compensation Claim

By filing the employee claim form promptly before the correct Commission, we can insure that you obtain all the benefits available to you under the Workers' Compensation laws, including temporary total disability (lost wages), proper and expert medical care, and if after reaching maximum medical improvement there is still an ongoing impairment or disability, a permanent partial or permanent total disability award. In some cases the direct employer such as a subcontractor may not be insured then a claim can be made against the contractor itself.

Steps to Take if Injured on the Job:

  1. Report and the injury immediately to your supervisor or manager and record the name of the person (get a copy of the incident report if available).
  2. Write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the incident or who was involved.
  3. Take photographs (or have someone take photographs) of the area, any object, vehicle or equipment involved and of your injuries.

The Third Party Claim Liability in Construction Accidents in Maryland

Generally in most cases, the employer and the general contractor are immune from suit under the Maryland Workers' Compensation Act in construction type accidents. However, our office will explore third party liability claims against subcontractors, property owners, machinery manufacturers and motorists or drivers of machinery, if their negligence caused or contributed to the on the job accident or injuries. In such cases a claim for your specific permanent injuries, past and future medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses and damages can be made and pursued. Construction accidents are generally more severe than other professions due to the nature of the employment. Injuries to the cervical and lumbar spine, limbs and brain can be debilitating and require professional medical and legal expertise.

Those individuals and groups that may be responsible as liable parties can be:

  • Owners of the construction site or building
  • Contractors and sub-contractors and their employees
  • Construction machinery manufacturers or suppliers
  • Architects, engineers and other specialists
  • Insurance companies for their insured's negligence

Dependable Representation Through Every Step

In Maryland and the District of Columbia there are always building projects underway that require the hiring of thousands in the construction trades. Keeping safe is a matter of upmost importance. If you are injured, contact us today. Call 410-202-8067 to see how we can help. We would be honored to assist you in pursuing your claims.