Construction workers quite literally take their lives in their hands every single day. They work with heavy and dangerous equipment and often at considerable heights for example when roofing or scaffolding. They often work with hazardous chemicals, abrasive materials and machinery like nail guns or high powered welders that can easily cause serious bodily injury and in sites and locations that are often chaotic and very noisy.
Examples of typical workplace accidents within the construction industry can be found in reports such as Oregon OSHA accident investigations:
STRUCK BY METAL DOOR: Employee climbed up on to the left front side of the shearer machine to attach a chain to the steel door that was being raised by a forklift to hold it open to perform maintenance. The forklift slid back on a steel plate on the ground forcing the door to push upward and striking the employee that had climbed the shearer in the head. The employee was taken to the hospital and remained overnight. There were possible fractures to facial bones, lacerations, and contusions.
TRUSS COLLAPSE: A crew of five workers were installing roof trusses on a new shop building under construction when the trusses fell over and collapsed into the building. One worker was killed and three others were injured.
Construction Accident Claims in Washington and Oregon
Washington and Oregon have strict laws outlining the responsibility of employers to ensure the safety of their staff but even if the employer was criminally negligent, workers in Washington cannot sue their employers for a workplace injury or occupational disease. Any compensation would be handled by the Department of Labor and Industries or by the employer's own insurance company. However, if the injury was the result of a defective product or machine or the negligence of someone who is not a co-worker the law allows that this “third party” be held responsible to pay for the injured worker's medical treatment and other claim expenses.
In this case, the injured party may consult with a personal injury lawyer and initiate a law suit. In the case of an injury caused by malfunctioning tools or heavy machinery the case will most likely be a product liability suit. Should a death have occurred on the site which was the direct result of the negligence of a person who is neither the employer nor a work colleague, then a wrongful death case may be brought against the negligent party. With this in mind, the injured worker should pay attention to the statute of limitations on personal liability or wrongful death cases and seek advice from an experienced attorney as soon after the event as is possible as third party construction accident cases are often complex and vigorously defended.
Seeking compensation requires a strong case involving the testimony of experts and specialists from several fields including medical, forensic engineering, accident investigation and reconstruction and more. Find out more about construction accident compensation claims or request a free consultation with lawyer experienced in personal injury cases, and knowledgeable on OSHA and WSHA regulations.