Construction Accidents May Result in Victims Being Trapped by a Falling Object
Construction sites are full of materials that can cause serious injuries when workers are trapped by falling objects. Being trapped by a falling structure – such as a wall, collapsed scaffold or hundreds of pounds of building materials – can be terrifying, due in large part to the helplessness of being unable to extricate yourself without emergency assistance. Many who are hurt by falling structures can even suffer wrongful death, either immediately due to suffocation, or later when succumbing to massive injuries. Injured workers may be eligible for compensation in addition to workers’ compensation. Discuss your options today with a Cook County construction accident lawyer.
When proper safety precautions and regulations are observed, accidents caused by a falling structure still may happen. Large, heavy signs and construction equipment or vehicles also can fall on workers. It is not unusual for poor demolition or construction methods to cause an unexpected building collapse, trapping a worker beneath piles of rubble.
Cave-in accidents of unreinforced trenches and excavation sites also pose serious dangers. Workers can be crushed or suffocate, sometimes dying before their coworkers are able to rush in and dig them out. We know of instances in which dangerous materials may play a part in injuring a worker in a trench or beneath tons of rubble, such as toxic substances or liquids that could accelerate injuries or wrongful death.
The types of injuries an injured construction worker can experience in these kinds of accidents include:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Suffocation (or drowning)
- Internal injuries
- Broken bones (or compound fractures resulting in limb amputations)
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Excessive blood loss
- Wrongful death
Filing Workers’ Compensation and Third-Party Liability Claims
Once your employer knows you have been injured, you usually file a workers’ compensation claim after initial treatment for your injuries. It pays benefits to employees who are injured on the job, no matter who is to blame. Nearly all Illinois workers are covered by workers’ comp insurance, which is paid for by employers.
Workers’ comp is no-fault insurance designed to reimburse injured employees for the cost of their medical treatment and a percentage of their lost wages. But in exchange for this quick and partial reimbursement, rarely does a worker receive the full monies due him or her. So if someone else not associated with your employer may have had a negligent hand in causing the accident, it is wise to file an injury claim based on that third-party’s liability with a Cook County construction accident lawyer.
For example, if a defective structure fell on you, its manufacturer could be a liable third party. If a demolition crew did not safely set its charges, which accidently caused a retaining wall to fall on you, the crew leader and his employer could be third party liability defendants. In Illinois, all general construction contractors are required to following laws governing workplace safety, many of them employing safety engineers. If they were lax in keeping the site safe, the general contractor – and the responsible safety engineer – could be liable for damages arising from your injury.
A civil claim against any third party after a workplace accident will be for the full amount of your damages which – in addition to medical, full disability and all of your lost wages – include pain, suffering and emotional distress, paying the benefits associated with your job (healthcare, retirement, etc) and possibly punitive damages if the third party’s behavior that led to the accident was willful or grossly negligent. Because civil claims are for the full amount of damages, there is always enough to reimburse your employer’s workers’ comp insurer and still fully compensate you for the true value of your injuries.
If your construction injury was caused by a third party, Buttafuoco and Associates experienced work injury attorneys offer a free consultation. Contact us anytime by calling 1-800-NOW-HURT or fill out our online contact form.