Each day, on average, two construction workers die of work-related injuries in the United States, and one in five workplace fatalities are construction-related, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA). The following accidents are considered the “fatal four” for construction workers:
- Falls (38.7%)
- Struck by Object (9.4%)
- Electrocutions (8.3%)
- Caught-in-between (7.3%)
*caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects or struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structures
By eliminating these “fatal four” accidents, 631 workers’ lives would be saved in America each year.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in a construction accident, it is likely that an OHSA violation contributed to the incident. When there is evidence of an OHSA violation, it can be helpful for the attorneys to assemble a strong case.
The following were the most frequently standards cited for violation by Federal OSHA in 2017:
- Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
- Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
- Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
- Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
- Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
- Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
- Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212)
- Fall Protection–Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503)
- Electrical, wiring methods, components, and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305)
Generally, an employee cannot sue his/her employer for on-site injuries other than using the workers’ compensation system. However, if a party aside from your employer (a third party) caused or contributed to the accident in question, you can seek help from a personal injury attorney and file a lawsuit to recover any compensation that goes beyond what you receive from workers’ compensation. Seeking compensation in a third-party claim will not make an employee lose workers’ compensation benefits in any way—they are two separate legal actions pursued by different parties and do not interfere with one another.
Recognized under Ohio law, the following types of damages are able to be pursued for compensation:
- Medical Expenses such as emergency room care, surgical expenses, physical therapy, ambulance costs, medicine, doctor visits, etc.
- Pain and Suffering—this entitles you to recover compensation for the pain you experienced as a result as your injuries, including medical treatment.
- Disfigurement—this allows people with burns and orthopedic injuries with visible reminders of the incident to pursue compensation for their disfigurement.
- Wrongful Death—when a construction worker is killed on the job or dies from his/her injuries, his/her family can recover compensation.
- Lost Wages—past and future benefits and wages (insurance, retirement, vacation time) are compensable. If you were injured on the job and are unable to return to the position due to injury, you may be entitled to recover wages for the remainder of your working life. For example, if you are 50 years old and you suffer an injury that prevents you from returning to your position, you could be entitled to compensation for lost wages for the rest of your working life, using a retirement age of 70, you would be entitled to 20 years of wages.
In Ohio, the court or jury will make separate findings for: (1) the total compensatory damages recoverable, (2) total economic damages, (3) total noneconomic damages. However, the court will not consider your opponent’s guilt or evidence of your opponent’s wealth. Rather, the court will consider the totality of the circumstances that surrounded the incident and the credibility of evidence and witnesses.
Contact the attorneys at Rinehardt Law Firm for a free consultation to determine if you are eligible for third-party compensation for your injury.