Buy a car? Need minimum liability required. Buy a house? Got to have a homeowners’ policy. Living and breathing? Government says you better have health coverage or else. So why does it seem then that those insurance companies that we hire and pay regular monthly premiums to continue to fight so hard against acting in [..]
Construction Accidents in Boca Raton
There’s no such thing as a completely safe place, but some are more dangerous than others. Construction sites – and particularly jobs in construction – tend to fall in the latter category for far too many people.
This shouldn’t be surprising news. When you’re talking about an area full of sudden drops, heavy machinery, and sharp objects, injuries are bound to happen. After all, construction workers wear hard hats for a reason.
But just because some accidents in construction can be expected doesn’t mean that nothing can be done to prevent them – or that those who suffer injuries in these types of accidents should just sit idly by. For matters to improve, people have to take action.
Incidents in Construction Are Down – But Are They Really?
First, the good news: since 2006, fatal injuries in construction are down by 37 percent. That’s a fantastic achievement, and one that the construction industry should be proud of.
Unfortunately, that still means that hundreds of people die every year from construction accidents, and in 2012 the number of deaths actually rose by 5 percent over 2011 to 775 deaths. These numbers are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which releases occupational fatality numbers every year.
Obviously, it’s never good when the number of people dying from year to year increases, but the bad news doesn’t stop there for construction. The industry is responsible for almost 30 percent of all workplace deaths, and data from Labor Force Survey indicates that workers in the construction industry are guilty of widespread underreporting when it comes to accidents that aren’t serious or life-threatening.
How bad is this underreporting? There are about 6.7 million people working in the construction industry. The given statistics say that 880 injuries occur for every 100,000 workers. That would mean just under 60,000 people are injured in construction every year. However, the LFS believes that the numbers are closer to 1,427 for every 100,000 workers, which would put the real number of injuries at more than 95,000 every year.
Getting Hurt Is Bad – Ignoring It Is Worse
What can be lost when looking at those terrifying numbers is the fact that so many people are choosing not to report their injuries. When accidents aren’t reported, much of the time the problems that cause them aren’t addressed. Moreover, those who suffer from injuries don’t get any kind of compensation and may have to deal with ongoing physical issues and medical bills related to the incident for months or even years.
Why is this happening? Sometimes people believe that they will lose their jobs if they report an accident because they will be blamed for something going wrong. There is also the sense in many situations that the victim needs to take responsibility for what happened to them. Sure, they’re the one with the broken leg, but it’s their fault for slipping and falling in a dangerous area.
Thoughts like these aren’t helpful, though. You aren’t a Florida personal injury lawyer, and you likely don’t know what you should legally be held liable for. If you or a loved one is hurt in a construction site accident, you can’t afford to simply ignore it – you owe it to yourself and everyone else you work with who is at risk of having the same thing happen to take action and make sure that the problem is taken care of.
Common Causes and Types of Accidents in Florida Construction
Construction sites often have so much going on that it’s easier to pinpoint the areas that aren’t dangerous – or as dangerous – than it is to highlight problem sections. Still, there are a number of different common causes of accidents in construction. They tend to involve, in no particular order:
- Lack of access or use of proper safety equipment
- Trenches that have been improperly braced
- Accidents involving scaffolding
- Slip and fall accidents
- Other workers acting in a way that is reckless
- Accidents related to cranes
- Accidents with chemicals
- Falling objects that cause injury
- Using machinery that is defective
- Electrical accidents, including electrocution
- Injuries involving improper lifting
- Accidents caused by work done in confined spaces
As you might imagine, this wide variety of dangers can lead to a number of different kinds of injuries. Some of the most common ones that occur on constructions sites are:
- Crushed or broken bones. When you work with heavy machinery and equipment, one small mistake or piece of defective material can lead to a shattered or crushed arm or leg. Large objects might fall from above. Vehicles can get away from operators and run over other workers. And then, of course, there are the far too frequent falls.
- Injuries to the head. Workers wear hard hats to protect them from falling objects and other dangers, but sometimes it’s just not enough. Far too often, people end up with concussions, lacerations, and even more serious traumatic head injuries from construction site accidents.
- General cuts. It seems obvious that people working with sharp blades and other tools like screws and nails might experience a few cuts here and there, but many of these lacerations can be prevented, and some become truly serious, either because of infection or because the cut in question is large, deep, or both.
- Hearing loss. Construction equipment can be incredibly loud, and if someone forgets to use earplugs or those plugs aren’t available, their hearing can be severely compromised. Additionally, it’s possible for someone to suffer from hearing loss after being hit on the head.
- Damage to vision. Being exposed to dangerous onsite gases, chemicals, and other materials for a prolonged period of time can lead to someone’s eyesight being damaged or even blindness.
- Loss of digits or limbs. Beyond bones being crushed, there are also an incredible variety of ways that workers might experience the loss of a finger, toe, or even an arm or leg. Digits might be sliced or blown off by equipment that’s defective or being operated by reckless workers, and mangled body parts may need to be removed in order to save someone.
- Heat stroke. People who work construction do so in all kinds of inclement weather conditions, and often work for long hours doing extremely strenuous activities. When this is done in Florida’s very hot weather and workers aren’t given the opportunity for necessary breaks, they might end up suffering a heat stroke. This can cause immediate problems if they faint while operating dangerous equipment, as well as leading to long term problems with the kidneys, heart, and brain.
This list isn’t comprehensive. Many workers experience burns from things like exposed wires, explosions, fires, and chemicals. Others have to deal with damage to their spinal cords. And still others suffer from the stress the repetitive work causes to their body over time. All of these things can lead to exorbitant hospital bills and a lifetime of pain and suffering.
How to Deal With Your Florida Construction Injury
If you’ve been injured in an accident on a construction site, you want to make sure that you and your family are protected. Depending on the severity of the accident, you might lose out on work, have high medical bills, and even continue to battle against pain for years.
At the very least you should get workers’ compensation, but often that won’t make up for everything that you’re losing. If you believe that you were hurt due to the negligence or recklessness of another, the best thing that you can do for yourself and to protect future workers is to speak with a Florida attorney who has experience dealing with construction lawsuits.
Only someone who has been there and done this before can look at your specific incident and let you know whether or not you have a viable case based on the evidence available. Maybe your employers were in violation of OSHA standards. Maybe someone was acting irresponsibly on the job and caused your accident – sometimes this can be attributed to employer negligence, too. Whatever the situation, you deserve to know what your options are by setting up a free consultation with The Injury Law Firm of South Florida. In addition to free consultations, we work on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing until we recover damages.
Residents of Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, and Deerfield Beach, call us at 954-764-7377 (Fort Lauderdale), 561-209-2100 (Boca Raton & West Palm Beach), or Toll-Free at 877-566-8759. You can also fill out a short online contact form here.