Overall, Central Kentucky’s population growth rate is not much higher than the national average. But city and county laws prohibit development in many areas set aside as horse farms. As a result, there are fewer places to live. Therefore, many residential and commercial construction, renovation, and demolition projects are concentrated in certain areas.
This legal environment creates a very competitive economic environment. Builders must compete for space, and not just for projects. So, a few dollars here and there could be the difference between making and losing money on a particular project. Many companies feel the need to cut corners, and worker safety is a tempting shortcut.
Construction companies might not be committed to worker safety, but a Lexington personal injury lawyer is on your side. Since most injury claims settle out of court, your attorney must be a good negotiator and not just a strong litigator. Otherwise, you might end up settling your claim for less.
Construction Accident Causes
Construction companies that place profits before people might be the leading cause of construction accidents, but there are many others as well.
Sometimes, a lack of communication causes such accidents. Some construction companies have a high number of LEP (Limited English Proficiency) workers. Frequently, these workers do not understand safety instructions in English. Or, they might not fully comprehend how important safety is. If the boss hires an interpreter, these things often get lost in translation.
Some companies prioritize speed above worker safety. Donning and doffing (taking on and taking off) safety harnesses and other equipment usually requires several minutes a day. These minutes quickly add up to hours. Additionally, many companies remove safety guards and other equipment from dangerous tools, so the people that handle them can work faster.
Commonly, negligent employers falsely promise to pay medical bills under the table if workers do not file claims. When employers renege on these promises, the claims deadline has often passed. So, don’t fall for this feint.
The Fatal Four
OHSA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, is one of the smallest regulatory agencies in the federal government. OSHA has about one inspector for every 59,000 workers in Kentucky. The agency estimates that eliminating these four construction accidents would significantly reduce the construction industry’s fatal accident rate:
- Falls: Either a slip and fall or a fall from a height can cause serious injuries, such as a head injury. Defective or absent safety rails are one of the leading causes of fall accidents.
- Electrocution: LEP workers have a particularly hard time distinguishing between live wires and dead wires at busy construction sites. These incidents often cause permanent musculoskeletal injuries, as well as serious burns.
- Struck By: There is an urban myth that a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building is fatal to a pedestrian on the street. Yet this tale contains a grain of truth. Objects like hammers and other tools quickly pick up force as they plunge downward.
- Caught Between: On a related note, some stories about people losing arms or legs in elevators are urban myths, and some are not. Mechanical problems contribute to many of these injuries.
Generally, construction accident victims only want to get back to work so they can provide for their families. The compensation available in these cases helps them do that. However, liability is often complex, as outlined below.
Most construction site injuries are not “accidents.” Factory owners coined the term “industrial accident” in the early 1900s. This phrase shifted blame for these injuries from their dangerous factories to the victims themselves.
Instead, negligence causes most construction site injuries. Negligence can be a lack of ordinary care, such as the failure to meet industry standards regarding safety. Or it could be the violation of a safety statute, such as a building code infraction.
In some cases, victim/plaintiffs must establish recklessness as opposed to negligence in these civil cases. Recklessness is a higher standard of misconduct.
Workers’ compensation might be available as well. Workers’ compensation insurance provides no-fault benefits that cover economic losses.
Other construction site injuries involve defective products. Typically, manufacturers are strictly liable for any injuries their dangerous products cause. Victims need only prove causation.
Commercial and residential construction site accident victims often have several legal options. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Offices, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Central Kentucky and nearby jurisdictions.