Posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2017 at 2:00 pm
Construction work is one of the leading cause of workplace accidents and sadly causes of death, too. Many construction accidents leave a worker permanently disabled or needing extensive long-term medical care. Workers who can’t return to their job often need to retrained for jobs that involve much less physical labor. Construction work includes jobs at private residences, commercial buildings, industrial sites, road and bridge repair, and a variety of needs throughout both North Carolina and Virginia
Unlike office work, construction work is often at a temporary site which is a constant state of change because of the work being done. As with all workers comp injuries, there is no need to prove that the company that ran the site, a supervisor, or any other party was responsible or at fault for the employee’s accident. Any employee who is hurt while doing his/her job and suffers injuries that prevent an immediate return to work is entitled to payment for medical bills and 2/3rds of lost wages until a return is possible (with some exceptions).
Construction companies are supposed to comply with local building laws. If they don’t, accidents are much more likely. Even at sites that obey all the rules though, accidents are all too common. Some of the ways construction site accidents occur are:
Fatigue is another cause of construction site workers. Tired workers are easily injured by others and even by their own actions. Other accident causes include fires, explosions, and control of hazardous energy.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, one in five fatalities in the private sector were due to a construction site accident. The top four reasons (other than vehicle accidents) were falls, electrocution, being struck by an object, and being caught-in/between. Those four accident types accounted for over 60 % of construction site deaths in 2014 – over 500 workers.
Workers’ compensation does provide some additional benefits for some injuries such as the need to have a body part amputated. Attorney Joe Miller understands which injuries qualify for additional compensation and the amount of the compensation. He also explains to family members what benefits the family is entitled to if someone tragically dies. In addition to the strong possibility of a family losing a beloved relative, many workers suffer the following types of serious, sometimes permanent, construction site injuries
Other common construction work accidents include eye injuries, injuries to the extremities, and post-traumatic stress disorder
There are a few special considerations, your North Carolina or Virginia worker’s compensation lawyer will need to review if you are hurt at a construction site and want to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers generally need to be employees and not independent contractors. Whether you qualify is a decision for the worker’s compensation office to determine. Even if an employer says you are an independent contractor, you may still qualify as an employee.
The key issue is control. What level of control does the employer have over the worker? Does the worker have to report to the worksite at a certain time each day? Are there rules to follow that are set by the boss? Who supplies all the main work equipment? If it’s mostly the bossman, then in all likelihood, no matter what the employer tells you, you are an employee and not a subcontractor.
We see this issue come up again and again in construction cases. Workers compensation insurance can be expensive. So companies get bad advice from someone who says they can just call all their employees subcontractors, even though they are actually employees, and get away with it.
The worst part about that is that the employer will then fail to purchase workers compensation insurance. Then when the employee suffers a severe injury, the employer shrugs and says “oh, well, you know you’re a subcontractor, right?”
Sorry, Mr. Bossman, it does not work that way. The good news is that even in such situations, all may not be lost. If the employer was under another contractor or there was a general, the injured worker should be able to recover under the general contractor’s worker’s comp insurance. Also, in Virginia, assuming the employer had at least 3 employees regularly employed in the business, the injured worker may find relief from the uninsured employer’s fund.
In construction place accidents, the injured worker may have a direct personal injury claim against non-employers such as manufacturers of equipment that was improperly made or designed.
North Carolina and Virginia workers’ compensation attorney Joe Miller has the experience and tenacity that injured workers need. His dedication to detail, understanding of the relevant legal and medical issues, and his ability to argue the facts of your case have led to thousands of satisfied work injury clients. For immediate help and strong advocacy, please call attorney Joe Miller at (888) 694-1671. You can also schedule an appointment through his contact form.