While employees who are injured on the job must usually pursue a remedy through workers’ compensation, other individuals who are injured by a Philadelphia construction accident are entitled to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. A Philadelphia construction accident lawyer can help injury victims obtain the compensation they deserve.
What Are Construction Accidents?
Construction is commonplace in Philadelphia. Old buildings are demolished so that they can be replaced with different structures. New buildings are constructed on the city’s vanishing supply of vacant lots. Other buildings are remodeled or expanded. All construction areas are high-risk environments. They injure not just construction workers, but non-employees who have a need to be on the construction site. In some cases, bystanders who happen to near a construction site are injured by explosions, collapsing buildings, falling debris, or other construction site mishaps.
Examples of construction accidents include:
- Falling from a height
- Ground-level falls caused by tripping hazards or slippery surfaces
- Being struck by equipment or materials dropped from a height
- Fires and explosions
- Falling debris from building demolition
- Machinery accidents
- Vehicle accidents
- Trench collapses
- Exposure to toxic products or acids
- Nail gun accidents
- Failure to warn of dangerous activities or hazardous conditions
Construction accidents often cause serious injuries. Victims of construction accidents who are not required to bring an injury claim through workers’ compensation can obtain justice with the help of a skilled attorney.
Who Can Bring a Construction Accident Lawsuit?
Other than employees who are limited to workers’ compensation remedies, anyone who is injured due to the careless acts of another person or company at a construction site is entitled to pursue personal injury compensation. Injury victims may include:
- Independent contractors who are working on a construction site
- Individuals making deliveries to the construction site
- Employees of another company who are conducting business on the negligent company’s construction site
- Individuals who are visiting the construction site
- Injured bystanders
While employees cannot usually bring a personal injury lawsuit for work injuries arising out of their own employer’s negligence, an exception to that rule exists when employers have allowed their workers’ compensation insurance to lapse or when they failed to obtain workers’ compensation insurance and are not legally self-insured.
Who Can Be Sued?
It may be possible for employees to bring lawsuits against third parties who were responsible for the accident, such as an injury caused by an equipment operator who is not employed by the construction company that employs the injured worker. Injured employees may also be entitled to sue manufacturers for injuries caused by defective machinery. Non-employees of the construction company will need to identify the party or parties responsible for the accident. The construction company as well as independent contractors providing services to the construction company might share responsibility for the accident. A Philadelphia construction accident attorney will conduct a careful investigation of liability to determine whether responsibility for the incident is shared by more than one entity. For example, when a crane collapses on a windy day, the construction company may have been negligent in the decision to operate the crane, the company that provided the crane may be responsible if the crane is not owned and operated by the construction company, and the manufacturer of the crane may also have been negligent in designing a crane that failed to remain stable in windy conditions.
What Injuries Are Caused by Philadelphia Construction Accidents?
Falls, slips, and trips are the most common Philadelphia construction accidents that send victims to an emergency room. A fall from a height can be fatal, while survivors of a fall may suffer from a serious head injury or a spinal fracture. Slips and trips often result in broken bones and injuries to knees, wrists, and other joints. The second most common cause of serious construction accident injuries involves contact with construction equipment. Individuals who are pinned between two pieces of equipment, or who are near an unstable forklift or crane that overturns, may suffer from crush injuries. A crush injury that causes organ damages may be fatal. The most common injuries that arise from construction accidents include:
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Amputated fingers and limbs
- Broken bones
- Joint injuries
- Serious cuts and punctures, sometimes followed by infections
- Burns and electric shock
- Crush injuries and organ damage
- Eye injuries
- Chemical burns
- Poisoning from chemical exposure
- Stretched or torn ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves
Injury victims who are not required to pursue workers’ compensation remedies can seek compensation with the help of a construction accident attorney in Philadelphia. In addition to compensation for physical injuries, accident victims are entitled to compensation for accompanying emotional injuries. In some cases, a bystander can recover compensation for serious emotional harm caused by witnessing a construction accident. Under Pennsylvania law, most bystanders cannot recover damages for emotional harm they suffer from observing an accident that injures other people. However, a bystander who is near the accident scene and who witnesses an accident that injures or kills a close relative is entitled to pursue compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious emotional harms that result from witnessing the accident.
What Compensation is Available for Construction Accident Victims?
Surviving relatives of victims who are killed in a construction accident may seek wrongful death compensation. In Philadelphia, wrongful death compensation is generally available to spouses, children, or parents of the deceased. The lawsuit must usually be initiated by the personal representative of the victim’s estate. Since the rules for pursuing wrongful death compensation in Pennsylvania can be complicated, surviving family members should consult with a Philadelphia construction accident attorney as soon as possible to protect their rights. Injury victims who survive a construction accident are entitled to bring a personal injury claim against the company that was responsible for their injuries. The party responsible for a construction accident is generally required to compensate nonemployee accident victims for all their losses, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of future earning ability
- Physical and vocational rehabilitation expenses
- Equipment and other expenses necessary to cope with a disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life
While compensation cannot make pain go away, compensation can help accident victims recover their financial losses while improving the quality of their lives.
Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers
Proving fault in a construction accident may require an extensive investigation of the facts and consultation with expert witnesses. An experienced Philadelphia construction accident lawyer is in the best position to help accident victims bring a successful claim against the companies that share responsibility for their injuries or for a loved one’s death. Our construction accident lawyers in Pennsylvania have helped countless injury victims get the compensation they need after suffering serious injuries. If you need help from a skilled professional. Call (610) 660-7780 or fill out our form to get help from a compassionate team of successful legal professionals that consistently receive 5-star ratings for their superior representation.