Take a look at any of the many construction sites in Pittsburgh and you are looking at the site of a potential injury or death. The construction industry is extremely dangerous and according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) 1 in 5 workplace deaths occur in the construction industry. In 2017 there were 971 construction fatalities and many more non-fatal construction injuries across the country.
As our Pittsburgh construction accident attorneys know, construction accident injuries are not your typical workplace injury. Injuries sustained by construction workers may include broken and shattered bones, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage, and traumatic brain injuries. When construction accident injuries are not fatal, they are often life-changing and debilitating. Unfortunately, construction site accidents are preventable and accidents are frequently caused by unsafe conditions and noncompliance with OSHA’s safety standards.
Anyone who is in the construction industry is well aware of OSHA’s “fatal four” which are the four most common causes of construction deaths each year: falls, struck by an object, electrocutions, and caught-in/between. These four causes were related to almost 60% of construction accident fatalities in 2017. The most frequently cited standards for noncompliance by OSHA in 2018 included the following:
If construction sites eliminated these risks and complied with OSHA’s standards, there would be significantly fewer construction accident injuries and deaths each year. Negligence on the part of people responsible for safety compliance at construction sites is to blame for many injuries and fatalities.
When construction workers are injured on construction sites, it is commonly believed that their only recovery option is workers compensation. There may be some circumstances where workers compensation is the only recovery option, but often parties other than construction workers’ employers are liable or at least partially liable in construction accidents. Many people have access to and work on construction sites including architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, property owners, and project managers and any of those people may be potentially liable for a construction accident.
It is very important to hire an experienced construction accident attorney who understands construction law and liability in order to ensure that you receive maximum recovery for your injuries and damages. Workers compensation is often not enough to fully compensate construction workers for their injuries and damages, but third-party liability allows construction workers additional recovery options.
There are various deadlines in place that construction accident injury victims need to be aware of. First, if the claim is going to be handled strictly through the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system, and there is a specific set of deadlines in place. Injured workers have up to 120 days to report the injury to their employer, though they do not have to actually file the workers’ compensation claim at that time. Construction accident injury victims have three years from the day the injury occurs to file their claim, though they still need to have reported the injury within that first 120 days.
However, if a construction or mining accident victim is going to file a claim against someone other than the employer for their injury (third party claim), then they will need to abide by the Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations. In this state, injury victims have a two-year window with which to file a claim against the alleged negligent party.
Failing to file a claim within the specified statutes of limitation will result in the injury victim is unable to recover the compensation they deserve.
There are various types of compensation that may be available to Pittsburgh construction and mining accident injury victims. Injury victims may be entitled to recover the following:
These are in addition to compensation available through a workers’ compensation claim.
The total amount of compensation a victim receives will vary depending on the facts and circumstances related to their injury. There is no set amount required by law, and the factors that contribute to overall compensation include the severity of the injury, the length of the recovery, the previous wages of the injury victim, etc.
Construction injury and coal mining claims can become very complicated, particularly if there are parties other than the employer involved. A Pittsburgh construction injury attorney will provide invaluable resources for the claimant. An attorney can conduct a complete investigation into the incident, which means that they will determine all aspects of liability. An attorney will help navigate the complexities of the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system as well as the appeals process if a claim is denied.
If a third-party claim is initiated, an attorney will handle every aspect of the personal injury case. This includes investigation, determining liability, negotiating with other parties involved, and taking the case to trial if necessary.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, contact a Pittsburgh construction accident attorney at Shenderovich, Shenderovich & Fishman to discuss your claim. Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to more than workers compensation.