Were You Injured at Work in a Serious Construction Accident?
Let Philadelphia construction accident lawyer Richard A. Jaffe help you
Every contractor, electrician, carpenter, plumber, foreman and every other type of construction worker understands the day-to-day dangers of the construction industry. In fact, laborers account for one of the highest proportions of on-the-job injuries. Construction accidents happen every day, often leaving workers unable to pay for medical bills and unable to return to work for months, or even years, after an accident.
When you work at a high-risk job, you need to know your rights if you’re hurt on the job. In Pennsylvania, anyone who is hurt at work can get workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault. However, navigating the workers’ compensation system is difficult, and too many injured workers are left behind.
The Law Offices of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC can help. We know what you’re going through, because we’ve worked with countless injured construction workers in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. We understand the workers’ compensation system and know how to put it to work for you. If you’ve been injured, get an experienced Philadelphia construction accident lawyer on your side today.
What to do if you’re hurt on a construction site
Construction accidents can happen quickly and cause life-altering damage. What you do in the immediate aftermath can make all the difference. Your first step, after making sure you are safe, is to notify your employer. Tell your foreman or direct supervisor, not just a coworker. In Pennsylvania, you legally have up to 21 days to inform your employer of a work injury, but it’s in your interest to make that notification as soon as possible – and do it in writing so you have a record.
Get medical attention right away, even if you feel okay. After an accident, your adrenaline is high, your “fight or flight” response is engaged, and you may not notice some symptoms. Getting checked out by a doctor not only protects your health but also creates a record of your injuries to support your workers’ compensation claim. Remember, if your employer has designated a list of approved providers, you need to see a doctor on the list for the first 90 days after the injury (if the list meets the legal requirements).
Then, talk to an experienced construction accident attorney. Knowing what to do after a serious construction accident can be confusing. Even knowing what your rights are as an injured construction worker in Pennsylvania might not be clear. That’s why it’s critical that you contact an experienced attorney – someone who will work for you, not your employer – to advise you of your rights and options and help you navigate the system.
We handle all types of construction accidents
There are unfortunately many things that can go wrong on a construction site. Between trip and fall hazards, heavy equipment, work in trenches and at heights, and an often-chaotic work environment, accidents are common – and they can change lives. That’s why Pennsylvania law gives construction workers recourse after all types of incidents.
Falls From Heights
Construction workers often work in high places – on scaffolding, on roofs, on top of tall buildings and other potentially dangerous places. But you don’t need to fall from such a tall height to sustain a serious or fatal injury. Even falling from a ladder or loading dock can be dangerous, depending on the circumstances.
Back injuries, spinal cord injuries and head injuries (including traumatic brain injuries) often occur due to falling from a height on a construction site. Some of the common causes of falls include:
- Improperly constructed scaffolding
- Lack of training for construction workers
- Absence of safety equipment
- Defective safety equipment
- Reckless or negligent behavior by co-workers
- Misuse of machinery
Depending on the nature of your injuries, a fall from heights can have life-altering consequences. You may be unable to work construction and have to change careers. That’s why it’s so important to pursue full compensation through the workers’ compensation system.
As any experienced construction worker can tell you, there’s more to be worried about on a construction site than accidents involving machinery and vehicles. Toxic and hazardous substances are widely used in construction processes, and even materials that are no longer actively used may still be encountered in demolition and excavation projects. Exposure to those substances can cause severe injuries, such as burns and respiratory damage. Some of the dangerous substances construction workers might encounter include:
- Chemical solvents and acids
- Industrial cleaners
- Gasoline, oil, and other flammable materials
- Hot tar
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
- Halogenated flame retardants (HFR)
Appropriate protective gear should be used whenever construction workers are exposed to or working with toxic chemicals, and in some situations, specialists need to be brought in to remediate the danger. Construction sites should have washing stations installed in case workers are exposed to toxic substances. That way, workers exposed to hazardous chemicals or other harmful substances can remove them as quickly as possible. But even then, many workers still sustain serious, life-changing injuries – and they deserve fair compensation for those injuries.
Fires and Explosions
Construction work involves many flammable and explosive materials. Some of these explosives are explicitly intended to be used as such, while others are intended for other purposes (such as fuel) but can become explosive if a fire is set off. A typical construction site may be home to all the following:
- Compressed gas cylinders
- Explosives and blasting agents
- Electrical equipment
- Temporary heating devices (especially in the winter months)
- Chemical tanks and drums
- Petroleum gas and other combustible liquids
- Construction vehicles and other heavy equipment
Flammable or hazardous materials can easily explode or catch fire on construction sites, resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities. A single spark or arc flash is all it takes to cause an explosion. Construction workers unfortunate enough to be nearby may sustain serious burns, as well as vision and hearing damage from the bright flash and loud noise of the explosion. Beyond the physical injuries, explosions can also cause mental injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Electrical equipment used on construction sites can expose workers to high voltage. In addition, construction work often brings workers perilously close to power lines, whether buried, overhead, or inside the walls of a building. Electrical safety has to be a top priority on any construction site – but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, and workers can be severely harmed. Some of the most common causes of electrocution accidents include:
- Lifts, ladders, and cranes striking overhead power lines
- Improper use or maintenance of extension cords
- Damaged or defective electrical equipment
- Failure to properly de-energize equipment and follow lockout/tagout procedures
- Wires that are not properly grounded
- Poor lighting, signage, and communication
Electrocution is one of the “fatal four” accidents identified by OSHA as a leading cause of construction and workplace fatalities. Electricity can cause serious burns to both the skin and internal tissues, potentially requiring reconstructive surgery or skin grafts, as well as damage to the heart and brain. Safety equipment can mitigate many of those risks – but only if it’s maintained and used properly.
Nail Gun Injuries
Nail guns can dramatically speed up work on construction sites. But these powerful tools can also be extremely dangerous. Construction workers often sustain serious injuries to their hands, arms and legs due to nails being shot into them by a nail gun.
Some nail gun accidents occur because the person using the equipment did not use the nail gun properly. In other cases, construction workers are hurt by someone else improperly using a nail gun. Or perhaps there was a defect with the nail gun itself, resulting in a serious accident.
Whatever the circumstances of your nail gun accident, attorney Richard A. Jaffe wants to meet with you. He can explain all the legal options available to you and help you decide what’s the best course of action for your specific case.
Heavy Equipment Accidents
Construction accidents involving bulldozers, backhoes, pay loaders and cement trucks are just some examples of heavy equipment accidents. Injuries caused by such accidents can often be severe, sometimes even fatal. That’s why it’s critical that you take strong legal action if you or a loved one was hurt or killed in a heavy equipment accident.
So why do heavy equipment accidents happen? Sometimes, it’s because the person operating the equipment does not have the skills or training to do so. Other times, the heavy equipment operator isn’t paying attention or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In other cases, heavy equipment accidents occur due to defective parts, which were either part of the original equipment or installed later.
Such cases can be extremely complicated, especially if the equipment operator worked for a company other than your own, or if a defect in the equipment itself caused the injury. In such cases, you may have grounds for a third-party workplace claim. Either way, the only way to know your options is to meet with an experienced lawyer.
Excavation work is required for many types of construction work, but even under the best of circumstances, a trench is a tough place to work: hot, cramped, and unfortunately, potentially dangerous. Collapses are part of the reason there are twice as many fatalities in trenches as elsewhere on construction sites, to say nothing of other serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries, lost limbs, broken bones, and exposure to dangerous chemicals. The causes of trench collapses include:
- Improper sloping
- Poor soil testing for stability
- Failure to check gas and power lines.
- Poor oversight of the excavation process
A trench collapse can cause life-altering injuries, both physical and mental. In Pennsylvania, injured workers have legal rights. We will fight for the compensation you deserve and guide you through the process.
Why you need a construction accident attorney
A construction accident can have a truly catastrophic effect on your life. It’s not just the initial medical treatment; it’s the long-term effects on your physical strength and ability. You may not be able to work construction anymore and have to change careers. Your source of income is compromised. That’s why you have recourse through the workers’ compensation system and, potentially, a third-party claim.
Unfortunately, exercising your rights is rarely that simple. Workers’ compensation insurance companies know that construction accidents are costly, and they will do what they can to downplay your injuries and dispute every expense to save themselves money. You need someone on your side who knows how to navigate the system and pursue the compensation you deserve. You need a Philadelphia construction accident lawyer.
Whatever the circumstances surrounding your accident, don’t try to tackle your case on your own. Remember, you got hurt simply doing your job. Now it’s our turn. We want to work with you and help you make things right.
The Law Offices of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC understands the catastrophic effect a construction or workplace accident can have on your life. When your physical, financial and emotional well-being are at stake after an accident, you shouldn’t have to suffer in silence. Contact us. Call 866-800-3332 for a free case consultation.