Construction accidents — or any type of mishap occurring on or near active construction sites — are unfortunately common, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. According to a 2016 report conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), roughly 21 percent of worker fatalities in the private sector involved the construction industry. As such, construction accidents are not only more likely to be encountered than accidents at other types of worksites, but they also have a tendency to lead to severe, even fatal injuries.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a Pennsylvania construction accident, whether you are a construction worker or a bystander, we encourage you to get in touch with an experienced Pittsburgh personal injury attorney for a thorough evaluation of your potential injury claims. Contact the Law Office of Mark A. Smith now for assistance.
Q: What are some common hazards in the construction context?
A: The individuals and/or entities in charge of the construction site (i.e., the developer, the property owner, etc.) have a responsibility to maintain the site in a reasonably safe condition for others, which includes construction workers, visitors, and bystanders, among others. This duty varies, depending on the plaintiff in question, of course. For example, ladder safety might be irrelevant in a personal injury context with regard to an injured bystander.
In any case, there are a number of common hazards in the construction context. Those in charge of establishing and maintaining the construction site in a reasonably safe condition must take care to ensure that the risks are properly contained.
Common construction site accident risks in Pennsylvania include:
Q: I’m a construction worker, and I was injured while on a construction site. Can I sue my employer?
A: Generally, no. In Pennsylvania, you typically cannot sue your employer in a civil action for negligence if you are covered by workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” option for securing benefits, so you are entitled to submit a claim and receive such benefits regardless of whether you can prove the fault of the employer in contributing to your injuries. In return, you grant the employer protection against basic litigation.
It’s worth noting, however, that under some circumstances — specifically, in situations where the defendant-employer engaged in reckless or intentional misconduct that contributed to your injuries (i.e., refusing to provide helmets simply because they did not have a friendly relationship with the construction team) — then you may be entitled to sue and recover damages against the employer in a civil lawsuit.
Q: As a construction worker, what can I do to recover damages if a civil action against my employer cannot be pursued?
A: In most cases, PA construction workers attempt to secure damages by going after liable third parties. For example, suppose you are injured in an accident that involves falling off a ladder. Suppose the ladder was defectively manufactured. You may choose to submit a claim for workers’ compensation benefits from your employer, and then sue the ladder manufacturer under defective product liability.
Q: Can I sue and recover damages for a construction accident injury if I am not a construction worker on site?
A: Absolutely. Bystanders are entitled to sue and recover damages, so long as the defendant at issue substantially contributed to their injuries. Those in charge of construction sites owe a duty to others in and around the construction site. If the defendant is negligent in maintaining the site in a reasonably safe condition, and that negligence causes a bystander to suffer injuries, then the defendant could be held liable.
For example, if you are a pedestrian passing by a construction site on foot, and improperly placed construction equipment falls onto you and causes severe injury, then you would potentially be entitled to compensation, even though you are a bystander and not a construction worker.
Q: Is there a deadline that I should be aware of when pursuing compensation for a construction accident injury?
A: Yes. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations period for personal injury claims is two (2) years from the date of injury. Failure to bring an action against the liable parties before the deadline passes could lead to your claim being dismissed. As such, it is absolutely critical that you get in contact with a qualified Pittsburgh personal injury attorney soon after your injuries, so that your claims can be evaluated and pursued in a timely fashion.
Q: What sort of damages am I entitled to for my construction accident injuries?
A: You are entitled to a range of damages, depending on the circumstances. These damages may include:
Pittsburgh construction accident attorney Mark A. Smith has decades of experience as a litigator, representing injury victims in a range of lawsuits, including those that involve complicated construction accident issues. Here at the Law Office of Mark A. Smith, we are committed to the provision of comprehensive, personalized legal advocacy. We believe that effective litigation demands open communication and collaboration with clients so that our strategic goals are aligned throughout the process.
As a smaller, boutique litigation firm, we are better able to serve the needs of our clients, while offering cutting-edge, industry-leading representation. Our track record speaks to the effectiveness of this approach: over the years, we have secured many favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured clients.
Interested in speaking to a qualified Pittsburgh construction accident lawyer for further guidance? Call or email to schedule a free and confidential consultation with Pennsylvania personal injury attorney Mark A. Smith.
Personalized service. Maximum results. The Law Office of Mark A. Smith looks forward to helping you obtain full compensation for your construction accident injuries.