Legal Guidance After a Construction Accident in the Boston Area
Helping you with workers’ compensation and other important issues
If you work in the construction industry, you know that there are inherent dangers associated with your job. However, that doesn’t mean that contractors are without certain, well-defined, responsibilities to protect workers from sustaining injuries due to accidents and other hazards. The point is accidents can and do happen every day and the injured parties can be employees on a job site or passers-by. In this section, we will focus on injured employees. If you have been injured at work, speak with one of our dedicated attorneys at Feinberg & Alban, P.C. Our Boston-based team of experienced lawyers fights for the rights of injured people and their families throughout Massachusetts, helping you seek compensation through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance and, under certain circumstances, a personal injury lawsuit.
Accidents in a high-risk industry
Due to the intense demands and large equipment involved, construction jobs tend to be more dangerous than most other industries. But while the construction field has some expectations of a higher risk of injury, statistics show that injuries and illnesses associated with this type of work are on the decline. In 2012, approximately 3.7 out of every 100 full-time construction employees suffered workplace injuries or illnesses, down from 4.3 out of every 100 in 2009. While statistics show a decline in the number of injuries, the inherently dangerous nature of construction jobs produce, unfortunately, oftentimes very severe injuries. In 2013, construction was one of the top three industries for nonfatal work-related injuries and had the fourth-highest rate of fatal occupational injuries.
However, the existence of injuries is only part of the story. You should be aware of the different types of injuries you could be at risk for due to your job and of where you can turn if an accident does occur.
Main areas of risk
In the construction industry, many different types of injuries happen regularly. Some of the most common are:
- Slip and fall accidents: Construction jobs have the highest incidences of falls of any other industry, and in 2009 an estimated 212,760 workers were seriously injured and 605 were killed. These accidents typically result from such environmental factors as slippery surfaces or unprotected edges. Please see our verdicts and settlements page where you will see numerous fall down injuries, some of which occurred to employees who were in the course and scope of their employment. When those accidents were caused by the negligence of third parties, i.e. not the employer, that permitted an additional claim to be brought.
- Equipment failure: This industry involves the use of heavy equipment, such as tractors and bulldozers. If this equipment fails, it can cause serious injuries to those using and working near it.
- Burns: Workers may suffer burns due to a fire, explosion, hot water and other hazards. In fact, Robert Feinberg’s jury trial verdict of almost $8 million dollars, all of which was collected, came as a result of scalding from a hot water heater. The dramatic nature of the burns was illustrated by pictures from the hospital’s burn unit and, moreover, from testimony by the relevant doctors. Those doctors relied upon characterizations that are typically used to rate injuries. The doctors were very clear that this burn victim was to be classified as a Class D burn, the worst category. As is often the case, experts are crucial in getting these issues to be understood. A burn expert who has served with American troops in a war zone is certainly such an expert; a comparison by that doctor to other burns proved persuasive.
- Electrocution: Electrical equipment causes four main types of injuries: electrocution (fatal), electric shock, burns and falls due to contact with electric energy.
If a party involved in the project allows a dangerous condition to exist and does not provide an adequate warning about it, or remedy the dangerous situation, that party could be liable for damages. This is especially important if you are injured on a construction site where there are multiple contractors. Additionally, if you are a passerby, you are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and need to seek compensation through traditional tort action by making a personal injury claim.
Of course, the best way to prevent a personal injury lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim is for the people running the job site to provide safe conditions for construction workers and maintain access to clear, safe areas around a job site for passers-by. Furthermore, workers should always make sure to wear the required safety gear, including hard hats and safety harnesses, and take all safety precautions possible at a construction site. Individuals uninvolved in a construction project should avoid going near the area unless absolutely necessary, in which case a hard hat can offer useful protection.
But unfortunately, not all accidents will be prevented. If you have been injured in a construction accident, whether you were an employee, independent contractor, or bystander, the Boston accident law firm of Feinberg & Alban, P.C. works with you to identify who may be at fault—the general contractor, other subcontractors, the property owner, the engineer, the architect, or an equipment manufacturer.
Basics of a Workers Compensation Claim
If you have lost work time of five full or partial calendar days or more, your employer must file the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality (Form 101) with the Department of Industrial Accidents. Your employer must also file this report with its workers compensation insurance company within seven calendar days—not including Sundays and legal holidays—from the fifth full or partial calendar day you have been disabled because of the injury or illness. The insurance company then has 14 calendar days from receipt of the form to investigate the claim and determine whether to pay it.
Take action today with the help of a skilled construction accident attorney
After your construction or workplace accident, speak with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers at Feinberg & Alban, P.C. Set up your free consultation by calling 617-232-5950 or by contacting us online. Our trusted legal team serves individuals and families in Boston, Worcester, Springfield and throughout the rest of Massachusetts.