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Construction can be a dangerous career. When construction workers build and maintain homes, offices, government buildings, bridges, roads, and utility systems, all necessary for our society to run efficiently, they are also putting their safety on the line. The great heights, dangerous chemicals, power tools, and heavy parts and construction equipment that are part of the business could create hazardous working conditions, especially if the construction site isn’t managed with caution.
If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, contact our New Jersey construction accident lawyers at (856) 778-5500. Our law firm will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Our highly experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyers provide the expertise needed to receive the maximum compensation for your construction injuries. Let our construction accident attorneys focus on compiling the facts of the case, while you focus on your health.
The statistics are alarming. Every year, several hundred construction employees lose their lives, and many more suffer nonfatal injuries. In 2013, for example, 828 construction workers died from injuries they sustained on the work site, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reported. Another 197,800 construction workers survived their injuries, some of them severe, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
OSHA identifies the “Fatal Four,” or the most common causes of construction worker deaths:
The Fatal Four may be the leading causes of on-site construction worker deaths, but they aren’t the only risks. One of our past clients, whose case ended up being worth $825,000, suffered herniated discs in his back when he stepped into an unexpected 18-inch-deep hole in the concrete floor of the building where he was working a violently twisted his ankle.
Just as there are common causes of construction site accidents, there are also medical conditions that are most likely to result from such an accident. Among the most common injuries that occur in the construction industry are:
Workers at construction sites don’t have to take their lives in their hands every time they climb a ladder or turn on a crane or power tool. With the right safety precautions, injuries at construction workplaces are avoidable. Just getting rid of the “Fatal Four” causes of accidents would cut the number of construction worker deaths in half, OSHA reported.
The employers of construction site workers too often choose not to make safety a priority. OSHA found that the safety standards most often violated on construction sites included several factors related to the Fatal Four, including:
What should you do if you or someone you love suffered injuries in a construction accident? First of all, don’t blame yourself. You need to know what caused your personal injury and if a safety standard was violated or an unreasonable danger was allowed to exist on your work site. How do you investigate an accident when you have been so badly injured? How do you determine whether the conditions on the site violated safety laws? By having an experienced New Jersey construction accident attorney investigate the accident for you.
Anyone injured at work will generally be eligible for coverage through the New Jersey workers’ compensation system. The workers’ compensation laws in this state are extensive, and they outline employee and employer rights and responsibilities in the aftermath of a work injury. While the New Jersey workers’ compensation laws do not specifically address construction accident injuries, they are comprehensive and cover incidents that occur in all industries.
New Jersey law is specific about requirements that construction companies carry workers’ compensation. State law requires at all New Jersey employers that are not covered by federal programs carry workers’ comp.
The New Jersey workers’ compensation laws make it very clear that this is a “no-fault” insurance system. This means that an injured worker should receive compensation for their medical expenses and lost income regardless of what caused the injury – the workers’ actions, the actions of a coworker, a tool mishap, or the actions of the employer.
The law requires that workers’ compensation cover the following for hinjured employees:
Any employer in New Jersey that fails to provide workers’ compensation coverage can face significant penalties, even if there are no work-related injuries reported. Failing to insure workers can result in a disorderly persons offense if the violation is determined to be willful. In New Jersey, this is a crime of the fourth degree. Penalties for failing to insure can result in a fine of up to $5,000 for the first 10 days an employer does not have insurance and up to $5,000 for each additional 10 day period for failing to insure. In cases where a Corporation is found to have no insurance, the corporate officers can be held individually liable for these penalties. Penalties assessed by the state for failing to insure are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Every state is responsible for setting time limits for how long a person has to report an injury for the purposes of both workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits. These time limits are typically called the statutes of limitation.
When it comes to construction accidents, these cases will usually be handled by workers’ compensation insurance claims. However, the construction industry often operates a bit differently than other types of industries. In many cases, there are multiple third party construction companies or independent contractors present at a single construction site. This matters because injuries that are caused by a third party could result in an injured employee securing compensation through a personal injury lawsuit as opposed to strictly through a workers’ compensation claim.
Understanding the standard limitations for a New Jersey construction accident injury means understanding how the injury occurred, who caused the injury, and looking at what the laws for NJ say.
Under New Jersey law, an injured worker generally has 14 days to report an injury, but there are cases in which the injured worker has 90 days to report a specific injury to be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits. While internal construction company policies can be different, they will not affect the 90-day maximum period set by law. Yes, an employer could create its own policies and discipline a worker for failing to report an injury within its own deadlines, they will not prevent you from receiving the benefits you are entitled to, such as medical treatment, temporary benefits, and potential disability award amounts. Additionally, after notification to the employer has been made, an injured worker has two years to file a claim to receive compensation for their losses.
The workers’ compensation system in New Jersey is a no-fault system, meaning that it does not matter which party caused the injury. Even if a construction worker was at-fault for the incident that caused their injury, they are still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, workers injured in the course of their duties are not typically able to file personal injury lawsuits to recover additional compensation for their losses, particularly pain and suffering damages.
It may also be the case that an injured construction worker is entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their damages. If their injury was caused by a third party at the construction site, then they could be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. This is significant because injured workers who file a personal injury lawsuit could be entitled to much more compensation than they would otherwise be able to receive through a workers’ compensation claim. An injured worker can take their claim outside of the workers’ compensation system if they are injured due to the actions of a party other than their employer. In these cases, the New Jersey personal injury statute of limitations will apply. This means that a worker injured by a third party at a construction site has two years from the date the injury occurred to file a lawsuit.
At Console and Associates P.C., our attorneys have more than 20 years of experience helping victims of all kinds of accidents. We know how to prepare your case for success, how to negotiate the maximum settlement with the responsible parties and, when needed, how to fight for you in court. We also know what you’re going through, which is why we’ll do everything we can to make the situation less of a burden on you. After all, there’s only one thing you should have to focus on right now: getting better.
Despite the strict standards and regulations, construction site workers face high risks of personal injury every day. Don’t give up your legal rights by trying to handle this accident on your own. Contact Console and Associates P.C.‘s experienced New Jersey construction accident lawyers today at (856) 778-5500 to get started with a free consultation.