There are thousands of men and women working in the construction industry in Philadelphia. New buildings, housing construction, and repairs to existing structures are more than enough to keep these employees busy. These projects, however, also create hazardous conditions that result in severe injuries to those unlucky enough to become a victim. One of the most common accidents to occur on a construction site is a slip and fall.

Common Hazards

Despite the research and data that has been compiled by numerous organizations, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the same hazards seem to keep popping up over and over again on construction sites. These may include:

Spilled Fluids

Many different types of liquids can be found on construction sites, such a gasoline, oils, personal drinks, and water. It doesn’t matter what the fluid is, each one is slippery and can cause an unsuspecting worker to slip and fall.

Electrical Cords

Electricity is used to run most of the tools used on a work site. The tangle of cords creates a hazard that anyone can be tripped by. These cords should be neatly organized and covered by specially designed strips so that the chance of someone catching their foot under the cord is minimized.

Loose Floorboards

Floorboards that haven’t been properly placed and secured should have warning signs placed around them so that they can be avoided.

Injuries And The Cost Of Care

Surprisingly, a fall from even a normal walking position can result in serious injuries. But on a construction site, it isn’t just the action of falling that can result in injury. The work site is full of sharp tools, hard surfaces, and dangerous heights.

Employees and their loved ones are shocked when they sustain injuries such as:

An Impalement

Landing on a pipe, piece of wood, or another sharp object can easily lead to the victim becoming impaled. This can cause damage to internal organs, bones, and nerves.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Even with a hard hat on, a blow to the head can result in damage to the brain. Bruising, bleeding, hematomas, and tissue death can lead to changes in behavior, cognitive abilities, muscle movement, speech, and more. It can take months or even years to recover – if a complete recovery is even possible.

Nerve Damage

Nerves are delicate, and if damaged, the patient may suffer from constant pain, an inability to feel pain, spasms, tingling, weakness, numbness, or paralysis.

Spinal Damage

Damage to the spinal cord or the vertebrae can result in partial or total paralysis, nerve damage, and constant back pain.

Any of these injuries requires long hospitalizations, possible surgeries, physical therapy, pain medications, and time off of work. Medical bills can add up to thousands, if not millions of dollars. This, combined with lost wages, can financially devastate anyone.

Workers’ Compensation

In an ideal world, workers’ compensation would cover the cost of all treatments that the injured employee requires and reimburse them for all lost wages. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

Nearly 50% of all construction workers’ compensation claims are denied outright, and those that are covered often do not fully compensate the injured employee.

Those who have had their workers’ compensation claims denied, or those whose employers have failed to obtain the necessary workers’ victims have the right to pursue legal action against those whose negligence was responsible for their accident.

Who Can Be Held Liable When An Injury Occurs?

Many parties could possibly be liable when a construction site accident happens. There is a certain amount of shared responsibility on construction sites; site owner, architects, engineers, contractors, managers and manufacturers of machinery and equipment.

When a person is injured on the job they are sometimes limited to receiving workers’ compensation for their injuries only. But in some cases, an injured person may be warranted to receive damages from the responsible parties, even if it is not the employer. If an employee is injured due to defective tools and or equipment they possibly have a legal right to damages from the manufacturer. In some cases, an injured employee can seek damages from the site owner and the contractor. Responsible parties could be held liable for medical bills, wages lost, as well as pain and suffering.

When construction site injuries occur there can be shared liability by many different groups that are responsible for safety on the site. If an employee is injured it is their responsibility to report it immediately. From that point it is the employer’s obligation to file the necessary reports. An employee that feels that there was a safety issue that caused the accident may want to contact a personal liability attorney.

How To Establish A Slip & Fall Claim

In order to establish that you do indeed have a slip and fall claim, four things need to be shown:

  1. That the plaintiff slipped, tripped, and fell on the property.
  2. That the property owner or other responsible party had a duty to protect the plaintiff from that slip and fall.
  3. That the responsible party breached that duty.
  4. The plaintiff suffered as a result.

The best way that you can protect yourself after an accident is to gather all possible evidence afterward, including witness statements, photographs, and a copy of the accident report that you made to your employer. Then consult with a slip and fall attorney who can help you decide the best way to proceed.