Construction Accidents Are Dangerous and Costly
Troubling national data reveals how dangerous and costly construction accidents can be. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction accidents account for the greatest number of fatal work-related injuries, far more than any other industry in the United States.
The BLS summarizes its results annually in its Census of Occupational Injuries and its Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. These reports provide national and state figures for workplace fatalities, illnesses, and injuries, which are considered work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resultant condition or significantly aggravated a preexisting condition. Recent BLS injury data revealed the following:
- There were more than 2.8 million recorded cases of nonfatal injuries and illnesses among all private industry in the United States in a single year.
- Over 5,300 fatal work injuries occurred nationwide that year, a rate of 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers.
- Of these, more than 1,000 deadly workplace accidents occurred in the private construction industry.
- There were also three cases per 100 FTE workers of injury or illness reported in the construction sector that resulted in days away from work, transfers, or job restrictions.
This troubling data was reflected in the labor statistics in Illinois, where the construction industry employs approximately 232,000 people. That same year, the BLS found that:
- There were 158 fatal workplace accidents in Illinois.
- The construction industry had the most workplace deaths in the state, with a total of 30 construction accident deaths, representing 19 percent of all Illinois work-related fatalities.
The non-fatal construction accidents during this period were also highly disruptive. The BLS found that over 130,000 construction workers nationally missed days of work because of injury, accounting for 8.5 percent of America’s total days of lost work.
The injuries sustained in Illinois construction accidents are not spread equally across the industry, with specialized workers bearing the brunt of the physical harm. Nearly two-thirds of the state’s construction accident victims in 2020 were specialty trade contractors, with roofers being the most susceptible to injuries because of their work on elevated surfaces. Roofers are also more vulnerable to falling risks while ascending and descending on ladders and stairs.
The remaining construction accident victims included:
- Unskilled laborers;
- Road construction workers;
- Construction managers; and
The BLS also found that most construction accident victims were males between the ages of 35 and 64, and they tended to be employees rather than business owners.
Regardless of a worker’s specific role on a project, serious construction accidents come at a great price, both for the individual victims and for society as a whole. The academic journal Accident Analysis and Prevention estimates that construction accident injuries cost approximately $11.5 billion a year in the United States in terms of healthcare expenses, lost income, loss of productivity, and reduced quality of life. This estimate includes $4 billion related to construction deaths and $7.5 billion from nonfatal injuries.
Similarly, the Midwest Economic Policy Institute has determined that the annual cost of fatal construction accident injuries could be as high as $5 billion nationwide, with $155.2 million of these costs associated with construction accidents in Illinois.
If you are afraid your finances will be underwater in the wake of a catastrophic construction accident, learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and your family by scheduling a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation with one of the Chicago construction accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers.
How Do Construction Accidents Occur?
Over half of all construction accidents in the United States that result in injury fit into one of four categories:
- Falling (responsible for over 33.5 percent of construction worker deaths);
- Being struck by an object (occurring in 11.1 percent of fatal construction injuries);
- Electrocution (involved in 8.5 percent of construction accident fatalities); and
- Getting trapped between objects (a key factor in 5.5 percent of deadly construction accidents)
While serious accidental injuries can occur anywhere, there are certain risks unique to construction sites that may make an individual much more likely to get hurt in these settings, such as:
- Unsafe property features
- Deficient equipment
- Inadequate protection from falling objects
- Tripping hazards
- Lack of fall prevention features on elevated structures
- Open trenches
- Insufficient safeguards for power sources
- Improper containment of toxic chemicals
Defective conditions like these may be a sign of negligence, something that an injured construction worker’s attorneys may need to prove in order to obtain a successful settlement or verdict at trial.
Construction Transportation Accidents Pose Great Danger
There is also a large subset of construction accidents that can put construction workers as well as innocent drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at high risk of catastrophic injury. These are construction transportation accidents, which OSHA defines as accidents that occur when construction workers are on the road as part of their work.
Some of the most dangerous construction transportation accidents include:
- Road construction accidents
- Vehicular accidents on construction sites
- Collisions while moving or transporting construction equipment
- Accidents while moving building materials
- Crashes during the transportation of workers from one site to another
Construction transportation accidents do not include construction accidents in which workers are hit by or pinned under vehicles, nor do they include incidents that occur when commuting to and from work. Even with these limitations, transportation accidents still have a serious impact on the number and severity of injuries on construction sites. In 2019 alone, transportation accidents were responsible for more than 23 percent of construction industry fatalities, along with far more non-fatal injuries.
Because they involve vehicles in motion and may be the result of multiple contributory factors, construction transportation accidents can be highly complex, with a large number of parties who may be at fault, including outside motorists and other entities. Victims of construction transportation accidents should consider speaking with a knowledgeable attorney to learn more about what they would need to do to make sure that they are fairly compensated for their injuries.
Construction injury cases are rarely simple. In fact, more often than not, they are complex, both legally and factually. They demand comprehensive knowledge not only of the applicable law but also of the construction industry and its operations. In this respect, you can be assured of quality representation when you call GWC Injury Lawyers.
GWC is often called the construction injury law firm. In fact, building trades unions and organizations often turn to the Chicago construction accident attorneys at GWC when a member is injured, and GWC has been honored with designations by many of the state’s largest unions. No other law firm is more respected by its adversaries, and no other law firm represents more injured union construction workers than GWC.
Who is Responsible for Construction Site Accidents?
There are many parties who are responsible for ensuring that employees on construction sites have the safety equipment and tools that they need to do their jobs without getting injured.
Employers are not simply allowed to send their employees to a construction site without taking steps to promote their safety.
- Evaluate a site and identify potential dangers
- Obtain safety equipment and harnesses to prevent accidents and falls
- Create a strong safety plan
- Train all employees on the proper way to use equipment to ensure safety.
When these precautionary measures are not implemented, grave construction accidents can result. Depending on the circumstances, negligent employers, defective tools and equipment, uncovered power sources, hazardous property conditions, lack of fall prevention guards, insufficient overhead protection, open trenches, hidden obstacles, and poor safety standards can all create the kind of dangerous conditions at construction sites that can lead to significant injuries. Fortunately, there are different legal remedies that GWC’s Chicago construction accident attorneys can employ to help construction accident victims recover what they are owed for their worksite injuries.
How Our Construction Accident Lawyers Can Help You
Thanks to our extensive knowledge of the causes and outcomes of construction accidents, GWC is able to readily identify the most important issues in a given case, such as the legal theories of liability that should be utilized and the parties that should be named as defendants in the litigation.
Every one of our construction accident lawyers has a solid understanding of how construction sites are run and how particular operations are carried out. They are also fully versed in the federal regulations enforced by OSHA, as well as all state and local building and safety codes. Once retained, our attorneys can uncover any negligent working conditions and legal violations that may have resulted in a client’s injuries.
Perhaps even more importantly, GWC’s lawyers are adept at identifying and pursuing every individual or entity who may be at least partially at fault for a construction accident. This is vital for any personal injury claim since the failure to do so within the time allotted by law could forever bar a plaintiff from obtaining full compensation. This is especially important, and especially challenging, in construction accident claims because of the sheer number of parties that may be involved.
By necessity, large construction projects require the participation of many entities, each with its own duties and level of responsibility. Aside from the building and/or property owner, there is usually a general contractor overseeing the project as a whole. Typically, there are also other contractors working on different aspects of construction. Additionally, these contractors often employ subcontractors to assist them. All of these entities have different legal and contractual obligations, and our Chicago construction accident lawyers are experts at determining whether a failure to honor these obligations inflicted material harm on a client.
GWC’s capable attorneys know how to pursue full compensation in workers’ compensation, personal injury, and wrongful death cases. Our unique ability to recognize and deal with these aspects of your construction accident case in the early stages of litigation is a significant reason why we consistently obtain such favorable results for our construction worker clients.
GWC’s Strong Relationships with Unions and Legislators
Because of our exceptional success in construction negligence litigation, GWC has been called upon extensively to handle both major and minor construction accident cases for members of virtually every organized union in Chicago and the state of Illinois.
Our union client list includes:
- Sheet Metal Workers
- Operating Engineers
- Tile Setters
- Elevator Constructors
…to name only a handful of the construction trades.
We also maintain close ties to Illinois legislators to remain current on the often-changing construction negligence laws as we continually strive to protect our clients’ interests.
Construction Accident Frequently Asked Questions
A: It can be difficult to determine who is at fault in a construction accident because of the complexity of construction projects and the number of parties involved.
A: The value of a construction accident case depends upon a number of factors, including legal merit, available coverage, and the extent of the damages incurred.
A: Under Illinois law, construction accident victims could potentially receive financial compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Common Construction Accidents and Injuries
At GWC, we have vigorously represented victims of nearly every type of construction accident or injury. This may be your first construction accident case, but it is not ours, and chances are that our attorneys have already achieved positive outcomes in cases that are very much like yours. GWC has successfully resolved construction accident claims involving:
- Amputation Injuries
- Bricklayer Accidents
- Construction Vehicle Accidents
- Crane Accidents
- Electrician Burns
- Fall Injuries
- Fatal Construction Accidents
- Laborer Injuries
- Road Construction Defects
- Scaffolding Accidents
- Hearing Loss
- Loss of Vision
- Broken Bones
- Brain Damage
- Heart Damage
- Nerve Damage
- Spinal Cord Trauma
- Psychological Anguish
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Consortium
If you have been hurt under similar circumstances or injured in some other way on a construction site, let the dedicated attorneys at GWC fight to get you full and fair compensation, as we have done for so many other construction accident victims over the years.
What You Should Do After a Construction Accident
When you are wrongfully injured on a construction project, there are a number of steps you should take in order to protect the value of any potential claim for damages that you may have. In the event of a serious construction accident, always remember to do the following:
Notify your employer – Tell your employer, foreman, or other supervising authority about your construction accident injuries as soon as possible. The longer you delay, the easier it may be for insurance companies or defense attorneys to deny that your injuries are related to a compensable incident, or even deny whether a construction accident happened at all.
Take pictures – Visual documentation of the scene of a construction accident can be essential in reconstructing exactly what took place. Take as many pictures as possible of the site, including any damages incurred, tools or vehicles involved, hazards present, and injuries sustained. Video footage may also be helpful in commemorating where and how a construction accident happened. Constant change is the normal state of affairs on a construction site, so be sure to record the defective conditions that harmed you before they are remedied forever.
Obtain witness information – A construction accident case can quickly devolve into a matter of your account of what happened versus the Defendant’s. Identifying and obtaining statements from any eyewitnesses can go a long way towards verifying your version of events for a judge or jury.
Seek medical attention – Any gaps in treatment could also be used to cast doubt on the causal relationship between your injuries and an accident on a construction site. Following through on a proposed course of treatment will also increase your chances of recovering from any injuries sustained.
Do not talk to the insurance company – Any recorded statements that you give to an insurer about your accident or injuries can be used against you. Even something as simple as answering the question “How do you feel?” can impact the value of your case, so say nothing to any representative at an insurance company if possible. If the insurance carrier persists in demanding to speak with you about your case, and it will, then maybe you should…
Hire an experienced attorney – An accomplished lawyer can advise you on what you need to do in order to build your case. This may be your first construction accident, but it won’t be the first for the defendant’s insurance company or attorneys, all of whom may take advantage of your inexperience in order to pay out as little as possible. Working with a strong attorney from the very beginning can mean the difference between success and failure.
And if you are the innocent victim of a construction accident, there is no better advocate to have on your side than GWC. Our construction accident lawyers have represented members of practically every major building trades union in Illinois, including:
- International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers
- International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
- International Union of Elevator Constructors
- International Union of Operating Engineers
- International Union of Painters and Allied Trades of the United States and Canada
- Laborers’ International Union of North America
- Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association of the United States and Canada
- Sheet Metal Workers International Association
- United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada
- United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
These unions count on the construction accident attorneys at GWC to help when their members are hurt because they have seen firsthand what we have done for them over the past four decades.
Damages Recoverable in Construction Accident Cases
GWC can help you recover compensation for a wide range of damages suffered in a construction accident. These damages may include physical injuries, past, present, and future medical bills, lost wages, decline of long-term earning potential, pain and suffering, diminished enjoyment of life, psychological trauma, and loss of consortium.
GWC’s highly skilled attorneys can also make sure that any settlement or verdict takes into account the out-of-pocket expenses you may have incurred as a result of your construction accident. These expenses may include childcare bills, charges for transportation to and from medical appointments, the price of assistive devices, and the cost of any home modifications that may have been necessary to accommodate your post-accident mobility limitations.
In cases in which the defendant’s actions may have been especially egregious, GWC’s construction accident attorneys may be able to recover punitive damages on your behalf. Illinois permits punitive damages in certain cases of “willful or wanton” misconduct on the part of a defendant in order to discourage similar negligence from others in the future. Our lawyers will always work to maximize the amount of punitive damages available when the facts of a case warrant them.
In those tragic situations in which a victim is killed in a construction accident, GWC’s attorneys can help the deceased’s surviving family members pursue a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties so that they can alleviate the personal and financial burdens imposed by the loss of their loved one.
To learn more about the damages that may be available to you in the event of a construction accident, as well as how you can protect your rights and set yourself up for the best possible outcome, please schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of GWC’s formidable injury attorneys today.
Can Bystanders Pursue Construction Accident Claims?
The victims of construction accidents are not only limited to construction workers. Very often, pedestrians, motorists, and innocent bystanders may be harmed by debris or other material falling off of highrise structures or flying from passing construction vehicles. Negligent work and malfunctioning equipment can also cause structural damage, fires, and other catastrophes that may impact residents in the area surrounding a jobsite.
Construction supervisors have a legal duty to protect not just the workers on a project, but also all others who happen to be in the vicinity. Contact the construction accident attorneys at GWC today to learn whether you may be eligible to recover financial damages for injuries you sustained because of a negligent construction project.
How Long Will a Construction Accident Case Take?
If you are the victim of a construction accident who is considering legal action, you may wonder how long it will take for a lawyer to obtain compensation for you and your family. Unfortunately, it is impossible to provide a definitive answer to that question up front because every case is different. Your construction accident attorneys might be able to negotiate a settlement, or they may have to file a lawsuit. If that happens, it is uncertain whether or not your lawsuit will need to go to trial, or what the outcome of that trial would be if it does.
To some extent, the duration of a construction accident case will be influenced by the Statute of Limitations, which is the period of time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit or otherwise resolve a claim under the law. The Statute of Limitations Is typically two years after the date of injury in cases against private defendants in Illinois, or one year in cases brought against government bodies (with certain exceptions). Your attorneys could potentially settle your construction accident case before the Statute elapses, but given the extent of damages that may be incurred and the number of defendants who may be involved in a construction accident, it is highly likely that your lawyers will have to file a lawsuit. If you do not resolve your construction accident case or file a lawsuit before the Statute of Limitations passes, you may be forever barred from financial recovery.
However, while you would need to file suit before the Statute of Limitation runs if you ever hope to do so, that does not mean that it will take that amount of time to bring your construction accident case to a conclusion. Some cases may settle far sooner than the Statute permits, while others may be resolved or adjudicated well after the deadline (assuming that a lawsuit has already been filed). Many factors have a bearing on the timing of a construction accident claim, including legal merit, the amount of coverage and assets available, the medical bills and other damages incurred, and the extent and permanency of a victim’s injuries.
With this in mind, you should not take what others say as the final word on how long it will take a lawyer to resolve your construction accident case because each one is unique. Nevertheless, while an exact prediction may be impossible, you can still learn more about what you can expect, what you need to do to protect your rights, and how you can best serve your case by contacting the construction accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
What Will It Cost to Hire a Lawyer for a Construction Accident?
You will not need to pay anything up front if you choose to retain GWC as your construction accident attorneys. This is because we work on a contingency fee basis. Only when our firm brings your case to a successful resolution will we ask for reimbursement for our out-of-pocket costs and payment for our legal services, typically as a percentage of your final verdict or settlement.
At GWC, we never get paid unless and until YOU get paid, and the more you paid, the more we get paid. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement that incentivizes our tenacious Chicago construction accident attorneys to stop at nothing in order to get you the greatest compensation available for your claim. This agreement also takes away any additional worries and expenses from our clients at a time when they can least afford them so that they can focus on what is most important: healing from their injuries.
Chicago Construction Negligence Litigators
If a construction injury should strike you or a family member, work with the law firm trusted by members of virtually every trade involved in construction: GWC.
For more than 40 years, our construction accident lawyers have been helping to fight for the rights of construction workers against large companies and insurance agencies. We have DETAILED knowledge of the workers’ compensation laws in Illinois and the ability to build a strong argument for your MAXIMUM damages amount.
Don’t delay. To find out more about the Illinois construction lawyers at GWC Injury Lawyers, call us today at 1-312-464-1234 or contact us online by filling out and sending our “Free Case Evaluation” form.
With our main office located in Chicago, we serve all of the areas throughout Cook County, including:
- Oak Park
- Forest Park
… and all of the towns and suburbs close to these towns.
Don’t delay. Our team of highly trained construction accident attorneys are ready to help fight for the justice that you deserve.