Fort Myers Construction Incident Claims Lawyer
Construction work is among the most hazardous occupations in the U.S. These are the carpenters, laborers, electricians, installers, and roofers who build the foundations upon which we live, work, and play. Yet they are too often placed in harm's way.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the country has an estimated 7.3 million construction workers. As Fort Myers construction incident lawyers, we are committed to helping them obtain fair compensation when they are injured on-the-job.
Injured construction workers are usually eligible for workers’ compensation, although this often does not cover the full extent of their losses. Depending on the circumstances, they may have grounds to pursue a third-party liability claim against property owners, contractors, engineers, architects, product manufacturers, and others.Florida Construction Incident Injuries
The construction worker injury rate nationally is 3 for every 100 full-time workers. Of those injuries, 60 percent required days away from work, job restriction, or job transfer. Some examples of Florida construction incident catalysts include:
- Falls from heights
- Trenching incidents/excavation cave-ins
- Power tool injuries
- Vehicle crashes
- Falling objects
- Electric shock
- Roofing incidents
- Scaffolding incidents
- Crane incidents
- Fires and explosions
- Exposure to harmful substances
Lack of training, poor supervision, and inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) is often a factor in both the incidence and severity of construction site injuries.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that construction workers have an occupational injury rate of 9.5 per 100,000 – which is far safer than it was decades ago. Reformed work safety practices and advances in technology have helped; however, construction sites could still be much safer, especially in Florida.
The BLS reports that in Florida, construction and extraction occupations were No. 1 in workplace fatalities compared to other professions, and more than a quarter of those involved construction laborers.
In 2020, The Palm Beach Post examined the rise in Florida construction incidents in recent years. Reporters noted the U.S. Department of Labor indicated a 140% increase in Florida fatalities in a span of just seven years.
The types of Florida construction incidents that resulted in a worker’s death in a single recent year included:
- Falls, slips, and trips – 40, including 38 falls to a lower level and nine through an opening or surface.
- Transportation incidents: 23, nine of which involved pedestrians.
- Exposure to harmful chemicals, substances, or environment: 20, including 13 exposed to electricity.
- Contact with objects or equipment: 13, including five struck by a falling object or equipment.
- Fires and explosions: Three. Two of those were ruled a homicide.
Even non-fatal incidents have resulted in back injuries, spinal injuries, traumatic brain injury, burns, cuts, abrasions, vision and hearing loss, and broken bones.Who is Liable for Fort Myers Construction Incidents?
Often Florida construction incidents occur when someone is acting in the course and scope of employment. That means it is more than likely covered by workers’ compensation, which is insurance paid for by the employer. Per F.S. § 440.11, workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for that injury.
As our Fort Myers construction incident attorneys can explain, that does not mean you have no other legal avenue to claim monetary damages. What it means is that workers’ compensation is probably your only legal recourse against your employer and its agents (owners, supervisors, employees, etc.). You cannot sue your employer for work-related injuries. In exchange (in what is sometimes referred to as “the grand bargain”), you do not have to prove your employer was negligent in order to obtain these benefits.
Workers’ compensation does not, however, absolve third parties of liability for their negligence. This is important because workers’ compensation benefits typically only cover medical bills, lost wages, and funeral expenses for workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths. It does not pay for things like pain and suffering or loss of consortium. That is why examining the potential for third-party claims should not be overlooked.
Construction incidents are usually the result of negligence by those responsible for worksite safety. These include:
- Property owners. The owner of the land or property on which a construction project takes place can be liable for a construction incident, depending on their level of control over the site.
- Contractors and subcontractors. General contractors are in charge of ensuring a construction site meets the safety standards set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). On sites when hazardous conditions are present, it is up to them to make sure these hazards are identified and corrected or that workers are warned about them. They also have a duty to make sure the work being performed on-site is carried out safely. Subcontractors may have the same responsibilities for their own workers and for any part of the construction site that is under their control.
- Architects and engineers. These are professionals who are responsible for making sure the structure is safe. This includes scaffolding and trenches, which must be meticulously engineered to be structurally sound and meet all applicable safety codes at each stage. These specific responsibilities should be outlined in their contract. If any design safety standards have been neglected resulted in a construction incident, the engineer or architect can be held liable.
- Equipment manufacturers. Those who design and make machinery or construction equipment can be held legally responsible if the machine or equipment is dangerous, resulting in an injury. These can include cranes, forklifts, vehicles, and power tools.
We have seen far too many cases of construction companies, contractors, engineers, and manufacturers put deadlines and profits ahead of worker safety to maximize profits, resulting in serious injury and even death. Such actions can result in claims for:
- Premises liability.
- Product liability.
- Wrongful death.
Although OSHA is the agency responsible for regulating the safety standards of construction sites, investigating construction site incidents, and issuing fines (if applicable), it is up to the individual workers or surviving family members to file civil claims for liability to receive compensation.
Note that if you are paid workers’ compensation, the insurer may have subrogation rights in your third-party liability claim. For example, if your workers’ compensation insurer paid for your medical expenses and lost wages, you cannot also collect those from the third-party; your insurer would have a right to that portion of your damages.
Because of the complexity of these claims and the number of defendants involved, it is imperative that you work with an experienced Florida construction incident injury lawyer.
Contact our Fort Myers personal injury attorneys at Garvin Injury Law today at 239.277.0005 or online for a free case review.