Construction is booming in Georgia once again. Between new housing, interstate expansion, and two potential electric vehicle plants, workers in the construction industry keep the busy state bustling as it continues to adapt and change.
While these changes may represent positive economic growth, construction remains one of the most dangerous industries in the country.
The Dangers of Construction Work
It’s no surprise to anyone that construction is still a dangerous profession despite the many improvements and safety regulations implemented over the last several decades. Heavy machinery, hazardous materials, willful negligence, and inclement weather are just some of the many factors that can contribute to workplace accidents and injuries.
Construction injury statistics highlighted by OSHA and other safety organizations show the scope of the danger:
- One in 10 construction workers is injured every year.
- One in five worker deaths is in the construction industry.
- A construction worker has a one in 200 chance of dying from a work-related incident during a 45-year career.
- Fatal occupational injuries have nearly doubled over the last decade for Georgia workers.
- Transportation incidents account for 41% of all fatal workplace injuries in the state.
- Falls account for 34% of all construction deaths.
- More than 25% of construction workers said they failed to report a work-related injury.
- More than half of workers believe they need more safety training and 25% worry about being injured at work every day.
The most common cause of injury and death for construction workers involved the following types of accidents:
- Being struck by an object
- Building collapse
- Defective equipment
- Electrical accidents
- Explosions and fires
- Falling from scaffolding or high places
- Getting caught in or in between equipment or machines
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Toxic chemicals and hazardous waste
Injuries suffered during construction work are often traumatic in nature since they are typically caused by falling from a height; being shocked; or being struck or crushed by a vehicle, equipment, or structure. Common construction accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Lung damage
- Spinal cord damage and paralysis
- Degloving injuries
- Crush injuries
Legal Options for Injured Construction Workers in Georgia
Workers injured in a construction accident have two ways they can seek compensation for the pain and damages they suffered (depending on the type of incident).
Workers’ compensation insurance covers employees who are injured while performing their job. In Georgia, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system — this means that in nearly all cases, the injured worker is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who is at fault for the injury.
Filing for workers’ compensation requires a person to notify their employer of their injury within 30 days of the incident. Once that is done, the injured worker can begin the workers’ compensation application process.
Workers’ compensation is not the same as a personal injury lawsuit — you are only allowed to file for wage and healthcare benefits. You cannot receive compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
However, if the work accident was caused by a third party (e.g. a negligent driver or faulty machinery), you may be able to file a third-party personal injury claim in addition to a workers’ comp claim.
Are Subcontractors Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
Many times, the people working on a construction project are subcontractors working under a general contractor or intermediate contractor. Members of a subcontractor team are generally covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
To obtain workers’ compensation benefits, a subcontracted worker must bring a claim against the subcontractor’s insurance. If the subcontractor does not have insurance, benefits may be sought from the general or intermediate contractor.
Consult a Construction Injury Lawyer
Regardless of whether or not you think you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation, it is a good idea to discuss your options with an experienced lawyer. Our Georgia construction injury attorneys can explain your legal rights under workers’ compensation law and fight aggressively on your behalf to ensure you receive full benefits.
Construction injuries are often devastating and take months to recover from. You deserve a workers’ compensation law firm with decades of experience and a history of success. Our goal is to secure the largest workers’ compensation settlement possible so that you as an injured worker can recover physically, emotionally, and financially.
Contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates to get started on your construction-site injury case today.