It will come as no surprise to those in the industry that construction is a dangerous business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those working in construction are more likely to be killed in workplace accidents than those in any other occupation. For example, in 2019, more than 1,050 construction workers died as a result of on-the-job accidents. In addition, that same year, more than 200,000 construction workers were injured on the job, with nearly 80,000 of these accidents causing the injured worker to miss work.
Types of Construction Site Accidents
The construction industry covers a very broad range of occupations. Workers in each of these jobs face unique hazards, as well as the general dangers of working at a construction site. The following are among the most common causes of Oregon construction site injuries:
- Collapsing buildings;
- Collapsing walls, ditches, or trenches;
- Exposure to harmful chemicals;
- Falls due to improperly assembled or manufactured scaffolding;
- Fires and explosions;
- Heavy equipment accidents;
- Defective safety equipment; and
- Slip-and-fall accidents.
Of course, this is an incomplete list of all the possible reasons why a worker may suffer serious injuries on a construction site. Regardless of how an injury occurs, injured workers may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the party or parties responsible for their injuries. However, these claims are often complex and frequently involve multiple liable parties. Thus, working with a dedicated construction site injury legal practitioner is a good first step to learn more about the process and available options.
Faulty Demolition Injuries
One of the most dangerous aspects of construction involves demolition. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversees workplace safety by creating and enforcing rules and regulations that employers, supervisors, and general contractors must follow.
OSHA defines demolition as the “dismantling, razing, destroying or wrecking of any building or structure or any part thereof.” According to OSHA, there were more than 20 demolition-related deaths in 2019. This figure decreased significantly during 2020, but this is likely due to the overall decrease in construction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Three-fourths of all demolition-related citations involved an employer’s failure to adequately prepare for the demolition, and more than half of these citations related to an employer’s failure to obtain an engineering survey prior to beginning the demolition process.
Demolishing structures requires a level of precision beyond that which most would imagine. From the public’s perspective, demolition seems simple; you simply blow up or knock down the building. But in reality, demolition is extremely technical and involves a significant amount of uncertainty. For example, a few of the risks that demolition raises include:
- Compromising the structural integrity of the remaining portions of the building or neighboring structures;
- The remaining portion of the building falling out of compliance with state and local regulations;
- Releasing hazardous materials, including lead, asbestos, silica, or other chemicals or heavy metals;
- Putting unanticipated stress on other parts of the building; and
- Objects and rubble falling as the building come down.
As a result of these hazards, many construction workers suffer an injury during demolition work. The following are among the most common types of injuries related to a faulty demolition:
- Being hit by falling objects,
- Falling off scaffolding,
- Getting struck by projectiles or building debris,
- Toxic chemical exposure, and
- Traumatic brain injuries.
According to OSHA, the hazards of demolition work can be controlled and eliminated with proper planning, the right personal protective equipment, necessary training, and compliance with OSHA standards.
Pursuing a Claim for Compensation After an Oregon or Washington Construction Site Accident
Construction site accidents can be life-changing. Often, workers injured in faulty demolition accidents sustain severe injuries requiring lengthy hospital stays, several follow-up surgeries and doctor’s appointments, and physical rehabilitation. Workers injured in a construction site accident also incur a significant amount of non-economic damages due to their pain and suffering. By filing a personal injury claim, an injured worker may be able to obtain compensation for all economic and non-economic damages they suffered in the accident.
However, personal injury claims following a workplace accident can raise many challenges. For example, generally, a worker’s sole remedy against their employer is through a workers’ compensation claim. While a workers’ comp claim will provide limited benefits to injured workers, these claims do not allow them to recover non-economic damages. However, injured construction workers may be able to pursue a third-party personal injury claim against any other party who was responsible for their injuries. These parties include:
- Independent contractors,
- Manufacturers or suppliers of equipment or supplies,
- Project managers,
- Property owners, and
Construction site accidents, in particular, lend themselves to third-party injury claims, as construction and demolition projects often involve the negligence of parties other than the worker’s employer.
Wrongful Death Claims Following a Fatal Construction Site Accident
The families of workers killed in a construction site accident may pursue a wrongful death claim against the party or parties responsible for their loved one’s death. An Oregon wrongful death claim is similar to a traditional personal injury claim and requires plaintiffs to establish that another party (usually someone other than their employer or a coworker) caused their loved one’s death through some negligent act or failure to act.
Have You Been Injured in a Construction Site Accident in Oregon or Washington State?
If you or a loved one recently suffered serious injuries in an Oregon construction site accident, contact D’Amore Law Group for immediate assistance. Our dedicated legal team of construction site accident matters has a long history of providing an exceptional level of representation to injury victims. We understand that recovering from a serious accident is incredibly stressful for you and your family, and filing a lawsuit may not be at the top of your list of priorities. At the same time, you deserve compensation for what you’ve been through. When you work with D’Amore Law Group, we will take care of everything, so you can focus on your recovery. To learn more and to schedule, free consultation on your faulty demolition claim, give us a call or reach out through our online form.