Construction & Workplace Accidents Attorneys in Pearland, Texas
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces laws and regulations established for the safety and welfare of employees, though some states — Texas not included — have established their own OSHA-authorized enforcement units to regulate matters within their borders.
OSHA reports that for Fiscal Year 2020 — the 12 months ending on September 31, 2021 — the construction industry was subjected to 7,672 inspections, resulting in 19,436 citations and $68.7 million in penalties.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the same year, the construction industry witnessed 174,100 nonfatal injuries and illnesses, with an incident rate of 2.4 per every 100 full-time-equivalent workers. Construction thus ranks high on the list, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, health services personnel ranked highest for 2020.
Needless to say, the construction industry can be a dangerous place to work, and injuries occur frequently. These injuries will often result in workers’ compensation claims, but in some cases, third-party lawsuits are available. Whatever the situation, you need to explore your full legal rights to compensation.
If you or a loved one has been injured or fallen ill at a construction site in or around Pearland, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Corpus Christi, or San Antonio, Texas and you wish to understand and pursue your full range of options for compensation, contact us at Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP. Our attorneys are experienced in protecting the rights of construction site employees and have consistently helped them recover the compensation owed to them for the injuries they have suffered.
Common Causes of Construction Site Injuries
Though it has since changed its phraseology and no longer calls the leading causes of construction deaths the “Fatal Four,” OSHA has issued a “QuickCard” with instructions on how to prevent the top four leading causes of construction-related injuries and deaths. The four, with their fatality percentages, are:
Falls (33.5% of construction deaths)
Struck by an object (11.1% of construction deaths)
Electrocutions (8.5% of construction deaths)
Caught in/between (5.5% of construction deaths)
Indeed, of the top 10 most violated OSHA standards in Fiscal Year 2020, construction industry standards ranked first, third, and fifth — fall protection, scaffolding, and ladders. Of the other seven standards violated for “general industry,” all can be applied to the construction industry as well.
Filing Workers’ Compensation Claims
A workers’ compensation claim is not always the slam dunk it’s touted to be. Though workers’ compensation laws are designed to be “no fault,” meaning neither employee nor employer can be held liable, insurance companies underwriting the policies will often do everything within their power to low-ball or even deny benefits, especially if you’re claiming permanent disability.
Insurers can have your claims reviewed by their own medical examiners, who may conclude that your injuries aren’t as bad as you say. They can also claim that your injury was due to intoxication or horseplay, the two exceptions to “no fault” under the law.
If there are disputes, the Texas Department of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) can arrange a benefit review conference (BRC) between you and the insurance company’s representative. You will definitely want to have an attorney present with you at a BRC.
Some situations on construction sites may lead to accidental injuries that are caused by someone not on your contractor’s payroll but working on the same site. For instance, an operator of a vehicle employed by one contractor runs into a worker for another contractor and causes an injury. In this case, a personal injury lawsuit could be filed against the third party.
Another example of a third-party claim would involve malfunctioning machinery or equipment. If the malfunction causing the injury is due to a defect in design, a defect in manufacturing, or a defect (deficiency or absence) in proper operating and safety instructions, then a personal injury claim might also be possible.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If you’ve lost a loved one to a construction site accident, workers’ compensation generally provides burial expenses and a lawsuit is barred, but an exception exists if it can be shown that the fatality resulted from the gross negligence of the employer (or from a third party, as discussed above).
The Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, Section 48.101, states: “This section does not prohibit the recovery of exemplary damages by the surviving spouse or heirs of the body of a deceased employee whose death was caused by an intentional act or omission of the employer or by the employer’s gross negligence.”
If you wish to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of a loved one, you will need the services of an experienced attorney who can investigate and assess liability, then file a lawsuit if warranted.
Trust a Team of Skilled Attorneys
Our attorneys and support staff at Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP are proud to help workers and their families seek the money they need after suffering a construction site injury or work-related accident. Our lawyers are experienced in representing employees injured or killed while performing their jobs, whether it is at a construction site, on a ship, on an offshore oil rig, railroad, or in an office.
If you or a loved one has suffered an accidental death, brain injury, spinal cord injury, paralysis, or other terrible condition, you need help right away. Contact us and you will receive a rapid response and be scheduled for a free initial consultation with a compassionate, experienced law firm.
Construction & Workplace Accidents
Attorneys Serving Pearland, Texas
Our law offices are located in Pearland, Texas, but our lawyers can travel anywhere in the state to provide you with the representation you need, including Houston, Conroe, Galveston, Victoria, Beaumont, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo, McAllen, Harlingen, Brownsville, Waco, Dallas, Fort Worth, Longview, Tyler, Marshall, Texarkana, Angleton, Bastrop, and more. Call our team at Hildrebrand & Wilson, LLP today.