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Atlanta Construction Accidents Lawyer
Some of the most devastating accidents occur on or near construction sites. Victims of construction site accidents are often killed or left with catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injuries, amputations, spinal cord injuries, quadriplegia, paraplegia, shattered bones, fractures, crush injuries, and severe internal injuries. Ponton Law represents construction accident victims and their families throughout Georgia and the Southeast.
Construction Area Hazards
Construction injuries can result from any number of hazards including:
- Electrocution: exposed wiring and faulty equipment can cause severe burns, muscle pain, seizures, and unconsciousness;
- Defective Machinery: cranes, backhoes, plows, and other machinery can malfunction, causing risk for serious injury;
- Scaffolding Accidents: if scaffolding is not properly set up, falls from tall heights, the collapse of scaffolding and structure collapses can occur;
- Collapsed Structures: improper construction can lead to flimsy structures, foundations, and if not properly maintained, can collapse can cause serious injury or even death;
- Improper Equipment Use and Maintenance: improper or reckless use can lead to severe injury as with any heavy machinery;
- Dangerous Gases and Toxic Substances: those who work in construction areas often come in contact with dangerous gases and substances. Faulty safety equipment can lead to exposure of these dangerous substances.
- Welding Accidents: not properly welding can lead to injuries if structures collapse. Recklessly welding can lead to severe burns as well.
- Cutting Accidents: the use of saws and other sharp objects handled with improper use can result in lose limbs and appendages;
- Explosives: Dangerous projectiles can be sent through construction areas and sometimes even send debris outside of the construction areas.
In 2021, Federal OSHA listed the 10 most cited standards as follows:
- Hazard reporting;
- Scaffolding safety;
- Protection from falling;
- Respiratory safety gear;
- Ladder safety;
- Training for falls;
- Hazardous energy administration;
- Motorized industrial vehicles ;
- Machine guarding; and
- Eye/face safety protection.
Though construction companies and contractors are required to inspect each job site and implement safety programs, in 2013 alone 4,585 people were killed on the job according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Construction workers are at far greater risk of serious injury or death than are workers in any other industry. The ten most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by OSHA include fall protection, hazard communication, scaffolding, respiratory protection, powered industrial trucks, lockout/tag-out, ladders, electrical wiring, machine guarding, and electrical systems design.
Negligence On Construction Sites
All too often, accidents occur because property owners hire unlicensed contractors to perform construction work or because general contractors, architects, or sub-contractors fail to take the necessary precautions to provide a safe work site. The failure to properly maintain ladders, tools, scaffolds, or other equipment, the failure to hire, train and supervise careful employees, the failure to comply with material safety data sheets and State and Federal laws regulating construction sites, and the failure to warn of dangerous conditions can all result in horrible but preventable accidents. These situations usually involve violations of Federal OSHA regulations and local building codes.
In most accident or injury lawsuits, proving negligence is essential. In order to succeed in court, negligence claims must establish four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. To win a negligence case for your construction accident, the plaintiff must show that the defendant acted carelessly by proving the following four elements:
- Duty: Under the circumstances, the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal responsibility.
- Breach: The defendant violated the law by acting or neglecting to act in a specific manner.
- Causation: The plaintiff’s injury was caused by the defendant’s conduct; and
- Damages: As a result of the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff was hurt or wounded.
Your injury could have been caused by a machine or a tool. You may well have a case with the manufacturer of the equipment if the damage was caused by a malfunctioning piece of equipment rather than inappropriate usage of that equipment. There are some components that must be proven, they include:
- Proving your injury was caused by a defective part or piece of equipment; and
- The equipment you were using was for its intended for that particular use.
Worker’s Compensation Laws in Georgia
Construction cases involve complex liability issues and the interaction between state and federal laws regulating the construction industry and state worker’s compensation laws which provide broad immunity to employers. In Georgia, the workers’ compensation laws generally protect an employer from being sued directly, and instead, all claims must be filed under their worker’s compensation policy.
Georgia allows for payment of lost earnings and coverage of authorized medical expenditures. The workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Temporary total disability/TTD – you’re not able to work due to a temporary yet total disability.
- Temporary partial disability/TPD – your return to work will include modified responsibilities, fewer hours, and lower pay.
- Permanent partial disability/PPD – the total loss of function or paralysis of a body part or physical system; the treating physician will assign a percentage of permanent impairment, which affects benefits.
- Permanent total disability/PTD – completely and permanently disabled; benefits are based on the impairment rating system.
The fact that multiple parties may be liable for your claim makes construction accident cases more difficult to handle. Your accident may have happened due to a number of different factors. Some of the parties that can be held accountable for your accident, depending on what caused it, include:
- Owners of construction sites;
- Construction companies and subcontractors;
- Supervisors on the job;
- Construction management firms; and
- Manufacturers of a defective product.
Lawsuits arising out of construction site accidents are expensive to prosecute. Expert witnesses must be retained in most construction accident cases including building code experts, construction industry experts, architecture experts, engineering experts as well as medical experts.
Something you need to remember about any type of industrial accident is that you have only 30 days to report your injuries to your supervisor, boss, or whoever the appropriate authority is. In the state of Georgia, if you fail to report within 30 days, then you prevent yourself from receiving benefits. Another thing you need to keep in mind is that you have one year from the date of the injury to file a claim after properly reporting it to your boss or supervisor. If your employer gave you any treatment(s) for your injury/injuries, then you have one year from that date to file your workers’ compensation claim. So make sure you’re filing based on the correct date.
Ponton Law works to identify other third parties that could be held responsible for your injuries. For example, if you were injured on the job due to a defective piece of machinery, then in addition to filing a worker’s compensation claim you could also file a third-party claim against the manufacturer of the machinery.
Construction Accident FAQs
Q: Can you tell me what OSHA is?
A: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a government agency that establishes worker safety protections on the job.
Q: Are you able to claim more than just workers’ compensation for your construction site injury?
A: In Georgia, if you are hurt while working on a construction site, then it’s possible you may be able to receive more than just your workers’ compensation benefits. The amount of compensation you receive will be determined by several criteria, as well as the source of your construction accident.
Q: Do I need to contact a lawyer after my accident on a construction job site?
A: Yes. Once you have received medical attention for your injuries it would be wise to contact a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with handling these types of injury cases.
Q: Are construction accidents a common thing?
A: In 2019, OSHA did a study and found that 5,333 workers had died on the job. Construction accidents accounted for almost 20% or 1,061 of worker fatalities in 2019. That works out to be 1 in every 5 worker deaths.
Q: What is the fatal four when it comes to construction accident injuries?
A: The fatal four is in reference to the 4 most common ways to be injured on a job site. Those 4 include falling off objects, being struck by an object or vehicle, being caught in-between an object or vehicle, and being electrocuted.
Call Us Today
Our Atlanta construction accident lawyer has successfully litigated many cases where the failure of a landowner or contractor to provide a safe construction site resulted in the death or catastrophic injury of a construction worker or bystander. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed as a result of a construction site accident, contact Ponton Law’s offices today by calling 404-860-2454 to speak with an attorney.
With an office in Brookhaven, we represent clients in Fulton County and the surrounding areas including but not limited to Sandy Springs, Chamblee, Dunwoody, North Buckhead, Druid Hills, Decatur, North Decatur, Vinings, Cumberland, Doraville, and Embry Hills.