Construction jobs are some of the most dangerous occupations. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2,200 construction workers suffered an on-the-job injury in 2019. In addition, looking at the most recent data from the BLS related to fatal workplace injuries, more than 20 construction workers die in workplace accidents every year. While the causes of construction injuries vary, one of the leading causes is construction site falls.
If you work in construction, it will be no surprise to hear that falls are the leading cause of injury and death in the industry. Construction workers routinely work at high heights, whether on scaffolding or near the edge of a building. Naturally, this puts workers at a high risk of falling.
Under general principles of personal injury law, those injured due to others’ negligence are entitled to compensation for their injuries from the at-fault party. However, when it comes to workplace accidents, there is an added layer of complexity due to the state’s workers’ compensation laws.
Common Causes of Construction Site Fall Accidents in Kentucky
Construction sites are very dangerous places that are rife with hazards, obvious and hidden. When it comes to construction site falls, a few of the most common causes include the following.
At one time or another, most construction workers have to use scaffolding to access a job site. While most scaffolding is safe, that is not always the case. In some cases, manufacturers sell defective scaffolding that may collapse under the weight of workers. In other situations, improperly assembled scaffolding can come apart, causing workers to fall several stories to the ground below.
Depending on the worksite, a general contractor or subcontractor may be responsible for installing safety guard rails to prevent an accidental fall. If a construction worker falls due to the contractor’s failure to install a guard rail, they may be liable for a workers’ injuries.
Construction workers typically create temporary stairs to access certain areas of the job site. Often, these stairs are created on-site by one of the other construction workers or contractors working on the job. However, while these stairs are not designed to be permanent, they still should be safe. If a worker falls due to poorly made stairs, they may pursue a Kentucky workplace accident lawsuit against the negligent party who made the stairs.
Once a construction job is well underway, workers will typically place boards and other walkways to navigate the unfinished portions of the building. The general contractor, or whichever contractor created the walkway, should ensure that these walkways are safe for workers to use. If a worker falls due to an unstable walkway, they may pursue a personal injury claim against the other worker or contractor who created the walkway.
Construction workers use a variety of substances and chemicals when completing a job. While these substances are necessary, they must be safely used and not left out in open areas where others could slip on them. If a construction worker falls after stepping in a slippery substance, they may have a claim against the party who failed to clean it up.
If you’ve been injured in a Kentucky construction site fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, you may need to pursue a workers’ compensation claim instead of or in addition to a personal injury claim.
How Kentucky Workers’ Comp Laws Can Stand in the Way of Injured Workers
Like most other states, Kentucky has a mandatory workers’ compensation system to provide limited compensation for injured workers. Notably, a workers’ comp claim allows injured workers to obtain medical benefits and income-replacement benefits while they are unable to work. While this may sound like a good thing—and it is in some cases—workers’ compensation laws do not allow for the payment of non-economic damages and limit an employee’s ability to pursue a claim against their employer.
Generally, a workers’ compensation claim is an injured workers’ exclusive remedy against their employer. This means that, if you suffer an on-the-job injury, you may not be able to file a personal injury claim against your employer. In rare cases, employers can be liable for a worker’s injuries, provided the injury resulted from the employer’s willful or intentional conduct. However, injured employees can pursue a Kentucky third-party workplace injury claim against any other party who is not their employer or someone else who works for their employer.
This is especially relevant in the construction industry, as employees regularly work alongside other contractors. For example, while a construction worker may not be able to pursue a personal injury claim against their employer after a construction site fall accident, they could name any of the following parties:
- General contractors,
- Property owners,
- Other subcontractors, and
- Negligent workers of another employer.
Not every construction site fall accident will result in a successful third-party injury claim. This is often because of the difficulties in identifying a third-party defendant. However, if you’ve been injured in a construction fall accident, meeting with an experienced personal injury legal practitioner can give you a better idea of what type of claim you have and which parties to name as defendants. When selecting an attorney, it is imperative that you choose a lawyer who understands the construction industry and the complex relationships between property owners, general contractors, and sub-contractors.
Have You Been Injured in a Construction Site Fall Accident?
If you or a family member was recently injured in a construction site slip and fall accident, reach out to the dedicated Kentucky workplace accident legal team at the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, for immediate assistance. Attorney Seth Gladstein is a Kentucky construction site accident legal practitioner with unique experience handling construction site fall injuries. With his help, you can identify which parties may be liable to you for your injuries and effectively pursue a claim against them. To learn more, give us a call to schedule a free consultation, and discuss your case with our dedicated injury legal team. You can also reach us through our online form. We handle all cases on a contingency basis, meaning there is no risk in speaking with an attorney because we will not charge you anything for our assistance unless we can help you recover compensation for your injuries.