St. Louis construction workers understand the dangers they may face on the job. Construction workers generally conduct themselves to avoid being injured by hazards on the job; but, sometimes, your own efforts aren’t enough to keep you safe. When the negligence or failure of another party injures you on the job in St. Louis, you may seek compensation under the law. Our St. Louis Construction Accident Lawyers can help you with your legal claim.
Construction accident injuries can be painful and cause you more than just an inconvenience or missed day of work. Severe construction accident injuries can affect every aspect of your life, and even for the rest of your life.
Call The Bruning Law Firm if a St. Louis Construction Accident Injured
The Bruning Law Firm understands the challenges you face as a worker injured in a construction site accident. Our team takes pride in protecting our construction injury clients’ rights and helping achieve positive outcomes in their cases. St. Louis construction accident injuries can have lasting effects on your life and your ability to provide for yourself and your family in the future. Whether through a worker’s compensation claim or a lawsuit against a negligent party, we will fight alongside you for the compensation you deserve.
Construction Accidents in St. Louis and Surrounding Areas
There are many industries where St. Louis workers are at risk of workplace accidents, but construction remains one of the industries with the highest incidences of injuries and fatalities. Each year, St. Louis workplace accidents injure many thousands of people, and some even die.
Construction work can be especially dangerous and difficult; manual labor is often intense, and workers face long hours in challenging conditions day-in and day-out. Construction sites pose a risk to the health and safety of workers. If those in charge fail to take the right precautions, the risk of injury and death can increase. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that around 1,000 fatal injuries occur in construction industry accidents every year.
Construction Site Workers Can Be Seriously Injured in STL
When people who work at construction sites are injured, their recovery must generally occur through a Workers’ Compensation claim. Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation program operates to compensate injured workers regardless of fault, thereby limiting legal claims brought against employers. In return, employers pay into the program in order to pay claims made by injured workers. In some cases, however, workers may be able bring legal claims for injuries sustained at work with the help of a STL personal injury lawyer. These may include:
- Injuries caused by 3rd parties at the construction site.
- Injuries caused by an employer or employee’s intentional act.
- Injuries caused by faulty equipment.
Often, the recovery that may be available in a personal injury case is much greater than the benefits than a person can receive through workers’ compensation benefits, so it is worthwhile for victims to discuss their options with an experienced St. Louis construction accident injury attorney.
Construction Site Accidents in St. Louis, MO Can Injure Bystanders
Construction sites often contain heavy machinery, toxic chemicals, open heights, and loose building materials. These hazards have the potential to injure people near constructions sites in a variety of ways, including:
- Falling objects
- Collapsing structures
- Runaway vehicles
- Chemical exposure
When these and other accidents related to construction sites injure others, victims can often recover for their losses by bringing a personal injury claim against the person or party responsible for the maintenance and safety of the construction site.
What Is a Construction Accident?
A construction accident in St. Louis is any incident that occurs in or around a construction site that causes injury or fatality. Construction projects vary in size and scope and can include demolition, repair, erection, or improvement of a building or site. Regardless of the scope of the project, large construction equipment, heavy materials, debris, and uneven footing can pose a great risk to individuals both on- and off-site, including construction workers, visitors, and bystanders.
To prevent accidents, the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and St. Louis Municipal Codes establish rigorous safety requirements for construction sites. Construction accidents are often caused by a lack of adherence to these guidelines, both intentional and unintentional, on the part of other construction workers, the construction company, or equipment manufacturers.
What Construction Accidents Occur in St. Louis?
St. Louis construction accidents have numerous causes, including OSHA’s Fatal Four construction hazards: trips and falls, falling objects, electrocution, and being caught in or between objects.
Below are the most common types of construction accidents in St. Louis.
- Falls. According to OSHA, falls are the most common cause of fatalities in the construction industry. In St. Louis, falls occur when individuals fall from a height without sufficient fall protection, which can include fall arrest equipment, barriers, floor opening covers, and signs for floor openings. Falls also happen when scaffolding and ladders are damaged, in poor repair, or are used incorrectly. The changeable weather in St. Louis also plays a role in construction site falls. Dew, rain, frost, and ice can happen every season, creating slippery surfaces that pose a danger to workers.
- Struck by Objects. Many St. Louis construction accidents occur when an object, such as construction equipment, building materials, or falling debris, strikes a worker. When a worker is positioned between a fixed object and heavy equipment such as forklifts, backhoes, and cranes, they are at risk of being struck or crushed if insufficient protection is in place. High winds in St. Louis can heighten the risk of objects falling from the upper levels of the site onto the workers or bystanders below. Even relatively small, unsecured items like shingles, tiles, tools, and fastening hardware can cause severe injury or even death if they fall from a height.
- Electrocutions. Electrocution poses a serious accident risk on St. Louis construction sites. Often, construction takes place near live power lines, both above and underground. If workers are not aware of the location of utility lines, they can hit power lines and be electrocuted. High voltage from live power lines can cause debilitating injuries and even death. Electrocutions can also occur when workers use portable electric tools that do not have sufficient grounding or insulation.
- Caught in or Between Objects. Workers on St. Louis construction sites can be caught in or between objects, particularly in excavations or trenches that do not have correct protective systems established. OSHA and St. Louis Excavation Codes establish stringent requirements for excavation protection on trenches and dig sites, including sloping, shoring, benching, and trench shield systems. Failure to adhere to these guidelines can result in severe injuries. In addition, worksites must secure heavy machinery and equipment for all ranges of motion. When these objects are not properly secured, they can become dislodged and fall, crushing individuals nearby.
- Fire or Explosion. St. Louis construction operations employ combustible materials. From gas and electrical lines to propane torches, fuel tanks, and detonation equipment, the risk of fire and explosion is rampant on many construction sites. Also, fire and explosions have the potential to reach a much larger group of people, which makes them a greater risk to the public.
- Hazardous Materials. When building or demolishing property in St. Louis, construction workers and other individuals can be exposed to a variety of hazardous materials. Without proper protection, exposure to these materials can cause both short-term and long-term illnesses and injuries such as scarring, COPD, emphysema, and cancer.
- Bad Weather. St. Louis enjoys four seasons, which means that construction workers are exposed to a full array of dangerous weather conditions. Because they often work outdoors, construction workers are at high risk for injury and illness due to inclement weather, including heat, direct sunlight, heavy rain, strong wind, lightning, ice, and snow. When workers are exposed to these conditions, they are at greater risk of severe injuries and fatalities.
What Causes Construction Accidents in St. Louis?
Construction accidents in St. Louis are often due to poor adherence to safety guidelines and protocols. This type of negligence, whether by employers, other employees, or third parties, can cause accidents that result in severe life-altering injuries.
Some of the most common causes of St. Louis construction accidents are:
- Insufficient fall protection
- Ineffective or insufficient protective equipment
- Inadequate hazard notifications
- Negligent placement of tools, equipment, and construction materials
- Inadequate employee training
- Lack of adequate safety policies and protocols
- Employee overwork
- Continued work in dangerous weather conditions
- Defective equipment
- Negligent heavy equipment operation
What Kinds of Injuries Occur in St. Louis Construction Accidents?
Construction accidents in St. Louis can cause severe, life-altering injuries or even death. Construction work requires extensive physical activity and constant vigilance. Injuries that affect the worker’s ability to perform their required duties are often severe enough to prevent the victim from working in construction ever again.
Common injuries caused by construction accidents in St. Louis include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries, up to and including paralysis
- Brain injuries, including serious traumatic brain injuries that cause permanent damage
- Burns, bruises, and cuts
- Vision and hearing impairment
- Crushed limbs
- Amputation or loss of limb
Construction Worker Accident Compensation in St. Louis
Construction worker accident injury claims can be complex because of the unique limitations on must pay you for your injuries. Most construction worker accidents fall under the umbrella of a worker’s compensation claim.
St. Louis employers employing five or more employees must carry worker’s compensation insurance to cover work-related injuries suffered by their employees. For construction workers who suffer an injury on the job, worker’s compensation is normally the primary source of compensation. The system has its advantages, such as not requiring the employee to prove fault, and it is more streamlined than the process of a personal injury lawsuit.
While you probably can’t file a lawsuit against your employer for injuries in a construction accident, you could bring suit against other parties. How your injuries occurred and who was involved will dictate whether or not you can sue other parties.
Damages in a construction accident against a non-employer party may include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages and medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished earning capacity
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of companionship
- Compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one
Do St. Louis Construction Accident Victims Need a Lawyer?
You may wonder whether you need to hire a lawyer to assist you after a St. Louis construction accident. Many people believe a lawyer is only necessary when bringing a lawsuit, but that is often incorrect. A construction accident attorney can help ensure not only that workers' compensation doesn't deny your claim but that you recover the compensation you deserve.
Missouri law requires most construction industry employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance. As a result, a worker's compensation claim will address most work-related injuries. However, an employer or their insurer may fight a claim, arguing that the employee engaged in horseplay, which constitutes an exemption. They may also try to limit the amount they pay out in medical expenses or lost wages.
Furthermore, workers’ compensation typically does not cover the full extent of a worker’s damages. For instance, workers only recover a percentage of their average weekly income, typically two-thirds, but it may not exceed 55 percent of the state average weekly wage. Workers’ compensation also doesn’t cover certain damages typically available in a lawsuit, such as for pain and suffering.
A lawyer can also help you determine if additional liable parties could make up for the shortfall. If your injuries resulted from the wrongful actions or inactions of another party, you may file a claim or lawsuit against them.
St. Louis Construction Accident FAQs
Construction can be dangerous to everyone, from manual workers and equipment operators to bystanders. The physical conditions common on St. Louis construction sites, coupled with long hours, changeable outdoor conditions, and heavy labor can cause severe accidents. Without the proper safety precautions and protocols, the chance of fatal accidents can increase significantly.
The Missouri Department of Labor reports that more than 4,000 construction injuries occur on average each year, with about 15 fatalities annually. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 1,000 construction accidents result in fatalities each year.
If you or a loved one were injured in a construction accident, you might not know what to do next. A seasoned construction accident law firm can help. A team of compassionate lawyers and legal professionals can work to handle the legal aspects of the accident so that you can take the time to heal.
A construction accident attorney can help you determine the financial, physical, and emotional damages you are owed and can fight for maximum reparations. The right personal injury attorney is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with big construction companies and their insurance companies, so you can rest assured that you could get the compensation you deserve.
What Damages Can I Seek if I Am an Employee Injured in a Construction Accident in St. Louis?
If you are injured in a construction accident as an employee, you may be able to seek damages to cover your medical bills, loss of income, loss of future income, and pain and suffering. Construction accidents often arise from co-worker errors, defective equipment, or insufficient onsite precautions. As an employee, you will usually seek recovery through Worker’s Compensation. Missouri’s Department of Labor & Industrial Relations helps injured workers to seek compensation for injuries on the job, regardless of fault.
While Worker’s Compensation covers many injury claims, individuals may be able to seek damages through a personal injury suit if the injuries were due to faulty equipment, if they were due to an intentional act on the part of an employee or employer, or if they were caused by a third party on the construction site.
Can I Seek Damages if I am Injured as a Bystander?
Construction sites endanger nearby individuals with trip hazards, heavy machinery, loose debris, toxic substances, and combustible materials.
These items can result in potential injury due to bystanders due to:
- Fires and explosions
- Falling objects such as tools, construction materials, and hardware
- Collapsing structures
- Out-of-control equipment and vehicles
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and materials
When accidents occur due to construction-related activities, victims may be able to seek compensation for their losses through a construction accident injury claim against the people responsible for the construction site.
What Should I Do if I Am in a Construction Accident in St. Louis?
Construction accident injury claims in St. Louis are especially complex due to Missouri’s worker’s compensation requirements. While your injury may fall under a worker’s compensation claim, a construction accident attorney can help you ensure that you are getting the most compensation for your injury.
If your employer has five or more employees, they are required by Missouri law to carry worker’s compensation insurance. If that is the case, you can file the claim through your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance company without having to prove fault.
Although you may not be able to file a suit against your employer for construction accident injuries in St. Louis, you may be able to sue other parties. The cause of your injuries and who was involved will determine whether you can seek damages from other parties.
For example, if your employer does not carry worker’s compensation insurance, or if the negligence of a third party caused your accident, you may file a construction accident suit to recover:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Current and future lost wages
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Reduced earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of companionship
- Compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one
How Do I File a Lawsuit for a Construction Accident in St. Louis?
Since construction contractors in Missouri who hire more than 5 employees are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance, many construction accident injury claims are handled by worker’s compensation. You may think that this means you do not need a construction accident attorney; however, an attorney can help ensure that you receive full compensation from the insurance company.
While worker’s compensation exists to provide compensation to employees injured on the job, they are fundamentally driven by profits, which means that they will likely look for reasons to provide as little compensation as possible. Employers and insurers could work together to create a narrative that reduces the employer’s liability. For example, they may argue that the claimant was not using proper equipment or was engaging in unprofessional behavior.
Worker’s compensation insurance companies are also notorious for only paying a portion of the damages owed to the victim. They may only pay a percentage of lost income, up to 55 percent of Missouri’s average weekly wage, which can significantly affect the accident victim’s ability to maintain their standard of living. In addition, worker’s compensation will not cover pain and suffering or other intangible damages.
The construction accident attorneys at The Bruning Law Firm can help you determine whether you can sue other parties for additional damages. If your injuries result from the negligence of a third party, you may file an injury claim against them.
Schedule a Consultation With the Construction Accident Attorneys at The Bruning Law Firm
Victims of construction accident injuries in St. Louis, both workers and bystanders, may sue for compensation. If you or a loved one was injured or lost their life in a construction accident, a personal injury attorney and legal professional can help. They will take time to thoroughly review your case and discuss your options to get the compensation you deserve. Typically, injury cases are on a contingency basis, which means that the attorney will only get paid if you get paid. Contact a personal injury attorney today to schedule a free consultation.
"AJ and team were so delightful to work with. They were very responsive to all emails and phone calls. I always knew which step we were on in the process of getting my lawsuit settled. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the amount the settlement was for was twice that of the original coverage of the insurance company. I don’t know how they did it but I am very pleased with the service they provided. Hands down easiest process, and people to deal with. 100% recommend if you have a personal injury case to be worked. Hopefully I won’t need their services again, but if I do I won’t hesitate to call." - Amanda W.
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