Construction accidents are among the most common and destructive in the context of personal injury, and the statistics bear this out. According to a report conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry in New Jersey had the highest number of fatal occupational injuries compared to any other sector and had an incidence rate of 3.6 nonfatal injuries per 100 workers on an annual basis.
Given the severity and frequency of construction accidents, many injured workers in New Jersey may be curious as to whether they have an actionable claim for damages, and how they might go about securing maximum compensation.
Hazards Contributing to Construction Accidents in New Jersey
There are a number of onsite hazards that can contribute to a construction accident. These include, but are not necessarily limited, to:
- Improper scaffolding
- Unsecured ladders
- Unprotected elevated platforms
- Equipment defects
- Failure to provide safety equipment
- Electrical hazards (i.e., exposed wiring)
- Chemical exposure
- Improper training
- Negligent supervision of employees
- Inadequate security
- Presence of serious fire hazards
For example, among the more common types of injuries seen in construction accidents are “falling injuries.” We often encounter workers who fall and injure themselves due to improperly secured ladders and/or a lack of safety harnesses (to latch them to an elevated platform).
Workers’ Compensation and Employer Liability
If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, chances are that you will come up against the issue of employer liability — and more specifically, workers’ compensation.
In New Jersey, all employers must maintain workers’ compensation coverage. Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system. When you suffer an injury or illness, you can submit a claim for workers’ compensation benefits that will cover medical expenses and lost wages. You need not prove that your employer was negligent — you need only show that you suffered harm within the course and scope of your employment.
Workers’ compensation is exclusive, in the sense that you cannot bring a separate lawsuit against your employer to recover damages (that may include pain and suffering, property loss, and other losses).
Workers’ compensation benefits are therefore “easier” to secure, but the damages ceiling is rather low in comparison to a standard personal injury lawsuit. As such, you may want to explore the possibility of suing a liable third party.
Though it may not seem like it at first glance, third parties — such as product manufacturers and other parties who are not connected to the employer — are often partially to blame for the injuries suffered by workers in construction accidents.
For example, suppose that you are injured due to a defective tool. The tool overheats and shatters, sending hard shrapnel into your arm. Though the injury occurred within the course and scope of your employment, you could look past the employer and sue the product manufacturer for damages pursuant to defective product liability. This would give you access to a broader set of damages.
Contact Folkman Law to Speak With an Experienced Cherry Hill Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, you may be entitled to significant damages pursuant to New Jersey law. Construction accident claims are often more complicated than they initially appear, due to conflicts between standard civil liability and workers’ compensation, as well as the potential for third-party liability in some cases.
At Folkman Law, we have extensive experience advocating for plaintiffs in a range of personal injury disputes, including those arising out of construction accidents. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities associated with construction accident litigation and have a consistent track record of success in helping our clients achieve substantial favorable results (verdicts and settlements).
Call 856-354-9444 or contact us online to schedule an initial meeting with an experienced Cherry Hill personal injury lawyer at Folkman Law. Consultation is free, confidential, and carries no obligation. We are available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns that you may have regarding your claims.