Pennsylvania Work Related Accident Attorneys
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FIGHTING FOR PA WORK-RELATED ACCIDENT VICTIMS
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an American worker is injured every 7 seconds. This adds up to 12,600 injuries a day, 4.6 million injuries a year and over 100 million production days lost to injury. What’s more, workplace fatalities have been on the rise, totaling 5,250 deaths in 2018. Pennsylvania is an outlier in the national average — ranking higher.
Of the jobs responsible for the most serious workplace injuries, construction may be the deadliest. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), two construction workers die each day in the United States because of work-related injuries, and one in five workplace fatalities are construction-related.
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These construction injuries often occur when the safety engineers and safety programs that construction companies are obligated to enact are either negligent or simply absent.
Some of the Cases That We Take On
There is often a tragic chain of events involved in workplace accidents — one which may include several negligent parties. When a worker is injured on the job, their employer is always involved. But workers depend on the careful diligence of product and equipment manufacturers, property owners and other workers and contractors involved in projects. In the following cases, a good lawyer can be the difference between justice and an unrecognized tragedy.
- Chemical Exposures: Toxic chemicals are among the health hazards that construction workers are routinely exposed to. Those injured by toxic substances may also be able to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer of that substance.
- Equipment Accidents and Machinery Malfunction: In heavy industry, workers depend on the reliability of massive machines. Manufacturers, service agencies and contractors all have a responsibility to make sure on-the-job machinery functions at a high level.
- OSHA Violations: From OSHA’s inception in 1970, workplace fatalities have dropped by 63 percent and overall on-the-job injuries have declined by 75 percent. A big part of this attenuation has come through adherence to OSHA safety standards — their loose enforcement can serve as powerful evidence of employer negligence.
- Trench and Building Collapse: When workers are hurt by a collapsed building or unsafe trench, negligence is often at root. Although OSHA has careful guidelines meant to guard against trench and building construction hazards, employers will often skirt these in the interest of efficiency.
Construction’s “Fatal Four”
OSHA has identified four workplace hazards which are especially deadly and merit the most preventative attention. These are foreseeable dangers which are altogether responsible for nearly 60 percent of all construction worker injuries between them. OSHA estimates that eliminating this quartet would save nearly 600 lives per year.
- Electrical Accidents and Explosions: Number 6 on OSHA’s list of most frequently violated standards is control of hazardous energy — when someone is electrocuted or an explosion occurs on a work site, it is often because of careless or purposeful negligence.
- Entrapment Accidents (caught-in and caught-between): Entrapment happens when workers are caught in or crushed by equipment or objects or a collapsing structure. This workplace hazard has a high incidence of serious injury.
- Slip and Fall Accidents: According to OSHA, slip and fall accidents are responsible for one-third of all construction fatalities. Safety standards related to falling accidents are also among the most frequently violated, accounting for 4 of the top 10 most frequently cited violations.
- Struck by Falling Object/Debris: These injuries rank second in terms of cause of construction deaths, and their contributing factors are mostly avoidable.
Not every workplace injury is caused by OSHA code violations. Some of the following injuries are occupational hazards which can nonetheless be debilitating — and are sometimes easier to ignore for their lack of accidents involved.
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Neck aches
- Joint pain
- Muscle sprains
- Cuts and bruises
- Abrasions and contusions
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Third Party Liability in Construction Accidents
In certain circumstances, the liability is assigned to a third party for job-site construction injuries. Property owners, architects, contractors and equipment manufacturers can all be held liable for accidents arising from insufficient safety measures.
General contractors, as well as all subcontractors, are responsible for providing appropriate safety provisions that ensure a construction site is reasonably safe, including to:
- Check that all safety specifications are followed
- Coordinate job safety
- Hire employees who will use caution while working
- Warn of possible hazards on the site
How Insurance Companies Lowball Claims
Not all workplace injuries require a lawyer to have your claim appropriately addressed. If the injury is clearly work-related and doesn’t require much medical treatment or time off to fully heal, the insurance company is unlikely to dispute your claim.
However, there are certain situations to watch for, where you may not be given the compensation your injury merits:
- The insurance company requests an independent medical examination. When an insurance company’s doctor examines your injury, they may give it a lower disability rating than it warrants.
- Your ability to work is affected. In the event of a disabling injury, your compensation will need to take future earning considerations into account.
- You have a preexisting condition tied to your injury. Insurers will use this to challenge whether work-related activities caused your injury.
- You need expensive treatment. Insurers will often challenge or delay approval for expensive treatments like surgery.
- You’re receiving other government benefits. Worker’s comp will sometimes affect the amount you receive from other disability benefits.
When to Consult with an Experienced Workplace Injury Attorney
When your claim is disputed, you should seek out the counsel of an experienced workplace injury lawyer. They will help you to gather the evidence you’ll need to challenge the insurer’s position, including taking depositions, requesting an independent medical examination and securing expert witnesses.
With 30 years of experience in workplace injury law, Richard Hollawell is well suited to evaluate the situation and help determine the next steps toward justice. To schedule a meeting for a free consultation, fill out the form or call us directly at 1-800-681-3550.