Now is a great time to be a construction worker in Utah. From north to south, east to west, our state is experiencing an unprecedented construction boom that gives you the opportunity to earn a high rate of pay, plus the chance to live in one of the country’s most beautiful states.
Unfortunately, however, construction has a downside. As an inherently dangerous industry, construction accidents occur on a regular basis. Consider the following Utah construction accidents that occurred just within the past few months:
- May 9 – A Salt Lake City construction worker died after falling 26 feet.
- July 11 – Four West Valley City firefighters and one civilian were injured when a staircase collapsed at a construction site.
- August 9 – A Summit Park construction worker sustained injuries when he was buried alive after dirt and large pieces of rock came loose and slid into the area in which he was working.
- August 10 – A Millcreek construction worker sustained critical injuries after falling from the 6-story scaffolding from which he was working.
Nationwide Construction Accident Statistics
Nationwide, the alarming statistics surrounding construction accidents and their consequent worker injuries and deaths include the following:
- Construction deaths account for 20% of all U.S. worker deaths, even though construction workers comprise only 6% of the national labor force.
- For every 100,000 construction workers, 10.2 of them die each year.
- Each year, 1.1% of construction workers miss work due to an on-the-job injury, translating to 130,000 workers in 2020.
- In 2020 alone, 174,100 construction workers were injured while working.
- If you’re between the ages of 25 and 34, your risk of injury is highest.
Are Utah Construction Workers Safe?
With a booming housing market, such as Utah’s, construction workers are in high demand. However, you may wonder if it is a safe job or on the riskier side. Construction does have its inherent dangers as an industry, so there are some hazards to watch out for at work.
In 2021, construction fatalities were among the top three industries with fatal work injuries in Utah – even though many of these incidents are largely preventable. Through training and maintenance, workplace accidents can be greatly reduced. This is something that every company should have as a goal.
As an industry, construction may be among the more dangerous jobs, but that is not to say that safety should be viewed as too difficult to achieve. It’s all the more vital for companies to support their workers and put safety first. Unfortunately, unscrupulous companies still exist, and the danger they put their workers in should not be ignored.
Staying safe while working on a construction site
Ways that companies and workers can cooperate to operate safely and prevent construction accidents include:
- The provision and use of personal protective equipment
- Continuous training and oversight of dangerous conditions
- Prioritizing safety and working conditions over efficiency
- Making sure that all machinery, scaffolding, and other equipment is properly maintained and stored
If a company fails to do these things, and an injury occurs as a result – the company may be held liable for the injuries and expenses incurred.
If you or your loved one work in construction, remember that it is vital to use all the necessary safety equipment available to you and to ensure that your work area and machinery are free of hazards.
From 2020 to 2021, construction injury incident rates went up in the State of Utah. It is imperative for all construction workers to stay vigilant and for construction companies to provide the necessary PPE and maintenance their machinery and workers need.
What to do if you have been injured
When an accident or incident takes place on the construction site, the first thing you might be tempted to do is to make light of your injuries. You may reason that you want to keep doing your job without making a fuss, so as not to be fired or lose your source of income.
However, even seemingly minor injuries can become more serious if left untreated, so you should always seek medical care right away.
After seeking medical attention for your construction-related injury, you may wonder what your next steps are and whether or not you need to hire a construction injury lawyer. Your first step is to stay calm, remembering that you have rights.
For one, your employer has an obligation to keep you as safe as possible. When this right of yours is violated, then you may have a legal claim against your employer.
The construction accident lawyers at Siegfried & Jensen watch out for every construction worker client’s best interests. We know that the work you do can be dangerous, but your efforts are essential for the development of our state. We thank you for this and stand ready to protect your rights.
Construction’s “Fatal Four”
Construction work is so dangerous that OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, publishes a list of the most common types of accidents resulting in worker deaths. Know as construction’s “Fatal Four,” it’s composed of the following:
- Falls, accounting for 33.5% of all construction worker deaths
- Struck-by-object accidents, accounting for 11.1% of all construction worker deaths
- Electrocutions, accounting for 8.5% of all construction worker deaths
- Caught-in and caught-between accidents, accounting for 5.5% of all construction worker deaths
Even if you survive these types of accidents, they can produce serious, sometimes life-altering, injuries.
A fall can result in any number of injuries, including the following:
- Broken bones
- Hip fracture
- Sprained wrist or ankle
- Severe cuts and abrasions
- Soft tissue injuries
Falls are the number one cause of TBIs, which occur when your head receives a violent blow that causes your brain to “slosh around” inside your skull. Symptoms can include any of the following:
- Loss of consciousness
- Seizures or convulsions
- Severe headache
- Dizziness, nausea and vomiting
- Vision difficulties
- Speech difficulties
- Balance difficulties
- Cognitive difficulties
While symptoms such as these may occur immediately after your fall, they could just as easily fail to surface for days or weeks after it. That’s why it’s vital that you receive immediate medical attention after a fall. A trained head trauma specialist can conduct the tests necessary to determine if you have, in fact, suffered a TBI, and, if so, begin treatment to minimize its effects.
TBIs can cause long-term physical, mental and emotional problems that could disable you for life.
Falls are likewise one of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries that can leave you partially or completely paralyzed. Anatomically, your neck and back contain several sets of vertebrae: seven in your cervical, i.e., neck, area, 12 in your thoracic, i.e., chest area, five in your lumbar, i.e., lower back, area and five in your sacral, i.e., tailbone, area.
The higher your SCI, the more devastating its likely consequences. An SCI to your lumbar or lower thoracic area generally produces paraplegia, a loss of voluntary motor function and sensation from your waist down. In other words, you lose the ability to walk because you can’t move your legs, and you must use a wheelchair in order to get around.
An SCI to your cervical or upper thoracic area generally results in quadriplegia, a loss of voluntary motor function and sensation from your shoulders down. Here you not only lose your ability to walk, but also your ability to use your arms and hands. In a worst-case scenario, you could require mechanical ventilation for the rest of your life in order to breathe.
Struck By an Object
Unfortunately, any number of things, including the following, can strike you while you’re performing your construction job tasks:
- Tools falling from scaffolding above you
- Debris falling from a malfunctioning crane
- Ice falling from a roof
- Rocks falling from a collapsing trench
- Heavy construction vehicles with malfunctioning brakes or back-up warning horns
Depending on what strikes you, and where on your body it hits you, you could sustain a serious, disabling injury.
An electrocution injury is far more than a mere electrical shock. It can be a life and death situation. These types of injuries occur when some part of your body comes into contact with an electrical current, such as when the ladder you’re standing on contacts a transformer or an overhead power line. The result is a severe burn that likely will leave lifetime disfiguring scars.
Electrocutions generally result in third degree burns that singe not only your skin, but also your underlying muscles, tendons and bones. They are extremely painful and require extensive hospital treatment, including skin grafts, plus substantial rehabilitation afterward to minimize their scarring.
Caught-in and Caught-Between Injuries
Whether it’s a conveyor belt, an elevator door or a piece of heavy construction equipment, construction sites are full of things in which you can become caught. You also face a high risk of being caught between a piece of equipment and another hard surface, such as a wall or floor.
These are the accidents that often cause crush injuries, which, in turn, can result in one or more of the following:
- Fractured bones
- Collapsed lung or lungs
- Internal organ damage
- Extensive bleeding
- Amputation of a hand, foot, arm or leg
Construction Accident Costs
The costs associated with any of the construction accidents and injuries described above can be as devastating as the injuries themselves. Not only will your hospital and other medical costs likely skyrocket, but you will lose income as you recover from your injuries to the greatest extent possible. If you suffer a truly catastrophic injury, such as a TBI, SCI or amputation, you may face lifetime costs for wheelchairs, prostheses and the continuing care you require.
The Legal Help You Need
At Siegfried and Jensen, we are ready, willing and able to be your Utah construction accidents lawyer. Since our founding in 1990, we have recovered over $1.2 billion in compensation for our injured clients.
To date, our team of deeply experienced personal injury lawyers has successfully resolved over 35,000 injury cases, many of them involving construction accidents. We know the law and we know how to aggressively advocate for the compensation you deserve, be it at the negotiation table or in the courtroom.
So contact us at one of our four convenient Utah offices. Your initial consultation is completely free, and there’s no obligation.
How Do I Know If I Need a Construction Accident Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a construction accident, you should consider hiring legal representation. Take the following scenarios, for example, in which seeking the assistance of a construction accident lawyer may be beneficial. Otherwise, if you are unsure of what you need, an attorney with Siegfried & Jensen would be happy to make a recommendation during a free case evaluation with our team.
You have suffered serious physical injuries
Have your injuries resulted in permanent disability or loss of earning capacity? What can you do if you have injuries that require medical attention or ongoing treatment?
A construction accident lawyer can help you pursue a claim for compensation for the following:
- Hospital bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Medical costs including medication and therapy
You are dealing with psychological injuries
In addition to physical injuries, construction accidents can result in psychological injuries. These can be just as devastating as physical ones and can have a long-lasting impact on a victim’s life.
You are not alone if you suffer from emotional or mental distress after an accident. According to The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP), injured workers are at a heightened risk of suicide.
Common psychological injuries after construction accidents include the following:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Thoughts of suicide
Unfortunately, psychological injuries can be challenging to prove in a legal claim. This is because non-physical conditions may develop over a long time or require ongoing treatment. For these reasons, insurance companies may try to deny or limit these claims.
You are experiencing difficulties with your workers’ compensation claim
What if your workers’ compensation claim for a construction injury is denied? A construction injury lawyer can help you appeal the decision. He or she can represent you in hearings and navigate the overall appeals process on your behalf.
The right attorney can improve your chances of receiving fair compensation. Without a construction accident attorney on your side, though, you may be unaware of all your legal options and unable to protect your rights.
Your loved one has died as a result of the accident
What if a loved one has died as a result of a construction accident? A construction accident lawyer can enable families to pursue a wrongful death claim for damages.
Recoverable damages include the following:
- Funeral costs
- Lost income for the family of the accident victim
- Loss of consortium for the surviving spouse
- Hospital fees
- Long-term medical care costs incurred before the victim’s death
You need support to get justice
The following are seven steps a construction accident attorney can take to assist with your claim to ensure you can be fairly compensated:
- Advocacy: Experienced lawyers can advocate the rights of injured clients in claim negotiations.
- Investigating the accident: A construction injury lawyer can help investigate the accident. He or she may review accident reports, interview witnesses, or gather other evidence.
- Identifying liable parties: A lawyer can hold the right parties responsible and identify all of them. These may include contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers, and suppliers.
- Determining the value of damages: A construction accident lawyer can evaluate potential damages. These include medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
- Filing paperwork and meeting deadlines: A lawyer can help you meet critical deadlines. This includes filing paperwork such as workers’ compensation claims or personal injury lawsuits.
- Access to resources: A construction accident lawyer may have access to valuable resources. This can include medical experts who can provide expert testimony. This may also include accident reconstruction professionals. These experts can provide a detailed analysis of the accident.
- Representing clients in court: What if a settlement cannot be reached? A construction injury lawyer can represent you in court.
Finding the Right Construction Accident Attorney
Siegfried and Jensen’s lawyers will fight to protect your rights and make sure you’re treated fairly.
When you team up with us you can expect the best:
- We’ll answer your questions and address your concerns throughout the entire process.
- We’ll help you get what you need to recover your old life or adapt to a new one.
- We’ll pull together the information needed to build your case, including medical records, accident reports, insurance policies, expert testimony, etc.
- We’ll make sure the insurance company plays by the rules and treats you fairly.
Contact Siegfried & Jensen today for a free, no-pressure consultation. You can also call us at the number in the right hand corner of the website.
*Visit our section on Workplace Accidents for more information.