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.
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
The most devastating fall injuries, however, are traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Traumatic Brain 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.
Spinal Cord Injuries
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.
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.