Tacoma, Wa Construction Accident Lawyer
Washington Construction Accident Attorney Helping Injured Workers in Tacoma
Construction accidents happen much too frequently in Washington State, and most of these accidents are preventable with better training and safety equipment. There is no reason that a construction worker should suffer a serious or fatal injury because of a fall from heights when scaffolding protections could have been installed, or because of a trench cave-in that would have been avoided if the contractor had ensured that safety inspections were conducted after a heavy rain. There are many ways that construction accidents can happen, and the construction industry is among the riskiest industries in which a person can work due to the high rate of debilitating and fatal injuries.
If you or someone you love got hurt in a construction accident, you should reach out to a Tacoma, WA construction accident lawyer at Khan Injury Law PLLC to learn more about your options for obtaining compensation.
Learning More About Construction Accidents and Injuries in Tacoma
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces federal workplace safety laws and conducts investigations when construction accidents happen. The following are facts and figures about construction accidents supplied by OSHA:
- More than 21 percent of fatal workplace injuries occur in the construction industry;
- In 2018, a total of 1,008 construction workers were killed in job-related accidents;
- Falls are the leading cause of death in construction accidents;
- Construction sites routinely see serious and deadly injuries that have been named the “fatal four,” beginning with falls and followed by struck-by accidents, electrocution, and caught-in or caught-between accidents;
- Safety advocates report that eliminating the “fatal four” would mean that nearly 600 construction worker’s lives would be saved annually;
- Falls account for almost 34 percent of all construction accident deaths, and a total of 338 fatalities in 2018;
- Struck-by accidents account for more than 11 percent of construction-related deaths;
- Electrocutions account for almost 9 percent of construction-related fatalities; and
- 5.5 percent of all construction accident deaths involve accidents in which a worker is caught-in or caught-between an object, machine, or structure (OSHA specifically explains that caught-in or caught-between accidents involve incidents in which a construction worker is “caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects, and struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or materials”).
Common Tacoma, WA Workplace Safety Violations That Result in Construction Injuries and Deaths
What are some of the most common safety violations that OSHA identifies on a regular basis? Here is a list of some of the frequent safety violations that result in construction accidents and worker injuries:
- Fall protection violation, including failure to properly train workers to use fall protection or
- failure to provide necessary fall protection;
- Hazard communication standard violation;
- Scaffolding safety violation;
- Respiratory protection violation, including failure to provide essential respiratory protection equipment;
- Hazardous energy control violations;
- Safety violations related to ladders and ladder use;
- Industrial truck safety issues;
- Machinery safety issues including improper training and failure to provide machine guarding; and
- Failure to provide safety equipment designed to protect a worker’s eyes and face.
Filing a Tacoma Workers’ Compensation Claim
If a construction worker gets hurt on the job in a Tacoma construction accident, that worker’s initial source for compensation will likely be workers’ compensation benefits. In Washington State, the worker’s compensation system is a no-fault insurance system that can provide an injured construction worker with benefits to cover medical expenses arising out of a workplace injury, as well as partial wage replacement for construction workers who suffer injuries that are so serious that they cannot return to work at all or can only return to work in a limited capacity.
To be clear, since the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, injured construction workers cannot obtain workers’ comp benefits and seek compensation for an employer’s negligence. For example, if an employer fails to provide appropriate safety equipment or training and an employee gets hurt, the injured worker likely cannot file a claim against the employer. Instead, that injured worker will need to seek compensation by filing a workers’ compensation claim. The no-fault system works both ways: even when a construction worker’s own negligence results in a workplace fall or struck-by accident, for example, that worker can still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
However, in some cases, it may be possible to file a third-party lawsuit.
Construction Accident Lawsuits in Tacoma, WA
What is a third-party lawsuit? In some construction accident cases, it may be possible to file a claim against a third party who is responsible for causing the accident. A third party in this type of scenario is someone who is not the construction site employer or a worker, but rather a third party who is not directly involved in the construction work being completed. The following are examples of potential third-party claims:
- Roadside construction worker suffered serious injuries when a highway motorist ignored signs to slow down for construction work and crashed into the construction site (here, that motorist may be liable and the injured worker may be able to file a third-party claim against the driver);
- Machine amputated a worker’s finger or hand, and it turns out the amputation occurred because of a machine defect (here, the injured worker may be able to file a third-party product liability lawsuit against the designer or manufacturer of the defective machine and/or the specific defective component); or
- Teenagers broke into a construction site and caused damage to safety equipment that was not obvious upon a safety inspection (here, anyone injured as a result of the tampering may be able to file a third-party lawsuit against the trespassers).
Timeline for Filing a Construction Accident Lawsuit in Tacoma
If you are eligible to file a third-party lawsuit, you should act quickly. Most personal injury lawsuits in Washington State have a three-year statute of limitations, but you should speak with a Tacoma construction accident lawyer to be certain.
Contact Our Construction Accident Lawyers in Tacoma, WA
Do you need assistance filing a construction accident claim? It is extremely important to discuss your case with a Tacoma construction accident attorney as soon as you can. The dedicated personal injury team at Khan Injury Law PLLC can begin working on your case today. Do not hesitate to reach out to our firm to learn more about your options for compensation. Contact Khan Injury Law PLLC to get started on your construction accident claim and to find out about our personal injury services.