Scranton Construction Accident Lawyer
Construction jobs are among our nation’s most dangerous. Workers frequently toil with heavy machinery, on scaffolding, and in trenches, while also operating other dangerous equipment. Exposure to the elements can lead to dehydration, heatstroke, or frostbite. Even though you’re surrounded by these hazards, you have a right to work in a reasonably safe environment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) protects workers from unnecessary risk by setting workplace standards for health and safety.
If you’re a construction worker and have been in a work-related accident, you have several options for filing a claim. Contact our Scranton construction accident lawyers for assistance with an accident on a job site.
Scranton Construction Accident Legal Resources
- What Is Workers Compensation in Pennsylvania?
- Are Other Civil Lawsuit Options Available?
- Can Construction Accidents Be Caused By Product Liability?
- What are Common Injuries Associated With Construction Accidents?
- What Is The Statute of Limitations To File a Construction Accident Claim in Pennsylvania?
- Contact Us
What Is Workers Compensation in Pennsylvania?
The state of Pennsylvania protects workers by mandating employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This program is intended to compensate for workplace injury by providing benefits to pay for medical expenses and lost wages. If you’ve been injured on the job, alert your employer immediately and have them begin preparations for a workers’ compensation benefit claim. They will provide you with the name of an in-network provider, so you can get the care you need.
Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system, meaning you do not have to prove your employer was negligent to collect benefits. It also means that you’re limited in your ability to collect additional compensation. In exchange for avoiding a costly litigation, you essentially give up your right to pursue damages for pain and suffering.
Are Other Civil Lawsuit Options Available?
Workers’ compensation benefits rarely provide enough to fully compensate for your injuries and lost wages. For this reason, many construction workers look for additional legal recourse beyond a workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, you may be able to bring an additional claim against other companies or entities.
In you’re in the construction industry, you often work with other companies and vendors. If one of these individuals acted negligently, in a manner that led to your injuries, you may have grounds for an additional claim. It then becomes a traditional personal injury case, with the same rules and procedures of a civil lawsuit. You will have to prove a few things to be successful:
- The defendant had a duty to act in a reasonable and safe manner in your work environment.
- They failed in that duty, committing negligence.
- That negligence directly led to your injuries.
The following are examples of how a vendor might commit negligence on your construction site:
- A vendor failed to assemble scaffolding properly.
- A truck driver onsite was reckless.
- A bad decision led to hazardous waste leaks.
- A work trench collapsed because of faulty barriers.
Can Construction Accidents Be Caused By Product Liability?
In other cases, you may be able collect compensation using the theory of product liability. This applies when your injuries result from a piece of defective equipment. In a product liability case, you may pursue a personal injury claim against the parties involved in the manufacture, distribution, or retailing of equipment. Examples of product liability in construction accidents include:
- A defectively designed harness that fails, causing you to fall
- A defective product leading to electric shock
- Defective scaffolding that fails while you’re on it
To succeed in a product defect case, you’ll have to show that:
- You were using the product as intended.
- The tool was unreasonably dangerous or defective.
- The defect led to your injuries.
What are Common Injuries Associated With Construction Accidents?
Any construction accident can result in catastrophic injuries. Workers commonly sustain the following:
Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can range from mild to severe. However, even a minor TBI or concussion can have long-term consequences. In extreme cases, victims can suffer permanent cognitive or physical impairment.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Lacerations or burns can occur—for example, due to explosions, broken glass, tools, sharp metal, plastic parts, vehicle fire, etc. A severe laceration or burn can cause long-term damage and may result in significant scarring that diminishes a victim’s ability to enjoy life.
Severe Bone Fractures
Broken arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis breaks are common in construction accidents. They may take weeks to heal, and activities are typically restricted.
Damage to internal organs can be life-threatening if not treated immediately after an accident.
Back injuries of all types can occur, such as herniated or bulging discs, fractures, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and more. These injuries often result in lifelong complications and chronic pain.
Crush Injuries and Limb Amputations
A construction accident can result in a crushed limb or digits, causing damage that is so severe that it leads to amputation.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The trauma from a construction accident can lead to severe mental and emotional conditions that are debilitating.
Exposure to Hazardous Substances
A construction worker can become ill due to frequent or prolonged inhalation of contaminants, such as chemicals, mold, asbestos, wood dust, etc.
Some construction accidents result in fatal injuries to the victim.
It is critical to seek medical care immediately following a construction accident. Some severe injuries can have delayed symptoms, so being thoroughly evaluated is essential to your health. In addition, medical records must link your injuries to the construction accident to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, and they are also vital if you end up pursuing a civil lawsuit. Insurance companies often deny claims if there is a large gap or delay in treatment.
What Is The Statute of Limitations To File a Construction Accident Claim in Pennsylvania?
A statute of limitations is a legal deadline set by the state that limits how long you have to file a construction accident claim. In Pennsylvania, claimants have two years to pursue compensation (42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5542). This law encourages timely filing for a more efficient legal process since evidence can quickly disappear and witnesses’ memories fade. As long as you bring legal action within the two years, the at-fault party’s insurance company will likely consider settling your claim. Most insurers prefer to resolve a case before trial.
If the two-year statute of limitations has run, you give up your right to file a construction accident lawsuit. If you file a claim after this deadline, the defendant (at-fault party) can file a motion to dismiss the case, pointing out that the statute of limitations has expired. Unless an exception applies to your claim that extends the deadline, a judge will bar you from continuing on. The two situations that can possibly extend or “toll” the statute of limitations are:
- The person injured in the construction accident is a minor under the age of 18 and was not legally emancipated. Once the victim turns 18, the statute of limitations begins to run (42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5533).
- The defendant left the state of Pennsylvania for over four months or was living under a false name. The time the defendant was out of state or could not be found does not count as part of the two-year deadline (42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5532).
Generally, in all other cases, you have lost the ability to pursue compensation once the deadline passes. No matter how significant your injuries are or the evidence against the defendant.
Contact our Scranton Construction Injury Lawyers
If you believe you have a personal injury case beyond a workers’ compensation claim, contact Rosenbaum & Associates for a free initial consultation and see if our contingency fee legal services are right for you. We’ve been helping Wilkes-Barre area employees receive compensation for their injuries for over 25 years and we want to do the same for you. Call us to schedule your free case evaluation now.