October 5, 2023
What Accident Kills Most Construction Workers in New York?
By Jonathan Damashek
Construction jobs are some of the deadliest trades in America. On average, nearly 1,000 construction workers die every year. Far more suffer severe and life-changing injuries.
Knowing how to pursue compensation if you are injured on the job or if your loved one dies in a fatal construction accident is essential. A construction accident lawyer can ensure you understand your options and help you get the money you need to cover your damages.
What’s the Leading Cause of Construction Site Fatalities?
Falls on the worksite are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the construction industry, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2019 (the most recent year statistics are available), 36.4% of all construction site deaths were caused by falls. That was approximately 401 deaths, or one in three fatalities on the job, were caused by falls. Construction falls from height have long been the primary cause of fatalities in construction jobs.
Why Are Falls So Common on Construction Sites
Falls are caused mainly by common safety violations that easily result in fatalities. Those violations include the following:
- Scaffolding falls and collapses
- Improperly built support structures
- Slips and trips
- Unstable flooring
- Wet walkways
- Walkway hazards (loose wiring or electrical cords)
- Failure to post warning signs
- Lack of proper lighting
Hazardous sites pose severe risks to all workers, mainly when OSHA violations are not addressed effectively.
How Can You Prevent Falls on a Worksite?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has instituted many regulations that, when followed, protect workers on the job. Some steps can be taken to avoid falls at work. However, they are not foolproof, and accidents can still happen.
Some actions you can take to prevent falls on the worksite include:
- Posting necessary warning signage
- Cleaning up spills
- Building scaffolding securely
- Ensuring floors are properly built
- Installing railings in stairways
- Clearing walkways
- Keeping a tidy worksite
What Are the Big Four in Construction?
The “fatal four” deadliest accidents in construction account for more than 60% of all industry deaths. While falls are the primary cause of death (36.4%), they are followed by struck-by incidents (15.4%), electrocutions (7.2%), and caught-in/between incidents (5.4%). According to the CDC, these big four construction accidents have consistently been the most fatal in the industry.
What Can Be Recovered from a Construction Site Fatality?
If your loved one is fatally injured on a job site, you can recover compensation for their death. However, the type of claim you are eligible to file depends on whether your employer had workers’ compensation insurance and who caused the accident.
Workers’ Compensation Death Claim and Survivor Benefits
If the employer had workers’ compensation insurance, the family of a deceased individual could file a death claim to be reimbursed for funeral expenses. Family members may also be eligible for survivor benefits, which include weekly cash payments or a lump sum of up to $50,000.
Wrongful Death Claim
If a third party caused the accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. That may include a subcontractor, general contractor, property owner, defective equipment manufacturer, or another party. Through a wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:
- Medical bills incurred before death
- Burial and funeral costs
- Pain and suffering experienced before death
- Loss of inheritance
- Financial support the individual would have contributed to the family
- Value of parental nurturing, care, and guidance to children
What’s Needed in a Construction Site Wrongful Death Claim?
Workers’ compensation claims do not require proof of fault. However, you must prove liability if you file a wrongful death claim. This requires proof of wrongful or negligent actions by a third party.
You will need to collect evidence of negligence or wrongful actions, which may involve expert opinions, eyewitness statements, medical reports, police reports, and more. It’s important to have as much information as possible to support your claim.
You must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the other party caused the wrongful death of your loved one. That means that most evidence must show that the at-fault party should be held liable.
It’s best to work with an experienced NYC personal injury lawyer who has handled complex construction accident claims involving wrongful death. The construction company and any other liable parties will have powerful teams of lawyers on their side. You need to have a knowledgeable legal advisor on your team to protect your interests as well.
Call HKD for Help with Your Construction Site Fatality
When looking for the best construction accident lawyer in New York, you should carefully review the experience and knowledge of the attorneys you find. You need someone who has handled cases like yours and isn’t afraid to fight the insurance companies.