wrongful death in construction

Accidents in the construction and engineering sectors can be tragic and far-reaching, leaving families grappling with the devastating loss of a loved one.

 

In California, the bustling construction industry, known for its rapid growth and development, also bears a darker side: the significant number of accidents that occur each year, some of which are fatal.

 

This article looks into the grim reality of construction catastrophes, exploring wrongful death claims in the building and engineering industries within the state.

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Common Workplace Accidents and Causes
of Wrongful Death in Construction

Construction and engineering sites are inherently hazardous environments. Workers are often exposed to various risks that can result in serious injuries or fatality. Here are some of the most common workplace accidents in these sectors and the types of injuries typically associated with each:

Falls from Heights

These include falls from scaffolding, ladders, roofs, and other elevated surfaces are one of the leading causes of injury in the construction sector. Despite stringent safety regulations, these accidents continue to happen, often due to inadequate fall protection or poor site maintenance.

 

Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, fractures, internal bleeding, etc.

Struck by Objects

Workers are frequently struck by falling tools, debris, or equipment. This can happen when objects are not properly secured or when heavy machinery is operated negligently, posing severe risks to those on the ground.

 

Injuries: Concussions, skull fractures, eye injuries, broken bones, etc.

Electrocutions

Construction sites often have exposed wiring, power lines, and electrical systems, increasing the risk of electrocution. Workers who come into contact with live wires or faulty electrical equipment can suffer severe and sometimes fatal injuries.

 

Injuries: Burns, cardiac arrest, nerve damage, respiratory problems, etc.

Caught-in/between Accidents

These accidents occur when workers are caught in or compressed by equipment or objects. Examples include being trapped under collapsing structures or caught in machinery with moving parts. Such incidents can lead to devastating injuries that are often life-altering.

 

Injuries: Crush injuries, amputations, internal injuries, etc.

Slip and Falls

Slips and falls are common on construction sites due to uneven surfaces, wet floors, and scattered debris. Even a seemingly minor slip can result in significant injury, especially if the worker lands awkwardly or strikes their head.

 

Injuries: Sprains, fractures, back injuries, head injuries, etc.

Explosions and Fires

Construction sites often involve the use of flammable materials and equipment, increasing the risk of explosions or fires. These incidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including faulty wiring, gas leaks, or improper handling of hazardous substances.

 

Injuries: Burns, smoke inhalation, shock, etc.

Defective Machinery and Tools

Construction workers often use heavy machinery and power tools to complete their tasks. If these tools are not properly maintained or malfunction, it can result in serious injuries. In the case of defective equipment, victims may consider filing a product liability claim.

 

Injuries: Cuts, amputations, crush injuries, etc.

Negligence and Human Error

Human error is a common cause of accidents on construction sites. This can include things like improper use of equipment, failure to follow safety protocols, or simply not paying attention.

 

Injuries: Vary depending on the type of accident caused by negligent behavior.

Employer Liability in Construction Site Injury
and Wrongful Death Cases

Under California law, the employer, contractor, subcontractor, and the like has a legal obligation to ensure a safe working environment. Failure to comply with safety regulations can result in significant liability, especially in the case of wrongful death in construction.

 

Employers are required to adhere to workplace safety guidelines under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) regulations.

Applicable California Laws

  1. California Labor Code § 6400: Mandates that every employer must provide a place of employment that is safe and healthful for the employees therein.
  2. California Labor Code § 6401: Requires employers to establish, implement, and maintain an effective injury prevention program.
  3. California Labor Code § 6304.5: Ensures that the provisions of the OSHA apply to every place of employment in California.

Employers or contractors who fail to meet these standards and regulations can be held liable in the event of an accident. In cases of wrongful death in construction, liability may extend beyond workers’ compensation, allowing the decedent’s family to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages.

Recoverable Compensation for Wrongful Death in the Workplace and Catastrophic Construction Accidents

recoverable compensation for wrongful death in the workplace

When a loved one dies due to a workplace accident, the surviving family members may be entitled to various types of damages through filing a claim or wrongful death lawsuit. These wrongful death damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff for their loss and can include:

Economic Damages:

  • Medical Expenses: Costs incurred for the treatment of the deceased prior to their death.
  • Funeral and Burial Costs: Expenses related to the funeral and burial of the deceased.
  • Loss of Financial Support: Compensation for the future earnings the deceased would have provided to their family.
  • Loss of Benefits: Such as pension, health insurance, and other workers compensation death benefits the deceased would have received.

Non-Economic Damages:

  • Loss of Companionship: Compensation for the emotional loss suffered by the family due to the absence of their loved one.
  • Loss of Guidance: For the loss of mentorship and guidance the decedent would have provided to their children.

The Role of a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Filing a Claim
or Lawsuit in California

A California wrongful death attorney plays a critical role in helping families handle the legal process following a fatal workplace accident. These attorneys provide invaluable support by:

  1. Investigating the Accident: They gather evidence, interview witnesses, and work with experts to determine the cause of the accident and establish liability.
  2. Filing Claims: They handle all legal documentation and filings necessary to pursue an injury claim and seek workers compensation death benefits.
  3. Negotiating Settlements: Experienced California wrongful death attorneys negotiate with insurance companies and opposing counsel to secure a fair settlement for the family.
  4. Representing in Court: If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, they provide robust representation in court to ensure the family’s rights are protected and justice is served.

File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Loved One’s Fatal Accident at Work. Call Our Personal Injury Attorney for
a Free Consultation.

Losing a loved one in a workplace accident is a heartbreaking experience that no family should endure alone. If your family has been affected by a wrongful death in construction or engineering industries, the compassionate attorneys at RTM Law, APC | Personal Injury Attorney in California are here to help.

 

With our legal team’s extensive experience, count on us to fight tirelessly to ensure your family receives the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation, and take the first step towards healing and justice.

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