Portland Construction Accident Lawyer
Portland construction accident attorney, Travis Mayor, is an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to navigate the legal and insurance processes, to obtain justice and maximum compensation for those who have been seriously injured in a construction accident — you don’t have to face the insurance company or the legal system alone to obtain fair and equitable compensation. You have the right to work in a safe environment!
The law requires employers to provide employees with a workplace free of known health and safety hazards.
At Mayor Law, we have in-depth knowledge of the laws and legal procedures affecting construction accident victims. Should a trial be necessary, you will want an experienced Portland Construction Accident Lawyer who can effectively research and document the facts, obtain supporting expert witnesses, and present your case to an Oregon jury. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation or call (503) 610-0005.
If you are a construction worker who has been seriously injured on-the-job, you have probably been told the only compensation you can receive for your injuries will come from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. While workers’ compensation is generally the only recourse injured employees have against their employer, there are many situations in which you can sue and recover damages for your on-the-job injuries outside of the workers’ compensation system. This is known as a third party claim. A third party claim arises when the injury is caused by the negligence of someone other than your employer and its employees, i.e., a third party.
- You were injured by the negligence of a general contractor or subcontractor while working on a construction site. You may be able to bring an ELL claim against the other contractor under Oregon’s Employer Liability Law (“ELL”).
- You were injured by dangerous conditions existing on the land where you were performing your job. You may be able to bring a premises liability claim against the landowner.
- You were injured by a defective piece of equipment or machine while on the job. You may be able to bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the equipment.
- If a third party directly injures you while on the job, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that person. For example, this occurs frequently when an employee who is driving for work, is involved in a car accident caused by another driver.
- You were injured by a toxic substance while on the job. You may be able to bring a toxic tort claim against the manufacturer of the dangerous substance.
What types of accidents occur most often at construction sites?
Construction accidents lead to very serious injuries requiring substantial medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care. According to the National Safety Council, the annual cost of workplace injuries is an astounding $198 billion. The most common injury causes include:
Falls from Elevation. Falls are the number one type of accident experienced on construction sites and account for 40% of all construction accident injuries. Falls are also the second costliest construction injury. Typically, falls occur from unsecured ladders, collapsing ladders, concrete forms, scaffolding, movable platforms, collapsing surfaces, ramps, unprotected floor openings, and wall openings or unprotected building edges. Oregon and US OSHA regulations clearly establish the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all construction walking or working surfaces have the structural integrity to support employees safely and that employees are protected from falling through holes or falling from edges that are under construction. To protect workers, employers must:
- Provide personal protective equipment. OSHA requires employers to provide personal protective equipment when it is used to comply with OSHA standards. Personal protective equipment includes hard hats, gloves, goggles, safety glasses, welding helmets and goggles, face shields, chemical protective equipment, breathing apparatus, and fall protection equipment;
- Cover floor openings or erect personal protection barriers around openings such as skylights, elevator shafts, HVAC or utility shafts;
- Routinely inspect construction activities to ensure safety measures are adequate, in place, and being followed.
Electrical Shock. Typically, electrical shocks occur when safety procedures or practices are bypassed. These can be caused by poor installation practices such as failing to ground equipment, bypassing safety interlocks, or not using proper Lock-Out-Tag-Out (LOTO) procedures. In addition, many electrocutions are the secondary result of other accidents such as a crane striking high voltage power lines, or a truck backing into an electrical transformer.
Struck by Object. Another major cause of construction injuries results from workers being hit by moving objects. Workers can be hit by falling objects such as tools, discarded material, or unsecured construction materials; by moving equipment such as cars, trucks, cranes, construction elevators, or forklift trucks; or by equipment under high pressure such as hydraulic hoses, and pumping equipment.
Caught-in or Between. Crushing injuries are frequently the result of a worker being caught in or between moving equipment and a fixed barrier. Typical crushing accidents occur as a result of operators carelessly moving equipment and crushing a worker in the process. Crushing injuries are one of the costliest types of injury.
Powered Industrial Truck Injuries. Each year OSHA statistics chronical over 34,900 serious injuries from powered industrial trucks (forklifts, front end loaders, etc.). Typical injuries arise from rollover accidents, striking other workers, or dropping loads on other workers. These accidents produce crushing injuries, broken bones, fractured bones, and even wrongful death.
Machine or Equipment Failure. Equipment failures cause many types of injuries that result in very serious injury or death. For example, a hoisting sling breaks or becomes unstable dumping material on workers; a crane cable breaks causing the load or crane to fall; a high-pressure tank ruptures because of operator error or faulty safety shut-offs.
Thermal and Chemical Burns. Burns are very serious injuries that may require a lifetime of medical treatment and therapy. Employers in construction environments are responsible to provide specific safety procedures and training, personal protective equipment, and general fire safety equipment in order to provide a safe workplace. In spite of these actions, thousands of construction fires occur annually. When burn accidents occur they are usually the result of improper handling or storage of flammable materials and caustic chemicals, such as cleaners, solvents, and adhesives, in an environment of grinders, blow torches, welding, and propane heaters. The severity of burn injuries can be intensified by the lack of general safety equipment such as eye wash stations, deluge stations, or proper fire extinguishers. Chemical burns are especially dangerous because they can injure or completely damage the eyes, lungs, and face.
Construction Accident Injuries
Typical construction accident injuries include:
- Broken and fractured bones – foot, arms, legs, ribs, and hands.
- Head, skull, and brain injuries – traumatic brain injury, concussion, skull fracture, hematoma, hemorrhage, brain edema.
- Severed Appendages – foot, fingers, hands, and arms.
- Muscle injuries – damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
- Burns – eyes, lungs, face, and hands.
- Crushing Injuries – foot, arms, hand, chest.
- Wrongful death
Construction Accident Case Examples
Oregon OSHA investigates all construction accidents to determine if regulations were not enforced. Here are some examples of Oregon construction accidents investigated in 2014:
FALL FROM ELEVATION, FRACTURED SKULL: An employee was on the 2nd-floor deck of a new residential building under construction. The employee was at the east exterior wall and was removing guardrails so they could tip up a wall section when the sub-floor particle board he was standing on which was cantilevered over the edge broke. The employee fell 10′ 9″ to the concrete pad below and fractured his skull.
EMPLOYEE FELL FROM FIXED LADDER TO CONCRETE FLOOR: A 52-year-old male was climbing a fixed ladder to access the roof of a 2 story building. The employee fell and landed approximately 14 feet below onto the concrete floor. The employee sustained multiple injuries including broken heels and ankles, a fractured pelvis, fractured back and a contusion on his elbow.
ELECTRICAL SHOCK: A crane struck a high voltage power line while delivering materials to a construction site. A worker preparing to hook materials to the crane sustained a serious 7200-volt electrical shock.
A WELDERS SPARK CAUSED PAINT THINNER TO EXPLODE: An employee began cutting bolt holes into a front plate for a mobile frame by using a plasma cutter. The welder did not notice a 5-gallon container of paint thinner that contained approximately 2.5 gallons of Toluene directly beneath where she was cutting. A piece of hot slag fell on top of the 5-gallon container and melted through the plastic pour spout causing the container to explode into a fireball. The employee managed to put out the fire to her upper torso by dropping to the floor and begin rolling. A co-worker who saw what had happened ran to her and began putting out the fire on her pant legs. Two other employees grabbed fire extinguishers and managed to put out the flames. The employee suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to both legs. The employee was later transported to Emanuel Hospital where she was treated.
Construction Accident Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What should I do if there is a dangerous situation at work?
OSHA recommends: “If you believe working conditions are unsafe or unhealthy, you may file a complaint with OSHA concerning a hazardous working condition at any time. If possible, bring the conditions to your employer’s attention. If the condition clearly presents a risk of death or serious physical harm, there is not sufficient time for OSHA to inspect, and, where possible, a worker has brought the condition to the attention of the employer, the worker may have a legal right to refuse to work in a situation in which he or she would be exposed to the hazard. If you have questions about what to do, contact your local Oregon OSHA office. ”
Why should I retain a Portland Construction Accident Lawyer who does not shy away from litigating your construction injury case?
Dealing with construction accident claims is a difficult and complex task. Not all construction accidents qualify as civil actions caused by a third party. While workers’ compensation is generally the only recourse injured employees have against their employer, there are many situations in which you can sue and recover damages for your on-the-job injuries outside of the workers’ compensation system. To determine if you qualify to pursue a claim outside of the workers’ compensation system you need to discuss your case with a construction accident lawyer in Portland who is experienced in analyzing construction injury claims.
If you have a civil action against a third party, then a construction accident lawyer can begin the process of presenting the case to the appropriate insurance company. Insurance companies and legal defense teams are schooled in how to approach and defend construction injury cases. Depending on the facts of the case, they typically pursue strategies designed to place blame on the injured person or at least create the impression that the injured worker contributed or caused the accident with their unsafe behavior. It is necessary for you to go on the offensive and obtain the legal resources to investigate the accident, and gather supporting facts and witness statements before evidence disappears and witness’s memories blur.
“I have reached final settlements that were 10x times greater than the initial offers simply because we do not shy away from litigating cases.” – Travis Mayor
In the early stages of the case, the defendant’s insurance company will typically make an “initial low-ball” settlement offer, without admitting fault, in an attempt to make your claim go away. They are testing your resolve to pursue the case. Having legal representation on your side who is not interested in quick, but unfair settlements send a clear message that we have a great case and won’t settle for low-ball offers. In many cases, I have reached final settlements that were 10 times greater than the initial offers simply because we do not shy away from litigating the case.
Who is held liable in construction accident cases?
While workers’ compensation is generally the only recourse injured employees have against their employer, there may be situations in which Oregon workers may also be able to sue for damages caused by on-the-job injuries. This is known as a third-party claim. A third party claim arises when the injury is caused by the negligence of someone who does not work for your employer, i.e., a third party.
Here are some examples of workplace injury third party claims:
- Employer Liability Law Claim — If you were injured by the negligence of a general contractor or subcontractor while working on a construction site, you might be able to bring an ELL claim against the other contractor under Oregon’s Employer Liability Law (“ELL”). Oregon’s Employer Liability Law is a powerful tool for injured workers who were injured because of the negligence of another employer on the same job site. The Employer Liability Law, or ELL, requires employers who are in charge of or have responsibility for work involving risk or danger to employees or the public to use every measure practicable for the protection of “life and limb” regardless of the cost. This safety requirement imposes a heightened duty on the third party employer compared to what the employer would be required to do under a negligence standard. The ELL also allows workers to introduce evidence of any safety changes, fixes or repairs made by the employer after the accident that caused their injuries to show that the employer did not previously take “every measure practicable for the protection of life and limb”. To bring an Employer Liability Law claim against a third party employer, the injured worker must show the employer was in charge of the employee’s work and (1) controlled or had a right to control how the employee performed the work; or (2) was engaged in a common enterprise with the injured worker’s employer.
- Premises Liability Claim — If you were injured by dangerous conditions existing on the land where you were performing your job, you might be able to bring a premises liability claim against the landowner.
- Product Liability Claim — If you were injured by a defective piece of equipment or machine while on the job, you may be able to bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the equipment.
- Third-Party Claim — If a third party directly injures you while on the job, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that person. This occurs frequently when an employee is driving for work and another driver causes a car accident injuring the employee.
- Toxic Tort Claim — If you were injured by a toxic substance while on the job, you may be able to bring a toxic tort claim against the manufacturer of the dangerous substance.
What type of construction injury compensation can I recover?
Recovering from a serious Oregon construction accident injury can be an expensive proposition, requiring months of medical treatment, and in some cases, lifelong support. Studies have shown that the construction industry has a much higher incidence of accidents and deaths than any other work-related category. Construction accidents account for 8% of workforce accidents, but 22% of the work-related deaths, and a non-fatal injury rate that is 71% higher than for industry as a whole. To recover these damages, we recommend seeking the assistance of an experienced Portland construction accident attorney to lead the effort; one who knows how to recover construction injury compensation including:
- Medical expenses – hospitalization, doctors, drugs, and medications. Typical medical costs for a falling accident can range from $70K to $150K, with the most serious injuries costing more than $250,000.
- Long term medical, physical, and psychological therapy.
- Lost wages and income – during your treatment period and potentially in the future. The average cost for workdays lost in a serious construction accident is $42,000 – $50,000.
- Other expenses – transportation, household duties, and personal care.
- Long term care – dealing with the consequences of continuing injuries, or long term physical and emotional suffering.
- Pain and suffering – damages associated with pain and suffering can be many times the medical expenses.
- Emotional distress.
- Wrongful death – the average construction fatality costs $4-5 million.
Obtaining compensation for construction accident injuries with significant damages can be a lengthy and complex process that is best performed by knowledgeable legal professionals. In most cases, you must deal with one or more liable parties, and their insurance carriers, staffed with seasoned lawyers. It will not be their first time defending a construction accident case! This is why you need the services of a knowledgeable Oregon Construction Accident Lawyer who is equally aggressive.
Getting Results for Injured Workers in Oregon
At Mayor Law, it is our goal to help the families of Oregon construction accident victims achieve justice and restore their lives. Portland construction accident attorney, Travis Mayor will help you by reducing the hassle, complexity, and anxiety of navigating the legal process, while maximizing your financial compensation. Travis Mayor has recovered millions of dollars for families of Oregon personal injury victims. For every Oregon client who has suffered through a serious construction accident injury, Travis offers personal service with proven results.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation. At Mayor Law, LLC, we understand the legal implications of a construction injury lawsuit. More importantly, we understand your family’s anxiety, anger, and pain. We use our experience, knowledge, and resources to build a strong case and secure the compensation you need to overcome the injury for potentially years to come.
Articles of Interest
- Oregon OSHA
- Oregon OSHA Construction Rules (Division 3)
- How to report safety hazards at your place of work.
 Source: http://www.cbs.state.or.us/osha///standards/fatals/pdf/descriptions/acc_fatal_cal-yr14.pdf.