Construction sites are some of the most dangerous places to work at. This is why there are strict regulations that need to be enforced in order to guarantee the safety of employees, construction workers, equipment operators, and any pedestrians or bystanders that find themselves in the construction zone. Equipment needs to be regularly checked regularly to put the risk of accidents and vehicles need to be operated carefully to avoid damage or hurting someone.
Accidents do happen, despite the precautionary measures taken, and when you get hurt at a construction site, you need to seek immediate medical attention. Given that vehicle accidents could produce long-term effects and require many months of recovery, knowing that you are covered by workers’ compensation law may seem like a relief. However, insurance companies might want to minimize your claim, so it’s important to have adequate legal representation and ensure you get the benefits you are due.
What are the different types of vehicle accidents at construction sites?
Construction sites need to be adequately planned so that there are clear routes for the movement of equipment, supplies, staff, drivers, and pedestrians. An adequate traffic control plan requires the use of a wide variety of devices, signs, barriers, and flags. Another way to minimize chances for accidents is through stringent training of drivers operating construction vehicles and other equipment and safety guidelines for construction staff on the ground.
These are just some of the ways in which contractors attempt to keep such accidents from happening. Some of the most common accidents include:
- Collisions and rollovers. This type of accident is most common with any type of motor vehicle. Whether in open traffic or on the construction site, collision or rollover may happen due to inattentive, erratic, or reckless driving. Such accidents are quite dangerous to construction workers who aren’t adequately protected inside vehicles. In addition, many construction vehicles are significantly heavier and larger than the average passenger vehicle. As a result, there is a greater risk of damage and injuries when colliding with other vehicles or people.
- Back-over accidents. This occurs when a vehicle hits a worker who is walking, standing, or kneeling behind it. About 70 workers die from back-over incidents on an annual basis. There are many factors that can contribute to back-over accidents. Poor visibility, inclement weather, defective backup alarms, or lack of proper checks before backing up, etc.
- When drivers fail to pay attention or inadvertently leave vehicles in motion, workers on the ground can become stuck or pinned between the vehicle and other objects. This pinning can result in severe crush injuries.
- Cargo spills. Unsecured cargo can pose an extreme threat when it spills or falls out of a vehicle. In addition to causing debris that can affect the safety of other drivers, the weight of the cargo could potentially crush nearby workers.
How do you determine liability in vehicle accidents on construction sites?
While you should keep in mind that workers’ compensation insurance does not require that you prove the fault of your employer or any other person in charge on the construction site, in reality, this question might be crucial for the insurance company, that might look for details that would lead to your claim being denied. This is why a reputable workers’ comp attorney would pay special attention when determining fault in order to ensure the best outcome.
This involves considering the following factors:
- Scope of employment: your employer will consider providing the benefits only if the vehicle accidents were related to your work. You may be covered if you were injured while driving the company vehicle to the delivery point, this might not be the case if you crashed the vehicle during “off-time”, i.e. returning from your work, or on a lunch break.
- The benefits. In the case that your injuries were a result of a work-related accident, you are eligible for work comp benefits. Although it is a no-fault system, you will only be compensated for the costs of the recovery and partial income loss.
- Third-party fault. If someone else is responsible for your injuries, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the third party. This might include a negligent driver or construction site inspector, a property owner failing to secure the work site or the actions of another employee. In this case, you can file a lawsuit for pain and suffering and demand full compensation for your recovery.
Even if you follow all the rules, a construction vehicle accident could happen, causing you to suffer a severe injury. If this has happened to you, it is recommended that you contact an experienced vehicle accident and work comp attorney immediately and be fully prepared for the legal battle with the insurance carrier or your employer.