Thanksgiving 2013 brought sorrow to a Maryland family when its loved one, a 56-year-old male carpenter, fell on a patch of icy concrete on the ground floor of a Wheaton townhome under construction, fatally hitting his head. Construction work is dangerous, and employers in the industry are heavily regulated by federal and state law in order to create safer work environments.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as OSHA, the federal agency responsible for worker safety, says that almost one-fifth of all work fatalities in 2012 were in the construction industry. OSHA cites the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS for the top four or "Fatal Four" types of construction accidents causing worker deaths:
- Falls: 36 percent
- Struck by object: 10 percent
- Electrocution: 9 percent
- Caught-in/between: 2 percent
These four types of construction accidents accounted for more than half of all fatalities in the industry in 2012.
While often a construction fall involves dropping from a high place like scaffolding, a ladder or an open upper floor, in the case of the Wheaton accident in Montgomery County, the fall was on ice on the ground floor of the building. Certainly icy conditions during the winter must be carefully dealt with by construction employers in Maryland in order to keep their workers safe. Reportedly, the Maryland state OSHA is investigating the incident.
Legal remedies for injured Maryland construction workers
When a construction worker is hurt on the job, he or she should immediately seek medical attention and give the employer notice of the injury. It can be vitally important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury and workers' compensation attorney as early as possible so that an investigation is started on behalf of the injured worker. An inspection of the accident site before evidence is removed or destroyed may be the only way to uncover contributing and causative factors.
An injured worker should file a Maryland workers' compensation claim to recover lost wages and medical costs and in some cases disability benefits. Survivors of a worker who died at work or from a work injury should file for workers' compensation death benefits. You need the consult of an experienced counsel to protect your rights.
Normally workers' compensation is the exclusive legal remedy for a work injury or illness, meaning that a separate lawsuit may not be filed against the employer. However, situations may allow such a suit such as when a third party contributed to or caused the injury.
An injured employee is not only eligible for workers' comp but also may file a personal injury lawsuit against a responsible third party.
Consult an experienced Maryland attorney
If you are injured in a Maryland or District of Columbia construction accident, seek the advice and representation of a personal injury and workers' compensation lawyer lawyer who has experience in construction cases, workers' compensation and third-party claims so that he or she can investigate the incident and advise you of your legal rights and remedies.