Atlanta Construction Accident Lawyer
The private construction industry has the highest number of injuries and fatalities across all industries in Atlanta. Hundreds of workers die each year in workplace accidents in Georgia, and about a quarter of these deaths occur in construction.
Construction may be one of the most dangerous industries, but it is also one of the most important. We cannot expect construction to slow down or stop because it is dangerous, but we can demand that workplaces, including construction sites, be made as safe as reasonably possible. Property owners, developers and construction companies have a duty to conduct construction operations safely and to follow government regulations and industry standards for safe construction practices.
When workers are injured in construction accidents, the reason is often that somebody was careless or not doing their job in the correct, safe manner. The Atlanta construction accident lawyers at Shiver Hamilton Campbell are frequently brought in to handle cases involving serious personal injury or wrongful death in a wide range of instances, including unsafe workplaces and construction accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a metro Atlanta construction accident, call Shiver Hamilton Campbell for a free consultation to determine whether you may have a claim for compensation.
What Are Common Construction Accidents?
A construction accident would be an injury that occurs either on or in relation to a construction site. This can include a variety of accidents and resulting injuries. There can be accidents where equipment falls over, resulting in orthopedic injuries or traumatic brain injuries.
On a construction site, there will likely be a general contractor and subcontractors. It is important to analyze the condition or act that resulted in the injury so that the potentially liable parties can be identified. That is particularly important if the injured individual works for a subcontractor.
A person with no relation to the construction industry can also be injured in a construction accident. Scaffolding could collapse and injure someone passing the construction site. It is also possible where there are deliveries on the construction site, or where individuals not involved in construction have a reason to be on the premises for other business and are injured in the course of the construction.
How Whether the Injured Party is an Employee Affects a Claim
If the injured individual is an employee working at a construction site, it may be difficult for them to recover from the construction company. They are generally only able to recover from their employer under workers’ compensation benefits.
However, the nature of the employment of the individual could be important. This is because they may be able to bring a claim against a third-party contractor who was responsible for their injuries or potentially against the premises owner or manager.
Damages for Construction-Related Injuries in Atlanta
Compensatory damages in a typical construction site case will involve medical bills. Typically, there will also be a loss of wages and pain and suffering that can be recovered as well. A comprehensive claim may also seek compensation for current dysfunction or impairment. Finally, there could be wrongful death, which is compensation for the full value of the life of the individual who was killed.
When Punitive Damages Apply
Punitive damages are recoverable when there is intentional wrongful conduct, reckless conduct or conduct that demonstrates a conscious indifference to consequences. If there is a risk on the premises and the defendant is aware of it but decides not to act, they could be held liable for punitive damages.
It is important to note that there is a cap of $250,000 on punitive damages in Atlanta depending on the nature of the case. However, there may be uncapped punitive damages if alcohol is involved or if the harm was intentional.
How Comparative Negligence Affects Compensation
Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that, if the plaintiff is 50 percent at fault, their claim can be barred. Therefore, for a successful claim, the plaintiff needs to establish that the other party’s fault exceeded their own.
The proportionate fault of the plaintiff will directly impact the amount of their recovery. In that case, the jury will be tasked with determining the proportion at fault. The amount of recovery is then reduced accordingly. Percentages of fault are determined on case-by-case basis. It is very fact-specific meaning it is important to understand in detail the exact facts at play in a case, what occurred, who was involved, and why.
Liability for Construction Accident Injuries and Deaths
Employers and other companies in charge of activity on a construction site have a duty to ensure that construction operations are carried on safely and that workers are provided with the protection they need and a safe environment to work. Employees injured in a construction accident will typically have a workers’ compensation claim. Georgia workers’ compensation covers medical expenses and two-thirds of lost wages for on-the-job injuries, or a death benefit to family members who lost a spouse or parent to a fatal construction accident. Workers’ comp is often the first place employees or their families turn, and it is sometimes the only compensation available.
In other circumstances, a third party outside the employee-employer relationship is responsible for causing the accident. In these cases, that third party can be held liable in a civil lawsuit for negligence. Damages in a negligence claim include medical expenses as well as the full amount of lost wages, plus other damages such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. These claims offer much more compensation than a workers’ comp claim. If you were injured in a construction accident while working as an independent contractor, or if the party responsible for your injuries was an independent contractor not directly employed by your employer, then you might have a strong and valid negligence claim for damages. Shiver Hamilton Campbell takes cases involving the most serious personal injury and wrongful death claims and provides strong and effective representation in court to achieve significant results for injured workers and their families.
Leading Causes of Atlanta Construction Accident Injuries and Fatalities
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) covers a wide range of workplace safety concerns and issues standards across all industries and occupations. In the construction industry, OSHA focuses especially on four types of accidents that are responsible for the most worker deaths. These areas are:
Contractors should provide appropriate personal fall arrest equipment for those working on heights, along with perimeter protection, covered and labeled floor openings, and secure and safe ladders and scaffolds.
These accidents are caused by forcible contact or impact with an object or piece of equipment. Construction workers are at risk of being hit by flying, falling, swinging, or rolling objects, from handheld tools to cars, trucks and heavy equipment such as cranes and excavators.
These accidents include trenching cave-ins, as well as being pulled into or caught in machinery and equipment, or getting compressed or crushed between objects such as a semi-trailer and dock wall. Site supervisors should make sure trenches are properly sloped, shored or benched and that forklifts and other equipment and machinery have effective machine guarding and adequate, working warning alarms.
Before breaking ground on a construction project, site managers should locate and identify existing power utilities both overhead and underground and ensure operations are kept at a safe distance. Workers should be provided with grounded or double insulated tools, with ground-fault circuit interrupters installed at appropriate locations. Workers should be trained to look for hazards on ladders, scaffolds, and platforms, and to employ lockout/tagout procedures as required by OSHA safety standards.
Shiver Hamilton Campbell represents workers injured in all manner of Atlanta construction accidents, including:
- Ladder Falls
- Scaffold Collapses
- Forklift and Crane Accidents
- Trenching and Excavation Accidents
Help Is Available After an Atlanta Construction Accident
If you have been injured in a metro Atlanta construction accident, or if you have lost a beloved family member in a fatal construction accident, call Shiver Hamilton Campbell at 404-593-0020 for a free consultation and immediate assistance with your claims. We take on cases involving the most serious catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, and we fight to secure significant compensation for our clients who were hurt because of another’s negligence or wrongful conduct.