Construction work is dangerous for many reasons. There are a lot of uneven surfaces. Workers can be struck by an object from above or from the side at any time. There are vehicles constantly moving about. Workers are at constant risk of serious injury from the machines and tools they use. Many workers work above ground which means if they fall, they could die or suffer a catastrophic injury.
What leads to back and spinal cord injuries on construction sites?
Some of the more common types of injuries construction workers suffer are back injuries and spinal cord damage. These injuries can occur due to:
- Vehicle accidents. Construction sites use trucks, bulldozers, cranes, tractors, forklifts, and other vehicles. An accident involving any one of these vehicles can cause back and spinal cord injuries.
- Scaffolding accidents. Workers who fall from a scaffold may die. Survivors are likely to suffer a spinal cord injury or a back injury due to the fall. They may also suffer a traumatic brain injury. Many workers who fall from scaffolds suffer broken bones.
- Construction workers can injure their back or spinal cord due to:
- Surfaces that are uneven or changing. Surfaces include dirt, gravel, cement, asphalt, and other materials.
- Falls from ladders, scaffolds, high beams, and other heights
- Falls over objects and debris on the ground
- Crushing accidents. Workers at construction sites may injure their back or spinal cord if they are crushed when a trench collapses or if a machine malfunctions.
Who is liable for back and spine injuries?
Liability for a construction accident depends on a variety of factors. Possible defendants include:
- Construction site companies. These businesses are liable for the injuries they cause due to negligence to independent contractors. (They are generally not liable to employees, though they must pay workers’ compensation benefits). Construction companies may be negligent if they fail to design the construction site to reduce the risk of injuries, fail to respond to any complaints about dangerous conditions, and fail to conduct regular inspections. They may also be liable if they fail to comply with local building codes and/or OSHA regulations. They may be liable for many other reasons depending on how the accident occurred.
- Manufacturers distributors, and retailers of defective products. Often, back and spinal cord injuries occur because a vehicle, a machine, a tool, or any construction product was defective. Manufacturers and companies in the supply chain are liable if their defective product causes an accident that causes injuries. Products can be defective if they were designed improperly, they were made below industry standards, or the instructions on how to use them were defective.
- The state or county. Washington State, a county, or a city may also be liable for a construction accident if, for example, they permitted construction to continue when an inspection did or would have shown that the construction was dangerous.
Treatment for back and spine injuries
Construction workers who suffer any injury should seek immediate medical help at a local emergency room or with their local physician. Back injuries and spinal cord injuries are treated by neurosurgeons, neurologists, orthopedists, pain management doctors, and other medical specialists. Victims may require spinal cord stimulator implants and other innovative treatments.
Victims may suffer chronic pain for the rest of the life. Victims normally treat with different types of therapists depending on the type and severity of the injury. Therapy includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, vocational therapy, and psychological therapy. Victims who suffer paralysis will need to learn how to live without the use of their legs or other parts of their body that no longer work.
At Philbrook Law Office, our Washington construction accident lawyers file negligence claims and product liability claims against the responsible parties. We seek compensation for all your economic damages and your pain and suffering. If you’ve been hurt in a construction accident, call our offices in Vancouver, WA and Battle Ground, WA at 360-200-7137 or use our contact form to discuss your case.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.