Santa Barbara Construction Accident Attorneys
The construction industry is a dangerous place for California workers. Accidents happen every day when people act negligently, leading to serious injuries and tragic deaths. In most cases, if the injury is serious enough to require medical care or renders the person unable to work for an extended time period, California's workers' compensation system will cover the medical expenses and a portion of the worker's lost wages. However, if your injuries were caused by a third party, such as a negligent vehicle driver, contractor, or property owner, then, in addition to recovering workers’ compensation, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for full compensation.
At NordstrandBlack PC, we understand the dangers construction workers put themselves in every day around Santa Barbara. For over three decades, our firm has stood up for injured workers after serious construction accidents, helped them navigate the workers’ compensation system, and advocated against the responsible parties for full compensation for their injuries. If you were injured by a third party while working on a construction site, we can investigate what happened and hold the party who injured you accountable. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (805) 962-2022.
More than 80 workers were killed in construction accidents in a recent year, 15 due to vehicle accidents, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations. Many more were seriously injured or left disabled, but all of these injuries could have been prevented if employers, contractors, property owners, and vehicle operators had put safety first. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has strict regulations for construction sites, including rules for scaffolding, equipment use, vehicle operations, and fall prevention. By following these rules, construction supervisors can prevent serious accidents.
Unfortunately, when they fail to do so, they can cause catastrophic injuries and accidents like:
- Falls – Fall are the single most common construction-related accident and is considered the leading cause of death, according to OSHA. Falls can happen due to a trip, especially if materials and tools are left lying around; as well as from heights like scaffolds or into unguarded trenches. All falls can have serious consequences, yet most are avoidable through proper safety precautions by supervisors.
- Struck by Objects – Materials move quickly at a construction site, and workers can easily be struck by heavy objects, including falling machinery, tools, and materials. The construction company should use a net or other guard to protect workers on lower levels of a building.
- Electric Shocks – Shocks from machines that are used improperly or poorly maintained can result in serious injuries. All construction personnel must be trained before being allowed to use machines at a worksite, and all devices must be maintained and checked for problems or defects regularly.
- Burns – Burns from welding torches and similar equipment can be painful and quite dangerous. Workers must always wear protective gear, including gloves, face masks, and eye covering. Managers at worksites should watch to make sure their workers are using safety gear properly.
- Forklift Accidents – Workers must always keep their eyes open for forklifts and know where they are being used. At the same time, forklift operators need to be properly licensed and watch for other people when they are driving to avoid potentially fatal accidents.
- Nail Gun Negligence – Using a nail gun can speed up construction; these devices propel nails at very high speeds with tremendous force. If they are used improperly, serious injuries and fatalities can occur. Everyone using a nail gun should be trained in how to do so safely, and anyone acting irresponsibly with one should be reprimanded or terminated from employment.
- Compressed Gas – Compressors and other machines using compressed gas present a clear danger. If not used properly, or when combined with other dangerous conditions, these items have the potential to explode. Worksite managers should always know where gas tanks are and how they are being used to ensure safety.
- Shoring Trenches – Shoring up a trench properly is vital. If shoring is not done properly, there is a risk of the trench collapsing and crushing workers. These types of accidents are often fatal or result in lifelong disabilities.
Due to the weight and power of construction equipment and building materials, serious injuries to the neck, back, and spinal cord are common, which can result in lifelong pain and paralysis. Head injuries can lead to brain damage, mental impairment, and drastic changes in lifestyle. In the worst cases, death can occur.
All regular workers in California are required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage paid for by their employer. In return for coverage, you are not allowed to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against your employer -- even if your employer was at-fault for your injuries, except in certain circumstances. If you have workers’ compensation insurance coverage and were injured on the job, you can receive compensation for:
- Medical care
- Temporary disability benefits
- Permanent disability benefits
- Supplemental job displacement benefits
- Return-to-work supplement
- If you pass in a work-related accident, your family can receive death benefits
Workers’ compensation is not your only option after a construction accident, however. If your injuries were caused by a contractor or third-party, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against them. Filing a personal injury claim does not prevent you from pursuing workers’ compensation if you were working at the time of your injury, and it may allow you to recover additional compensation.
Another option is filing a product liability claim if defective machinery, power tools, or safety equipment caused your injuries. Both types of claims require an in-depth investigation by a skilled attorney who can determine who is responsible for what went wrong and how you can receive compensation.
With a personal injury or product liability claim, you can recover compensation for:
- All medical expenses, including past and future treatment
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If you were injured in a construction accident caused by a third party, you deserve full compensation for your trauma. Our team at NordstrandBlack PC knows you just want to get your medical bills paid, recover from your injuries, and get back to your life, which is why we work to get you the best possible outcome after an accident. We can sit down with you in a free consultation, learn how your injuries have affected your life, and pursue all liable parties.
In every case, we act quickly to protect your rights and begin an independent investigation, working with experts as needed and exploring all potential sources of liability and recovery in the process. You will also have an experienced Santa Barbara personal injury attorney working with you, managing the preparation of your case and personally representing you every step of the way – a benefit that you will not often find at larger and more high-volume law firms.
If you and your family have been harmed as the result of a construction accident caused by a third party, we encourage you to call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022 for a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no legal fees to pay unless we win.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)