Back & Neck Injuries – Construction Accidents
Even though safety is first and foremost on construction sites, accidents happen. The unexpected happens, and someone is injured or killed. They may sustain broken bones, wrist or ankle injuries, or back and neck injuries. While some accidents are minor, others may result in a worker unable to do their job for an undetermined amount of time or permanently. Construction is a dangerous profession in America.
Being off work due to an injury means worrying about who will pay the medical bills, the mortgage or rent, the car loan or student loan, or even utilities. You must file a workers’ compensation claim and get the process moving to cover your losses as best as
Filing for workers’ compensation can be confusing. There are several forms to fill out, documents to submit, and deadlines to be aware of. At the Law Firm of Jason M. Hatfield, we are here to help injured workers like you. If you or someone you know has sustained neck and back injuries or other injuries while on the job, you may be able to start a WC claim. Our construction back and neck injury lawyers have handled hundreds of workers’ compensation claims like this. We’ve got your back.
What Could Happen at a Construction Site?
Construction accidents are, unfortunately, more common than people may realize. Typical work accidents include:
- Machinery Accidents
- Crane Accidents
- Arc Welder Accidents
- Big Equipment Accidents
- Burns/Electrocution Accidents
- Nail Gun Injuries
- Forklift Accidents
- Tunnel Accidents
- Highway Construction Accidents
- Vehicle Accidents
- Explosion Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Lifting Accidents
The above accidents could occur due to:
- Lack of Protective Gear
- Safety Code Violation
- Toxic Substance Exposure
- Inadequate Safety Training
- Falling Objects
- Chemical Spills
- Scaffolding That Collapses
It is shocking to note that, on average, 5,333 workers died on the job in 2019, with more than 100 deaths a week and 15 daily. Roughly 20 percent, or 1,061 workers, worked in the construction industry.
To get an idea of the most frequently violated Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) standards for 2020, the following demonstrates the top ten violations, from one to ten:
- Fall Protection
- Hazard Communication Standard, General Industry
- Respiratory Protection, General Industry
- Scaffolding, General Requirements, Construction
- Ladders, Construction
- Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockouts/Tagouts) General Industry
- Powered Industrial Trucks, General Industry
- Fall Protection, Training Requirements
- Eye, Face Protection
- Machine, Machine Guarding, General Requirements
Undoubtedly, any of these common construction accidents can result in back and neck injuries. However, other common injuries may be sustained while working on a construction site. Typical on-site work injuries may include:
- Loss of Hearing
- Broken or Fractured Bones
- Crush Injuries
- Knee or Ankle Injuries
- Lung Lacerations
- Shoulder, Back, Neck Injuries
- Amputations of Limbs, Toes, or Fingers
- Visual Impairment or Blindness
- Head Injuries or Concussions
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Permanent or Temporary Paralysis
While the number of accidents stays relatively consistent over the years, the number of deaths, while once high, has been on the decline for several years. Deaths of workers in the U.S. went down from 38 deaths a day in 1970 to 15 deaths a day in 2019. Injuries and illnesses dropped to 2.8 per 100 in 2019 from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972. Although there is a decline, it doesn’t mean that wrongful death is inevitable. Wrongful death can still occur and can be difficult for a family to navigate independently. This is why it’s best to contact our firm to discuss the legal process and pursue proper compensation for your loss. What could go wrong on a construction site? Just about anything.
What A Workplace Accident Is Worth
It is essential to know that the first thing an injured worker should do on an Arkansas worksite is to file a workers’ compensation claim. The nature of the accident determines workers’ compensation, the injuries sustained, how severe the accident is, how long the worker may be off work, and the medical costs to treat the injury.
In some cases, workers’ compensation does not provide enough for the injured worker to survive comfortably. Should a third party be involved in causing the accident, the injured worker may file a claim against a sub-subcontractor, a manufacturer, property owner, a contractor, prime contractor, designer, engineer, equipment supplier, and landowner.
For example, suppose heavy machinery was involved and something went wrong due to a defect or operator error. In that case, a claimant could collect workers’ compensation and be able to make a third-party claim.
It depends entirely on the circumstances of each case as to whether or not a third-party claim is viable. Our construction back and neck injury lawyers at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield can discuss your case with you in detail to help you make informed decisions.
Are You an Independent Contractor or An Employee?
Independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation. You need to know this, as some employers classify an injured worker as an independent contractor. Having legal counsel from the back and neck construction accident attorneys at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield makes a difference in the outcome of your claim.
Arkansas workers’ compensation benefits for injuries include:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) – you receive two-thirds of your average weekly wages over the past 52 weeks. There are maximums.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) – if you are permanently injured, you may keep getting benefits when going back to work. This depends on the level of impairment.
- Permanent and Total Disability – You receive 450 weeks of workers’ compensation payments if you cannot work in any position.
- Medical – your employer must approve the doctor treating you.
- Mental Injuries – must prove the condition arose due to a physical injury at work. Benefits are capped at 26 weeks.
- Rehabilitation – physical/vocational rehabilitation may be covered. A doctor must order it. Vocational rehabilitation is only available if you cannot do your original job.
Benefits usually start on the ninth day of your disability. You receive back payment on the first day if you miss more than two weeks.
Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits in Arkansas
Qualifications for receiving workers’ compensation benefits can include the following:
- Working when injured;
- Inability to work;
- Injury directly caused by your job;
- Injury is verifiable; or
- The accident aggravated a pre-existing condition.
The list is not exhaustive. There may be other requirements for being eligible for workers’ compensation. That depends on the nature of the case, the circumstances, and the type of injuries involved.
In some cases, a workers’ compensation claim may be denied. Reasons for a claim denial include:
- Your injury was a pre-existing condition. If your job made the injury worse, you might be eligible for benefits;
- An employer claiming you are not eligible for benefits;
- The injury did not happen at work;
- The employer was not notified as soon as possible;
- You were under the influence of alcohol/drugs when the accident occurred;
- An approved physician did not treat you; or
- You did not follow the doctor’s orders or follow through with treatment.
Contact the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield
You may be injured on the job while working, and even if you cannot file a workers’ compensation claim, you may have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit. The back and neck construction injury accident attorneys at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield can let you know your legal rights and help you file a lawsuit if you wish to seek damages. We can also help you file a workers’ compensation claim.
The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. represents workers’ compensation claims from Northwest Arkansas, including Fort Smith, Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, Bentonville, Berryville, and Harrison. Call us today for your free consultation at (479) 361-3575.