Construction has played a pivotal role in making Indiana what it is today. Major skyscrapers like Salesforce Tower, international landmarks like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the millions of buildings that Hoosiers now call home would not exist without the hardworking men and women of the construction industry.
But as central as construction is to Indiana’s historical development and its continued prosperity, construction workers face some of the most dangerous working conditions and some of the highest work-related death rates in the private employment sector. There were 24 construction workers killed on the job in Indiana in 2022, accounting for over 15 percent of workplace casualties in the state.
Even non-fatal construction accidents can result in punishing injuries, such as loss of limbs, brain and spinal damage, and paralysis, which could necessitate prolonged medical treatment that may be beyond the means of the average Indiana family.
But if you have been seriously hurt in a construction accident in Indiana, there may be hope. The construction accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group have been getting justice for the everyday people of Indiana for more than a quarter century, and they are eager to do the same for you and the ones you love.
To schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our accomplished Indiana construction accident lawyers, please call or text us at (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or fill out our contact form.
Common Causes of Construction Accidents
Accidental injuries can happen practically anywhere and for nearly any reason, though certain fact patterns are more common in construction accidents. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than half of construction deaths occur in four types of accidents:
- Falls – Over a third of workers who die on construction sites are killed in falls from elevated positions.
- Struck-By Incidents – In 11.1 percent of deadly construction incidents, someone is struck by an object.
- Electrocutions – Electric shock is a factor in approximately 8.5 percent of construction deaths.
- Caught In/Between Accidents – Workers’ bodies are compressed or crushed in about 5.5 percent of construction fatalities.
In addition to OSHA’s “Fatal Four,” construction injuries and deaths in Indiana could happen because of:
Accidents involving cranes, forklifts, or other construction vehicles
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Leaks of noxious gases or chemicals
Regardless of the specific circumstances of your accident, Hensley’s construction accident attorneys can advise you of the best course of action to take if you are contemplating a case for your construction injuries.
Was a Construction Accident Caused by Negligence?
Just as construction accidents can take many forms, they can occur for many reasons, though most often they are self-inflicted. Construction workers are human beings, and human beings make mistakes, so it should be no surprise that employee error is the underlying cause of more than 80 percent of construction accidents.
While construction workers who are injured solely because of their own mistakes might be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits, they most likely will not be able to file personal injury claims, which typically require proof of negligence by others.
Negligence is the failure to meet a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing harm or damages. Someone who suffers physical damages as a result of another party’s negligence may be able to recover financial damages from that party through a personal injury case.
Given that most construction accidents do not involve negligence by other parties, they would not justify such a case. But if an outside party’s negligence either caused a construction accident or made it more likely to occur, a personal injury case may be possible for that construction accident.
Who Is Liable in a Construction Accident Case?
To be valid, a personal injury case needs both a plaintiff who incurred damages and a defendant who caused damages and is therefore liable for them. But who is liable in a construction accident case? Before assigning blame for a particular construction accident, we must first understand the nature of construction work and the duties of the parties who engage in it.
A construction project is an elaborate undertaking in which numerous building trades professionals perform multiple tasks simultaneously to achieve a larger goal. This work can be risky, so all construction operations must be carefully coordinated or lives may be in jeopardy.
Given the stakes involved, the construction industry in Indiana is heavily regulated by the Construction Safety Division of the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency closely scrutinizes all construction projects in the state and conducts on-site inspections to verify that developers and employers take reasonable precautions to keep construction workers free from injury. To receive a passing grade, these parties must:
- Evaluate construction sites to uncover dangers.
- Devise and execute detailed safety plans.
- Instruct workers on the correct use of all machines and tools.
- Distribute protective equipment to curb construction site accidents.
Failure to implement adequate safety measures could indicate negligence and make otherwise avoidable construction accidents more likely. Example of the hazards one might find at a negligent construction site could include:
- Poor fall prevention safeguards
- Minimal shielding from falling materials
- Exposed trenches
- Open power sources
- Obstructions in well-traveled walkways
- Defective tools and equipment
Various parties could bear responsibility for a construction accident. Typical defendants may include the property owner and/or developer and the general contractor in charge of overall construction, very often for creating an unsafe working environment by neglecting to take appropriate precautions.
The contractors hired by the general contractor or the subcontractors hired by them could also be blamed, either for contributing to a hazardous job site or for employee behavior that directly harmed the plaintiff. In some instances, parties who have never even been to a construction site could share guilt, such as a manufacturer of construction equipment in a malfunction-based accident or a government body when a municipal vehicle or deficiencies on public property contributed to the plaintiff’s construction injuries.
These parties have varying legal and contractual obligations, and the failure to meet these obligations could expose them to varying levels of legal and fiscal liability when a construction accident occurs. With this in mind, it is crucial to identify and go after each potential defendant within the time allotted by law, known as the Statute of Limitations. The Statute is two years for most construction accidents in Indiana, though it can be far shorter in cases against the government.
Failure to file a lawsuit or resolve a claim before the Statute expires could prohibit a plaintiff from full recovery, but our Indiana construction accident lawyers will work tirelessly to put together an evidence-based case against every negligent party within a timely manner.
What If You Are Partly at Fault for Your Construction Accident?
If you are partly at fault for your construction accident, does that mean that you cannot pursue a construction accident case?
Not necessarily, though the viability of your claim may depend upon how much you are responsible for the accident. Under Indiana’s comparative fault laws, a personal injury claimant “is barred from recovery if the claimant’s contributory fault is greater than the fault of all persons whose fault proximately contributed to the claimant’s damages.”
Simply put, if you are not more than 50 percent at fault for your construction accident, your case could still proceed, though the amount awarded might be reduced by your percentage of blame. But if you are more than 50 percent at fault, your construction accident case will probably fail.
The knowledgeable construction accident attorneys at our firm will look at the events leading up to your injury and determine whether you have grounds for a construction accident case.
Who Can Be Injured in a Construction Accident?
Though construction accidents most frequently harm construction workers, the reality is that anyone in the vicinity could be injured in a construction accident.
Debris falling from high-rises or construction vehicles could land on innocent bystanders, while recklessness on a construction site could release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere, damage the surfaces or foundations of neighboring buildings, ignite fires that spread wildly out of control, or trigger devastating explosions.
Whether you were injured because you were working at a construction site or because you had the misfortune to be near one when an accident took place, Hensley’s Indiana construction accident lawyers are ready to be your advocates.
What to Do After a Construction Accident
A construction accident can be disorienting, but there are steps you should remember to take to protect yourself and any case you may have, including the following:
- Report the accident – Uncertainty about the timing of an accident could be detrimental to your claim, so inform your employer, foreman, or someone acting in a supervisory capacity about your construction injury as soon as you can.
- Seek treatment – Your health is the most important thing, so seek prompt medical attention, ideally at the site of a construction accident. Any delays in treatment could impede your recovery and allow doubt to be cast on the causal relationship between the accident and your injuries.
- Obtain witness information – Eyewitnesses could provide independent confirmation of what happened, so obtain the names and numbers of anyone present.
- Take pictures and videos – A visual record of the scene of the accident could be invaluable in establishing liability. If it is safe to do so, use your phone to take pictures and videos of your surroundings. Since sudden change is the rule on a construction site, not the exception, be sure to document any elements that contributed to the accident before they can be repaired.
- Stay away from the insurance company – You may be surprised at how quickly insurance company representatives get in touch with you. However, anything you say could be used against you, so it may be wise to stay away from the insurance company, at least until you…
- Talk to a personal injury lawyer – A seasoned construction accident lawyer can answer any questions you may have and let you know what to expect if you move forward with a case.
How Our Construction Accident Attorneys Can Make a Difference
A construction accident can be catastrophic, overwhelming you with astronomical medical bills from injuries that may hinder your ability to earn a living. To make a bad situation even worse, insurance companies may take advantage of the inherent complexity of construction accident cases to minimize how much they pay out.
You need attorneys with the compassion to support you through your struggles and the skill to help you overcome them. You need the construction accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group. No case is too daunting or adversary too intimidating to stop us from defending the rights of our injured clients.
If you choose to Hire Hensley, we will launch a comprehensive investigation into the causes of your accident and everyone who might be culpable for it. Our construction accident lawyers have the deep familiarity with all state and local construction regulations and industry practices necessary to unearth breaches of duty that could constitute negligence within the time permitted by law.
Get Compensated for All of Your Losses
Once we have assembled a rock-solid case against every defendant, we will attempt to negotiate a settlement that compensates you for all of your losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional trauma
- Diminished quality of life
- Punitive and wrongful death damages (if applicable)
And unlike some of our competitors, who rarely, if ever, set foot inside a courtroom, we are not afraid to go to trial if we do not receive an offer that is worthy of your case.
No two construction accidents are exactly the same, but we will always strive to get you top compensation for yours.
You Won’t Pay Us Anything Unless We Win
You may be worried about spending more money when you can least afford it, but our firm works on a contingency basis, so you won’t have to pay us anything unless our construction accident attorneys win your case.
Hensley is willing to shoulder all the burdens involved in building up your construction accident case so that you can focus on building up your strength again.
Reach Out to Our Indiana Construction Accident Lawyers
Hensley Legal Group has been standing up for the innocent victims of negligence since 1998. If you have been injured through no fault of your own, reach out to our Indiana construction accident lawyers to explore your legal options.
You can arrange a complimentary case review with an accomplished construction accident attorney by calling or texting (317) 472-3333, chatting with us online, or filling out our contact form.
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