Most business owners understand that by creating a safe workplace environment, they can protect their greatest assets — their employees. However, when an employer skimps on safety measures and standards, serious injury and death may occur. This is especially true in construction because many workers perform inherently dangerous jobs.
Construction accident deaths, many of which are preventable, have a serious impact on the loved ones left behind, and workplace fatalities often come at a high cost for businesses. If you’ve lost a loved one and believe it’s due to an employer’s negligence, a Dallas personal injury lawyer can investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident and advise you on whether you have a viable claim for wrongful death.
Construction Accident Death Statistics
Although construction workers make up only 6% of the labor force in the United States, 20% of all worker deaths happen in this industry. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in five work-related deaths occur in the construction industry. In 2019 alone, 1,061 construction workers died on the job.
There are four specific types of incidents that account for more than 60% of construction accident deaths, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Sometimes known as the “Fatal Four,” they include:
- Falls from heights
- Being struck by an object or equipment
- Being caught, squeezed or crushed between two or more objects
Tens of thousands of construction workers also suffer serious injury each year. Although there are laws and strict regulations that set safety standards for construction sites, poor training, lack of adequate safety gear, and unsafe scaffolding, tools and equipment are often the cause of catastrophic injury and death.
The Impact of Construction Accident Deaths on Businesses
Fatal workplace accidents can have a significant impact on productivity, worker morale, a company’s reputation and, ultimately, their bottom line. Being prepared and knowing how to respond to a construction accident death can help employers mitigate some of the damage it can do to their businesses. Although workplace accidents can’t be avoided completely, creating safe environments can reduce the number of injuries and deaths on construction sites.
A construction accident death can have serious effects on workers, even if they weren’t close to the person who died. Coworkers may experience guilt and self-doubt and wonder if they were responsible in some way. These thoughts and feelings can be distracting and cause workers to second-guess themselves, which can affect performance and even have an impact on safety.
Some employees may also suffer depression or anxiety after a coworker’s death. That’s why it’s critical for management to address these issues head on and be proactive. Having a grief response plan in place can help workers get the support they need, which also benefits the company.
Loss of Productivity
When someone dies at work, overall productivity often declines. Due to the loss of a team member, other workers may have to pick up the slack, taking away time and focus from their current responsibilities and tasks. As mentioned above, the emotional impact of a death can also cause employees to become distracted and less efficient. Training a new employee to do someone’s job is also a time-consuming and costly process that can take others away from their typical duties.
Whether a construction worker dies due to a fall, a heavy machinery accident or other circumstances, it is typically investigated by local police and OSHA. However, when a construction accident in Texas results in death, it is vital for the family of the deceased to speak with a local personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Time is money, and unfortunately, some companies may attempt to cover up their liability for a construction accident death to keep the work site going, which can put other employees in danger.
If local authorities and OSHA investigators don’t have much experience investigating construction accidents, they may not know what questions to ask or fail to collect relevant evidence. A lawyer who is well-versed in handling construction accident injury and wrongful death claims will understand how to conduct a thorough investigation and ask the right questions. Although OSHA can impose fines, they rarely deter unscrupulous construction companies from continuing negligent practices.
Construction Accident Deaths and Workers Compensation in Texas
Families of construction workers who are killed on the job are often entitled to workers compensation death benefits. In Texas, employers are not required to carry workers compensation insurance, but there may be other avenues for recovering compensation and death benefits. However, if negligence played a part in a worker’s death, their loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the employer.
Wrongful Death Compensation after a Construction Accident Death
Losing a beloved family member who also provided financial support for a household is emotionally and financially devastating. Workers compensation may provide death benefits to the deceased’s loved ones, but typically, they only include funeral and burial costs and a percentage of the deceased employee’s wages. Recovering these benefits can be challenging because many insurers and employers fight to pay as little as possible to deceased workers’ families.
If someone died due to an employer’s or co worker’s negligence, a wrongful death claim can hold at-fault parties accountable and help the family recover the compensation they need to protect their financial security. A lengthy legal battle can cost a company millions of dollars and may even end up putting them out of business, so it’s usually in their interest to come to a reasonable settlement with a deceased worker’s loved ones. Finding an experienced Texas construction accident lawyer is a family’s best bet for recovering compensation and finding justice for their loved one.
Prevention Is the Best Medicine
Depending on the circumstances, a construction accident death can make or break a construction company. The most effective way for a business to prevent these deadly accidents, protect employees and stay competitive is to do things right, no matter what. Exceptional safety standards, proper training and supervision, regular maintenance and repair of equipment and other proactive measures can significantly reduce the incidences of workplace injuries and construction site accident deaths.
When workers understand that there are explicit rules and regulations to follow and feel they are valued and respected, they will most likely make the effort to do a good job. Although some accidents simply cannot be prevented, being proactive and prepared can help a company maintain stability, attract great employees and create and maintain a stellar reputation, which is always good for business.
Contact a Texas Construction Accident Attorney
The wrongful death lawyers at Leinart Law Firm are dedicated to making things right for families throughout north Texas. Our top-rated construction accident attorneys have helped thousands of clients who have been injured or have lost a loved one due to unsafe conditions in the workplace recover the maximum compensation they need and deserve. To schedule a free case evaluation, please call us in Dallas at 469-232-3328 or Fort Worth at 817-426-3328. You can also use our convenient chat feature, complete the contact form on our website or email us.