Working in construction is a dangerous occupation. On any given day, construction workers may engage in work activities that can lead to serious or fatal injuries if safety precautions are disregarded. This may range from working on electrical wiring to operating heavy machinery to working on scaffolds or elevated surfaces.
Regrettably, most construction accident injuries and fatalities are preventable. The Occupational Safety and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) inspects companies to make sure they are observing federal workplace safety standards that are intended to protect workers. From 2019 to 2020 alone, they cited nearly 20,000 federal code violations. In that same year, there were more than 1,000 construction accident fatalities.
If your family has lost a loved one in a construction accident in McAllen, we offer our condolences. Please accept our offer to review the details of the accident and explain your legal options. An experienced construction accident lawyer at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. can help you understand whether you are eligible to claim worker’s compensation death benefits and whether you have a right to pursue a wrongful death legal action against those responsible for the fatal accident. Our skilled attorneys have more than 100 years of combined legal experience. We’re ready to put our experience to work for you.
We are ready to answer your questions regarding your family’s rights and can assist you in both English and Spanish. Call us today or contact us online. We are conveniently located in McAllen, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Brownsville.
Common Causes of Fatal Accidents in the Construction Industry
OSHA calls the most common causes of fatal accidents in the construction industry the “Fatal Four.” In 2017, these four types of accidents were the cause of 60 percent of construction worker deaths, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- Falls – 36 percent of all fatalities are from falling from elevated places such as scaffolds, roofs and other elevated work areas. Falls from heights are the leading cause of construction fatalities. More than 300 workers die from falls every year. Many could be prevented if the worker was provided proper fall protection gear.
- Struck by objects – Ten percent of all construction deaths are due to workers being struck by something. They usually involve heavy equipment, such as large trucks, cranes, falling construction materials or swinging loads.
- Electrocutions – One of the most common dangers found on construction sites is electrical-related activities. Nine percent of all deaths in construction are caused by electrocution. Most often, electrocution accidents involve exposure to power lines, improper use of electrical cords, and contact with live wires that are damaged or bare.
- Caught in/between – Although it accounts for only two percent of construction-related fatalities (which is relatively low compared to the other three of the Fatal Four), they are among the most catastrophic. These occur when a worker is caught, crushed, or compressed between two or more objects. Often, fatal crush injuries involve heavy machinery.
Besides the Fatal Four, common violations that can be fatal include accidents involving forklifts and other powered industrial trucks.
How Many Fatal Accidents Occur Each Year on Construction Sites?
When compared to other occupations, construction is consistently one of the most dangerous. Here are some statistics worth noting:
- From 2016 through 2019, there was an average of 1,047 fatalities per year in the construction industry.
- More recently, there were 1,061 construction-related fatalities in 2019, according to OSHA. That year saw a five percent increase in construction fatalities from the previous year.
- Fatal construction accidents accounted for one in five worker fatalities for that year.
Construction Site Fatalities in McAllen
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, there has been an increasing number of fatalities among construction laborers in recent years. The number has almost doubled from 17 in 2018 to 32 in 2019.
One such accident involving a construction worker happened locally on August 20, 2019, in McAllen, Texas. KVEO-TV reported that the incident occurred at a multi-family housing development project. That is where a 24-year old worker fell to his death from a forklift.
Unfortunately, more construction worker deaths have been occurring with alarming frequency recently. The BLS reports that Texas had the highest number of crane-related fatalities in the country between 2011 and 2017.
What to Do If a Loved One Died in a Construction Zone
When a work-related death occurs, surviving family members may be able to claim benefits from workers’ compensation insurance. Death benefits may include 75 percent of the deceased family member’s average weekly wage and may also cover burial expenses.
However, since Texas does not require all employers to have workers’ compensation insurance, you might not have access to workers’ compensation benefits if your loved one was killed in a construction-related accident. If that is the case, your family members may have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for the accident, demanding justice for your loved one.
While no amount of money will replace a lost loved one, a wrongful death settlement may provide compensation to replace a lost loved one’s income and provide the family some financial security. A wrongful death action may also provide compensation for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering and mental anguish.
How Much Is a Construction Fatality Settlement Worth?
To determine how much your construction fatality settlement may be worth, the following types of damages will be taken into consideration:
- Medical expenses – The cost of emergency care and medical treatment for injuries prior to death.
- Loss of wages – Loss of present and future income.
- Loss of support – The loss of support suffered from the death of the victim.
- Pain and suffering – Physical pain, mental anguish, or emotional distress that you suffered as a result of your loved one’s death.
- Funeral expenses – Any cost relating to the burial of the victim.
Contact a McAllen Construction Accident Lawyer
If you have lost a loved one in a construction accident, our attorneys at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., are ready to help you. The attorneys at our law firm in McAllen are ready to fight aggressively for your rights. We will demand the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Call us now or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.