Falls are a common cause of unintentional injury in North Carolina. But while anyone can be hurt in a fall, certain segments of the population are at increased risk for suffering these types of injuries. For example, accidental falls are highly prevalent in the construction industry, causing hundreds of deaths and even higher numbers of nonfatal injuries each year. While construction workers face many risks on the job site, from dangerous machinery to electrical hazards, accidental falls are more likely to result in injury, disability, or death.
If you suffered an injury or your spouse was injured after falling at a construction site, whether from an elevated point or due to a trip hazard on the ground, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, which provide financial coverage for medical bills while replacing partial wages. If the fall injuries are fatal to the victim, his or her dependents may be entitled to additional benefits to help with funeral and burial costs. Backed with more than 20 years of legal experience representing disabled construction workers in the Charlotte region, the aggressive and knowledgeable construction injury lawyers of the Ramsay Law Firm are ready to help you file a workers’ compensation claim, appeal a denied claim, or fight an employer’s request to suspend, reduce, or terminate your benefits.
Led by founding attorney and Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist Martha Ramsay, our dedicated legal team is committed to fighting on behalf of injured construction workers in North Carolina. To talk about a construction-related fall injury claim in a free legal consultation, contact our law offices online, or call today at (704) 376-1616.
Construction Accident Statistics
The construction industry is rife with hazards, even for the most cautious and experienced of construction workers. Construction workers routinely handle or work around heavy beams, complex machinery, powerful electrical currents, and potentially dangerous vehicles, such as forklifts and construction cranes.
Yet among all of these hazards, one risk factor is more pronounced than any other: the risk for a deadly or debilitating fall. In fact, falls are so prevalent in construction that they have been named one of the industry’s “Fatal Four” by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a federal agency whose mission is to promote and enforce workplace safety. According to OSHA statistics, falls were responsible for 364 out of 937 fatalities, or approximately 39% of fatalities, in the construction industry during 2015.
Unfortunately, North Carolina’s construction industry is not an exception to these troubling statistics. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) news release from 2015, “The private construction industry sector had the largest number of fatalities in North Carolina with 30, down from 35 in the previous year. Falls, slips, or trips was the most frequent fatal event in the construction sector with 11 worker deaths, followed by transportation incidents with 9 fatalities.”
How Much Workers’ Compensation Can You Get for a Construction Site Fall in NC?
Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to provide financial support to employees who are seriously injured in workplace accidents, including accidental falls that occur on construction sites. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act applies to most companies with three or more employees, including various construction companies based in the Charlotte region. If a construction worker is injured by falling from an elevated point, or is injured in a slip and fall accident that occurs at ground level, the worker may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Unlike a traditional personal injury claim, it does not matter who was at fault for the accident, and it is not necessary for the claimant to establish negligence in order to be compensated. However, there are still a few rules the claimant must follow in order to receive benefits. For example, it is critical for the injury victim to report the injury to his or her employer, both orally and in writing, within 30 days of the accident. Failure to do so can cause the claim to be denied, or benefits to be delayed, so it is vital to report the accident as soon as it is possible to do so safely.
There are two main types of benefits available from a workers’ compensation claim:
- Benefits that replace part of the employee’s lost wages. Benefits that replace lost wages are calculated based on the worker’s average weekly wage before the accident occurred. For example, if a construction worker was earning $675 per week before the fall occurred, he or she could receive a maximum weekly payment of approximately $450.
- Benefits that pay for reasonable medical expenses. Depending on the nature of the injury and what treatment is deemed to be necessary, covered expenses could include prescription medication, physical therapy and rehabilitation, surgical treatment and postoperative care, transportation to medical facilities, and medical equipment such as wheelchairs, braces, and oxygen machines.
Even if the claim is approved, no benefits are paid for the first seven days following an injury, until the employee has been disabled for at least 21 days. Generally speaking, benefits can be paid for a maximum of up to 500 weeks, or about 9.5 years. If the claim is denied, whether by the construction worker’s employer or by the employer’s insurance company, the worker can challenge the denial by filing an appeal with assistance from an experienced workers’ compensation claim denial attorney.
Charlotte Workplace Fall Injury Attorney for Construction Workers
Unfortunately, falls are common on construction sites – and they often have disastrous results for the victims. Construction site falls can produce a wide array of extremely serious and costly injuries, including back injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, facial injuries, bone fractures, soft tissue injuries, hand and wrist injuries, internal bleeding, and other medical emergencies. Workers’ compensation benefits can help injured construction workers support themselves and their families while they are in recovery.
If you need assistance filing a workers’ compensation claim, filing an appeal because your claim was denied, or determining your options if your employer is trying to terminate your benefits, turn to the Ramsay Law Firm for experience-driven legal guidance you can trust. For a free legal consultation concerning a potential claim, contact us right away by calling (704) 376-1616.