Construction Accident Claims
Construction sites can be dangerous places to work. Large, heavy machinery is moving around and much of the work may be carried out at height. Workers frequently carry heavy loads and work with fire, chemicals and electricity. In view of these conditions, it is perhaps not surprising that construction has the highest accident rate of any industry, according to the Health and Safety Executive.
If you have been injured on a construction site and it was not your fault, then you may be eligible to make a compensation claim. Our construction accident claims experts have years of experience dealing with accidents on building sites and can help get you the maximum compensation you deserve.
Types of construction accident claims
Every year, a disproportionately large number of workers sustain serious injuries on a construction site. Accidents are divided roughly into the following categories:
- Falls from height, for example, from ladders and scaffolding
- Objects falling from height, for example, bricks, masonry, tools and equipment
- Manual handling injuries caused by the improper lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling of awkward loads
- Injuries caused by defective machinery
- Being struck by a moving vehicle such as a forklift or dumper truck
- Welding burns and chemical burns
- Electric shock injuries.
Of these, lifting and handling accidents are by far the most common cause of injury. Yet it is falls from height, accounting for approximately 30% of all construction accident claims, that cause the most serious injuries. These range from broken bones and head injuries to internal injuries, paralysis and death.
Who is responsible in construction accident claims?
Construction accident claims tend to be very complicated. There are usually many companies, contractors, subcontractors, electricians, plumbers, roofers, joiners, scaffolders and so on at the site and it is not always easy to assign blame for the cause of an injury. Responsibility might even fall on a company that you do not know about, such as the owner of the site or a company that has supplied materials.
Because of the number of possible Defendants and the complex relationships between them, there must be a thorough investigation of the construction site, interviews with witnesses, and a review of the contractual relationships between all the persons involved. In some cases, there will be more than one person responsible for your accident.
It is your solicitor’s job to figure who did what at the construction site, and whether anyone can be held legally responsible for your injuries.
What do you have to prove in construction accident claims?
To make a successful claim, you must show that someone owed you a duty of care and they breached that duty of care (negligence), and that your injuries occurred as a result (causation).
It is up to you, the injured person, to prove your claim. It will help your solicitor tremendously if you keep a record of the following:
- The date and time of the accident
- The address of the site
- The contact details of any witnesses who were present at the scene
- The person you reported the accident to
- Details of any medical treatment you received, including who provided the treatment and when
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- A copy of the logbook where the accident was recorded, or details of who recorded the information in the log book.
The more detailed the description of the accident circumstances that you can provide to your solicitor, the more likely it is that you will be able to convince the other side and the Court of your claim.
What are the laws relating to construction sites?
The primary health and safety legislation is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. This Act sets out some fairly broad brush obligations on employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees. In practice, employers must provide their workers with a safe working environment, health and safety training, adequate supervision, and safe, risk-assessed work processes.
Other legislation includes:
- The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) – detailed legislation for managing the health and safety of construction projects
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) – legislation aimed at controlling exposure to chemicals and other hazardous substances
- Manual Handling and Operations Regulations – regulations that specify when and how manual lifting and carrying activities should be performed
- Work at Height Regulations – specific safety provisions for working above ground level
- Electricity at Work Regulations – regulations that seek to limit the risks of using electricity on a construction site
- Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations – a requirement that employers provide protective helmets, gloves, goggles, face masks, overalls, safety harnesses and other equipment free of charge to employees
- Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations – regulations covering the selection, maintenance and use and lifting equipment
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) – covers the selection, maintenance and use of building site tools and equipment
- Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations – requires that all site machinery meets minimum safety standards prescribed by European law.
These regulations are important as together they set out the standard of care expected of an employer in charge of a construction site. You still have to prove negligence in order to bring a compensation claim. However, negligence is significantly easier to establish if it is clear that someone breached a specific health and safety rule.
Do self-employed workers have the right to make construction accident claims?
If you are self-employed and have a construction accident, you should not assume that you cannot make a claim. Many times, we are able to show that you were a de facto employee and that an employer was responsible for your safety or, alternatively, that another person such as a materials supplier or tools manufacturer was to blame for the accident.
In most cases, it is impossible to distinguish between employees and self-employed workers on a construction site, and legally you will be treated in exactly the same way. Any company that has control over your working environment owes you the same duty of care that they owe to their employees. So, if you were working self-employed for a construction company that failed to follow specific health and safety rules, then a claim could be made.
An experienced construction accident claims solicitor will be able to clarify your legal rights and advise whether you have a possible claim for compensation.
What if I am injured while visiting a construction site?
Visitors to construction sites are not covered by the same health and safety legislation that protects workers at the site. However, in most cases, a claim for compensation may still be made.
The Occupiers Liability Act of 1957 places specific obligations on property owners, including the owners of building sites, to keep their property free from the type of hazards that might cause injury to their visitors. As a matter of good practice, visitors should be required to wear helmets and the visit should be kept within safe, open areas. Site managers are responsible for carrying out good housekeeping to prevent slips, trips and falls.
If the property owner did not follow good health and safety practices then they may be found liable if a visitor is injured on the building site.
What is the role of the Health and Safety Executive in construction accident claims?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is an independent watchdog charged with overseeing the nation’s work-related health and safety. Their aim is to protect the health, safety and welfare of people at work, and to safeguard anyone who may be affected by work activities.
As a regulator, the HSE has powers to enforce the law when health and safety breaches or issues of serious risk have been identified. If your injuries are serious, or the incident itself was serious regardless of the extent of your injuries, then the HSE may investigate. Enforcement action may be taken against the employer if health and safety breaches are detected.
The type of enforcement action differs according to the seriousness of the incident. Typically, the HSE will issue a notice of improvement, stop certain activities where they create serious risks, and prosecute those responsible for serious transgressions. Anyone found guilty of serious health and safety breaches faces an unlimited fine and imprisonment in some cases.
The HSE does not award personal injury compensation and they will not be involved in your construction accident claim. However, it is beneficial to await the outcome of the HSE investigation since this will determine whether the employer was acting outside health and safety laws. It would be very difficult for an employer to deny your claim in these circumstances.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for the accident?
Employees and the self-employed, as well as employers, have certain duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Specifically, you must comply with workplace safety practices and follow the safety training that you have been given. There is an expectation that you will take reasonable care for your own safety, and the safety of others.
If you don’t behave responsibly, and you are injured as a result, then the Court may decide that you partly responsible for your injuries. This is known as “contributory negligence.”
A common example in construction accident claims is when a worker chooses not wear a hard hat and is subsequently injured when masonry falls on his head. By not wearing a hat, the worker did not cause the accident. But it would mean that his injuries might be worse than they would have been, had the worker taken proper precautionary steps.
In cases where contributory negligence is established, it is still possible to make a compensation claim. The Courts will simply apportion blame between everyone who played a part in the accident. For example, the Court may decide that the Defendant was 75% responsible for your injuries, and you were 25% responsible for your injuries.
Once blame is apportioned, the compensation award is reduced by the percentage representing your portion of blame. In this example, you would receive 75% of your compensation.
How much are construction accident claims worth?
Compensation awards refer to the nature and severity of your injuries. Serious and longer-lasting injuries typically receive more compensation than moderate injuries that have a lesser impact on your quality of life.
Maximum and minimum figures for each type of injury are recommended in the Judicial College Guidelines. Solicitors, insurance companies and the Courts use the Guidelines when valuing your claim.
Out-of-pocket expenses associated with your injury can also be compensated. This category of compensation, known as “special damages” includes such costs as travel expenses, medical bills, lost earnings, and help with personal care. If your injuries require you to stop work for an extended period, then it is also possible to claim for the loss of wages you would have earned in the future.
How long do I have to put in a compensation claim?
There is a strict three-year time limit for starting construction accident claims. If you do not make an application to the Court within this timeframe, then it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to claim compensation for your personal injuries.
If you have been hurt in a construction accident, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our specialist team of construction accident claims solicitors have a vast amount of experience in the sector and have managed to secure compensation for construction workers injured in accidents all over the country.
If we accept your compensation claim, then our solicitors will act on your behalf on a No Win, No Fee basis. This means that if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not pay us a penny. We will be happy to discuss this with you during our free investigation of your claim.
For further information, and to find out whether you are eligible to make a claim, call us today. Alternatively, complete and submit our claim form and a specialist advisor will call you to discuss your case at a time of your choosing.
Need some help?
Am I eligible?
If you have been harmed physically in the last 3 years, due to someone else’s negligence, the short answer is yes.
Exceptions to this are for instance industrial disease or if you were a child at the time of the accident you may have a longer period to claim.
How much could I claim?
As every injury is different, the amount of compensation paid out can differ case to case. Varying factors lead to the final figure include: extent of your injuries, earnings missed out on, future losses and more.
Our dedicated team of experts will give you an indication of how much you could potentially claim for.
How does the process work?
We understand that when making a claim it’s important to know what to expect and when to expect it. That’s why we make the process as transparent & clear as possible.
Your solicitor will gather all the evidence and will notify the negligent party that you wish to begin claim proceedings. With your solicitor negotiating on your behalf, you will be keep up to date every step of the way.
Why should you use us?
No Win No Fee*
We assess all claims on a No Win No Fee basis, then we can determine how successful a claim is likely to be. This service is 100% free.
We assess each claim on its merits with the information provide, which aids us determine its likely success rate.
Our dedicated panel are experts in securing compensation no matter the injury.
Our personal injury solicitors are committed to securing the best possible outcome for you while providing expert support every step of the way.
Personal Dedicated Solicitors
Each client is provided with their own Personal Injury solicitor who will work on the case from start to finish, being there every step of the way. The client will be provided with a direct phone number and direct email address of the solicitor.
Expert solicitors working for you
We specialise in helping victims of injury claim the compensation they deserve.
We work on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning if we don’t win your case you don’t pay! Once you make contact, our experienced team will work to recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to.