It is no secret that construction work can be harsh on a worker’s body. It is often grueling work even when everything is safe and goes well. Long days of physical labor in all sorts of environments carry with them an inherent risk for injuries. When safety procedures are not followed, workers are put at a much higher risk of injury or death. Unfortunately, injuries and fatalities are heard of far too often in Georgia. If you are a construction worker in Atlanta and you have suffered an injury, contact the Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. right away. We can help you manage your workers’ compensation claim, or if necessary, file a suit against a third party responsible for your injury.
Common Construction Worker Injuries
Many things can go wrong on a construction site, and when they do, they can lead to serious consequences. Construction workers face dangerous situations every day and rely on safety procedures to ensure they avoid injuries like:
- Broken bones: Workers can suffer broken bones from a variety of accidents, such as falling or being struck by a vehicle. While it is possible to have a minor fracture, construction accidents often lead to serious and multiple breaks. Broken bones can require surgery to repair and weeks or months off of work for physical rehabilitation. In extreme cases, a worker can never return to their previous physical condition and may not be able to perform construction tasks.
- Amputations: If a limb is badly injured, such as being partially severed or the bone being crushed, physicians may have to amputate the limb. Workers can lose an arm, hand, finger, leg, or foot, leaving them permanently disabled and unable to return to the same type of work.
- Back and spinal cord injuries: Falling often leads to back or spinal cord injuries. Workers can have various back problems, including strained muscles, fractured vertebrae, or musculoskeletal injuries. These types of injuries can require pain management, time away from work, and physical rehabilitation. More serious spinal cord injuries can lead to extreme pain and permanent disability because of nerve damage and partial paralysis.
- Paralysis: If a worker suffers a partial or fully severed spinal cord, they face losing the ability to walk. Individuals often lose feeling and mobility in the areas below their injury. This type of injury can also affect a person’s ability to breath on their own as well as control their bladder and bowels.
- Concussion and traumatic brain injury: Whether it is from a fall or from being struck by a falling object, workers are at risk for minor to severe traumatic brain injuries. TBIs can lead to long-term consequences such as changes in personality and cognitive function. Concussions can cause headaches and other physical or cognitive symptoms of months. Moderate-to-severe TBIs can drastically affect a person’s ability to function independently.
- Head and face injures: Workers are at risk for lacerations and fractures on their face and skull. Many concussions and TBI are accompanied by additional head injuries like a fractured or punctured skill. This means in addition to recovering from a brain injury, workers often must recover from head or face wounds, which could drastically alter their appearance with scarring and require cosmetic surgery.
- Burns: Workers can suffer from burns because of electrical issues, welding, or chemicals. Burns could be minor, but they could also be serious and require painful medical procedures to heal. They can also lead to scarring.
- Eye injuries: Many of the chemicals and materials construction workers handle are terrible for their eyes. Workers need to use proper eye protection to avoid getting something into their eyes, which could damage their vision.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: Many workers develop carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive motions or tools that vibrate. This movement or vibrations irritate or compress the major nerve that runs through the wrist into a person’s hand. Overtime a worker could require surgery to mitigate the issue and relieve the pain.
- Heat stroke: Outdoor and indoor construction work in Alabama is often performed in extremely hot conditions. However, without enough fluids, proper breaks, and cooling equipment, workers can suffer heat stroke – which can be deadly.
Georgia Injuries and Deaths
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 80,000 nonfatal worker injuries in Georgia in 2014. More than half of these required days off of work, a job transfer, or work restrictions. Georgia’s construction industry had an injury rate of 3.1 per 100 full-time workers.
There were 148 fatal work injuries in Georgia in 2014. 31 of these deaths occurred in construction industry. Of all of the construction deaths, 19 were from falls, trips, and slips.
For all worker-related deaths in the state, transportation incidents were the No. 1 cause of death, followed by violence by persons or animals, falls, slips and trips, and contact with objects or equipment.
Atlanta Workers’ Compensation System
If you were injured during construction work, you may be covered by workers’ compensation insurance through your employer. Workers’ compensation covers any injury a worker sustains while performing their duties. If you were behaving within the scope of your employment when you were hurt, this insurance should cover your medical costs and lost wages while you are off work. However, to receive these benefits you must notify your employer of your injury within 30 days of the incident or of learning about your injury.
Contact an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Georgia’s workers’ compensation system sounds simpler than it really is. Workers’ compensation can be a complex issue for workers who are wrongfully denied coverage or need to hold someone other than their employer responsible for their injuries.
You can be denied coverage you need for a number of reasons. In this situation, you should seek help from a lawyer experienced in Atlanta workers’ compensation actions. An attorney at Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. can help you navigate an appeal. While legal actions against the employer are generally barred, if there was gross negligence or intentionally harmful behavior by another person, you may have a cause of action. Your attorney will explain your legal rights under the law.