Seattle is the 15th largest city in the United States. We are close to having 4 million people in the Seattle metropolitan area. With all of these people come many construction projects on new buildings, renovations, and more. Construction site accidents are very common. Worker’s Compensation may be able to help but it is not enough when serious injuries occur due to someone else’s negligence. When you are injured on the job or have a loved one who has died from job-related injuries you need the help of knowledgeable experienced and aggressive construction accident lawyers in Seattle, Washington.
There are many different types of construction accidents including:
- Falls from buildings
- Building Collapses
- Faulty Equipment
- Negligent Safety Practices
- Electrical Injuries
Washington State does not allow individuals to sue their own employers however people that are injured still have legal rights that will allow them to be compensated for their injuries.
Because there are so many safety regulations in place for construction sites, it is common for negligence to be a contributing factor. Some examples of things that can cause Construction Site Accidents are unsafe equipment, tripping hazards, lack of protection for workers, and even hazardous electrical exposures.
Our Seattle construction accident attorneys can help you no matter where you live in Washington State. We often make home and hospital visits. We truly go the extra mile for our clients. Our experience, past results, and personal attention make us different from other Washington construction accident attorneys.
Call us now at (206)-207-4722 for your FREE case evaluation and to speak directly to an expert Personal Injury Attorney.
Different Construction Vehicles: An Overview
There are a variety of vehicles on a construction site. These vehicles include:
- Bulldozers: Bulldozers have a large bucket on the front, with sharp teeth used to dig through materials.
- Front-loaders: Front-loaders are similar to bulldozers but don’t dig. They use their front bucket to scoop materials and move it to another area.
- Backhoe: Backhoes have two separate components. The first is a large shovel that digs backward. On the front is a loader, which moves materials found on a construction site.
- Dump trucks: Dump trucks are found both on and off construction sites. They haul materials, waste, or other byproducts of construction. The bed of the truck lifts up, so the material inside can slide out.
- Cement trucks: Cement trucks have a large cylinder attached to a flatbed. It turns as the cement mixes and a slide pours the cement.
- Cranes: Cranes lift heavy objects high off the ground. When not in operation, a truck transports the crane. This can be difficult for the operator to see around.
These are some of the common vehicles found on construction sites. Each has its own unique risks, particularly for those who need to work around the vehicle.
Prominent Crane Mishaps: Washington and Beyond
Sadly, crane operator errors have caused several notable crane accidents in our area. The most recent have been:
- Google Seattle Office Building – in 2019, in this case, a tower crane’s bolts were loosened improperly during high winds. Subsequently, the crane collapsed during disassembly. Four people lost their lives: two ironworkers, and two drivers in their vehicles, on the street next to the construction site.
- Belltown Seattle – in 2017, a high-rise construction crane dropped a load of plywood. The load fell on a construction worker causing serious injuries, and there were property damages.
- Tower 333 Project in Downtown Bellevue – in 2006, a tower crane foundation gave way, and the crane fell over, hitting three buildings. A resident in one building was killed, and the crane operator and other workers were seriously injured. Further, there were extensive property damages.
Beyond Seattle, the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled US crane accident fatalities. From 1997 to 2006, there were (818) crane accident deaths in the United States. In 2006 alone, 72 people lost their lives.
There are four states leading the country in fatal crane accidents. They are:
- Texas – 42 Fatalities
- Florida — 27 Fatalities
- California – 25 Fatalities
- Louisiana – 17 Fatalities
While cranes are essential and important construction tools, crane accident statistics show a bigger reality. Crane operator errors cause serious injury accidents and fatalities.
Safety Protocols: Ensuring Crane Operation Security
Two government agencies manage the health and safety regulations for construction crane use and operations. They are:
- OSHA — United States Department of Labor/Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- WISHA — Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act
OSHA regulations are found here in 29 CFR 1926, Subpart CC. These regulations govern the following:
- Tower Crane Parts Inspection: All parts require inspection prior to crane assembly
- Crane Operators’ Certification: Training, qualification, and certification credentials
- Site Conditions: Evaluated and assessed for health and safety conditions
- Construction Site Work Plans: Evaluated for federal and state health and safety standards
WISHA is in charge of the crane operator’s health and safety qualification and certification credentials. The following code sections govern crane operation requirements in Washington:
- 1st, WAC 296-155-53300, Operator Qualification and Certification
- 2nd, WAC 296-155-53400, Crane Operation General Requirements
- 3rd, WAC 296-155-53304, Crane Repair, Inspection, and Maintenance Employee Qualifications
- 4th, WAC 296-155-53409, Training Standards Regarding Crane Operation
- 5th, WAC 296-155-53900, Tower Cranes – General Requirements
- 6th, WAC 296-155-53905, Tower Cranes – Additional Inspection Criteria
- 7th, WAC 296-155-53915, Tower Cranes – Operations
OSHA and WISHA Regulations, certifications, and quality standards are important, as baselines governing crane operations. And still, crane accidents are happening, and causing catastrophic injuries and property damage.
Figuring out who is liable and who to file injury claims within major construction projects can be a nightmare. Victims of crane accidents need the expertise of a Seattle personal injury attorney, as soon as possible.
Digging Deeper: What Causes Deadly Crane Collapses?
In 2007, the governor signed a bill with strict regulations governing construction crane assembly, disassembly, and crane operators’ certifications. This bill protects workers, the public, and victims of crane accidents.
The bill was in response to statistical data that showed the following:
- 25 percent of crane fatalities – are caused by accidental electrocutions
- 21 percent of crane fatalities – happen when crane loads strike people
- 20 percent of injuries – occur when hit by a crane or parts of the crane
- 14 percent of fatalities – are caused by crane collapses
While the intent was to protect workers and citizens alike, serious crane accidents continue to happen. Why?
Common Causes Behind Crane Accidents
Crane accident victims have broken bones, cuts, disfigurement, facial injuries, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, chemical burns, electrocution, loss of limbs, and death.
According to OSHA, most crane accidents happen due to:
- Electrocution – when the boom or crane hits energized power lines
- Crane collapse
- Dropped loads and material spills
- Crane operators and workers fall
- Improper assembly/disassembly of cranes
- Operating cranes during bad weather, including – high winds, lightning storms, tornadoes, snow, ice, and other weather events
Most certainly, crane accidents cause debilitating injuries with financial, emotional, and physical costs to the victim and his or her family.
If you are injured on the job, you need to keep two goals in mind:
1.You want to recover from your injury and get back to life as you know it. Make sure you get the best medical care.
2.You want to secure the most money possible to pay for all your medical expenses, loss of income, lost earning potential, and pain and suffering.
Blueprint to a Successful Construction Injury Claim in Washington
These goals are best accomplished by following certain steps. By doing the following things, you will make it easier for your doctor and construction accident lawyer to do their best for you.
1: Thoroughly Document Each Incident
If you have been injured on the job, don’t play the strong, silent type. It doesn’t matter how insignificant your different symptoms may seem. Be sure to tell your physician about all of your symptoms, regardless of the doctor’s specialty. Tell your doctors all of your complaints from head to toe. Be as detailed as possible. Some minor symptoms, such as stiffness, headache, or dizziness could be early symptoms of a much greater problem. If months later that problem becomes more severe, your attorney can prove it was related to the accident because you immediately had complaints in that area of your body.
A common example of that is a spinal injury such as disc herniation. In patients who suffer from back and neck pain, most doctors try months of physical therapy and medication before an MRI is recommended to rule out spinal injury.
If the patient complained of radiating pain, or numbness and tingling, early on in the course of her treatment, an attorney can prove the disc damage that is detected months later is a result of the accident. Important Note: Pain that radiates to the arms, legs, and across the shoulders, as well as a sensation of numbness or tingling in arms, fingers, legs, and toes, are early signs of spinal injury. If you have these symptoms, tell your doctor immediately.
2: Safeguard All Pertinent Evidence
Take photos of wounds, lacerations, bruises, and all other physical evidence of your injury. A bruise may fade in a day. Also, take photos of the site where the injury took place. Evidence is often cleared away and may never be available again.
3: Identify Potential Witnesses
Sometimes independent witnesses can make the difference in a case. Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of anybody who witnessed your accident. Having the ability to prove through independent witnesses that an accident happened the way you say it did can be the difference between winning and losing.
4: Maintain a Work Injury Journal
From the time of your accident to the time you fully recover, or to the time your case goes to trial, many important details will be forgotten. Remember the day that you sat there and watched your friends ski but couldn’t do it yourself because of your pain? This may not seem to be a significant day in your life. Remembering that experience and telling the jury how you felt that day will draw a more compelling picture in the jurors’ minds than any doctor can paint. Hearing you describe your pain in plain language rather than by your doctor describing your construction injury in medical terms.
Keep a journal and write your daily experiences in it. Make sure you note any restrictions your injury causes and pain you experience. Share this information with us so that we may better understand the full extent of your construction accident injuries. This will help your Seattle Construction Accident Lawyer to demonstrate it better to the jury or whoever we are settling your case with.
5: Continue Your Medical Treatment
It doesn’t matter why you stop going to the doctor. If you do, you are risking that the jury will assume that you were feeling fine and didn’t need treatment. It will also take longer for you to recover from your injury. Many reasons might seem logical at the time but, when your long-term health is concerned, don’t rob yourself of a healthy future. By following a consistent treatment plan, you enable your Seattle construction accident attorney to prove the ongoing nature of your pain and suffering and to show that you did everything you could to get better.
Do not sit and wait for your doctor to refer you to another specialist. If a certain type of treatment is not helping, talk to your doctor or us about other methods of treatment. Many doctors have a difficult time giving up on you and believe they can eventually heal you. While that may be true, you owe it to yourself to get a second opinion from a specialist. If for example, your back pain has not resolved after a few weeks of physical therapy or chiropractic treatment, you should consult with an orthopedist or neurologist.
As long as you are in pain, you need to see your doctor and medical providers consistently. If no treatment has proven helpful, you still need to make and keep your doctor appointments so that you can tell your doctor about your complaints. Ultimately, the main proof of your injury will be the medical records created during your visit to your doctor’s office.
6: See the Right Doctor
For different types of injuries, there are different types of doctors that you need to go to. For some injuries, you may need to see more than one type of doctor. The following general guideline may be used as a reference. However, this is only a brief coverage of the topic. A physical examination by a doctor is needed to determine which type of specialist is needed in your case.
- Neurologist – Severe consistent headaches, dizziness and vertigo, numbness, paralysis, loss of motion and/or feeling, loss of memory, loss of consciousness, and/or change in cognitive functioning may require a neurologist’s analysis or testing.
- Orthopedist – Spinal injuries, severe and continuous neck and/or back pain, pain and discomfort in shoulder, knees, hands, and feet as well as all broken bones or other spinal and bone-related injuries usually require visiting an orthopedist.
- Psychologist / Psychiatrist – Anxiety, depression, withdrawal, fear, phobia, and other behavioral and mood-related symptoms must be examined by a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist.
- Physical Therapist / Chiropractor – While the above-mentioned doctors will treat patients by medication or surgery, almost everyone who has muscle, tendon, ligament, and spinal injury could benefit from a course of physical therapy and chiropractic treatment.
- Other Specialists: Obviously, there are many other specialists that have not been listed such as Ophthalmologists, Otolaryngologists, Podiatrists, etc.
Collecting Crucial Evidence for Construction Accidents
By following the above, you will have done your part in providing us with all the tools necessary to obtain you the absolute maximum recovery possible. Of course, we do not want you to undergo any unnecessary treatment or examination as it will undermine the legitimacy of your injury claim as well as create unnecessary medical bills that may not be compensable.
How Our Construction Injury Experts Advocate for You
First, we will help you decide whether you even need construction accident lawyers – if you can settle your case on your own, our free book can help provide the guidance you need to do just that. For more complex cases, you will want to have an attorney to get the best settlement possible. Remember, the trauma you experience right after car accidents can be the tip of the iceberg.
It is not until you have healed fully that you can know about the full nature and extent of your injuries. Often permanent damage will not be revealed until months even years after your accident. Insurance companies will pressure you to settle before you know the full extent of the impact of an accident. That’s not right, and we will stand up for you! We will:
- Listen carefully to your needs, questions, and concerns
- Handle ALL the legal issues so you can focus on healing
- Deal with the insurance companies – sometimes there is more than one!
- Order all medical records and bills related to your injuries
- Walk you through the litigation process so you fully understand what is happening
- Communicate with you regularly so you know how your case is progressing
Why Trust Our Construction Accident Legal Team in Washington
Premier Law Group’s construction accident lawyers have years of experience successfully representing families who have suffered the devastation of a construction site injury in Seattle, Renton, Federal Way, or Bellevue. We have won millions of dollars for our past clients. We will do whatever we can to help you recover the maximum possible compensation.
Call Now at (206)-207-4722 For Your FREE Construction Accident Consultation
What to expect when you call us:
We will immediately patch you through to a top Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer.
You will be able to give them an overview of your case.
Our Attorney will let you know if we think you have a case or not.
If you do, we will book a longer consultation.
If you don’t, we will refer you to the best resources available, possibly even another law firm.