Construction & Industrial Injuries Overview
Construction sites and other industrial settings contain numerous hazards that can result in serious injury, and even death, to workers and others present on a work site.
Construction sites pose a wide range of risks, such as falls from scaffolding and ladders, collapse of trenches, falling debris, and injuries resulting from defective tools and equipment, among many others. Other industrial settings, such as manufacturing facilities, mills, utilities, and agricultural or logging operations, pose similar types of risks.
Despite numerous federal, state and local laws regulating workplace safety, including the federal OSHA program (Occupational Safety and Health Act), and Oregon’s Employer Liability Law (ELL) and Safe Employment Act (OSEA), serious injuries are all too common.
Oregon’s Employer Liability Law
Oregon’s Employer Liability Law (ELL) imposes high standards of care for work involving risk or danger. Certain types of work are automatically subject to the ELL, in particular, all places of employment where workers are engaged in the “construction, repairing, alteration, removal or painting of any building, bridge, viaduct or other structure, or in the erection or operation of any machinery, or in the manufacture, transmission and use of electricity, or in the manufacture or use of any dangerous appliance or substance.” In addition, the ELL applies to other types of work that are determined to be inherently dangerous.
The ELL requires covered employers to use “every device, care and precaution that is practicable to use for the protection and safety of life and limb, limited only by the necessity for preserving the efficiency of the structure, machine or other apparatus or device, and without regard to the additional cost of suitable material or safety appliance and devices.” Whether the ELL applies depends largely on the type of work being performed at the time of the injury.
Oregon Safe Employment Act
The Oregon Safe Employment Act (OSEA) sets forth standards applicable to all employers, not just work involving risk or danger.When an injury occurs, these standards are considered in determining whether an employer satisfied the relevant standard of care. Significantly, the OSEA requires employers and owners to comply with all of the numerous safety rules, orders and other requirements established by Oregon OSHA.
When companies fail to provide appropriate safety measures, or when defective products and equipment are used on the jobsite, the result can be serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries. Damages for injuries can be recovered from the responsible parties, depending on their role in causing or failing to prevent an injury. Potential parties include: direct and indirect employers, subcontractors, equipment manufacturers, material suppliers, design professionals, and engineers, among others.
Overlap With Workers Compensation
Claims against an employer often are subject to the workers compensation system. While this system provides medical care and a portion of lost wages or a small death benefit, it rarely covers the full measure of damage to an injured worker and his/her family. However, sometimes there are third parties–in other words, persons or entities besides the employer–who share responsibility for worker injuries, and your claims against these parties are not limited by the workers compensation system.
We work to obtain full compensation for your injuries, through legal exceptions to the workers compensation system, and by pursuing claims against third parties who share responsibility for your injuries. Full compensation includes recovery for:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident it is important to act quickly. Critical evidence can be lost or destroyed unless a site investigation is performed promptly. In addition, the law provides strict deadlines for bringing claims against the responsible parties.
Attorney Rob Kline is experienced in pursuing claims involving construction and industrial injuries. Rob Kline is available to discuss your legal rights. Call today and request a confidential, free case evaluation.