Construction work is dangerous, and there are many ways for a person to get injured on a construction site. When a construction worker is injured, it often impacts the entire family. The injury can put the worker out of commission either temporarily or permanently and can affect his ability to do the manual labor inherently necessary for construction jobs. As a result, it is especially important for construction workers to understand their rights and take action if they get hurt at work.
Unfortunately, a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine indicates that many construction workers are not reporting their injuries or taking advantage of the legal protections available to them. Our Johnson City, TN injury attorneys are very concerned about what this study shows, and we urge every worker to understand his rights after a construction accident and to get the help he needs to secure his financial future.
Construction Workers Not Reporting Injuries
The study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine revealed that 58 percent of those responding to the survey who worked in the construction industry had safety-based incentives in their workplace. The safety-based incentives took different forms including those offering positive reinforcement such as incentive payments when a good safety record was maintained and those imposing negative consequences in the event that injury occurred.
Although it may seem like safety-based incentives are a good thing that would help to make workplaces safer, the reality is that the safety incentives actually result in workers being discouraged from reporting their work injuries. In the event that negative reinforcement was used to impose punishment or sanctions when an injury occurred, 50 percent fewer injuries were reported by workers than on other worksites where such safety incentives were not in place. Furthermore, in general, around 30 percent of those responding to the survey indicated that injuries at their worksites were either never reported or were reported rarely.
There were several reasons why workers did not report injuries after they occurred on construction sites, including pressure from peers to keep quiet and a lack of knowledge about the benefits and compensation available to injured workers.
The Consequences of Failure to Take Action
When a person is injured on a construction site, he should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits provided the injury is work related. A failure to report the injury can result in the worker being deprived of these benefits, which can include payment of medical costs as well as disability benefits. This can leave a worker without any way to support himself or to pay his medical bills when he is coping with serious injury.
If a worker doesn’t tell anyone about his injury or does not seek medical help, he can also lose the ability to make a third-party liability claim. These are claims that are brought against non-employers who share the responsibility for a construction injury. While employers cannot be sued and workers are limited to workers’ comp if the injury was a pure accident, often some third party is negligent or careless in some way that leads to the construction accident. The third party, which might for example be an architect or project manager or a manufacturer of a defective construction machine, would also escape their obligation to compensate the injured construction worker if the worker never reported his injury. Again, the worker would be giving up an important chance to take care of himself and his family financially after the accident.
If you are in an accident in Johnson City, Tennessee, contact Meade Injury Law Group today at (423) 464-7779for a free consultation.