Boston Construction Site Wrongful Death Attorney
A construction site is one of the most dangerous places that a person can work, especially when you consider that one in five employee deaths occurs in the construction industry.
Construction sites present a number of hazards that workers must work with and around. These hazards include heavy machinery, high-voltage power lines, toxic chemicals and dangerous power tools and equipment. In addition, workers can often be perched many feet above the ground on ladders or scaffolding.
The construction injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman have been fighting for construction workers and their families for more than two decades. We have helped many families recover workers' compensation death benefits and other compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Our Boston law firm has a proven history of obtaining settlements and winning verdicts against big construction companies and deep pocketed property owners. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys are committed to helping you and your family obtain the financial compensation that you need at this critical time.
We encourage you to call our office today for a free consultation.What Do Workers' Compensation Death Benefits Cover in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts workers' compensation death benefits cover hospital bills associated with a work-related accident, burial expenses and lost wages for the amount of money that the worker would have earned for the rest of their working life if the fatal accident had not happened. The workers' compensation system takes into consideration that a family's dependence on a worker's wages doesn't end when the worker dies.
In Massachusetts, workers' compensation death benefits are paid out on a weekly basis or in some cases a one-time lump sum payment. Workers' compensation death benefits in the state are provided pursuant to MGL ch. 152 § 31.
The construction accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman can make sure that a death benefit settlement or court award provides your family with full and fair compensation. Unfortunately, it's not unusual for an employer or insurance carrier to try to shortchange a family in an attempt to save money and reduce their costs.
The deceased worker's spouse and children typically qualify for workers' compensation death benefits. Claims can become complicated when they're disputed or when they involve adult children or estranged spouses. Again, it's a good idea to have an attorney on your side to provide legal support and peace of mind at this emotional and stressful time.
Our attorneys handle these cases on a regular basis and work with the best experts in the country who can help you prove your case. Medical experts are often needed to confirm a cause of death and an economic expert can demonstrate that the deceased worker's lifetime earnings are much higher than estimates provided by the employer or insurance carrier.
You can read more about death benefits in Massachusetts here.Construction Worker Accidents and Fatalities in Massachusetts
Construction accident deaths reportedly accounted for 36% of the 69 deaths that occurred in Massachusetts in 2018. Nearly one-third of those deaths were caused by a fall, slip or trip and 10 workers died as a result of coming into contact with an object or equipment.
A quick scan of the headlines shows a number of recent fatal construction worker accidents in the greater Boston area:
- A worker died while disassembling a crane at a worksite.
- A worker died after falling approximately 60 feet from a lift on a construction site.
- A roofer died after falling from the roof of a 25-foot barn.
- A worker was killed after being struck by a 3,500-pound ballast that fell from a forklift and landed on his chest while he was erecting a lighting tower for an event.
- A worker died after falling out of the bucket of a lift truck and landing on a barge while performing work on a bridge.
These accidents are tragic, especially since the majority of construction site accidents are preventable with proper supervision, adequate protective equipment and adherence to workplace safety regulations.Falls Are the Leading Cause of Construction Site Deaths
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are four leading causes of fatal accidents in the construction field.
- Falls (33.5%)
- Struck by objects (11%)
- Electrocutions (8.5%)
- Caught-in/between equipment or objects (5.5%)
The agency reported, these "fatal four" caused nearly 60% of construction worker deaths in 2018 with the exclusion of highway accidents.
Falls are often caused by defective ladders or scaffolding. Scaffolds that have been overloaded in excess of their weight limits or that have been improperly assembled can cause serious and sometimes deadly accidents. Workers are more likely to fall when they are working four feet or more above the ground.
Any force or object that causes a worker to lose his or her balance can result in a deadly fall. This includes tools and construction materials left on scaffolding, strong winds, rain or ice, and moving machinery or equipment.
Employers are responsible for providing employees with safe equipment, including fall protection equipment. Workers who are performing tasks on scaffolds should be provided with harnesses and other safety equipment.
Workers are also at risk of falling in excavation holes or down elevator shafts. Holes and openings should be covered when possible or otherwise marked and blocked off.
Workers should wear personal protective equipment such as hard hats and safety goggles to protect them from falling or flying objects.High Risk Jobs in the Construction Industry
While all construction workers place themselves at risk each time that they report for work, certain workers face extreme on-the-job dangers, including:
- Roofers: They perform job tasks high above the ground and often near dangerous power lines .
- Iron and steel workers: Those who work in the iron and steel industries often work on scaffolding and are at risk for falls.
- Heavy equipment operators: Workers who operate cranes, bulldozers, and other pieces of dangerous machinery are at risk of being injured. These risks include: electrocution from coming into contact with overhead and buried power lines, and other fatal accidents, including being struck by an object while operating the machinery. Operators who lack proper training pose a danger to themselves and to others working around them.
- Truck drivers: Collisions on highways and other roads can be deadly.
- Laborers and helpers: They perform a wide range of dangerous activities.
- Electricians: Electricians working construction jobs are at risk of electric shock and electrocution from improper wiring, wet weather, defective equipment, and other hazards.
Other dangerous jobs in the construction industry include painters, plumbers, pipefitters and pipelayers, welders and brazers, and carpenters .Safety Violations on Construction Sites Can Cause Serious Injury and Death
OSHA's safety standards are in place to protect workers from on-the-job dangers. When employers violate those standards, they can and should be made to pay for a loved one's death.
OSHA reported the following violations as the most prevalent in 2019:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Scaffolding requirements
- Control of hazardous energy, which includes lockout/tagout procedures
- Respiratory protection
- Powered industrial trucks
- Machinery and machine guarding
- Eye and face protection
In addition to OSHA standards, employers are required to abide by building codes. Employers who cause injury to their employees by ignoring stop work orders or committing fire code violations can be held liable for their negligent actions. Building code can violations place jobsite workers and members of the public in danger.
Fires and explosions on construction sites can cause serious injuries and sometimes deaths. hen defective or improperly used, explosives used to prepare sites for construction can be deadly. Other fire hazards on construction sites include oily rags, space heaters and faulty wiring.Other Hazards for Construction Workers
Another deadly danger on construction sites is asbestos. Employees who work in old houses or buildings are especially at risk. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was used for many years in the construction industry for insulation, roofing and fireproofing. It was later discovered that long-term exposure to asbestos can cause a fatal type of cancer called mesothelioma as well as other serious diseases. Construction workers who work with and around asbestos and asbestos-containing products, are at risk of breathing in asbestos fibers and developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Buildings and other structures that contain asbestos should be remediated by trained professionals before construction work is performed. Construction workers should be trained to identify asbestos and be encouraged to report any sightings to their supervisors.
Construction workers are injured at a rate that is as much as 77% higher than workers in other professions. As a result, construction workers are often prescribed opioids to help alleviate chronic pain from work-related injuries. According to statistics, construction workers in Massachusetts die from overdoses of opioids at a rate that is six times higher than other industries. Safer workplaces would help lower construction worker accident and thus lower the opioid addition and overdose rates.
You can read more about fatal injuries at work on Massachusetts state website.
To learn more about how our construction accident attorneys can help with your wrongful death claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC at (617) 367-2900 or use our online form.