A highway construction worker was critically injured in September near the intersection of Interstate 5 and State Road 500 in Vancouver, Wash., when he became trapped beneath a large paving machine, according to a news report.
Officials from Granite Construction, his employer, said that an initial attempt to lift the machine off the worker with another piece of equipment failed. Ultimately, it took fire rescue crews about 45 minutes to free the worker.
Another worker at the site said that the paving machine was backing up when the accident occurred, but he was not sure what went wrong. He indicated that workers typically spot each other whenever large equipment is being moved around on the site. Both the Washington State Patrol and Granite Construction said that planned a thorough investigation into the accident to determine what happened.
Washington State Construction Accidents
A workplace accident can happen to anyone in any type of occupation; however, those employed in the construction industry are at a higher risk by the very nature of the work they perform. The construction industry ranks second in workplace fatalities behind transportation and warehousing. Anytime a person works around heavy machinery, electricity or flammable materials, or is required to perform work on the top of a building, the risk of injury rises.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 150,000 construction accidents each year. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration reports that one in every 10 construction workers can expect to suffer a work-related injury at some point. Last year, 607 people lost their lives as a result of workplace accidents.
Third-Party Lawsuits Versus Workers’ Compensation
Workers who are injured on the job in the State of Washington are typically entitled to benefits under the workers’ compensation system. Each state operates its own workers’ compensation system. In the State of Washington, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries is responsible for workers’ compensation claims. The workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, meaning that a worker is not required to prove that the employer was negligent in any way in order to be entitled to benefits. While this makes it easier to get benefits, the tradeoff is that the amount is often insufficient to cover the true financial costs of the injuries suffered by a worker.
In some cases, a worker in the State of Washington may be entitled to file a third-party lawsuit for a construction accident injury. On construction sites, there are often numerous people in charge and various supervisors giving orders. If someone other than your actual employer caused or contributed to the accident that caused your injuries, you may be entitled to file a third-party lawsuit. Parties that could be liable for your injuries include:
- General contractor
- Owner of the property
- Property manager
- Leasing company
- Third-party maintenance company
- Manufacturer of equipment
Contact a Washington State Construction Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a Washington State construction accident, or have lost a loved one as a result of a construction site accident, you may have options other than the workers’ compensation system. Only a full-service personal injury attorney can evaluate the specific facts and circumstances of your case to determine if you have the basis of a third-party lawsuit. The Washington State construction accident attorneys at Mariano Morales Law can help. Contact the team today by calling 866-972-0493 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.