Doing work is incredibly fulfilling. Most people enjoy the sense of accomplishment and purpose that comes from a job well done. However, while work can be important for philosophical and financial reasons–as well as essential for the greater economy–the workplace can also be dangerous, too. In Illinois, there are a few industries that stand out as being particularly dangerous, including construction. Consider the following overview of the most dangerous industries for workplace accidents in Illinois, and call our construction accident lawyer at the office of Claim Your Justice if you or a loved one has been injured on the job.
The Most Dangerous Industries for Workplace Accidents in Illinois
In 2019 (the most recent year for which data is available) there were a total of 158 fatal work injuries reported in Illinois; there were 104,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most of the workplace fatalities that occurred in Illinois were the result of transportation incidents, violence and other injuries by animals or persons, slip and fall accidents, and contact with objects and equipment. It may come as no surprise then, based on these common causes of death, that the construction industry is most of the most dangerous industries for workplace accidents in the state. In fact, the private construction industry had the highest number of workplace fatalities in the state in 2019 with 30 deaths or over 18 percent of total workplace deaths. Other industries that had high rates of fatal accidents include the private transportation and warehouse industries.
Additional highlights based on the data
The data reveals that construction, transportation, and warehousing are amongst the most dangerous industries for workplace accidents in the state; we also know that transportation accidents, slip and fall accidents, contact with objects and equipment, and violence are common causes of injuries–fatal and otherwise.
Data also tells us that men are much more likely to be involved in fatal accidents in the workplace than women, most likely because these industries are traditionally dominated by male employees.
Common Workplace Injuries
When an accident occurs within the construction industry, transportation industry, warehouse injury, or another injury in Illinois, the injuries and damages can be significant. Especially in injuries that involve working with heavy equipment and machinery, power tools, or working at heights, injuries can be catastrophic. Common workplace injuries in construction include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can impact a person’s memory, learning, language, cognition, emotion, and sensations for years.
- Spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries are tragic because they are permanent; once the spinal cord is injured, it cannot be repaired. Spinal cord injuries often lead to permanent or partial paralysis from the site of the injury downwards.
- Amputation injury. One of the most severe injuries that a construction industry worker can suffer is that of an amputation injury. These types of injuries lead to permanent disability.
- Crush injuries. Being caught in or hit by heavy equipment can mean a crush injury that results in the loss of use of a limb, internal bleeding, and death in the most serious cases.
- Psychological injuries. Some injuries aren’t physical, but psychological. Being involved in a severe accident can result in post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.
Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
Workplace injuries often happen as a result of negligence. Transportation incidents, being caught in/between machinery or being struck by an object, electrocution, falls from heights, slip and falls, and violence by another person or animal are common causes of injuries in the workplace. Unfortunately, most of these accidents are often avoidable and would not occur but for:
- Improper worker safety training. All employees, particularly those who work in industries where the risk of accident and injury is high, need to receive proper training on best practices and workplace safety. Failure to ensure that workers go through an adequate safety training program, as well as the failure to ensure that workers have the information and training that they need for a specific job, can lead to tragic accidents.
- Improper supervision/worker management. Another cause of accidents in the workplace is a lack of proper supervision or worker management. At a construction site, a site manager should always be available to answer questions and ensure that safety protocols are being followed to a T. Improper supervision and management can lead to serious harm.
- Lack of safety equipment. Federal and state laws set forth by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) require that workers in dangerous industries, including construction, have access to basic and specialized safety equipment depending on the job site and the work being performed. For example, hard hats and safety harnesses when working at heights, proper safety boots, safety goggles, and gloves are all standard. If a worker is not given the correct safety equipment for a job, they may be at an increased risk of injury.
- Defective machinery. Sometimes, even when workers are properly trained, given the right safety gear, and follow safety protocols, accidents still happen. In some cases, an accident or injury may be the result of defective machinery or equipment. If defective machinery or equipment causes an injury, the manufacturer could be held liable.
Things like roughhousing, failing to double-check all safety steps, and worker negligence can cause accidents and injuries in some cases, too.
Who’s Liable for a Workplace Injury?
When a worker is harmed on the job and suffers severe and costly injuries, there is a question of liability that must be answered. Consider the two following sources of compensation and liability in a workplace accident claim–
- Workers’ compensation insurance. The vast majority of employees in most industries, including the private construction industry, are considered employees and are covered under their employers’ workers’ compensation policies as such. When a workplace accident occurs, an employee is entitled to workers’ compensation, without having to prove fault, so long as they can prove that the injury happened at work while they were acting within the scope of their employment.
- Third-party liability claims. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means that an injured worker does not need to prove the fault of their employer in order to recover compensation; it also means that by virtue of the no-fault benefits, their employer is immune from liability. In other words, an injured worker cannot file a lawsuit for damages against their employer.
While an employee cannot sue their employer after an accident, they may have grounds to bring forth a third-party liability claim. A third-party liability claim is a type of civil action that alleges that a third party (someone other than the employer) did something negligent, and the negligence was the proximate cause of the employee’s harm. For example, filing a lawsuit against a product manufacturer if a defective product causes a workplace injury is a type of third-party liability claim. Sometimes, both workers’ compensation benefits and a third-party liability claim can be pursued.
Types of Damages Recoverable in a Workplace Accident Claim
When you hire our personal injury attorney in Schaumburg or a construction accident lawyer from our office, we can promise that we’ll work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve. However, it’s important to note that how much you can recover, as well as the types of damages that you can recover, will depend on whether you are filing a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party liability claim.
A workers’ compensation claim provides benefits for the full value of a workers’ necessary and reasonable medical expenses. Workers’ compensation benefits can also cover a portion of an employee’s lost wages. However, workers’ compensation benefits do not cover 100 percent of an employee’s lost wages, nor do they include compensation for pain, suffering, or emotional distress.
A third-party liability claim, on the other hand, is not capped. A worker can file a suit seeking damages for the full value of their losses, including compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. There is no limit to how much a worker can recover.
While this type of claim may therefore seem superior to a workers’ compensation claim, remember that a third-party liability claim requires being able to prove the fault of a third party, whereas workers’ compensation benefits are offered anytime a worker is injured during the course of their employment with no requirement to prove fault.
How Our Construction Accident Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney in Schaumburg Can Help
If you work in one of the most dangerous industries in Illinois and have been involved in an accident at work, such as a transportation accident, construction accident, or warehouse accident, you deserve to be compensated. You also deserve to be supported and represented by a legal professional throughout the process. At the office of Claim Your Justice, our lawyers have years of experience, a reputation for excellence, a track record of winning large settlements for our clients, and a commitment to you.
We always offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. If you or a loved one has been injured at work, please call our construction accident lawyer or personal injury attorney in Schaumburg directly today to schedule your free consultation and the support you need.