Claiming compensation after a construction site accident
Rachel Pearce, Partner and Head of Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence at Coodes Solicitors, explains when and how you could claim compensation after a construction site accident.
Construction is one of the most dangerous industries. Estimates reported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that construction workers suffer around 61,000 injuries each year and there were 40 deaths as a result of construction accidents in 2019-20.
Falling from height is the most common cause of injury, accounting for around half of all building site accidents. These could be the result of falling from scaffolding or ladders. Construction site accidents also occur as a result of falling objects, slips, trips or falls or issues with machinery or equipment, while many workers also experience manual handling injuries.
Your rights as a construction worker
Construction sites are busy places, with heavy machinery and materials. Many jobs involve working at height and operating and being around potentially-hazardous equipment.
Your employer – whether they are the main contractor or a subcontractor – is responsible for your health and safety. This includes providing you with adequate PPE and training.
There are a number of reasons why accidents occur on building sites, but many are the result of employers not fulfilling their responsibilities. We often handle claims for people who have been asked to do work which they have not been trained for. Unfortunately, workers sometimes feel pressured into carrying out tasks, often with a tight deadline, despite the fact they lack the necessary experience. We have also supported a number of people who have been injured as a result of not having the appropriate PPE.
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How do I claim compensation for a construction injury?
If you are a construction worker and have experienced an accident, you may not only be faced with your injuries but the financial cost of being unable to work. The aim of personal injury compensation is, as far as possible, to get your life back to where it would have been had you not had the accident.
You may well be unsure about whether or not you are eligible for compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you on whether or not you have a case and many operate on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. Personal injury cases are often complex so it is important to get advice from specialist lawyers. Our personal injury lawyers are all accredited with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
You usually have three years from the date of the accident or knowing about your injury to pursue a claim. If you have been injured, seek expert legal advice as soon as you can to give yourself the best chance of receiving the compensation you need to get your life back on track.
Does it make a difference if the HSE investigates my accident?
The HSE investigates the most serious workplace accidents. Whether or not your accident is being investigated should not make any difference to you pursuing a claim. The outcome of an HSE investigation may support your case, but your claim does not depend on it. I have explained more about this in a previous blog.
The prospect of making a personal injury claim can be daunting. However, compensation can be a lifeline for people who have suffered the physical, emotional and financial impact of being injured at work.