Philadelphia Construction Accident Attorneys
Millions in Compensation for Workers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey & Delaware
For over 60 years, The Beasley Firm has fought to ensure workers injured or killed by negligence on-the-job at construction sites received full and fair compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial injuries they suffered.
Our dedication to the well-being of our injured clients shows in our results:
- Over 300 verdicts & settlements larger than $1 million
- The largest civil trial award against an individual ($907 million)
- More million-dollar and multimillion-dollar results than any Pennsylvania firm
- Millions in verdicts and settlements for construction accident victims
- Selection to Best Law Firms® for Personal Injury Litigation
The Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at The Beasley Firm have experience in every aspect of construction accident investigation and litigation, from OSHA regulation, to fall prevention (such as scaffolding best practices), to aerial lift product liability, to electrical safety measures like lockout and tagging, to on-the-job motor vehicle concerns, to preventing forklift and loader collisions and roll-overs.
Since 1958, we have obtained over $2 billion in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. Let us put our experience and resources to work for you. Call (215) 866-2424 for a free consultation.
"Safety Third"-The Underlying Cause of Wrongful Deaths
Last year, there were nearly 5,000 fatal work injuries in the United States and tens of thousands of catastrophic construction site injuries. You know the saying: "safety first." Sadly, the reality is closer to what Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs has said: "safety third." We understand the mentality of the construction worksite. It's rarely "safety first"-for the workers, it's usually "we have a job to do," and for the company it's "how can we get this done quicker and cheaper?"
The "get the job done" mentality can build buildings and ensure everybody goes home safely at the end of the day-so as long as safety is always the priority when speed and costs are considered. If the mentality was "we have a job to do, but let's make sure it's done safely," there would be far fewer injuries and far fewer workers disabled or killed.
Construction sites are strictly regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Usually, when a worker is fatally injured, it is because the worker's employer or another contractor on the site failed to follow OSHA guidelines, like in the OSHA Construction Resource Manual.
Despite detailed OSHA regulations and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidelines relating to fall prevention, falls are the #1 cause of work-related construction deaths. Most falls are preventable and thus inexcusable. At any given time, there are a number of fall risk and prevention awareness campaigns, such as OSHA's longstanding fall prevention campaign, the NIOSH's own campaign, and the Center for Construction Research and Training's 2012 campaign (with its tragic interactive map of fall accidents), and yet construction falls remain commonplace, largely because of lax attitudes about fall prevention measures for work that isn't at the top of a skyscraper.
In our years as leading Philadelphia construction accident attorneys, too many construction companies don't understand or don't care that the strict OSHA requirements regarding proactive fall prevention (e.g. harnesses and guardrails) start at 6 feet-not 10, or 20, or 30, or anything higher, and they apply in virtually all work areas, not just at the top of a tall building, or a crane, or a telecommunications tower. A 6-foot fall can kill or cripple a worker and most ladder deaths involve falls of 10 feet or less. Workers are entitled to the same protections at 6 feet as they would get at 60 feet or 600 feet.
According to OSHA, the three most common fall prevention violations are:
- Failure to protect workers from falls of 6 feet or more off of unprotected sides or edges, e.g. floors and roofs.
- Failure to protect workers from falling into or through holes and openings in floors and walls.
- Failure to provide guardrails on runways and ramps where workers are exposed to falls of 6 feet or more to a lower level.
In many of these circumstances, the risk, and thus the injury, could have been avoided if the company had moved more work to ground level, if guardrails had been installed, or if the company had mandated a fall arrest system, like a body harness. The most effective tool for preventing falls, however, is someone else's scrutinizing eyes. A construction worker on the job is trying to get the job done. It's the employer's responsibility to ensure a safe workplace, and often there's no better method than to simply assign someone to do nothing other than keeping a watch out for unsafe situations. That's what OSHA recommends and that's what works, but it requires paying an extra employee-something many companies want to avoid doing.
Next to hammers and hard hats, the most ubiquitous feature of construction sites is typically the scaffolding. The OSHA regulations for scaffolds are so specific that even a lawyer could build a safe scaffold-and there's no shortage of scaffold safety resources-and yet, every day, construction workers spend most of their day on unsafe and improperly built scaffolds.
In our experience, scaffold fall injuries are generally caused by three causes:
- The scaffold was erected by workers without any training, and is never inspected by a competent person.
- The scaffold has incomplete railings, toe guards, and floorboards.
- Equipment and debris on higher levels is not adequately secured or immediately removed, and so falls onto a person below.
Aerial Lifts & Scissor Lifts Can Be Safer Than Scaffolds, If Designed & Used Properly
OSHA and safety consultants frequently recommend the use of aerial lifts instead of scaffolds, but "less dangerous" doesn't necessarily mean "safe." As the Center to Protect Workers' Rights explains, "About 26 construction workers die each year from using aerial lifts."
In the experience of our Philadelphia construction accident attorneys, most aerial lift accidents are the result of inadequate training. OSHA requires that a qualified person-that is, someone who "by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project"-train every user of a given aerial lift.
Yet, many construction companies rent their lifts rather than own them, and those companies rely far too heavily on "on-the-job" experience, so the actual users of the aerial lifts don't know anything more about the lift than if they had just walked onto the construction site. That lack of appropriate training creates a number of dangerous situations, like using or moving the lift on an unlevel surface or failing to wear a harness, some of which turn into catastrophic accidents.
Electrical safety is unambiguous-OSHA requires that:
- All electric equipment must be approved by an OSHA-accepted laboratory or agency.
- Electric equipment operating at more than 50 volts must be guarded from contact by an approved enclosure.
- Employers must provide either ground-fault circuit interrupters or an assured equipment grounding conductor program.
Unfortunately, violations of all three happen every day in construction sites across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Many contractors don't even take basic steps like ensuring extension cords are flexible, give slack, and aren't frayed, resulting in thousands of electric shock and electrocution injuries every year.
Excavation & Trenches
Excavation and trenches must always be done carefully. OSHA requires the estimated location of utility installations (like underground sewer, fuel, electric, and gas lines) shall be determined prior to opening an excavation, and that the exact location must be found as the work approaches. Many companies start digging and then try to figure out the location as they go.
Workers' Compensation & Third-Party Negligence
All construction workers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware should be covered by workers' compensation insurance purchased by their employer. Workers' compensation is supposed to ensure employees are compensated for the full extent of their financial losses, but even after months of difficult litigation to prove the full extent of medical bills and lost wages, it rarely does.
Workers, however, usually can't sue their employer if they received any workers' compensation. That's why we investigate every single construction case to find other companies and insurers that are responsible for the accident, like negligent subcontractors or third parties such as manufacturers.
Electric shock and electrocution incidents, for example, are often caused by an electrician working for a different company failing to properly ground high voltage power lines, and so that electrician's employer is liable to the injured worker even if the injured worker has received workers' compensation. Similarly, many commonplace construction tools and machines, like aerial lifts, scissor lifts, forklifts and machine presses are designed improperly or lack proper safety precautions, and so contribute to construction workers' injuries.
Even "Minor" Injuries Can Be Disabling & Career-Threatening
Construction work is hard, taking long hours and requiring physical fitness, endurance, and dexterity. Thus, it doesn't take a paralyzing injury to render a construction worker partly or completely disabled from working: even a "minor" injury like a broken ankle or wrist can keep a construction worker from working, and thus from bring money home for their families.
Our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers understand that, and we work with the best therapists, care planners, and economic experts to present your full losses to the jury, to stop the insurance company from claiming that you can work, from trivializing your injuries, and from denying you full compensation.
Leaders in Injury & Accident Litigation
For over 60 years we have been at the forefront of Philadelphia's legal community, obtaining record-setting compensation for serious injured clients and for the families of those wrongfully killed. We have fought for the rights of those who have suffered financial, emotional, and physical injuries, ranging from a sitting United States Senator to blue-collar workers. When we see an injustice, we fight tirelessly to fix it.
Our Philadelphia construction accident attorneys obtained the first-ever million dollar verdict in Pennsylvania, and we continue building on that record. Our law firm has obtained more than 300 verdicts or settlements in excess of $1 million, totaling over $2 billion awarded to our injured clients.
With a free, no-obligation legal consultation, we can help you determine what you can do about your case. Call (215) 866-2424 today to speak with our construction accident lawyers in Pennsylvania.