Home of the world’s first skyscraper, Chicago is an extremely ambitious and trend-setting city when it comes to development. At any given moment, dozens of towers are slowly rising throughout the city, and countless other construction projects are ongoing.
The Chicagoland area is also desperately in need of single-family homes, which is driving a wide range of new neighborhood housing and other projects throughout Cook County and beyond.
At the cost of all this progress are the extreme risks faced by those who work on job sites or have to live or commute near them. Construction sites pose immense dangers, with the potential to change an injury victim’s life forever — or end it — in mere seconds.
When you find that you or a loved one have been hurt as a result of a construction mishap, know that the best thing you can do is act fast and reach out to an experienced and qualified Chicago construction injury lawyer.
The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers is prepared to assist with your case, helping you to retrieve the highest amount possible in compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Learn more about how an attorney from our firm can help and what damages may be available to you in a settlement when you call 312-999-9990 or contact us online to schedule a free case review.
How Can a Chicago Construction Site Accident Attorney Help When I Am Hurt?
Put simply, workers and other construction accident victims are almost always at a major disadvantage when it comes to handling their own injury claims. Construction projects involve substantial capital investment, and part of managing that investment is the management of risk.
Construction firms, contractors, and other parties want to pay out as little as possible for injuries and other incidents. When one happens, you can bet that they will do everything in their power to minimize their exposure to liability.
In other words, the person or company most responsible for hurting you doesn’t want to pay. We can make them pay!
When you work with the Fakhouri Firm, you can know with confidence that your case is being handled by a dedicated and experienced team. We help you move fast to secure your rights to a fair claim, seeking repayment of all damages you have suffered.
Our knowledge of construction law — and our familiarity with handling these types of cases — means that we help you level the playing field when standing up against well-monied interests. We negotiate aggressively with insurance companies on your behalf, and we don’t take statements meant to discourage claims at face value.
Located at the renowned 77 West Wacker building along Chicago’s storied riverfront, we look out into the city daily and see promise, but also people going about their daily lives who may feel dwarfed by the prospect of going up against organizations that wield significant power.
Rest assured, while they have the power to make some of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in the world happen, they don’t have the power to deny you the right to seek fair, full compensation for your own losses.
Working with our firm puts someone in your corner who helps you not only navigate your case but also build a more secure financial future for you and for your family.
Damages Available in a Construction Accident Case
Your construction accident injury claim should seek to recover all medical costs and other losses, including compensation for the suffering and physical anguish you have experienced. The following are common damages sought in such cases:
- Medical treatment coverage, including compensation for projected future medical costs, such as follow-up appointments and long-term physical therapy
- Replacement of lost wages, paying for the difference in earnings after the accident, including any reductions in earnings, as well as compensation for permanent total disability or the costs of acquiring a new skill if the worker can’t return to their former duties.
- Out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the accident injury
- Funeral and burial benefits for fatal accidents
- Pain and suffering (available under third-party liability claims but not worker’s comp)
Who Is Liable for My Construction Accident Injury Costs?
The party that is ultimately responsible for paying for the costs of your injury depends on the circumstances in which it occurred and other factors. Many such cases will involve a workers’ compensation claim filed with your employer. When an injury occurs on the job or within the “scope of employment,” then the employer is supposed to cover the costs of medical treatment and partial replacement wages through their workers’ compensation insurance. Other incidents will involve claims made against non-employer third parties. That can include the property owner, the general contractor, other crews at the site, or a non-worker party, including drivers of vehicles involved in motor vehicle accidents with construction workers. Some of the most common liable parties are listed and described in greater detail below.
Employers (Workers’ Compensation Claims)
Any time a worker is performing tasks on behalf of their employer or is at a location entirely because of the demands of their job, they are considered to be working “in the scope of employment.”
This scope can include trips made on behalf of a job or in work vehicles, excluding the commute to and from the job. It can also potentially involve situations where an employee technically wasn’t “on the clock” but was still performing duties on behalf of their employer or contract grantor.
Notably, crews in Illinois are supposed to ensure that all subcontractors have workers’ compensation coverage. Failing to do so can mean that someone who is technically an independent contractor may be able to file a claim under the general contractor’s workers’ compensation benefits, per an updated law passed in 2022.
Securing benefits for workers’ compensation can be difficult, especially when employers designate the physician who is responsible for diagnosing your condition. Further, in the event of total disability, workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois only compensate you for two-thirds (66.66%) of your total replacement wages.
As if that weren’t bad enough, a workers comp claim does not provide benefits for pain and suffering. These factors can mean that it makes financial and legal sense for an injured party to seek further compensation through a third-party claim against the other potential sources of liability listed below.
Illinois law, coupled with rulings in several state Supreme Court decisions, has indicated that a general contractor can be held liable for injuries caused at a job site when their own neglect of their responsibilities is the direct cause of the injury.
Establishing liability under this doctrine is not always easy, but it can be possible when the general contractor’s actions — or failure to comply with safety regulations — are a direct factor in an accident and injury.
Illinois case law limits liability carried by property owners for the damages inflicted by construction accidents to situations when the owner was aware — or should have been aware — of a specific hazard or safety concern but failed to alert crews.
Liability may also be assigned in situations where the property owner’s direct actions or failure to comply with safety regulations was the proximate cause of an accident and injury
Drivers in Road Accidents
A large number of construction industry injuries and deaths sadly occur on public roads, not on job sites. As indicated by the hit-and-run case mentioned above, workers are often vulnerable to the carelessness or reckless actions of others.
When driving in a work vehicle and especially when on foot, these workers are at risk of a major accident any time they are driving.
Defective Equipment or Tool Manufacturers
In some work injury cases, the use of a particular piece of equipment, tool, or device is a major factor in the worker’s injury. Construction tools and equipment are particularly hazardous, risking severe lacerations or falling injuries when they fail.
Safety equipment, in particular, can lead to major injuries and deaths when it fails to provide the expected level of protection.
Anyone hurt by the effects of a machine or product may be eligible to hold the company liable under Illinois’ strict liability claims, meaning they don’t have to prove negligence but simply that the product posed an unreasonable danger when used in a typical application.
Cases that don’t qualify for strict liability can still seek to hold manufacturers responsible by showing that the manufacturer acted negligently, either failing to prevent the hazard or failing to discover and address it in a reasonable time frame.
City Agencies and Other Entities
When a project is completed on behalf of the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, or an independent governmental entity like the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), they may hold liability for the results of an incident stemming from their own negligence.
It is critical to move quickly in such cases, as the injury victim has limited time to report a possible claim and then submit that claim, often a year or less
Chicago Construction Accident Statistics
As one of the more dangerous occupations in the nation, construction jobs regularly lead to major injuries and deaths each year. One only has to look to the news to see examples of projects that cost the lives of Chicago workers.
The 2023 NASCAR race held along Grant Park resulted in at least one death during the set-up of the event. A collapse of a 141-year-old building earlier that year claimed the life of a worker on a project that failed to comply with its permit.
Perhaps most alarming, another worker’s life was claimed not by issues with construction itself but because of a hit-and-run driver who managed to escape unidentified after the Lake Shore Drive collision.
Illinois data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the state as a whole saw 40 deaths from 2020 – 2021 in the construction industry. There were also at least 4,300 recorded construction injuries in 2021, over half of which involved missed days of work.
Common Types of Construction Injuries
There are countless horrific scenarios that can lead to a construction injury, but there are also a number of common ones that crews and site supervisors are supposed to watch out for. According to statistics from OSHA and other industry observers, the following types of scenarios are seen the most frequently when it comes to serious and fatal construction accidents
Falls, Including Scaffolding and Safety Railing Collapses
Falls from a height are likely to lead to major injuries or death on a construction site. Crews are supposed to reduce their risk by using fall arrest equipment and conducting appropriate safety measures for scaffolding, railing, and other safety measures.
Struck-By, Including Collisions With Equipment
Construction often involves the use of large, cumbersome specialty vehicles and other equipment. Workers are advised to stand clear of such hazards and wear high-visibility clothing while someone supervises the safe operation of the machine as a “spotter.”
Caught In/Between, Including Trench Collapses
Structural collapses are a major component in many of the most serious construction incidents, and lax safety procedures are often to blame. Trenches, in particular, pose a major threat when not properly engineered with appropriate sloping, shoring, or shielding.
A caught-in/between incident can also involve workers having appendages pulled into moving equipment, including cement mixers, and gearing on hoists or other equipment
Electric shocks are often fatal but just as preventable. Workers are expected to follow general procedures enforced and supervised by well-trained managers.
Further, only workers qualified to handle voltage should be working on or near live currents. Any electrical hazards must be clearly marked, with safety practices like lockout/tagout to prevent safety incidents
Work With Our Chicago Construction Accident Law Firm Passionate About Securing Your Compensation
When you get hurt on the job, one of the worst experiences is that suddenly, you may feel like no one is on your side. We at the Fakhouri Firm are, and we are eager to represent you and fight for your right to seek all available compensation from all negligent parties.
Whether you are trying to file a workers’ compensation claim, a third-party injury claim, or both, we are here to act as your legal guides and advocates. Let us handle the assessment of your damages in full, and we can then pursue all liable parties for the maximum amount of compensation allowed. You and your family deserve no less.