Construction accident

Construction Accidents: Causes, Common Injuries & Your Legal Options

Construction site injuries often result from accidents during the process of building, demolishing, improving, cleaning, repairing, or any other act of generally constructing a specific facility. Working on a construction site requires a wide variety of heavy machinery, making it one of the most dangerous jobs due to a high risk of injury. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 124 people are fatally injured at construction sites every year.

The Fatal Four: Common Causes of Construction Accident Injuries

Although there may be a variety of injuries seen daily on construction sites, there are four in particular that are the most common, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has called "the fatal four."

The Fatal Four includes:

  • Falls
  • Caught-in/between injuries
  • Electrocution
  • Struck-by injuries
Common construction accident injuries

1. Falls

Falls are the most common cause of construction site injuries, accounting for almost 35% of injuries. Falls commonly happen from roofs, chimneys, scaffolding, and ladders. The severity of fall-related injuries usually depends on how far from the ground the victim was when they fell, with the worst falls resulting in catastrophic injury or death.

2. Caught-In/Between

According to OSHA, caught-in/between injuries occur when a person is “squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched, or compressed” between objects. Construction jobs often require excavation and the formation of trenches in the ground, which can create a risk of this type of injury. The innately dangerous machinery needed for many construction jobs is another common culprit.

3. Electrocution

Many construction sites are close to overhead and underground power lines, so without the proper precautions, there is a risk of hitting a power line with a machine or equipment. To prevent electrocution injuries and fatalities, it is critical to locate all utilities before starting any work, maintain a safe distance from power lines, and be alert to any potential electrical hazards while working with scaffolds, platforms, and ladders.

4. Struck-By

Struck-by injuries are often the result of collisions with heavy equipment, vehicles, or falling objects. When a construction site is located on a road or highway, there is also an added risk of being hit by passing cars or trucks. While traffic is slowed down or re-routed to accommodate for worker safety in these instances, careless or reckless drivers can still contribute to accidents causing injury or death.

Common Construction Accident Injuries

Accidents on construction sites can result in a wide range of debilitating injuries. These injuries can range in severity and cause financial hardships for individuals and their families.

According to the CDC, the most common type of injuries that occur at construction sites include:

Head Injuries

Head injuries, including concussions, lacerations on the head, and traumatic brain injuries, are often a result of being struck by falling tools, materials, and objects that weren't securely placed. Construction workers are therefore required to wear hard hats for protection.

Broken or Fractured Bones

Heavy machinery is often involved in construction work, causing common construction accident injuries like broken, fractured, and crushed bones. If machinery such as cranes, bulldozers, or other related equipment are not operated correctly, they can hit or crush workers.

Cuts and Lacerations

People working in construction also often suffer severe cuts or lacerations to the skin. Usually, these injuries result from poorly maintained or defective tools, exposed nails, unsecured machinery, or other on-site hazards. If not treated properly, the gashes and cuts could become infected. It is recommended that workers wear protective clothing on-site to prevent these injuries.


Construction sites often have exposed wiring, leaking pipes, dangerous chemicals, and other items that could be a potential risk factor for fires. To prevent these injuries, workers must familiarize themselves with the hazards on their jobsite and handle them with caution.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are usually a direct result of falling off of ladders, scaffolding, and other high structures. These are among the most severe injuries because they could lead to partial or complete paralysis, resulting in lifelong disability and financial hardship.

Chemical Exposure Illnesses

Construction workers are often exposed to gasses, chemicals, and hazardous materials that have the potential to cause illness or injury if they are touched, inhaled, or accidentally ingested. These include asbestos, carbon monoxide, industrial cleaners, gasoline, silica, asphalt, solvents, and more.

Eye Injuries or Vision Damage

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10,600 eye injuries each year force construction workers to miss work. The majority of these injuries are the result of sparks or flying objects that strike the eye. Even the tiniest piece of debris from sawing or grinding wood or metal can cause serious damage if it enters the eye.

Your Legal Options After a Construction Accident

There are legal options available after sustaining a construction site-related injury in most cases. Typically, injured people are eligible to file for worker's compensation and receive some form of financial recovery. This could include medical coverage, lost wages from missed work, and other qualifying injury-related costs.

If worker's compensation doesn't cover all the costs and expenses, or the claim is denied, it could be beneficial to appeal the original claim by filing a lawsuit. Anyone injured should explore their legal options in full by contacting a personal injury attorney and discussing the details of their case.

Injured at a Construction Site? We Can Help.

If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in a construction accident, or if you have suffered the loss of a family member in a case of wrongful death, it’s time to contact a lawyer. An attorney can help you understand your legal options in greater detail and help you pursue the compensation you’re entitled to.

If you’re in the Seattle area, Emery Reddy Serious Injury Department has the skill and experience to handle cases just like yours. Let us be your voice.

Call us today at (206) 202-2562 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our award-winning injury attorneys.