Caught-in-between accidents are listed among OSHA’s “fatal four” top causes of construction worker fatalities. These types of accidents occur when workers are caught or crushed between two objects, pieces of equipment, or heavy debris. Workers can also sustain serious crush injuries if a piece of clothing or body part is pulled into machinery with moving parts. If you’re a construction worker who suffered a workplace injury due to a third party’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover your compensation.
Causes of Caught-in-Between Accidents
There are various causes of caught-in-between accidents on construction sites. In many cases, the injuries that result from these hazards can be prevented by taking appropriate safety precautions. Failure to guard moving parts on machinery or implement proper lockout procedures are a few reasons these accidents may occur. They can also be caused by cave-ins due to unstable trenches, wall collapses during demolition, and lack of safety instruction.
Other times, forklift and crane operators may fail to see a construction worker in a pathway, causing them to be pinned between the equipment and another object. Equipment can also tip over if it is not adequately secured. Importantly, machinery on construction sites should be well-maintained — and workers should be properly trained — to help prevent incidents of this nature.
Types of Caught-in-Between and Crush Injuries
Caught-in-between accidents are often serious and result in debilitating injuries, permanent disability, or fatality. The extent of the injuries will depend upon the force of the crush, the body part involved, and the duration of time the limb was caught between the objects. Often, caught-in-between and crush injuries involve fingers, hands, legs, feet, and arms — but any other body part, or even the entire body, can be trapped between two pieces of equipment.
Caught-in-between and crush injuries often cause:
- Nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Muscle damage
- Internal organ damage
- Renal failure
Crush injuries can cause severe damage throughout the body. Those that do not cause immediate fatality still pose significant risks, such as crush syndrome. This happens when prolonged compression of limbs causes organ failure as a result of toxins being released into the bloodstream. Crush injuries can also cause compartment syndrome, which occurs when blood flow is cut off due to compression of the muscles, resulting in the death of muscle cells.
It’s imperative to seek medical attention immediately following a caught-in-between accident. A worker should also be monitored by medical professionals for at least one full day following the accident, as some symptoms in connection with crush injuries may not be immediately apparent. It’s not uncommon for infection, blood clots, swelling, and other complications to arise later.
Compensation for Caught-in-Between and Crush Injuries
Caught-in-between and crush injuries can cause a construction worker to incur substantial medical bills and lose a considerable amount of time from work. Those who have been injured on the job may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation. But unfortunately, these benefits often don’t cover the full extent of an injured worker’s damages. Moreover, they also don’t compensate for pain and suffering.
Although a worker cannot sue their employer due to the Workers’ Compensation laws, they can still pursue a personal injury action against a negligent third party. In doing so, they may be eligible to recover their unreimbursed medical expenses and lost wages. They might also be awarded non-economic damages for the physical pain and mental anguish they suffered due to their injuries.
Liable third parties in a construction site accident may include a contractor, sub-contractor, or property owner. If a defective tool, piece of machinery, or equipment caused the injuries, the manufacturer may be sued for negligence. A worker might also have a viable claim based on a failure to be provided with the training necessary to operate the equipment safely.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney
If you are a construction worker who has sustained crush injuries on the job due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover your damages. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has over 30 years of experience fighting for the rights of workers and obtaining the compensation they deserve.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.