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Material Handling Accidents on Construction Sites

Material Handling

Improper material handling is a common cause of workplace accidents. Heavy and hazardous construction materials must be handled, stored, loaded, lifted, and transported properly to avoid injuries. Unfortunately, when proper safety precautions are not followed, adequate training is not provided, or equipment is defective, accidents can arise with material handling that result in catastrophic injuries. If you’re a construction worker who was hurt in an accident involving dangerous materials caused by a third party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation by filing a personal injury action.    

Causes of Improper Material Handling Accidents

Construction sites have many dangerous materials, including heavy metals, chemicals, building materials, cement, bricks, and steel. If materials on construction sites are not correctly loaded and secured, they may shift, break free, or fall. While there can be numerous causes of accidents involving dangerous materials, in many cases, they are not the fault of the worker who becomes injured. Often, a third party’s carelessness, recklessness, or negligence is to blame for these accidents. 

Material handling accidents can be caused by a wide range of scenarios, including the following:

  • Insufficient supports and straps — The straps and supports used to carry and support a load must be appropriate for the type of material and its weight. It must also be approved for use on the particular vehicle. Inadequate supports can result in materials falling or breaking free, causing injury to workers and others on the job site.                                         
  • Improperly secured cargo — When cargo is not properly loaded or secured on a forklift or other vehicle, it can shift and fall onto a worker, resulting in crush injuries, permanent disability, or fatality.                      
  • Failure to implement safety procedures — If proper safety procedures are not followed when hauling construction materials, the risk of an accident can increase significantly.                             
  • Insufficient training — Workers must be adequately trained to handle heavy equipment and dangerous materials. Failure to train workers or address training requirements may be evidence of a third party’s negligence.                                          
  • Defective equipment — A manufacturer may be held liable if an accident was caused by a defect that renders their equipment or machinery dangerous.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a worker can sustain a wide range of injuries, including sprains and strains, broken bones, burns, lacerations, crush injuries, paralysis, permanent disability, and disfigurement. These injuries may require extensive medical treatment and time out of work. A victim might also incur out-of-pocket expenses in connection with their medical treatment.   

Compensation for Accidents Caused by Unsafe Material Handling 

Under New York State’s Workers’ Compensation laws, workers cannot sue their employers for injuries caused by unsafe material handling accidents on a job site. However, if the injuries were sustained due to the negligence of a third party, workers may not only be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits — they may also be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. Both economic and non-economic damages can be recovered in a successful personal injury action.     

Economic damages that may be awarded for a construction accident caused by unsafe material handling can include unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket costs. Commonly referred to as “pain and suffering,” an award of non-economic damages is meant to compensate for the physical pain, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life in connection with the hazardous materials accident. In limited cases where gross negligence can be established, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the defendant for wrongdoing and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.       

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney

If you were hurt in a construction site accident due to a third party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries in a personal injury action. An experienced personal injury attorney can best advise you regarding your legal rights and fight for the maximum monetary recovery you deserve. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has represented construction accident victims for over three decades and provides aggressive advocacy to obtain the best possible results in each unique case. Contact us today for a consultation.