Florida’s commercial construction market dipped in 2020 due to economic uncertainty. Since then, construction and investment activity have been on an upward trend, with growth in office, retail, and hotel construction. This increase in construction activity has also increased the risk of a construction defect or accident on job sites.

Unfortunately, Florida has already seen these risks turn into realities. The private construction industry experienced more accidental deaths than all other industries in the state — and the number keeps climbing. At least one bystander has also experienced permanent personal injuries and disfigurement in a Florida construction accident.

Construction Accidents and Workers

Construction workers have borne the brunt of the increased risk of construction-related accidents. In 2021, Florida had 76 construction deaths and hundreds of non-fatal injuries. In 2022, 91 Florida construction workers died, representing an increase of nearly 20%. The state has not yet released the final numbers for 2023.

Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics break down construction fatalities by cause. According to the BLS’s statistics, the following types of accidents caused the most fatalities:

Falls

Over half of the construction fatalities in 2022 resulted from falls. The state includes both elevated falls and same-level falls in this number. Elevated falls happen when someone falls from one level to another. For example, a worker can fall to a lower level from a ladder, roof, or scaffold. Workers can also fall from the ground level into pits, trenches, and other excavated areas.

Same-level falls occur when a worker slips or trips and falls to the ground. These falls can result from slick surfaces, walkway objects, and uneven flooring. Same-elevation falls can produce fatal injuries, particularly when workers fall while carrying something heavy or sharp or strike their heads when they impact the ground.

Exposure to Toxic Materials

Toxic exposures were the second most common cause of construction worker deaths. Workers are exposed to many hazardous or even deadly substances, including:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Petroleum products
  • Asbestos
  • Paint
  • Mold

These substances can produce serious diseases, including cancer, brain damage, and lung disease. These diseases jeopardize the health and finances of construction workers since they often require expensive long-term treatment.

Transportation Incidents

Construction sites are awash with vehicle activity. Concrete trucks, semi-trucks, work trucks, and commuter vehicles crisscross work zones. Construction workers suffer injuries in auto collisions involving heavy trucks, passenger vehicles, and pedestrians.

In addition, workers can suffer injuries on roads while traveling between job sites or delivering people or materials to construction projects.

Contact With Objects and Equipment

This broad category covers most of the remaining construction worker fatalities. “Contact” in this context can refer to:

  • Colliding with moving objects
  • Getting trapped under collapsing structures, mounds, or trenches
  • Being crushed under falling objects
  • Getting caught in machinery or tools

Due to the size of construction equipment and materials, contact can cause severe or fatal injuries. Unfortunately, these accidents can injure bystanders in addition to construction workers.

Bystanders Affected by Construction Accidents

Bystanders can also suffer injuries in construction accidents. In one particularly high-profile case, a rideshare passenger was injured when part of a crane fell on a rideshare vehicle. The resulting injuries caused permanent disabilities and disfigurement.

Her construction defect lawyer filed a lawsuit against all of the following parties, seeking $50 million in compensation:

  • Property owner
  • Developer
  • General contractor
  • Crane rental company
  • Rigging company

Importantly, a worker was also killed in the incident. The worker’s family probably has no claim against the general contractor, assuming it complied with workers’ compensation laws. However, the family might have a wrongful death claim against any negligent third parties, such as the crane rental company or rigging company.

While this example made the news because of its unusual circumstances, bystanders also get injured in other ways. Careless construction workers might collide with motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians. Bystanders might also slip, trip, or fall due to hazards near construction sites.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Construction Defect Injuries

Here are some answers to questions people ask about construction defect accidents:

Who Is Liable for Construction Accidents?

Liability for construction-related injuries can arise in a few ways. A workers’ comp insurer must pay benefits to workers injured while performing their job duties. Builders may be liable to bystanders and building occupants injured by construction defects caused by negligence. Product manufacturers are liable for injuries from defective products.

Can I Get Compensation for Construction Accident Injuries?

Yes. The source depends on your role and who injured you. Workers are almost always covered by Florida workers’ comp. As a result, they cannot sue their employers but can sue negligent third parties. Bystanders have no limits on who they can sue as long as they can prove negligence.

Do I Need a Construction Defect Attorney?

Strictly speaking, construction defect law usually refers to disputes between the construction company and the person or business that hired it. Construction defects usually breach the construction contract. However, construction defects can also injure workers, bystanders, and building occupants. Injured people will usually hire a personal injury lawyer.

Contact an Experienced Florida Construction Accident Attorney

Unfortunate and unusual construction accidents can leave you with incapacitating injuries that alter your life. But construction workers and bystanders can also suffer more ordinary injuries such as broken bones and strained muscles.

When you get injured in a construction accident, a Florida personal injury lawyer can outline your options for seeking injury compensation. Contact Ratzan Weissman & Boldt to learn how we stand up to construction companies, equipment manufacturers, and their insurers to secure fair injury compensation.