Common Causes of Heavy Machinery Accidents on Construction Sites

The equipment that makes massive construction projects possible is the same equipment that is involved in numerous severe and fatal injuries every year. From cranes and backhoes to forklifts, heavy equipment can be extremely dangerous to construction workers.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured while working on a construction site, we can help you learn more about your legal options. Call Weaver Tidmore at 205-980-6065 to set up a consultation now.

Equipment Commonly Involved in Accidents

Heavy equipment is one of the most common causes of construction accidents in the United States. This category includes equipment like:

  • Articulated and backend loaders
  • Forklifts
  • Bulldozers
  • Backhoes
  • Dump trucks
  • Front loaders
  • Paving machines
  • Road graders
  • Excavators
  • Hydraulic excavators
  • Compactors
  • Cranes

Backhoes and trucks are among the most dangerous pieces of heavy construction equipment. Per the Journal of Safety Research, backhoes and trucks are involved in half of all heavy equipment-related deaths. The primary type of accident leading to death is equipment rollover.

What Causes These Accidents?

A wide range of mistakes and malfunctions can lead to severe or fatal heavy machinery accidents. Some commonly reported accident causes include:

  • Worker getting caught behind vehicles as they back up; this is particularly common for large vehicles that have sizable blind spots.
  • Falling while trying to get on or off machinery.
  • Getting pinned between a wall and a piece of machinery.
  • Getting your clothing or limb caught in a machine and being dragged by it.
  • Getting run over by a large vehicle or moving piece of machinery.
  • Being crushed underneath a structure.

Research from the Journal of Safety Research indicates that getting hit by equipment or being hit by equipment loads are two of the most common causes of death for construction workers.

These accidents may be a result of a malfunctioning machine or human error. Malfunctioning machinery may be an issue when items are designed, produced, or marketed incorrectly. These errors can lead construction workers to use them incorrectly, leading to breakdowns and other issues.

Human error is a common component across many construction site injuries. There may be misunderstood communication or hand signals between workers and machine operators, an operator without sufficient experience or training, or a failure to check for people around the machinery before using it. Accidents can also happen when operators use machinery inappropriately or at the wrong angle.

Injuries Sustained in Construction Accidents

Unfortunately, the injuries caused by heavy machinery accidents can be life changing. They often leave victims with chronic pain, limited mobility, and a loss of independence.

  • Crush injuries. Crush injuries occur when employees are pinned between two surfaces, leading to their bones, soft tissues, or spinal cord getting crushed. These injuries are often so severe that the impacted body part cannot be saved, and doctors simply have to focus on limiting damage to other parts of the body.
  • Broken bones. Broken bones are extremely common on construction sites. Depending on the type of fracture and the location of the bone, victims may have a stress-free healing process or a months-long road to recovery.
  • Amputations may occur during an accident or they may be done medically after an accident to limit damage to surrounding body parts.
  • When vehicles or machines have an electrical malfunction, nearby workers may suffer electrical injuries. Electrocution may cause burns and damage to various parts of the body.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. TBIs vary significantly in duration and severity. One accident victim may have a concussion that goes away in a matter of days, while a more severely injured victim could be left unable to walk or communicate verbally for the rest of their life.

How Employers Can Make Workplaces Safer

These numbers are startling and highlight a serious need for safer construction worksites across the country. Much of this responsibility falls to employers, who are obligated to provide employees with a safe workplace and proper training. Recommended practices include:

  • Requiring the use of protective equipment on worksites and enforcing it. On some worksites, standards tend to drop as employees get comfortable with equipment and with each other. Employers must create an environment where safety gear is non-negotiable.
  • Using proper guardrails and other safety equipment to minimize risks. Again, these protocols often fall by the wayside in smaller companies. Employers may trust their employees enough to skip additional safety steps, particularly if those steps involve expensive equipment that the company doesn’t own. However, it isn’t a matter of trust—it’s a matter of doing what is right for employees.
  • Offering full and ongoing training. A lack of training, especially with regard to safety protocols and heavy machinery, can leave employees at an elevated risk of a traumatic brain injury. Some companies speed through the training process to get employees working more quickly, but this puts employee in danger. Companies must prioritize full and thorough training.

Since heavy machinery accidents can be so devastating to an individual’s future, job prospects, and independence, it is important to talk to an attorney after a workplace accident. You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages and medical expenses.

Turn to Weaver Tidmore for the Help You Deserve

After a workplace accident, you deserve to know your rights and seek compensation. We can help. To find out more about your legal options and plan your next steps, call Weaver Tidmore at 205-980-6065 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

When Can You Sue Outside of Workers’ Comp for a Workplace Injury?

A workplace injury can throw all of your plans into a tailspin. The sudden loss of income, insecurity regarding job stability, and inability to meet your obligations at home can create significant mental stress. As you may know, workers’ compensation is usually the first place an injured worker goes to obtain reimbursement for their losses, but there are also circumstances in which an outside party might be at fault for a workplace injury.

If you have been injured on the job, protect your rights. Contact Weaver Tidmore at 205-980-6065 to explore your options.

Workers’ Compensation is Your Primary Source of Relief

The majority of the time, workers’ compensation is your primary (and sometimes only) option for financial relief after a workplace injury. This is the main goal of the workers’ compensation system; it protects workplaces and employers from being financially ruined by personal injury claims. It also protects an employee’s right to compensation by not requiring them to prove that their injury was caused by their employer.

However, part of the workers’ compensation system is that you cannot sue your employer. In extenuating circumstances, you may be able to seek compensation from your coworker or from other parties.

Limited Circumstances When You Can Sue a Coworker

When a coworker intentionally acts in a malicious or negligent manner, you may be able to file a personal injury suit against the coworker. However, you must be able to prove that they engaged in willful conduct that causes injury. This means demonstrating that the coworker acted with the knowledge that their actions would cause injuries, or that they intentionally chose to hurt you.

This can be difficult to prove; a coworker intent on hurting you is unlikely to admit that they wanted to harm you. If you choose to go this route, you must work with an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to handle these types of cases.

You can also bring a claim against a coworker if they intentionally remove a safety guard or device from a machine. For this type of claim to be successful, the coworker must have known that injury or death was likely to occur as a result of the removal. You must also be able to show that the device’s main purpose was safety and that the device came from the manufacturer.

When a Third Party is Involved

In some accidents, a party entirely separate from your workplace is responsible for your accident. In these situations, you can bring a personal injury suit against the liable party for your injuries and losses.

For example, if you are a delivery driver and someone rear ends you at a stoplight, they are liable for the accident—not your employer. While workers’ compensation may still pay out benefits, they will also expect to be reimbursed from a successful personal injury claim. In this case, you would want to bring a claim against the driver to seek compensation.

You would also have a third-party claim if there was a contractor at your workplace who caused your injuries. This is relatively common on construction sites, where many non-employee contractors are brought in. If a non-employee caused your injuries, you would file a claim against them.

You could also file a third-party claim if your work injury occurred because of a defective product. Consider, for example, a piece of construction equipment that had inherent flaws in its design. Those flaws then caused the machine to malfunction in such a way that you were injured. You would bring a claim against the company that designed the machine or the company that manufactured the machine.

Understanding Third Party Claims

It’s important to note that personal injury claims allow you to seek considerably more compensation than workers’ compensation claims. For example, rather than recovering part of your lost wages, you can ask for full compensation. You can also recover compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other intangible losses not covered by workers’ comp.

It is important to note however that you cannot be compensated multiple times for the same thing. Assume you start with a workers’ compensation claim, as many people do. It pays for your medical expenses and lost wages. At some point, you realize you have a possible third-party claim against another person, so you pursue that as well.

When your claim settles with the third party, you do not get to keep everything. Your attorney’s fees are taken out of the final amount, but so will any funds that are rightfully owed to workers’ compensation. Anything in your personal injury settlement that compensates you for medical expenses and time off of work may be used to reimburse workers’ compensation.

Explore Your Workers’ Compensation Options with Weaver Tidmore

Knowing your options after a workplace accident can be confusing. That is why it is recommended that you work with an attorney who understands personal injury and workers’ compensation. At Weaver Tidmore, we have handled a wide range of personal injury cases over the years, and we have the experience, knowledge, resources, and commitment to successfully pursue claims like these. Ready to learn more about your options? Give us a call at 205-980-6065 or send us a message through our online contact for

5 Most Common Reasons Workers’ Comp Claims Are Denied

Workers’ compensation is an important system that protects employees and employers alike. However, there are times that this system fails one or both parties. If you were injured at work, you likely expected a prompt payout and minimal hassle, which is how it works for many people. What some employees get instead is an ongoing investigation, delayed payments, and never-ending issues.

If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, find out some of the most common reasons this happens below. For more personalized help with your legal needs, reach out to Weaver Tidmore at 205-980-6065.

1. You Missed a Deadline

There are tight deadlines for workers’ compensation claims. This aims to prevent fraudulent claims and keep employees from popping up years after a supposed injury while demanding payment. If you weren’t prompt about filling out the proper paperwork, reporting the accident, or otherwise documenting your claim, you could give up your right to compensation.

2. You Can’t Prove That Your Injury Was Caused by Work

One of the biggest concerns of workers’ compensation providers is an employee falsely claiming that an accident occurred at work. This is why it is so important to tell your supervisor as soon as an injury occurs. This creates an evidence trail of your injuries and start the process of successfully filing a claim. The longer you wait to report an accident, the more likely it is that your claims will be disputed.

Another issue that may arise is that your injury may not appear to be work-related. If your injury is not one that would typically occur in the course of your daily work tasks, the insurance company may have questions and choose to investigate.

3. Your Employer Believes You Were Under the Influence at the Time of the Accident

Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of an injury can invalidate your claim, leaving you without income and without any way to pay the medical bills incurred from the injury. This is not difficult to prove; most companies require injured employees to take a drug and alcohol test within 24 hours after their injury. If the test comes up positive for any controlled substances that you should not be on at work, it’s likely that your claim will be denied.

4. You Didn’t Seek Medical Treatment

If an injury is serious enough to request workers’ compensation, it’s serious enough for a trip to the doctor. Some employees skip the medical step entirely, for a variety of different reasons. They may believe that doing so is a favor to their employer, because they don’t need to leave work right away or pay medical bills.

Others are scared of reporting the accident, so they wait until they realize the injury won’t go away on its own. Others simply delay until they find out that they need to see a doctor to get workers’ compensation, at which point it may be too late. Either way, failing to seek medical treatment can seriously damage your workers’ compensation claim.

5. You Didn’t See the Right Medical Care Provider

In a workers’ compensation claim, medical care is directed by the employer or the insurance carrier. If the injury is an emergency, the worker can seek emergency care at the nearest facility. However, in all other situations, the worker has to go to the employer’s preferred primary care provider. From there, the primary care provider will make specialist referrals as is needed.

Sometimes, employees choose to go outside this system, and it often costs them when they try to file for workers’ compensation. If you go to your chosen care provider or anyone not approved of by your employer, you could be left footing the bill on your own and have your claim denied.

Get Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Now

At Weaver Tidmore, we strive to help injured employees get the medical care and income they need while they recover from a workplace injury. If you’re struggling to file a claim or you are experiencing pushback, let us help. Set up a consultation now by calling us at 205-980-6065 or getting in touch online.