Construction worker building a house

Legal Recourse For Injured Construction Workers In Philadelphia

If you are a construction worker injured on the job, you should first seek medical attention since your health should be the priority. Then you will need to notify your employer as soon as possible. Ensure you record medical treatments, expenses, and communications regarding the injury. 

Injured construction workers have several legal avenues for recourse, depending on the circumstances of their injury, the laws of the jurisdiction where the injury occurred, and specific details related to their employment and the construction project.  

Various Legal Options Available For Injured Construction Workers

Philadelphia law allows for multiple legal options for injured construction workers.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is the primary avenue of recourse for injured workers, including those in the construction industry. This form of insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured during employment. In return, employees relinquish the right to sue their employer for negligence.  

Specific steps must be followed when filing a workers’ compensation claim, including documentation requirements and time limits for reporting the injury. If an employee is injured, they have up to 120 days to inform their employer about the injury, and the employer must then file a report to start the claims process​​. The statute of limitations is the length of time an injured worker must formally file a Workers’ Compensation claim. In Pennsylvania, the limitation period is three years from when the accident occurred.

Most workers are eligible for workers’ compensation. Still, there may be exceptions based on state laws, the size of the company, and the type of worker (independent contractors, for example, are often not covered).

Employers are required to report injuries and can choose to either accept or deny claims. If a claim is denied, the injured worker can petition the bureau for a hearing before a workers’ compensation (WC) judge. Moreover, if an employer doesn’t provide workers’ compensation coverage, they can face severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment, besides being liable for the cost of the employee’s medical expenses and lost wages​​​​.

Workers’ compensation benefits can include medical care, rehabilitation expenses, and partial compensation for lost wages. For any disputes or issues with claims, consulting with an attorney experienced in workers’ compensation law may be beneficial to navigate the process and ensure all rights and responsibilities are correctly addressed.

Personal Injury Lawsuits

If the injury was caused by the negligence of a party other than the employer, the worker might have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit. This could be against a third party, like equipment manufacturers, subcontractors, or property owners.

Unlike workers’ compensation, in a personal injury lawsuit, the worker must prove that the other party was negligent. If successful, they may recover damages such as pain and suffering, which are not available under workers’ compensation.

Generally speaking, in Pennsylvania, there is a two (2) year statute of limitations that applies to any civil action in which an individual seeks to recover damages for personal injuries or for the death of an individual caused by another person’s wrongful act or negligence.

Product Liability Claims

If a worker’s injury was caused by defective or dangerous equipment, they might have a claim against the manufacturer or distributor of that equipment. This is known as a product liability claim. Defects can include design defects, manufacturing defects, or a failure to provide adequate warnings. Compensation may include costs for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Violations

If the injury resulted from violating safety standards, there may be grounds for an OSHA complaint. While OSHA does not provide compensation to workers, it can investigate the workplace, issue fines, and require changes to prevent future injuries. Workers can file a complaint if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA standards.

Note that employees are protected from retaliation for reporting safety violations under the whistleblower laws


Considering the complexities involved, injured construction workers should consult with an attorney experienced in workers’ compensation or personal injury. An attorney can help navigate the legal system, advocate on the worker’s behalf, and ensure they receive all the benefits and compensation they are entitled to. If you have been injured in a construction accident throughout the Philadelphia area, including Delaware, Montgomery County, Chester, Lancaster, and Philadelphia Counties, or in New Jersey, contact Cooper Schall and Levy. Our guiding principle is that construction workers have a right to a safe work environment.

Construction worker walking on site

Construction Site Dangers to Watch Out For

Anyone who has seen a construction site gets a glimpse of how dangerous it can be to work there. After all, when you look at a construction site, what do you see? Heavy materials, hazardous materials, big pieces of equipment, electrical wires running here and there, and much more. Unfortunately, despite the signs of danger, it is far too easy to get complacent on a construction site. Being aware of the construction site dangers that play a far too common role in site injuries and watching out for these dangers is a critical step to staying safe and injury free on a construction site.

Construction Site Dangers to Watch Out For

To kick things off, we are going to talk about the construction site dangers that commonly lead to trips, slips, and falls. Due to uneven surfaces and unstable grounds on construction sites, there is a real threat of being injured in a slip, trip, and fall. In fact, thousands of construction site workers are injured each year in these types of accidents. Those on construction sites need to be careful with foot placement and be aware of uneven or unstable surfaces, particularly when building sites are so commonly at varying degrees of completion.

There are also different hazards to be cognizant of when working at different heights on a construction site. Of course, working at greater heights comes with a unique set of dangers and falling is a real threat to those working on elevated levels on a construction site. When working at heights, construction workers need to watch out for things like unstable surfaces and account for other things like the restricted mobility of working in high places as well as the greater chance of human error causing an accident. Workers should also watch out for misuse of safety equipment as this could literally be the difference between life or death when working at height on a construction site.

When work is happening at greater heights, those down below need to be aware of the dangers this poses as well. After all, one of the most prominent dangers on a construction site happens to be the risk of being struck by moving and falling objects. Considering the large equipment and dangerous materials being transported on construction sites and being lifted to height on construction sites, those down below or in the pathway of these things need to be aware of their surroundings. Proper safety equipment, such as helmets, should also be used to help mitigate the harm that may be sustained should a worker be struck by a moving or falling object.

There are also a number of electrical hazards to be aware of on a construction site. Those on a construction site should be careful to avoid direct contact with power lines and ungrounded power supplies used to power electrical equipment. Additionally, equipment should also be properly used which means that workers should also be properly trained in operating electrical equipment and the proper use of flexible cords and extension cords.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Construction sites are dangerous places. They become even more dangerous when proper safety measures are not employed. If you have been injured on a construction site, talk to the team at Cooper, Schall & Levy about your options for recovering proper compensation.  Contact us today.

construction worker suffered from a fall injury

Are Construction Workers Limited to Workers’ Compensation to Cover Accident Injuries?

Construction workers face greater risks than most when they show up to work. With heavy machinery, hazardous material, working from great heights, and working below objects set at great heights, construction workers can be substantially injured all too easily when on the job. When a construction worker is injured, however, are they restricted to only recovering workers’ compensation benefits? 

While workers’ compensation benefits can provide important financial support to workers injured on the job, the benefits can also be extremely limited, especially in certain situations. Injured workers may be unable to fully cover the cost of medical care and ongoing treatment as well as providing coverage for lost wages. Additionally, workers’ compensation does not provide compensation to cover pain and suffering. This brings us back to the question that can be critical for so many construction workers who have been injured at work, which is whether or not they are limited to workers’ compensation to cover accident injuries sustained on the job.

Are construction workers limited to workers’ compensation to cover accident injuries?

While construction work is full of inherent dangers, construction companies, owners, and other parties have a duty to take reasonable steps in mitigating the risks involved with the work to help keep workers safe. When the parties that owe a duty of care to construction workers violate this duty and the worker is injured as a result, the negligent party may be held liable for the harm caused. This means that, in certain situations, the injured worker may seek compensation beyond that provided by workers’ compensation through pursuing a third-party liability personal injury claim.

While workers’ compensation provides benefits coverage for negligence on the part of an employer or coworker whose negligence leads to injury of a construction site worker, workers’ compensation does not address the negligence of a third party. When a third party’s negligence or wrongdoing leads to an accident resulting in injury to a construction worker, that worker can go outside of the workers’ compensation system to seek compensation via a third-party injury claim. A third party in these types of cases may include:

  • General contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Construction site owners

It can be difficult to identify who exactly was responsible for causing the injuries sustained by construction site workers. It could be the case that there is more than one responsible party. Identifying who exactly bears some of the liability, however, can be a complex, fact-specific analysis. This analysis, however, is important to go through as it can verify whether an injured person can go outside of the workers’ compensation system and who he or she may pursue compensation for the losses resulting from the injuries sustained in the accident.

Philadelphia Construction Accident Injury Attorneys

Far too often dangerous oversights on construction sites can lead to workers sustaining devastating injuries. If you have been injured on a construction site, talk to the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy. We will pursue all possible avenues of recovery outside of the workers’ compensation system. Not only could your injury claim provide you with the compensation you need to properly recover from the accident, but it could lead to important construction industry changes that promote a safer work environment for other construction site employees. Contact us today.

Cooper Schall & Levy discusses the leading causes of electrocutions on construction accidents.

Leading Causes of Electrocutions on Construction Sites

The construction industry is a dangerous field for employees. There is a reason that when you envision a construction worker, he or she is usually decked out in safety gear, such as the notable yellow hardhat and orange safety vest. Construction sites are littered with hazards. These hazards can lead to serious injuries that may very well prove fatal.

OSHA has determined that there are four main safety hazards on construction sites that lead to the highest number of construction worker fatalities each year. These hazards are referred to as the “Fatal Four.” Electrocutions, along with falls, being struck by objects and getting caught in between hazards, make up the Fatal Four. Electrocution is ranked as the third-highest cause of construction worker fatalities.

What Are the Leading Causes of Electrocutions on Construction Sites?

Simply put, electrocution is death by electric shock. The electrocution victim is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy. Once the person is exposed to electrical energy, his or her body acts as a conductor. The electricity flows through the body like it would in power lines. Even if exposure to electrical energy does not prove to be fatal, a person can still suffer devastating injuries. In addition to fatal electrocution, OSHA recognizes that electrical injuries may also include burns, electrical shock, and injuries sustained when a person falls due to an electrical shock. An electrical shock can cause both internal and external damage requiring immediate medical attention.

Potential causes for electrocution and electrical injuries are many on a construction site. There are electrical hazards littered over construction sites. Power tools, heavy machinery, electrical cords, and power lines are all found on construction sites and they all present the threat of electrocution to workers present, especially when the proper safety precautions are not observed. Among those who suffer electrical injuries each year, construction workers account for a substantial portion of this group.

The National Fire Protection Association reported that, based on data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, close to 60% of electrocutions were the result of direct contact with electricity. A construction worker may come into contact with an exposed electrical wire or receive an electric shock by using a defective piece of equipment. Construction workers are also at risk of electrocution because of working in close proximity to power lines, both overhead and underground. The misuse of extension cords is also a prominent risk for electrocution on a construction site.

Without the proper use of safety equipment and everyone on a construction site observing the proper safety protocol when working around electrical sources, construction workers can suffer fatal electrical injuries all too easily. Faulty equipment or unsafe tools can produce lethal electrical consequences. Equipment should be properly maintained and always inspected for any potential defects that may jeopardize the safety of workers. Live wires should always be properly grounded. All areas of the construction site should be properly lit and the construction zone should be visibly marked. These safety measures can save lives.

Construction Site Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one have been injured on a construction site, you may be able to obtain compensation for that which you have suffered. The dedicated injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy help clients obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries. Contact us today.

Man with cst signing personal injury documents

OSHA Violations

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were 4,674 worker fatalities in private industry for the 2017 calendar year. Of the 4,674, 971 were construction workers. That means, in 2017, one in five worker deaths were in the construction industry. Construction work is dangerous. It is even more dangerous when proper safety guidelines are not followed. OSHA has construction industry safety standards in place to try and protect workers in an environment that is dangerous even under the best of circumstances. Unfortunately, these standards are violated all too often and people are put at unneeded risk of injury or death.

What are the Most Common Construction Site OSHA Violations?

While there is a wide range of OSHA violations that occur on construction sites, some occur much more often than others. There is, for instance, the “fatal four” of the construction industry. In 2017, the fatal four were responsible for over half of construction worker deaths. The fatal four refer to the leading causes of death in the construction industry. They are:

It is no surprise that the fatal four line up with some of the most frequently cited construction cite OSHA violations. For example, fall protection violations are very common. Designed to protect construction workers from fall-related accidents, fall protection standards require employers to have the proper fall protection systems in place when workers are at elevations of six feet or greater. Fall protection includes:

  • Guard rails
  • Portable ladders
  • Scaffolds
  • Safety nets
  • Toeboards
  • Hole covers

With these fall protections in place, workers are at a lower risk of injury when working on ladders or roofs or even steel beams.

While on the topic of violations of the fall protection requirements, scaffolding requirements are often cited OSHA violations. A scaffold may not have been constructed properly resulting in the scaffolding tipping over or collapsing. A scaffold is a very important safety feature that is put in place to protect workers from things like falling or from falling objects. That is why there are OSHA standards in place regarding the building, using, and dismantling of scaffolds. Furthermore, employers are required to properly train all workers who will be using scaffolds.

Hazard communication standards are also commonly violated. On a construction site, there is any number of hazardous substances and materials. Contractors bare the responsibility of ensuring that hazardous materials are not only documented, but the documentation is provided to the entire project team. Proper hazard communication also includes proper labeling as well as employee training regarding the proper handling of the hazardous material. Employers must give all workers a list of all the hazardous materials on the construction site and explain how those substances are dangerous. Additionally, employers need to provide the appropriate protective gear for being around hazardous substances.

There are several different types of protection that the employer must provide to employees. Unfortunately, failure to provide adequate safety and protective gear is common in OSHA violations. Respiratory protection must be provided. Head protection, such as a helmet, must be provided. Additionally, eye and face protection must be provided to employees. This means that workers should have personal protection equipment to help keep their eyes and faces safe while on the job.

Representing Injured Construction Workers

When proper safety precautions are not taken, construction workers can be easily injured, and severely so. At Cooper, Schall, & Levy, we represent those construction workers injured on the job and help them get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today.


Power Lines

Safety in your home or work place is very important, especially when it comes to people who work with dangerous equipment and in hazardous environments. Working in and around power lines requires practicing extreme caution, as they can be dangerous and potentially fatal if not handled correctly.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International has provided a few tips on how to stay safe and avoid injuries around power lines.

Downed Powerlines:

Downed power lines are extremely dangerous and can cause electrocution, fires and other fatal injuries .

Never touch a downed power line or the area near it, in case the surroundings are also energized. All downed power lines have the potential to be live, and a person should move around the area carefully and cautiously.

If another person has been struck by a power line, do not touch them. Call 911 immediately and back away from the victim.A

Power lines are dangerous and can cause injury or death. If you have been injured due to a power line, the Injury Lawyers at CSL, we will work hard to help you achieve the compensation you deserve. For a free initial consultation, contact us today at 215.561.3313 or complete an online form for more information. With offices located in Philadelphia and Drexel Hill , we serve clients across PennsylvaniaNew Jersey and Delaware.