The construction industry is one of the most unsafe areas of employment in the United States. The combination of heavy machinery and equipment, hazardous chemicals, and dangerous tools are all factors that can turn what started as typical workday activities into devastating accidents. When a victim passes away as a result of injuries sustained in a construction accident, it is important for their loved ones to explore all of their legal options. The Philadelphia construction site wrongful death attorneys at Reiff & Bily provide high quality, compassionate legal services to family members of victims who are seeking recovery for the untimely deaths of their loved ones.
Deadly Hazards at Construction Sites
There are all kinds of dangerous conditions that may exist at a construction site depending on what type of jobs are being completed. The four most common hazards that cause construction site fatalities include:
- Falling from great heights
- Being struck by objects
- Being caught in between heavy equipment
When employers and/or employees fail to follow safety regulations or are not paying attention to the task they are completing, disaster can quickly ensue. Many construction sites are so inherently dangerous that one wrong move can put an employee at risk for fatal injuries.
Construction Accident Fatalities Statistics
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that in 2015, 1 in 5 workplace fatalities took place in the construction industry. There were 4,836 fatalities in private industry jobs in 2015, and 21.4% (937) of those fatalities were in construction. OSHA estimated that eliminating the “fatal four” (falls, electrocution, struck-by-object, caught-in-between injuries) would save the lives of 602 construction workers in America every year.
Damages for a Wrongful Death Claim
If a victim’s loved ones succeed in a wrongful death suit, the following damages may be recoverable:
- Estate administration expenses
- Hospital bills and medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of government benefits
- Loss of financial support
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of support
Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a 2 year statute of limitations for wrongful death causes of action. This means that a victim’s loved ones have 2 years from the date of a victim’s death to file a wrongful death claim in court. If 2 years have passed and a victim’s family fails to file a claim, they will be barred from holding the responsible party accountable for the victim’s death. Retaining a Philadelphia wrongful death attorney can help the family of a deceased construction worker file their claim and move forward with litigation as efficiently as possible.
What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and a Survival Action Claim?
Wrongful death claims are filed by the personal representatives of a victim’s estate or their loved ones. Their purpose is to seek recovery for damages that affect the loved ones of a victim. Survival actions are filed on behalf of victims’ estates to seek compensation that they would have received if they had survived.
Pennsylvania’s Survival Action statute (42 Pa. C.S. § 8302) is an action seeking compensation for a deceased victim’s injuries. In essence, the statute provides that injuries “survive” the deceased victim, and it allows for the personal representative of the estate to file a personal injury claim on the victim’s behalf. Damages recovered through a survival action are distributed to the victim’s estate. Damages that a personal representative may be able to collect in a survival action include:
- Pain and suffering from the date of injury until death
- Lost earnings from the date of injury until death
- Future lost earnings through life expectancy
The statute of limitations for survival actions in Pennsylvania is 2 years. A victim’s personal representative has 2 years from the date of the victim’s injury to file a survival action to recover damages.
Philadelphia Construction Site Wrongful Death Attorneys
The Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys at Reiff & Bily have a history of success litigating construction site wrongful death cases. Reiff & Bily represented the loved ones of a victim who was killed when a steel beam fell off a fork lift at a construction site. In this case, the attorneys at Reiff & Bily helped the victim’s loved ones receive a $1.1 million settlement for their wrongful death claim.
If you have lost a loved one as a result of a construction site accident, do not wait any longer to retain a wrongful death attorney. The Pennsylvania construction accident attorneys at Reiff & Bily understand the sensitive nature of these types of cases, and our goal is to help the loved ones of construction accident victims receive the just compensation they deserve. We pride ourselves in providing high quality legal services and utilizing every available resource to reach positive resolutions for our clients. Call the law offices of Reiff & Bily today at (215) 274-0072 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our wrongful death attorneys.