Knoxville Construction Injury Lawyers

Protecting the rights of workers and families throughout Tennessee

Construction workers do some of the most dangerous work there is. The Knoxville construction site injury attorneys at Banks & Jones have your back when you get hurt on the job. We have obtained numerous six and seven figure settlements and verdicts for many our clients. Our lawyers, starting with named partner T. Scott Jones, have been recognized as top tier lawyers in Tennessee and throughout the nation. Our stellar reputation is based on our dedication, experience, and complete understanding of the laws including Tennessee workers’ compensation laws and the federal and state safety and building code laws.

What types of claims can be brought in construction site accidents?

The kind of claim a construction site victim can bring depends on his or her work status. Employees are treated differently than independent contractors. Generally, employers have much more control over the type of work employees can do than they do for contractors. Typical construction accident cases include:

  • Product liability.Often forklifts, scaffolds, jackhammers, and other construction tools and equipment fail to work properly. If equipment or tools malfunction, or were not properly designed, our Knoxville construction lawyers sue the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers who caused your pain and emotional harm. In product liability cases, there is also no requirement to prove fault. Both employees and contractors can bring a product liability claim.
  • Negligence. Independent contractors can file negligence claims against an employer, but they do need to prove fault. In negligence claims, victims are entitled to pain and suffering and all their outstanding bills and wages. At Banks & Jones, we are Ready 2 Win your claim against the construction site owner, any responsible contractors, maintenance crews, and all negligent businesses and individuals.
  • Workers’ compensation.Employees who are injured on the job must file for work injury benefits unless the worker can show a third-party was responsible for the accident. If you are hurt while on the job and you are an employee, you are entitled to medical care, 2/3 of your wages up to preset limits, and vocational rehabilitation, if needed. There is no need to prove the employer was at fault.

When the worst happens and an employee dies, we demand that the spouse and family be awarded all the death benefits that Tennessee workers’ compensation law permits. These benefits are:

  • Burial expenses. Funeral bills up to $10,000 for deaths after May 2017
  • Weekly wage replacement benefits:
    • The employee had a spouse.50% of the average weekly wage of the employee up to the maximum weekly benefit limit
    • The employee had a spouse and children.66 and 2/3% of the employee’s average weekly wage up to the weekly maximum.
    • The employee had no spouse or children. $20,000 is paid to the estate

If the deceased was not an employee, you can make a wrongful death claim. Our attorneys demand payment for the loss of income and the loss of the society and guidance the deceased would have provided a spouse, children, and other relatives who qualify.

In negligence and product liability cases, our Knoxville attorneys demand that wrongdoers pay punitive damages for wantonly and deliberately failing to comply with any applicable laws or disregarding your safety. There’s no excuse for not making the worker the company’s top priority.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 1,056 construction and extraction workers died in 2022 – an 11% increase in worker fatalities from 2021.

Who is liable for a construction site accident?

If the person injured is an independent contractor or bystander, then the injury victim does need to prove the site owner caused his/her injuries or the death of loved one. Site owners may be liable if they fail to follow industry standards, building code laws, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, and other protocols.

In addition to the site owner, possible defendants include:

  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • General and specialized contractors
  • Site supervisors
  • Other people and companies depending on how the accident occurred

If an employee is injured or dies, there is no need to prove liability because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system.

Employee vs contractor on a construction site

Whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor determines what kind of accident claim can be filed. Employees file workers’ compensation claims and independent contractors can file personal injury claims.

There are key differences:

  • In a worker’s compensation case, the employee:
    • Does not need to prove fault
    • Is not entitled to pain and suffering
    • Is entitled to only a percentage of his/her lost wages
    • Is entitled to all reasonable and necessary medical costs
  • In a personal injury case, the victim:
    • Must prove the employer was negligent
    • Is entitled to pain and suffering compensation
    • Is entitled to all his/her lost wages
    • Is entitled to all reasonable and necessary medical costs

The employer does not get to decide if you are an employee or independent contractor. Generally a judge or workers’ compensation hearing officer will decide. The key factor is whether the employer “controlled” the worker’s activities. Factors that determine how much control the employer has include:

  • How many hours you work
  • How you are paid
  • Whose tools you use to do the job
  • Whether you can work on other jobs
  • The types of benefits you are paid

Our skilled Knoxville lawyers work to ensure your work is properly classified.

What are the common causes of construction site accidents?

Most construction accidents fall into the following categories:

  • Falls from scaffolds, ladders, and heights.Scaffolds and ladders should be clear of debris and inventory. They should be grounded and secured. Workers should wear helmets. The equipment shouldn’t be used if it’s too windy, rainy, or the elements are too severe. Workers should be properly trained on how to use these items. We demand justice for any worker who dies from a fall or suffers spinal damage, broken bones, or any kind of injury due to a fall.
  • Electric shock.Mixing tools, electricity, and water is often a deadly mix. Both employees and passers-by are likely to die if a downed power line or electric overloads cause shock or power outages.
  • Chemical spills and fires.Many construction sites use dangerous chemicals. All chemicals must meet HAZMAT (hazardous material) safety laws. Improper usage of chemicals can cause fires, toxic spills, first -degree burns, scarring and disfigurement.
  • Traffic accidents. Between the vehicles moving on the site, and the trucks moving materials in and out of the site, traffic accidents are common in and around construction sites. Work zone accidents can be especially dangerous, because they often involve both workers and non-working drivers and pedestrians.

If demolition work or ruptured gas lines cause explosions, workers and anyone nearby can be killed. Explosions can also cause secondary damage to buildings, roads, and equipment.

Even though fault is not a requirement in workers’ compensation cases, the way the accident happened is an important factor in confirming that your injuries were work-related.

What are common construction site injuries?

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Broken bones
  • Crushed limbs or body parts
  • Loss of limb or body parts
  • Vision loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Soft tissue and muscle injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Burn injuries

Get help from an experienced Knoxville construction accident lawyer today

At Banks & Jones, we understand that there are two parts to every workers’ compensation case. The first is to show that your injuries are work-related. The second is to aggressively contest any effort by the employer’s insurance company to force you back to work before you’re ready. In product liability and negligence cases, our investigators and engineers work quickly to confirm that irresponsible behavior caused you harm or that the equipment was defective. For clear guidance by lawyers who Aim 2 Win, contact us or call 865-546-2141 to schedule  a prompt appointment.