The construction industry gets a bad rap because of a small percentage of companies that fail to take worker safety seriously. As Construction Accident Attorneys (Lawyers With Hardhats), we get a front row seat and watch the same movie, with the same actors, over and over again. The common thread in many serious construction accidents is that the party responsible is an outfit that has ignored basic worker safety rules and regulations time and time again.
These bad actors are usually contractors who make a mockery out of worker safety so that they can complete a job faster and turn a bigger profit. If they were caught by an agency like OSHA they faced fines – – except these fines, even when they were the maximum amount, did nothing to deter them. The maximum fine for a serious violation at a construction site was a paltry $7000 per violation until this week.
The $7000 amount was put in place in 1990. Shockingly, despite inflation and a massive increase in construction activity, that remained the maximum fine until August 2016. If a contractor was deemed to have committed a willful and serious violation or is a repeat offender they could only be fined up to $70,000 in total until this week. Congress enacted legislation to increase the amount of the maximum penalty for a serious violation from $7000-$12,471. In addition, they also increased the fine for a willful or repeat violation from $70,000-$124,709 per occurrence.
The increase in fines for serious violations as well as willful or repeat violators is a step in the right direction. But is it enough? We have long argued that fines accomplish very little in the ongoing battle to strengthen the commitment towards worker safety at construction sites. Too often, contractors are placing a priority on profits instead of people. When they do, the consequences can be catastrophic.
Construction accidents can traumatically change the life of a worker, their spouse, children and loved ones. Construction accidents can lead to death, amputation, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, fractures, neck injuries, back injuries, herniated discs, nerve damage and a myriad of other possibilities.
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Any victim of a serious construction accident should have a capable and experienced attorney standing by their side. Wealthy developers, property owners and contractors will have attorneys and insurance companies seeking to undermine your ability to recover for your lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. You will need an attorney who has a track record success in battling these powerful groups.
The Construction Accident Attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy have a long and successful history taking on large corporations and insurance companies. They have recovered nearly $1 billion in verdicts and settlements (Look at the Firm Results Here) for their clients and have an impeccable reputation, particularly when it comes to fighting for injured workers. You may contact them for a free consultation by calling 212-736-5300.