Construction workers are exposed to dangerous work conditions that oftentimes result in serious, sometimes even fatal, injuries. According to a release by the University of Wisconsin – Madison: Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries & Illnesses for the year 2015, the four most common injuries in the field of construction were injuries involving falls/slips/trips, overexertion, contact with an object, and transportation.
See a survey published by the University of Wisconsin for more information regarding construction injuries in the state of Wisconsin.
All of the injuries listed in the survey published by the University of Wisconsin are common construction accidents that may justify compensation. However, it is important to remember that the mere fact of a worker sustaining an injury at his or her workplace, does not mean that this injury will be covered under the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act.
First, for any injury that is being claimed in Wisconsin for worker’s compensation, there must be a causal link between the injury sustained by the injured worker and the job/work itself. What this means is that the injury must arise out of the worker’s employment.
For example, take the example of a construction worker that trips and falls at a worksite and injures his/her knee. The question is notwhether this incident simply occurred at the worksite; rather, the important questions are, what caused the worker to trip and fall at his/her work site? is the worker a clumsy individual and prone to falling? or, was there a work-related factor (water on the ground, uneven surface, etc.) that caused the trip and fall to occur?
Second, in Wisconsin there is a distinction made between employees and independent contractors when it comes to coverage under the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act. Construction is a field in which many workers are independent contractors and not employees. Take again our example of the construction worker who injures his/her knee at a worksite. The question is not, was the worker working at the worksite when he/she as injured? Rather, the important questions are, who is the worker’s employer? does the worker own his/her own business? what was the exact relationship between the employer and employee?
For more information on the distinction between an employee and independent contractor please visit the State of Wisconsin’s informational website.
For workers in the construction industry, there are common construction accidents that may justify compensation under the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act. However, it is important to contact an experienced Milwaukee WI worker’s compensation attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim, S.C. for their insight into workers’ compensation practice.