Amputations are one of the most serious and debilitating injuries construction workers can experience. Workers who have lost a finger, foot, arm, or leg are forced to undergo permanent changes to their bodies, but also to their daily lives—including a significant loss of income and increased costs of care. Our construction injury attorneys explain how these accidents occur and how employees can get all that they are owed after the loss of a limb.
How Construction Site Amputations Occur
Nearly all of the thousands of construction accidents that occur each year, including amputations, could have been prevented by a responsible party. A contractor who removes safety screens, shields, or guards to make work go faster can be held liable when a worker’s finger is caught in the machine. If the owners of the site do not ensure that equipment is properly repaired or maintained, they may be responsible when the machinery malfunctions. Even employers can be held responsible for an amputation injury if workers were not given sufficient training or instruction on worksite safety.
Construction employees can suffer traumatic amputations, such as:
- Fingers. Malfunctioning or unguarded equipment is the leading cause of finger amputations in the construction industry. Heavy machinery such as saws, drill presses, planers, grinders, sanders, and other equipment may have numerous pinch points or belts that can shear fingers down to the bone. Workers may lose fingertips or require surgical removal of a finger down to the nearest knuckle, compromising grip and dexterity. Victims who lose a thumb or multiple fingers on one hand may be unable to continue working, but can also lose the ability to play an instrument, dress themselves, or do the things they used to enjoy.
- Toes. Even if they are wearing steel-toed boots, workers whose feet are trapped beneath vehicle tires, forklift treads, or falling loads can have their toes crushed or severed. The loss of one or more toes can significantly affect balance, gait, and the ability to run, resulting in lowered self-confidence and quality of life.
- Hands. Hand injuries can occur in a variety of ways, and any injury that causes extensive damage has the potential to end in amputation. A worker may become trapped between upright supports, impaled by drill bits or rebar, or struck by falling objects, damaging the bones and muscles of the hand so badly that it must be surgically removed.
- Feet. Falls are a major cause of fatal injuries on construction sites, but those who survive a dangerous fall could suffer foot amputations. A worker may become entangled on a ladder at the ankle, catch his foot in a hole between floorboards, or suffer severe damage to his legs and feet upon impact with the ground.
- Arms. A worker’s arm may become caught in machinery, causing sudden amputation that requires surgery to repair the damage. Crush injuries on the upper or lower arm can result in compartment syndrome, a deadly condition that may require amputation of the arm in order to save the victim’s life.
- Legs. Load shifts and structural collapses are common causes of leg amputations in construction accidents. Severe trauma to the lower body can require amputation above or below the knee, both of which require implantation of rods or screws into the remaining bone. Even with prosthetics, a victim who has lost a leg can never be restored to a pre-injury state, and may have to change careers or retire early.
Who Can Be Liable When a Construction Accident Causes the Loss of a Limb?
If you have lost a limb on a New York construction site, you should not have to shoulder the physical and emotional burden alone. Our construction injury attorneys will work to get you the compensation you are owed, and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.