Construction crews put their lives and bodies at risk every day they walk onto the job site. From repeated exposure to toxic materials to the daily threat of trips and falls, a construction employee is overwhelmingly likely to suffer an injury on the job. Unfortunately, workers often suffer multiple injuries in a single accident, posing a threat to their internal organs that may prove fatal.
Workplace Incidents That May Lead to Internal Bleeding and Organ Damage
The brain, heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs are secured under layers of bone and fibrous tissue, protecting your vital organs when you are in an accident. However, these precautions can only provide so much protection against severe trauma. Internal injuries are especially likely to occur when a person has suffered blunt force trauma (struck by a heavy object or falls onto a hard surface) or penetrating trauma (an object pierces the skin or protrudes into the body).
Construction site accidents involving blunt-force and penetrating trauma are commonly caused by:
- Vehicle accidents. Construction employees may operate several vehicles in the course of a workday, including cars, trucks, forklifts, and excavators. Collisions or vehicle overturning is a common cause of broken ribs, which lacerate the organs they are supposed to protect.
- Falls. The impact from a fall can cause organs to rupture, and cause bleeding contained inside the body that may be difficult to detect.
- Machinery accidents. Workers can suffer multiple injuries if they are caught in pinch points, are crushed by machinery, or struck by swinging objects.
- Tool injuries. Being struck by heavy equipment such as a power tool, or parts of heavy equipment can cause serious injuries.
- Projectile injuries. Nails, glass shards, rebar, and other objects may damage several organs if they penetrate a worker’s body.
- Assault. Workers may suffer attacks from other employees or supervisors, suffering organ damage due to gunshots, stabbings, or being struck by tools or heavy objects.
Types of Internal Injuries Construction Workers May Suffer
Internal injuries are complex conditions that must be treated quickly and carefully. While construction workers are entitled to workers’ compensation in the event of an injury, these benefits often fall far short of the costs incurred through medical treatment and loss of income. In most cases, accidents involving internal injuries are caused by someone else’s negligence, making the victim eligible for filing a third-party injury claim.
The most common forms of internal organ damage in a construction accident include:
- Ruptured spleen. Blunt trauma to the abdomen may cause the spleen to burst, which can be fatal if not treated quickly. If the spleen is removed, the victim may have a compromised immune system for the rest of his or her life.
- Abdominal aortic rupture. The abdominal aorta is the main blood vessel in the abdomen, supplying oxygen to the organs and lower half of the body. If it is sliced or ruptured, the victim could bleed to death in a matter of minutes.
- Lung damage. Large objects may pierce a victim’s chest, but tiny slivers and particulates can also do damage to the lungs if they are inhaled. Projectiles may cause the collapse of a lung, irritate the airways, or cause conditions such as silicosis that irreversibly damage the lungs.
- Kidney damage. A punctured kidney may become infected or lead to renal failure, requiring an immediate transplant.
- Brain damage. Workers may suffer brain damage not by a direct blow to the head, but by exposure to gases, solvents, fumes, and other inhalants. A worker who suffers asphyxiation or hypoxia in an enclosed space may also suffer brain damage that causes permanent cognitive and physical disability.
If you’ve been hurt on a New York construction site, you should not have to pay for your own medical care and suffer because you are unable to work. 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.