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Construction Accident Claims

What is a building or construction site accident?

If you work in construction, you’ll know there’s some level of risk involved in your usual job – whatever type of construction site you may work on. That’s because building and construction sites are one of the most dangerous workplace environments an individual can be working in. The work is physical; involves machinery and equipment; and typically involves working at heights and near roads and vehicles.

 In fact, a significant number of injuries can be avoided if your employer takes measures to make your working environment as safe as possible, and they have a legal duty to do so. According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), in 2020 there were 18,000 workers suffering from work-related ill health. 57% suffered musculoskeletal disorder, such as problems with muscles and joints, nerves, cartilage and spinal disks.

Construction accidents, whether on a domestic building or large construction site, can lead to serious injuries and potential accident compensation claims.

Construction sites also pose further risks to workers’ general health and well-being. It often involves working with substances hazardous to health which can cause skin and lung conditions, or even cancer. In fact, those working in the construction industry have a statistically high risk of developing diseases from a number of health issues.

If you’re the victim of a building or construction site accident which was avoidable, you should be able to make a personal injury claim for compensation. To find out whether you could make a no win no fee* claim, contact us for free on 0800 234 6438 or fill in our secure online form on this page to arrange a call back.

Making no win no fee personal injury claims

An expert accident at work solicitor will be able to help you make your construction accident claim on a no win no fee basis. No win no fee agreements takes the financial risk out of bring personal injury claims, because it means that if your claim for compensation isn’t successful, then you won’t have to pay your solicitor’s fees.

If you do win your claim, you’ll pay your solicitor as a percentage of the compensation you receive – but this will only ever make up a small amount of your money, so you’ll have the financial help you need to move on following your construction accident at work.

Why do accidents occur on building and construction sites?

 With the risk of accident and injury on construction sites so clear and so obvious, so why do accidents at work still happen? Construction sites are, by their very nature, peppered with various pieces of machinery, equipment and vehicles (also known as ‘plant’) – each with its own specific use – whatever construction site you may be employed on.

 Construction workers often have to use powerful machinery such as cranes, cherry pickers, bulldozers, concreting plant and breakers. They have vehicles to drive, scaffolding to work on and buildings to erect. But because of the risks associate with all these types of plant, employers have many legal obligations to comply with to minimise the risk of injury to workers and others on the site.

The bottom line is that building and construction site accidents are almost inevitable if the employer or the operator of the site does not exercise its legal responsibilities. If they lead to personal injuries, the employer can expect to be hit with accident claims for compensation.

Health and safety rules and regulations are there to protect people from injury, so if they are not followed, the risk of accident and injury increases. Construction accident claims for compensation are likely to follow.

Poorly maintained equipment, lack of training and supervision, failure to install clear hazard warnings in appropriate places and failing to check the safety of scaffolding and other building material and equipment, can all be factors that contribute to a construction site accident.

Accidents on construction sites can also involve members of the public, for example those who may be trespassing at night when the workforce has gone home – or inquisitive children excited at the prospect of watching a digger in action.

However, the employer/company is required to take specific measures to protect members of the public and minimise the risk of injury. That includes implementing measures to prevent unauthorised individuals, such as children and criminals, from accessing the site.

What are the most common causes of a construction site accident?

The accident risks inherent in any building and construction site are numerous. The two most common types of accident identified by the HSE are slips, trips and same-level falls; and injuries sustained while handling, carrying and lifting.

Find out more about making a slip at work claim.

Other common causes of building site accidents that prompt construction accident claims for compensation are:

Falls from height – Workers commonly work from a height on buildings sites, and accidents frequently involve incidents where a worker falls from a partially built building, a ladder, crane or scaffolding. Workers can also fall from vehicles and other larger pieces of machinery while operating them.

Machinery and equipment incidents –  Particularly, moving parts and flying debris can cause building site injury. Poorly maintained equipment can fail to stop or perform the expected manoeuvre and result in injury.

Construction traffic – Vehicles are a common sight on construction sites, and it’s not hard to see how easily a vehicle, such as a forklift truck or a van could be involved in a site accident causing injury, particularly where bystanders and pedestrians are around.

Scaffolding – If not erected properly, scaffolding can become unstable and collapse, causing potentially serious construction site injury to those on the scaffolding platforms and to anyone below.

Trenches – Trenches are typically dug on a construction site for the installation of pipes, cables and laying foundations and basements. If unsupported, they can collapse onto workers causing crushing injuries and potential suffocation.

Repetitive strain – Many individuals working on construction site will be undertaking repetitive work over a potentially long period of time. This could be the use of pneumatic drills and similar tools. This type of working can cause damage to the muscles and soft tissue and eventually lead to pain and restrictive movement.

Lack of protective gear – If workers have been insufficiently provided with the equipment necessary to ensure a safe working environment, injury can result. This could be the lack of a helmet, working boots or reflective clothing.

Electric shocks – Where there is faulty wiring and malfunction equipment, there is the heightened risk of electric shock incidents, as well as electrocution which can prove deadly.

The list of typical construction site accidents also includes exposure to hazardous material and ladder collapses.


A 30-year-old worker on a Suffolk construction site died in December 2020 when an open trench collapsed after the footing of a conservatory gave way. Dale Baker, a casual worker carrying out work for Hinton Wood Construction East Anglia, died from traumatic asphyxia. An HSE investigation has not yet been concluded.


What injuries can you suffer in building site accidents?

Building and construction site accidents can cause a wide range of different injuries – ranging from simple strains or sprains, to life-changing head injuries or spinal damage.  No matter what type of injury you’ve suffered, contact us as soon as possible – it’s likely you’ll be able to make a construction accident claim if it was caused by somebody else’s negligence.

Poor health and safety procedures on building sites can lead to injuries as well as painful conditions such as:

  • Back injuries from heavy lifting or manual handling while working on a construction site
  • Lack of supervision or poor management by the site manager
  • Head injuries from falls from height
  • Injuries caused by falling objects
  • Repetitive strain injury or vibration white finger from repetitive movements, manual handling or using vibrating machinery
  • Fractures or lacerations
  • Limb amputations
  • Crush injuries

Whatever the nature of your site injuries, our advisors will be able to tell you if you can claim compensation for your injuries, such as vibration white finger compensation. Contact us for free guidance on how you can start your claim. We can call you back if you like.

Chemical injuries on building sites

Working on construction and demolition sites can also involve handling substances hazardous to health, such as chemicals and substances including asbestos.

If you’ve been exposed to asbestos without the proper training, inadequate safety equipment or personal protective equipment, then this can put you at risk of suffering from a serious, permanent condition called asbestosis.

If you or a loved one is suffering from asbestosis or another condition as a result of exposure to a dangerous chemical or substance, then we may be able to help you make a construction accident claim.

We realise your condition might not have developed until a long time after you were exposed to asbestos, but don’t worry: it’s likely you can still start your claim for compensation if you get in touch with us within three years of first becoming aware of your condition.

Find out more about making a chemical injury claim

DID YOU KNOW: In the building and construction industry, plasterers, bricklayers and masons suffer from more than twice the rate of contact dermatitis across all industry

Fatal accidents on construction sites

Sadly, fatal accidents at work can and do happen when working on a construction or building sites, but relatives can still bring construction accident claims if the employer was negligent. So if you’ve lost a loved one following a fatal site accident , or they have died sometime after the construction accident occurred, you will be facing the prospect of trying to find out if you are entitled to claim compensation.

You will be relieved to know that it is still possible to claim for compensation both for the pain and suffering your relative went through, and also for their death.  You should also be able to claim for any financial losses caused by their injuries and death.

Our advisors are able to put you in touch with the best specialist solicitors who are experienced and compassionate in how they deal with these difficult and distressing accident claims. Solicitors are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), giving important peace of mind.

Contact us for free on  0800 234 6438 or request a call back for sensitive but clear advice and help on how you can start your claim for compensation.

There were 40 construction worker fatalities and 61,000 non-fatal injuries in the UK in 2019-2020.


Employer responsibilities for a safe building site

The law provides a lot of health and safety protection for UK workers, reducing the risk of accident at work claims. Employers have strict legal responsibilities and obligations to ensure the workplace is safe and that any risks to health and safety are identified and dealt with in a timely way.

Their general responsibilities are found in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related laws and require that employers ensure they protect their employees’ health, safety and welfare.

There are also specific laws in place to protect construction workers and others on building sites from the risk of injury, particularly:

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 – This governs the way construction projects should be planned, and aims to bring health and safety into building site practices from the start.

For example, the specific roles of principal designer and principal contractor must be appointed for projects with more than one contractor. The principal designer will be responsible for the health and safety management within the project.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 – These state that work at a height should be properly planned and supervised. This includes using the right equipment. Failure to adhere to these regulations mean you could be entitled to falls from height compensation.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 – This sets out the duty of employers regarding the health and wellbeing of their staff.

The bottom line is that all employers have a legal duty of care to keep you safe while you’re at work. This is particularly important on construction sites where hazards are a part of the day-to-day work – otherwise injury claims may be expected.

If you’ve been injured at work, speak to us on 0800 234 6438 or request a call back and we will shortly call you back to talk about your construction injury and how you could make a compensation claim. We will partner you with a specialist solicitor from an expert team of construction injury lawyers regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Who can claim compensation for a building site injury

If you have been injured in an accident on a construction site, or you’ve developed a condition after working on a site, you should be able to bring a construction accident claim for compensation.

A huge number of injuries can be avoided if your employer takes measures to make your working environment as safe as it can possibly be. It is very likely that if you were injured when working on a building site, your employer was negligent in some way.

If you’ve been injured on a building site and think your accident happened because your employer failed to take steps to prevent it, then you might be able to make a compensation claim to cover the impact your injury has had on your life. Contact us early, so that we can help you make a no win no fee claim.

Successful compensation claims can never undo the harm done to you but it can make a real difference to your financial situation and help you on the road to recovery.

Your solicitor will need to demonstrate that your employer owed you a duty of care and that they breached that duty, causing your injuries.

It’s crucial to keep as much evidence as you can. Importantly, check that your employer has kept a formal record of the incident in the works accident book and that the accident was reported to the health and safety executive (HSE).

To find out about making a claim and how much you could receive, get in touch with our advisors on 0800 234 6438, or use our contact form and we’ll get back to you.

If I claim against your employer, is my job at risk?

Many people who are thinking about making a work accident claim worry that they’ll lose their job or be treated differently because of it.

But it’s against the law for your employer to dismiss you because of your claim for compensation– and if they do so, you might be able to take further legal action against them. Also, your construction accident claim will be made against their insurance company, not against them personally, so they won’t have to pay your compensation out of their own pocket.  This means you need not fear that your employer could be in significant financial problems if you win a big compensation award because it will be paid by the insurer.

It’s important to remember that making a construction accident claim not only covers you for the impact and expense your injury has unfairly caused to you, it can also help to flag safety issues in your workplace so that your colleagues don’t experience similar construction accidents.

I may be partly responsible for my injury – can I still claim?

It is not uncommon for individuals who have been injured while working on, or visiting a construction site to think they must have somehow been to blame for what happened. However, in most cases that will not actually be the case, so if you believe the incident was your fault, you must talk things over with our specialist advisors.

For example, you may keep going over the incident in your head and thinking that you must have been careless or that you were using a tool or piece of machinery  in the wrong way, otherwise the accident would not have happened. It’s not hard to see how many builders and construction workers assume they were the cause of an accident.

In fact, many may even think injury is inevitable at some point because construction sites are so inherently dangerous. However, this is usually not the case.

There are strict and robust health and safety rules and regulations that exist precisely to reduce the risk of injury to a minimum. For this reason, don’t assume you cannot make a claim – always check with specialist advisors rather than lose your opportunity to make an injury claim.

It could be that when you make a claim, your employer may come back and argue that you were partly to blame for your injuries (or may even deny responsibility altogether). However, it is then the employer’s responsibility to prove you were to blame, for instance, that they can demonstrate you recklessly ignored a clear hazard sign or ignored training given to you the week before.

Occasionally, a worker can be found partially to blame to blame for an accident (this is known as ‘contributory negligence’), in which case your employer would probably not have to pay you as much compensation as you’d otherwise be entitled to. The full amount of compensation awarded to you would then be reduced by a proportionate amount to reflect your responsibility for the incident.

Always check your potential claim with specialist advisers as early as you can. It should not stop you making a claim, though it could reduce the amount of compensation you receive.

Can I claim compensation if I’m self-employed?

It is very common for workers on construction sites to be self-employed. In fact, more people were self-employed in the construction industry in the first few months of 2021 than any other industry, according to Statista.

The good news is, that if you are self-employed and you suffered an injury on a building or construction site, you can make an injury claim to compensation you.


An average of 819,000 self-employed individuals worked in the construction industry in Great Britain in 2019


There are many different worker roles on construction sites and so it makes sense for the company to subcontract as many roles to specialists in their areas, such as plumbers, electricians and bricklayers, as they can for reasons of efficiency. These workers are at risk of injury just as much as those who are employed directly by the construction company itself and deserve recompense if they are injured on site.

The obligations on employers imposed both by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other laws extend to protection the self-employed and other types of workers. So if you are self-employed and have been injured on a construction site, do not hesitate to take steps to start your injury claim.

Employers’ health and safety duties also extend to all those working on site, including those on zero hours contracts and agency workers. In fact, construction sites have become increasingly relying on agency workers to help on site. This partly why having an effective site manager is vital for safety at work.

In the case of agency workers, the agency could itself, in some cases, also be held liable if it was partly at fault. For example, if it was within the agency’s remit to provide training or protective equipment to the worker – but failed to do so.

So, to put it simply – if you have been injured while working on a building or construction site, whatever your employment status was at the time, you can could make an injury claim.

Can I claim for compensation as a member of the public?

Members of the public, as well as any other site visitor, who have been injured as a direct result of an accident on a building or construction site may be entitled to compensation. This would usually be against the company or occupier of the site (though in practice, it would be against its insurance company).

Unlike an employee’s claim, your injury claim would fall under occupiers’ liability laws. Businesses have a legal duty of care to their customers and visitors under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, so if you’ve been injured while on their premises they will be held responsible under this law.

Your solicitor will need as much information as possible to build the strongest possible claim on your behalf, including:

  • Details of where the incident occurred. A map showing the location of the incident would be valuable, particularly if it was not directly on the building site itself.
  • The type of any vehicle or equipment involved, such as a crane, construction vehicle or scaffold.
  • Details of any witnesses and the person to whom the incident was formally reported.
  • A copy of the company’s accident log book (the incident should have been formally recorded in it).
  • ·Details of any report made to the Health and Safety Executive and of ongoing investigations and reports.
  • Photographs, for example, of the scene and of your actual injuries and details of the impact on your life and ability to work.

What can I claim for?

Your compensation for injuries following a workplace accident will most probably comprise both ‘general’ damages and ‘special’ damages.

General damages: This compensates you for your actual injuries and any ongoing suffering that you continue to experience. The compensation you receive will rightly reflect the nature and extent of your injuries.

Special damages: This compensates you for your specific financial losses that have resulted directly from the accident. Given how serious construction site and building accidents can be, the potentially lengthy recovery time can mean a long time off work. Special damages covers items such as:

  • Loss of earnings from time taken off work, lost bonuses and overtime
  • The costs of private medical treatment, travel and accommodation costs and even alterations to your home, if necessary
  • The future impact your injury might have on your career prospects
  • Any hobbies or social events you’ve missed out on

Your solicitor will need as much information as possible, such as payslips, receipts and invoices, to make a claim for your financial losses incurred and your future losses.

How much can I expect to receive?

Building and construction site accidents lead to a wide range of injuries of varying severity. An accident occurring on a small residential development building site causing cuts and bruising is less serious than an accident involving a large construction vehicle on a large-scale, busy construction site – which could result in life-changing injuries.

Whatever the nature of your injuries, your solicitor will negotiate a settlement that is as fair as possible to reflect your injuries and any lasting physical and emotional effects on you. The more serious someone’s injuries, the more compensation they deserve.

Bear in mind each individual’s case is different, for instance, crush injuries can be relatively short-lived and the injured person can get back to work after a week or so off work. But crush injuries can be life-threatening in the case of someone else, so your solicitor will consider your own circumstance and injuries and how long is reasonably required for you to fully recover.

That means that, at this point, it may be difficult to estimate how much injury compensation you could win, given the number of factors involved.

However, usefully there are formal judicial guidelines on the assessment of general damages for personal injury. Lawyers and the courts rely on this guidance to calculate what an injured person is entitled to by way of compensation. For example:

SOURCE: Judicial College Guidelines 15th edition (2021)

Feel free to try our online calculator [link], but do bear in mind this is intended as a starting guide only. Specialist advice should always be sought.

DID YOU KNOW: Around 2.1m working days were lost in the construction industry in 2019/2020 due to workplace injury or work-related illnesses. The economic cost of injury and new cases of work-related ill health in the industry in 2018-2019 has been estimated to be £1.2bn, representing 8% of the total cost across all industries.


The BBC has admitted liability for the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, that eventually killed a BBC Symphony Orchestra musician in April 2021. Christopher Larkin, a French Horn player who worked in its Maida Vale studios for more than 35 years, had been exposed to asbestos in the building. His family is now seeking injury compensation. Another Symphony Orchestra musician also died of mesothelioma.

SOURCE: The Guardian
DID YOU KNOW: In 2018/19, around 54,000 construction workers in GB sustained an injury at work. In addition, 79,000 workers are suffering from illness or disease caused by working in the industry.

How long can I make a claim after an accident?

You should take steps to make your injury claim as soon as possible because you only have three years from the date you suffered an injury to start legal proceedings.  After three years, you may be ‘time-barred’ and might not be able to make a claim.  Another reason for starting your personal injury claim as early as possible is because, by their very nature, it can take a fair amount of time to reach a final settlement – particularly in serious construction accident claims – even if liability is admitted.

Importantly, if your claim relates to a condition that’s developed more than three years from the date you started working for the company on the construction site – you can still make a claim. This is because the three-year ‘limitation period’ begins from the date you knew, or had reason to believe, that the condition was caused by, for example, exposure to hazardous material or through years of repetitive working.

The law recognises that it is only right and fair that individuals who have developed asbestosis or other forms of cancer or lung disease after many years – sometimes decades – after working on a building or construction site can still make an injury claim.

If you are claiming on behalf of someone under a mental disability, for example, the accident has left them unable to take action on their own – this three-year period does not start to run until they have regained their mental capacity.

To start your claim, speak to us on 0800 234 6438 or request a call back and we can guide you through the process of making a claim.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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