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Trench accidents are among the most dangerous types of accidents that occur on construction sites. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), “Trench collapses cause dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries each year.” Unfortunately, the leading causes of trench injuries are due to a lack of an appropriate protective system as well as other factors that are out of the control of workers. Although OSHA requires employers to conduct daily inspections of trenches (by a competent person), this does not happen as often as it should and leads to unfortunate injuries. Construction accidents are a leading cause of workplace injuries in the United States. If you or a family member has been injured as a result of a trench collapse, it is in your best interest to connect with a proven construction accident attorney to discuss your case and your options for seeking compensation. Don’t wait until it is too late. Give our attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff a call to schedule your free initial consultation today.
Common Causes of Trench Accidents
Construction workers that excavate trenches are met with a number of dangerous hazards such as being struck by equipment, hazardous chemicals, as well as accidents with vehicles. However, trench cave-ins are by far the leading cause of trench fatalities. Many variables contribute to unsafe trench and excavation sites that lead to construction accidents. Listed below are some of the most common causes of trench accidents in New York City.
- Ineffective or lack of protective system
- Unstable and/or weakened soil
- Heavy equipment falling into the trench or causing a collapse by being too close
- Too close to other previously excavated trenches
- Inclement weather conditions
- Too much weight/stress on the soil close to the trench
- Lack of inspection or ineffective inspection
- Trenches with too much depth and not enough protective support
- Absence of appropriate safety equipment
- Failing to appropriately remove and relocate excavated soil
- The inability of workers to safely get in and out of the trench
Injuries That Occur as a Result of Trench Accidents
Since the leading cause of trench accidents and fatalities are cave-ins, OSHA typically categorizes them as a “caught in-between” accidents. This is defined as one of the “Fatal Four” accidents that cause the most construction site injuries and deaths each year. However, there are many other types of injuries that can occur as a result of trench accidents such as:
- Inhalation of toxic fumes
- Employees being crushed by construction vehicles
Those that have been involved in any of the aforementioned trench accidents may incur serious injuries like broken bones, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, head and brain injuries, eye injuries, wrongful death, etc.
What to do if You Are Injured as a Result of Construction Accidents
If you are injured as a result of a construction accident, it is recommended that you immediately notify a company official. Per New York law, you have a maximum of 30 days to report the injury. Otherwise, you will likely not be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. Furthermore, seek medical attention as soon as you can. In some cases, the effects of an injury do no surface when the accident occurs due to the adrenaline in your body masking its effect. Thus, it is best to be sure that you have not suffered injuries. Ensure that you collect evidence at the scene (pictures, videos, etc.) as well as identify potential eyewitnesses. Lastly, contact an attorney that is experienced with the complexities of construction accidents.
Working With Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff
Construction workers that are injured as a result of trench accidents in NYC are entitled to seek compensation via worker’s compensation claims. In some cases, the accident may be the fault of a third-party. If it is, construction workers can file a personal injury claim. It is imperative that you connect with an adept attorney before you agree to waive your rights to file a personal injury suit and/or accept worker’s compensation benefits. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, our attorneys have won over $1 billion for injured New Yorkers. Many of those cases involved construction accidents. If you or a family member has been injured while working in or around a trench, give us a call to discuss the details of your case today.