Construction Accidents in Arizona
Hire a Scottsdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Handle Your Claim
Having worked in construction himself, Clark Watkin has "hands on" experience and knows construction work can sometimes be dangerous -- even deadly. If you or a loved one has suffered serious personal injuries – or died -- as the result of an accident at a construction site, contact Clark Watkin to learn about your rights to compensation, your own legal obligations, and the available options for pursuing a construction accident claim.
The dangers inherent in construction work led to the implementation of federal and state statutes, laws, regulations, ordinances and guidelines concerning construction safety. To oversee and implement all of these new laws, government and administrative agencies were created. Federal and Arizona construction industry standards now require employers to provide a reasonably safe working environment. Even so, catastrophic injuries on the jobsite and even in areas adjacent to the jobsite still occur. Virtually 100% of construction accidents are either avoidable or preventable. Some of the more likely hazards include falls from scaffolds, roofs and multi-story elevations, being struck by moving or falling machinery, electrocution, defective or unsafe equipment, excavation cave-ins, and health hazards resulting from exposure to toxic chemicals.
Get Legal Help Early
After a serious construction site accident, the injured person or his family should consult with an attorney experienced in construction accident litigation. If the injured person is a worker who has been injured on the jobsite, the incident may be subject to and completely covered by the workers' compensation laws. However, workers' comp may not fully compensate him for his damages; and it only applies to potential claims against his employer. There may still be a third-party liability claim against someone other than his own employer. In any case, it should be carefully reviewed.
Sometimes private citizens not involved in the construction project may be injured or killed. Recent crane collapses in Manhattan are a good example, where the families of the victims have damage claims against the contractors and subcontractors involved, and perhaps against the crane and scaffold manufacturers, individual construction workers, and the New York City and State government(s), for negligent project inspections, if any. The point here is that each incident involving death or serious injury on a construction project should be carefully and fully investigated.
The same holds true for serious injuries that occur adjacent or nearby a construction project. They might be related to the project. For example, pedestrians and drivers are sometimes injured or killed while walking or driving on the sidewalks and streets adjacent to construction sites. Ironically, in one of our recent cases an elderly pedestrian was injured when he tripped and fell over an improperly-erected construction fence while walking into a hospital to visit his sick wife. In that case, both the general contractor and the hospital were found to be negligent and held liable.
Liability For A Construction Accident
The facts of each case will determine liability. Not just where, when and how the accident happened; but also who was involved in the "chain of command" and what their duties were, as outlined in the laws, regulations and industry standards -- as well as in any relevant construction contract documents. The list of potential responsible parties may include:
- Property owners
- General, prime and sub-contractors
- Architects, engineers or other designers
- Construction managers
- Suppliers and manufacturers of equipment and materials
Which person or company had control over the jobsite? Precisely what work was being done, and by whom, and specifically when and where did the incident occur? Was the injured individual the only one directly "involved" in the incident (e.g., he fell from an unprotected upper floor); or was he injured while working with (or by) another? Clearly, there are an infinite number of combinations that come to play; each case is unique and it is often important to name all potential liable parties at the outset of any litigation to preserve your claim against them. An experienced construction litigation attorney can help you determine who the responsible parties may be according to the specific circumstances of your case and sometimes streamline the process and eliminate the need to name "everyone."
Common Types of Serious Injuries
- Falls: This is one of the most common reasons for injury amongst construction workers. Many times it can even result in wrongful death. Many falls occur on ladders and scaffolding, but falling from roofs, stairs, structural openings and other buildings are also all too common for causing fatalities. We recently represented the family of a carpenter employed by a framing subcontractor on a two-level apartment building. Very simply, the worker lost his balance and fell from the second-level floor joists, striking his head on the concrete floor below. This results in brain trauma, coma, and eventually death. This unfortunate incident could have been prevented by a "fall protection" plan implemented and enforced by either the general contractor and/or the framing subcontractor. Unfortunately, no such a plan was in place -- even though OSHA required fall protection on this jobsite! In fact, the framing subcontractor in that case did not even have workmen's' compensation insurance.
- Electrocution: Electric shock, burns and other electrocution injuries pose a significant risk to construction workers, often resulting in serious injuries and even death in some cases. There are numerous causes behind electrocution injuries, including direct contact with high voltage, faulty wiring, power lines, broken bulbs, or any other construction equipment pieces that could have an electrical source. Again, certain safety steps are required; yet, all too often those steps are ignored by the owner or contractor to "save money."
- Cave-Ins: Those that work in the field of excavation work face one of the most terrifying accidents out there: cave-ins. Contractors must exercise great care and continue their diligence throughout an excavation project to limit the likelihood of a cave-in. Fortunately, OSHA requires strict compliance with its regulations pertaining to supporting the trenches, tunnels and "holes" created for this work, all to protect workers from the dangers associated with excavation.
OSHA and Other Safety Regulations
Arizona has its own Department of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) and has incorporated the provisions of the federal OSHA regulations, verbatim. These regulations apply to work done at construction sites make it absolutely mandatory that the party responsible under the construction contract for ensuring compliance with the OSHA regulations (i.e., general contractor or sub-contractor) implement and enforce numerous critical safety procedures to ensure safe practices and guard against serious jobsite injuries. A failure to comply with OSHA regulations, by itself, may be enough to prove negligence by the party in charge of the jobsite.
- Report the injury to your employer and/or construction site manager as soon as possible, and note the name and position of the person you notified
- Get the names and contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident
- If possible, try to preserve any evidence related to your injury by taking photographs of the area where you were injured (and the injuries themselves), or keeping the equipment or tool that was involved in your injury
- Get medical attention for your injuries
- Consult an attorney as soon as possible to help you evaluate any potential claims and discuss your state's workers' compensation laws
Filing a Claim For a Construction Accident Injury
If you have been injured as a result of an accident at a construction site in Scottsdale, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your legal rights. Your case may be won or lost based on the work done before it ever goes to trial. Discussing your case with an attorney who is experienced in the area of construction injury law is the best way to protect your rights. If you live in the greater Scottsdale, Arizona area and you or someone you love has been injured in a construction work site accident, contact us online or call at 480-347-9804 to arrange a consultation. When results matter, choose The Watkin Law Office. Clark Watkin of The Watkin Law Office, PC is a Scottsdale personal injury lawyer who represents clients throughout Arizona, including Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, Cave Creek, Carefree, Fountain Hills and Paradise Valley.
IMPORTANT: If the adverse party's insurance claims adjuster calls to "interview" you, decline -- at least until after you have spoken with an experienced personal injury attorney. Despite what the insurance adjuster might tell you, he or she is NOT "just trying to help."