A residential high rise collapsed last week while being erected, sending three workers to the hospital. The exact reason for the disaster is still being investigated by authorities. However, initial reports point to an excess “dead load” of building materials being to blame.
It appears that the highest floor of the unfinished structure gave way under the weight of rebar that was stationed waiting for concrete to be poured. Once the highest floor gave way, the load began to pick up more and more speed and momentum, crushing nine entire floors. The building, which was still in the early stages of construction that was scheduled for completion in 2015, was 12 stories tall at the time.
Eyewitness explanations of the collapse paint a harrowing picture. Massive beams and entire scaffolding systems were seen plummeting along with an unsuspecting worker taken down as well.
Disasters of this sort are relatively common, and often lethal to construction workers. A quick search on the Occupational Health and Safety Administration website shows 20 incidents where construction workers were killed in a building collapse since 2003. However, workers aren’t the only people at risk.
Recently, in Philadelphia six people were killed when a crane operator was demolishing a downtown skyscraper. The debris from the demolition site fell down on a neighboring store. Murder charges have been filed against the operator, alleging that he had drugs in his system while he was at work.
Third Party Liability
In catastrophic accidents like a building collapse, workers’ compensation insurance may provide inadequate protection for those injured. In this manner an employer, or the employer’s insurance company could possibly not have to pay for all the damage suffered by the injured worker. In the absence of a sufficient safety net, injured employees have to seek out other sources of compensation to attempt to make them whole once again. It is likely in an accident like a building collapse the negligence of several parties besides the employer came together to cause the damage.
For example, injuries can be attributed to negligent sub contractors entrusted with ensuring job site safety. Or injuries can be traced to poor architectural or construction plans. Defective products used in construction are another source of potential third party liability, or the manufacturer of an improperly put together piece of heavy equipment could be to blame. Additionally, co-workers or supervisors who are negligent on the job, and who cause accidents, can be held liable for their negligence.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Boston
Worksite injuries like a building collapse are complicated legal matters. Anyone who has gone through this sort of experience should consult an attorney to be fully apprised of their rights. Also, it is recommended to be wary of signing any statements or agreements immediately after a worksite injury before speaking with an attorney.