Construction
Accidents

Premises
Liability

Motor Vehicle
Accidents

Trench collapse fatalities on the rise nationwide

Many dangers can be found on New York City construction sites, as the city is a mecca for building and development during all 12 months of the year.

But there is one particular danger that workers often ignore, at their peril — trench collapses. Perhaps because they don’t occur dozens of feet off the ground or involve heavy machinery weighing many tons, these type of accidents aren’t considered to be as lethal to the workers.

However, that couldn’t be farther from the reality of the situation. Last year alone, 23 workers in the United States died in trench collapses, and another dozen suffered injuries. These numbers represent a disturbing trend, as statistics provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration indicate that the number of fatalities for 2016 “more than doubled” from the previous year.

The assistant secretary for OSHA had a stern response, stating, “There is no excuse. These fatalities are completely preventable by complying with OSHA standards that every construction contractor should know.”

One of last summer’s victims was a 33-year-old worker at a rural Ohio plumbing company. He died while digging a 12-foot deep trench that collapsed, crushing him under thousands of pounds of earth. It took rescuers hours to recover his body.

The subsequent OSHA investigation determined that the company was negligent for failing to safeguard their laborers who were digging in the trenches. Because they had not taken the time to properly shore up the walls of the excavation site, it collapsed.

OSHA issued two serious and two willful violations to the plumbing company. The proposed penalties were $274,359.

OSHA’s standards for trench safety mandates that there be protective systems on all trenches five or more feet deep. Dirt and debris have to be no closer than 24 inches from the lip of the trench.

Contractors on job sites must properly train workers as Competent Persons to assess and evaluate the safety of the excavation sites, as well as the laborers toiling down in the trenches. They must also provide rescue training and have equipment readily available should a disaster occur.

If you got hurt in a trench collapse on a New York City construction site, you need to review all of your legal options for compensation, including future medical expenses that might be necessary.

Source: ROCO Rescue, “Trench Collapse Fatalities Double in 2016,” accessed May 19, 2017

Verdicts &
Settlements

$3.75 Million

settlement for a construction worker injured by falling metal mesh

Verdicts & Settlements

$3.5 Million

Million for a carpenter injured on a construction site by a falling metal clamp

Verdicts & Settlements

$3 Million

for a 35 year old Carpenter injured when his arm became partially impaled on an improperly exposed metal support (rebar) at a construction site.

Verdicts & Settlements

$2 Million

for a woman who sustained multiple serious injuries after being struck by a hit and run driver in Manhattan.

Verdicts & Settlements

$1.825 Million

Verdict for a 29 year old construction worker injured during the building of the World Trade Center Memorial.

Verdicts & Settlements

$1.475 Million

for a Carpenter who was injured when the scaffold he was working upon collapsed.

Verdicts & Settlements

$1.2 Million

for a 35 year old Cement and Concrete worker from Queens who sustained serious injuries to his back when he slipped on debris and refuse.

Verdicts & Settlements

$1.2 Million

for a Construction worker and young father in the Bronx who was fatally electrocuted while on a scaffold.

Verdicts & Settlements

$950,000

for two sisters in high school who sustained serious injuries when struck by a vehicle that mounted the sidewalk in Brooklyn as they waited for the bus to take them to school.

Verdicts & Settlements

$825,000

for a woman injured as a passenger in an accident involving a bus and a car in the Bronx.

Verdicts & Settlements

$777,000

for an Ironworker on Long Island who sustained serious injuries when he fell from a ladder which slid out from under him due to icy footing.

Verdicts & Settlements

$750,000

for a surgeon who sustained a broken knee in a motor vehicle accident (January, 2017).

Verdicts & Settlements

$660,000

verdict for a 35 year old Cement and Concrete laborer who was injured when the scaffold he was walking upon collapsed.

Verdicts & Settlements

$650,000

for a cement and concrete worker who slipped and fell over construction debris.

Verdicts & Settlements

$650,000

for a Cement and Concrete worker who injured his back as a result of slipping upon a discarded pipe and falling down a flight of steps.

Verdicts & Settlements

$500,000

for a Nursing Home resident injured due to lack of proper care.

Verdicts & Settlements

$325,000

for a woman who sustained multiple serious injuries to her shoulder as a result of a trip and fall upon a defective sidewalk at a construction project in Manhattan.

Verdicts & Settlements

$250,000

verdict in the exact amount demanded by our office for our client, but refused by the responsible defendants, was awarded by the jury to our client who sustained a fractured elbow as a result of a fall upon a badly broken sidewalk.

Verdicts & Settlements

$325,000

for a young woman who sustained a fractured ankle as a result of a fall on soapy steps in her apartment building in the Bronx.

Verdicts & Settlements

$495,000

for a young mother who was struck by a car while crossing the street near her home in Queens sustaining serious injuries to her leg requiring the surgical placement of a metal plate and screws.

Verdicts & Settlements

$600,000

for a woman who sustained multiple injuries as a passenger in a motor vehicle accident.

Verdicts & Settlements

$425,000

was secured by our office for a Cement and Concrete worker injured when a work area collapsed beneath him.

Verdicts & Settlements

$400,000

for a woman struck from behind by a car as she walked to a supermarket in a shopping center parking lot in Yonkers.

Verdicts & Settlements

$200,000

for a young man, 15 years of age, who sustained a partial tear of the rotator cuff of his right shoulder, which has now healed without any limitation upon his activities.

Verdicts & Settlements

$325,000

for a school principal in the Bronx who tripped and fell over a construction plate in the school parking lot.

Verdicts & Settlements

$300,000

for a young Cement and Concrete worker who was struck by falling debris dislodged from a building by a swinging crane.

Verdicts & Settlements

$250,000

for a Cement and Concrete worker injured as a result of a fall at a Manhattan construction site.

Verdicts & Settlements

$300,000

for a school teacher in the Bronx who sustained an injury to her shoulder when she tripped and fell due to negligently placed computer wiring.

Verdicts & Settlements

$275,000

to a Construction laborer doing bridge work whose arm was fractured when falling construction material caused him to fall into the East River and onto debris.

Verdicts & Settlements

$450,000

for a child injured when a table fell on him in a laundromat in Queens.

Verdicts & Settlements

$450,000

verdict for a Volunteer Firefighter in Westchester who sustained injuries in the course of fighting a fire.

Verdicts & Settlements

3 year | 10 best law firm
The National Trial Lawyers
Super Lawyers | 2019
Newyork Leading Personal Injury Attorney 2018 | Leaders In The Law
Howard R. Sanders Esq. BBB Business Review
FindLaw Network