Collapsed Trench Injures Bronx Construction Worker

A worker was injured in a construction accident in the Bronx after emergency personnel pulled him from a 10-foot-deep, 3-foot-wide trench. According to an NBC New York news report, it took two hours for firefighters to extricate the worker who was trapped in a construction site on Moshulu Avenue the morning of Dec. 16. Rescuers found the worker stuck and his lower body pinned by collapsed trench supports, officials said.

Serious Injuries Reported

Rescue medics were in the trench treating the man during the rescue operation. The victim was eventually pulled out and taken to an area hospital in serious condition. Authorities said he is expected to survive. Inspectors from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) said the trench’s sidewall collapsed as the worker was repairing the sewer connections for a contractor.

The contractor had proper permits from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Transportation, but did not have necessary DOB permits for excavation work, officials said. As a result of the investigation, a full stop-work order was issued in addition to four violations. There were no prior complaints or violations at the property. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured worker and we wish him the very best for a quick and full recovery from his injuries.

The Danger of Trench Collapses

According to Equipment World, the year 2020 ended on a deadly note with five construction workers dying in separate trench collapses just in December of that year. Those deaths took the year’s construction trench collapse fatality toll to at least 21, which was the same in 2019, based on data compiled with information from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and news media reports.

Trench collapse fatalities among construction workers seem to be rising slightly since 2018. A breakdown of construction trench deaths between 2003 and 2020 shows that outside of 2016 when there was a decade high of 33 trench deaths, 2019 and 2020 were tied for the second-deadliest years.

Also, according to Equipment World, the leading cause of trench collapses in 2020 and previous years has been inadequate cave-in protection that is usually provided by shoring, sloping and shielding. Safety experts say most trench collapses may have been prevented if proper cave-in protection had been in place. In 2020, eight construction companies were cited by regulators for failure to provide a daily inspection of the trench or excavation before workers entered.

When the walls of a trench cave in, the force of the collapse can be lethal due to the weight of the soil. This may lead to crush injuries including fractures, ruptured ligaments, punctured organs and internal bleeding. Even workers who are rescued from a collapsed trench may suffer the effects of the accident much later. Workers may suffer from serious injuries including broken bones, lacerations, internal organ damage, etc.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

Injured construction workers can seek workers’ compensation benefits from their employers to cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. In addition, they can file a third-party claim against an entity or entities for substantial money damages and thus have two sources of compensation. Third-party claims are filed against an entity/entities (other than the employer and co-employees) who may have caused or contributed to the incident and the resulting injuries. Examples of third parties include some general contractors, sub-contractors, property owners, manufacturers of defective products, etc.

If you have suffered injuries in a construction-related accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.

Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job — one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year. Our law firm also recovered $3,000,000 for a man who fell and suffered two broken legs when he walked into an open elevator shaft. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and/or medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

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1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES

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