A new parking structure in Atlanta, intended to serve the Emory University Hospital Midtown when completed, has partially collapsed twice during construction, leading the city to shut down the project. At least six construction workers were injured over the course of the two collapses.
The first incident occurred on September 11th, 2020, when the structure’s 11th floor collapsed onto the 10th, trapping one worker and injuring at least four others. The trapped worker had to be rescued using a crane and treated for a serious leg injury at a local hospital.
A commissioner for the Atlanta City Planning Department reported that the site had been inspected and secured, and the deputy fire chief reported that the adjacent streets would likely be closed off while engineers from the construction company, Baston-Cook, and from the City of Atlanta, worked to prevent any further collapses.
The next day, however, one of the structure’s I-beams collapsed with a worker on top of it. The beam fell through 10 of the structure’s 16 floors. This worker was also trapped, and also had to be hospitalized for leg injuries upon rescue. Journalists were unable to determine whether the predicted street closures ever occurred.
Baston-Cook Has A History of Fines Related To Worker Safety
OSHA is expected to investigate the accidents at the Midtown parking structure, and has already fined Baston-Cook for two separate violations over the past five years. In one of those cases, a worker was killed in an accident involving concrete-laying equipment.
A pattern of serious accidents can often indicate a company’s level of attention to safety, and the likelihood that new accidents are the result of negligence on that company’s part.
Injured Workers May Be Able To Sue For Their Injuries
A statement from a Baston-Cook representative identified the workers injured in the first Midtown collapse as subcontractors rather than employees. Companies will often emphasize this distinction after a worker has been injured, implying that this somewhat different working relationship releases the company from responsibility for the worker’s well-being. Courts of law frequently hold otherwise – finding general contractors, architects, structural engineers, and job site sub-contractors responsible for an injured construction site employee.
Said differently, injured workers can bring personal injury suits against entities other than their employer for those entities role in making the building unsafe. Although this takes longer than a worker’s comp claim, personal injury suits can yield much larger, more complete settlements that account for all the ways in which the injury has impacted the worker’s life.
Third Parties Can Also Share Liability for Worker Accidents
When workers are injured, it’s always a good idea to look beyond the conduct of the worker and the company and consider all possible factors that may have contributed to the accident. For example, if the workers building the Midtown structure were provided with substandard tools or building materials, the manufacturers of those tools and materials could share liability for the collapse.
If you were injured in the Midtown parking structure collapse, or another construction accident in Georgia, reach out to The Stoddard Firm to learn about your options. We’re always available to offer a free, personalized consultation at 678-RESULT or via our online chat function