- June 22, 2023
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Construction Accidents
Like most workers in the U.S, construction company employees are subject to worker’s comp law. This means that, when a construction worker is injured, the worker’s comp system handles the claim and pays for the worker’s immediate medical expenses.
This process is usually fairly quick, because it does not require any proof of fault, but there’s a trade-off. Employees who are eligible for worker’s comp are barred from filing personal injury lawsuits against their employers, even in cases of gross negligence.
When an injury is serious, worker’s comp is a poor substitute for a civil settlement in the long run. Courts calculate settlements with the intent of compensating the victim’s losses as completely as possible. This includes short- and long-term financial losses, as well as physical pain and emotional damage. Worker’s comp covers only financial losses, and usually only a partial, short-term calculation of those losses.
This discrepancy is particularly harmful to construction workers, simply in terms of numbers. Construction is one of the most dangerous civilian industries in the U.S, with nearly 200,000 injuries and over 1,000 deaths occurring on the job each year.
For these injured workers and their families to collect fair compensation, the best option is usually to consult with a lawyer to identify other negligent parties, besides the employer.
The Midtown Crane Collapse Injured Four Balfour Beatty Construction Workers
If you live near Midtown Atlanta, you’re probably already aware of the crane collapse that occurred at 1018 West Peachtree Street on May 22nd, 2023. The accident forced the evacuation of over 1,000 people from three inhabited buildings nearby, including the Tens West Apartment Complex next door. Sections of West Peachtree Street, Spring Street NW, and 10th Street NW also had to be closed to traffic, for bystander safety, while the scene was stabilized.
This was the second serious crane accident on West Peachtree Street in just over two years.
In this instance, the crane was being used to construct a high-rise condo complex, when its counterweight broke and crashed into the unfinished structure, between the 9th and 10th floors. Four people, all of them workers on the project, were injured and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment.
The construction company in charge of the site was Balfour Beatty, an international company based in the U.K. Assuming all of the injured workers were employees of Balfour Beatty, they will probably not be allowed to sue the company.
However, there may be other entities who contributed to the accident, and who could be sued for full compensation.
Injured Workers Have the Right to Sue Negligent Companies They Don’t Work For
OSHA is currently investigating two companies to determine accountability for this accident. Balfour Beatty is one of them. The other is the crane company, Maxim.
If it turns out that Maxim neglected the crane’s maintenance before providing it to Balfour Beatty, then Maxim could be liable for the injuries to these four people. Because Maxim does not employ the victims, it would not be immune to litigation under worker’s comp law.
Although OSHA’s investigation seems to be limited to those two companies, the liability could go beyond them. Maxim is not a crane brand; it’s a crane rental service. It’s possible that both Maxim and Balfour Beatty handled the crane correctly, and that the failure was caused by a design flaw or manufacturing error. In that case, the manufacturer would be the one responsible.
Construction projects also tend to be highly collaborative. If there were any companies involved in managing the site, other than Balfour Beatty, who might have contributed to an unsafe environment, they would also be valid targets for a personal injury suit.
If you were one of those injured in the Midtown crane collapse, or if you have also been harmed by a construction accident in Georgia, reach out to the Stoddard Firm to discuss how we can help. We’ve represented many injured construction workers and their families, and we’ll pursue every possible avenue to get you the full compensation you deserve.