There’s a reason why so many construction sites are considered “hard hat zones.” In any construction scenario where humans or machines are performing work over the heads of other humans, there is a danger of injury from falling objects. Head injuries are no small matter; even a seemingly minor impact can sometimes result in lifelong and debilitating symptoms, and repeated mild head trauma can raise the risk of certain degenerative illnesses.
Hard hats are an easy precaution to take, and construction companies should of course be providing them and encouraging their use. However, not all falling objects at construction sites are within the scope of what a hard hat can protect against, and personal protective equipment, including hard hats, should always be regarded as a last line of defense when all other precautions fail.
Construction companies and their equipment providers have a duty to take all reasonable steps to prevent head impacts from happening in the first place.
The combination of the emotional trauma, physical pain, and life impact of being injured by a falling object at a construction site is a lot to manage. It’s not surprising that those who find themselves in this situation are often overwhelmed when it comes to moving forward. After all, their costs are considerable, and the impact can be life-altering.
If your injury was the result of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation from the responsible party or parties (yes, there can be more than one). But pursuing those funds can be challenging.
The guidance of a seasoned falling object injury lawyer can help maximize your settlement and minimize your aggravation. Choosing the right firm to represent you is an important decision.
The Stoddard Firm is uniquely qualified to assist you. When you engage us to represent you in your falling object incident case, you will benefit from our:
When you engage us, we adopt your goals and fight skillfully and aggressively to maximize your compensation. We treat your case as we would one involving one of our family members. Our team will leverage the full resources of our firm to protect your finances and your future.
Our Approach to Service
How We Can Help Manage Your Case
Falling objects in construction sites are the cause of many accidents in Georgia each and every year. Both construction professionals and unsuspecting and innocent individuals often find themselves dealing with serious injury and astronomical expenses because of the negligence of the responsible organizations and individuals on construction sites throughout the state.
If you have been involved in an accident like this, you know what we mean. Managing your recovery is a full-time job. Simply the thought of embarking on a complex and emotional legal journey may seem overwhelming. It’s likely you don’t even know where to begin.
In situations like this, engaging a reputable attorney experienced in construction falling object lawsuits is the first step towards a better tomorrow. When you work with the team at The Stoddard Firm, you can count on us to handle the entirety of the legal process for you – from beginning to end. We will:
Investigate the accident.
Interview both witnesses and subject matter experts.
Review accident histories for the construction company, subcontractors, equipment manufacturers, and project owners.
Establish liability and prove negligence.
Communicate with all relevant parties.
Complete and submit all appropriate paperwork.
Negotiate with company and insurance representatives.
Litigate in court, if necessary.
Each accident that results from falling objects at a construction site is unique and must be treated as such. Our team takes the time to consider all the facts, we pay attention to the details. This personalized approach is necessary to obtain a comprehensive understanding and build an effective case. We know the construction industry well and we are ready to leverage our knowledge to help maximize your settlement as we join you in looking towards a better tomorrow.
To learn more about how we would address your specific case, contact us at 470-467-2200 to schedule your free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Construction Falling Objects
Sharing Our Responses to Your Concerns
Questions, questions, questions. This is the one commonality between all those suffering from construction falling objects accidents. The complexity of personal injury, workers’ compensation, premises liability, product liability, and wrongful death laws combined with the need to focus on your recovery and well-being makes the entire process confusing. Below we have shared some of the issues most raised along with our responses to them.
If I was injured due to a falling object as I walked by a construction site, who would be responsible?
Depending upon the cause of the incident, any one of a number of individuals/entities may be responsible including the property owner, the construction company, the subcontractors, the site manager, or even the manufacturer of the equipment. Our construction injury attorney can help identify responsibility and prove negligence.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after being hit by a falling object at a construction site?
Assuming you are not an employee of the construction company, you could file either a personal injury lawsuit within two years or a premises liability lawsuit (within the same time frame) against the construction company. Those injured at work have different options. Your falling objects attorney can review your case and confirm how you should proceed.
My spouse was killed when he was hit by a falling object at a construction site. What can I do?
Assuming negligence was involved, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. In Georgia, only certain relatives can do this. They include parents, spouses, children, and siblings.
I was injured by a falling object while at work on a construction site. How can I obtain compensation?
If you were an employee and were injured by a falling object while doing your job, you can file for Workers’ Compensation. You cannot sue your employer for personal injury. However, if the accident was the fault of anyone other than your employer, you could file suit against that party in addition to filing for workers’ compensation. Our construction injury lawyer can review your case and advise you on the most appropriate course of action.
I have received multiple messages from an insurance representative making a settlement offer. What should I do?
Do not engage in conversation with anyone regarding your accident. Direct them to your attorney. The offer may likely not compensate you appropriately. Allow us to communicate and negotiate with them.
We hope the information shared above helps answer some of your questions. Contact our team at 470-467-2200 to schedule a free consultation. During this meeting, we can provide answers to your more specific questions and share how we believe we can best help you.
Construction Sites Are Dangerous
Falling Objects Are One of The Top Hazards in One of America’s Most Dangerous Careers
It’s not difficult to understand why construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. The combination of heavy machinery, power tools, great heights, and moving around to new, sometimes unpredictable, work sites results in significant opportunities for serious accidents. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction and extraction occupations had 951 occupational deaths, the second most by industry.
As many inherent dangers as there are associated with construction work, these tragic statistics should not be regarded as inevitable.
Accidents can and should be prevented. The deaths and debilitating injuries of construction workers can usually be traced back to inadequate adherence to safety standards at some level, whether on-site or in the supply chain. There are strong correlations between common types of accidents and common safety violations.
Of course, not all accidents can be categorized as easily as “hit by falling boards at construction sites” or “fell from scaffolding without a personal fall arrest system.” Individual incidents can be unique and even bizarre or have multiple causes. However, the majority of construction accidents fall into consistent patterns that should be entirely possible to address.
In fact, more than half of construction worker deaths are associated with four main causes, as categorized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):
Struck by object
“Struck by object” accidents are unfortunately common, resulting in severe injuries and sometimes even death.
Not coincidentally, inadequate fall protection on construction sites is the single most common OSHA violation, not only in construction, but across all types of industry. Fall protection means both protection from falling and protection from falling objects, so this one violation contributes to both of the top two types of deadly construction accidents.
By failing to shield work areas from falling objects, or to properly secure objects that will be kept, moved, or used at a height, construction companies knowingly put their workers at unnecessary risk of serious injury or death.
Falling Object Accidents Are Especially Common When Cranes Are Involved
Because objects must be elevated before they can fall, areas with a lot of vertical construction tend to be particularly affected by falling object accidents. For example, one survey of crane accidents in New York City found nine noteworthy incidents from 2007-2015, including four where an object was dropped from height: two air conditioning units, a steel bucket, and a broken piece of a crane itself. One person was killed and 22 injured over the course of those four accidents.
New York’s crane accidents have not let up since that time. In one case in the summer of 2018, the crane itself became the falling object when it “catapulted itself” off the edge of a building, causing life-altering injuries to two workers. The construction site superintendent and the company’s branch manager both faced criminal charges.
Then, in April 2019, another New York construction worker was fatally struck from above by a crane’s counterweight. When the same company struck a building with another crane just three months later, it was investigated and fined $110,000.
Falling object accidents aren’t limited to New York or even to areas with high-rise buildings. Any construction site where objects, structures, or personnel will be located even one story above the ground can become the scene of such an accident if the equipment is faulty or correct safety procedures are not observed.
In Brickell, Florida, in August 2020, a crane dropped a cage full of rebar onto six workers below. All were injured, and two were impaled. Amazingly, they were all successfully rescued and treated, although this required cutting through the rebar to free them. A fire and rescue responder reported that the crane had malfunctioned.
Here in Georgia, just a month earlier, a boom truck seemingly experienced a similar malfunction and dropped a sign that was being installed at the West Macon Quality Inn. The falling sign killed an 18-year-old construction worker and seriously injured two more senior coworkers on the job. The inn was not by any means a high-rise building.
Clearly, the use of cranes contributes to the danger of construction work sites.
Responsibility And Liability Are Broad-Based
Construction Companies Are Responsible for Protecting Workers and Pedestrians from Falling Objects
Like any other type of employer, construction companies are responsible for providing a safe, OSHA-compliant working environment for all employees, contractors, and authorized guests. OSHA provides specific instructions on protecting construction workers from falling objects, and regardless of how often these standards are violated, they continue to act as a reference point for what a safe workplace should look like, making it harder for negligent employers to deflect blame. Where there are relevant OSHA violations, a construction company can’t very well claim that it did everything it could to keep workers safe.
For projects involving cranes and similar hoisting equipment, OSHA regulations include daily rigging inspections, carefully planned movements during each lift, and keeping personnel clear of the potential drop zone to the greatest extent possible. There’s also an entire code section devoted to the slings that connect the cranes to their cargo, which must be used only according to the manufacturer’s ratings and recommendations.
Misused or poorly made cranes aren’t the only cause of falling objects at construction sites, however, and OSHA standards reflect this too. Whenever work is taking place six or more feet from the ground, with any possibility of tools or materials falling into other workspaces below, construction companies are required to use at least one of the following strategies to guard against accidents:
Guardrails: Guardrails are primarily used to protect workers on higher levels from falling, but if they are accompanied by screens or other floor-length barriers, they can also protect workers on lower levels from falling objects.
Toeboards: A toeboard is a vertical lip at the edge of an upper level, intended to keep objects from rolling or sliding off the edge. To provide sufficient protection, toeboards must run the entire length of the edge, be able to hold at least 50 pounds, and be at least 3.5 inches tall. If objects are going to be stacked any higher than 3.5 inches near the toeboard, a taller screen is required as well.
Canopies: Canopies over lower-level workspaces are also a viable option, but they must be able to withstand the weight of the objects that could potentially fall from higher levels. This method works best in conjunction with higher-level guards, or on sites where the most likely falling objects are hand tools and lightweight materials.
In addition to installing appropriate safeguards, construction companies should also ensure that bricks and similar materials are never stacked within four feet of an upper level’s edge.
Equipment Manufacturers Also Share in Responsibility for Falling Object Injuries
Sometimes, construction companies and their workers at every level can do everything right, and the equipment can still fail, causing injuries or death. Other times, both defective equipment and inadequate onsite precautions can contribute to the same accident. In several of the cases above, for example, cranes dropped their cargo as the result of a malfunction. Those malfunctions could have been caused by design errors, manufacturing errors, misuse on the part of the construction company, or any combination of the three.
Manufacturers and designers of heavy machinery hold people’s lives in their hands just as much as employers do, and the law recognizes that responsibility.
When an accident is caused by defective equipment, the equipment manufacturer is liable for the damages, instead of or in addition to the construction company.
In these cases, it can actually be easier for workers to obtain fair compensation than if only the construction company were at fault. This is because injuries caused by employer negligence are usually covered by workers’ comp, which only pays for medical expenses and a portion of lost income, with no consideration for pain or altered quality of life. Employees can only sue their employers for injury compensation if they are not eligible for workers’ comp, if they are wrongly denied workers’ comp, or if they can prove that the employer caused the injuries intentionally, rather than simply out of indifference or greed.
Product liability suits do not have to contend with this obstacle. Workers who have been injured by the negligence of a company they do not work for can sue that company for full compensation, regardless of their own employment classification or workers’ comp eligibility. That compensation can include medical expenses both present and future (including those already paid by workers’ comp), lost income both present and future, pain and suffering, and lost enjoyment in other aspects of life.
Have You or A Loved One Been Hit by A Falling Object at A Construction Site?
Contact The Stoddard Firm Today
The legal experts at The Stoddard Firm are passionate about the right of every single worker and citizen to be protected from needless health and safety hazards, and to be fully, fairly compensated for any failure of that protection. When it comes to securing said compensation for our clients, we have extensive experience in all relevant areas of law, including employer liability, product liability, and premises liability.
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one to a falling object at a construction site, we’ll examine the case from all angles, mapping out exactly what had to go wrong for the accident to occur, from equipment and supply quality to company policy to the exact circumstances present at the moment in question. We’ll also work with you to assess the accident’s full effect on your life, from immediate expenses to less obvious emotional losses that might not be your primary focus yet, but that deserve acknowledgment all the same. Finally, we’ll present the facts of your accident, the fault, and the consequences, in terms that judges and juries respect.
To talk to one of our lawyers about your case today, reach out at 470-467-2200 or through our online chat function for a free consultation.
Attorney Matt Stoddard
Matt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]
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