As a construction worker, when you enter trenches that were not built or protected carefully, your life may be put at risk. Trenches can collapse without warning, crushing a construction worker or visitor to the construction site and even killing them. The soil on the sides of the trench may weigh thousands of pounds. Nearly forty people died in the course of performing trench and excavation work in the United States in 2022. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in this manner, you should call the trustworthy Chicago trench collapse attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our firm has over 60 years of experience fighting for clients who have been injured that we can put to work for you in a personal injury lawsuit, workers’ compensation claim, or SSDI claim.Trench Collapse
Trenches are dug on construction sites using heavy equipment like an excavator. The trenches may be as deep as 20 feet and can be dug for the purpose of burying an electrical line, install a sewer line, lay down gas or water pipes, and pour foundations. A shoring system using hydraulic jacks, timber piling, metal pressure plates or other methods is usually built to support the wall and prevent trench collapse. A major reason for trench collapse is improper shoring.
When a trench collapses, a worker may be buried under not only dirt but also debris, or anything not secured on the side of the trench. His injuries could include harm to the back, shoulder, neck and head, as well as broken bones and internal injuries. When covered with dirt or other materials, a workers may suffocate; while workers rescued quickly may survive, others may lose air for too long to make it out. Workers in a collapsed trench for too long may drown to death or suffer electrical burns depending on what’s around the trench at the time of the collapse.
OSHA has regulations in place to avoid potential collapse and has advised crews to slow down to complete trenchwork. Trenches are supposed to have safe entrances and exits. The edges of the trench are supposed to be kept clear. Crews are supposed to watch out for standing water or other warning signs. Unfortunately, workers in trenches are often expected to work quickly to restore electrical, water, and other services to customers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s message to work crews is to slow down and put in the hours beforehand to prevent a potential collapse.Liability for Trench Collapse
It may be appropriate to pursue damages from a person or entity responsible for trench collapse. If you were a construction worker onsite, you cannot sue your employer for negligence if your employer caused the cave-in. Rather, in order to recover damages, our attorneys will have to show another party’s negligence or misconduct caused your injuries. To establish negligence, we would need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) the defendant owed you a duty to use reasonable care, (2) breach of the duty to use reasonable care, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages.Lawyers to Recover Damages After Trench Collapse
When our attorneys are able to establish liability, we may be able to obtain damages on your behalf. These can include both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are tangible losses, which are concrete and, typically, documented. These may cover your medical bills, replacement services, out-of-pocket costs, and lost income. Noneconomic losses are more frequently established through the use of testimony— yours and that of your family and friends. Intangible losses may include loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and disfigurement. Wrongful death damages may be recovered when a decedent’s death was caused by negligence; these damages typically include funeral and burial expenses, loss of society, and loss of services.Consult a Chicago Lawyer About Injuries Sustained in a Trench Collapse
If you were injured or a loved one died as a result of a cave-in, you need skillful legal representation. Call the experienced Chicago trench collapse lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to handle your personal injury lawsuit, workers’ compensation claim, and SSDI claim. Call us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or fill out our online form .