Long Island Trench Collapses

Long Island Trench Collapses

Trench collapses are preventable incidents that are often deadly. Long Island has seen deadly trench collapses in the area. A lack of proper protection systems often receives the blame for these incidents, and some party may bear liability for those faulty or non-existent safety systems.

Even if it doesn’t cost a worker their life, a trench collapse can cost them their livelihood, health, independence, and peace. That’s on top of what it costs in medical care and lost income—and they shouldn’t have to take on all these costs alone. Contractors or other parties may bear responsibility for their careless attitude toward the safety of construction workers.

So, if you faced injuries in a Long Island trench collapse or lost a family member due to one, call Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP now. We offer a free case review where we explain your rights and legal options.

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Our Attorneys Take Your Long Island Trench Collapse Case With No Upfront Fees

Top 100 Lawyers

Our law firm serving Long Island does not charge any upfront legal fees. Instead, we work on a contingency-fee basis. Our attorneys only get paid if we obtain compensation for you. This means that our legal fees come as a percentage of your settlement or award. We can tell you more about our contingent-fee agreement during your free consultation, so you know what to expect during your case.

We want to alleviate as much of your stress as possible—and we aim to do that by easing the financial burden of hiring an attorney.

Why Choose Our Lawyers for Your Long Island Trench Collapse Case?

Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP has a reputation for handling the toughest cases and securing some of the highest awards for our clients on Long Island. Our resources and diverse experience help us achieve these results.

A construction accident lawyer at our firm can take aggressive legal action to hold any liable parties accountable. We can investigate your case, discover the cause of the cave-in, and determine if the incident resulted from violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety regulations. We can also uncover previous dangerous practices the contractor engaged in. From there, we can demand fair and full compensation for your injuries and losses with the weight of the law behind us.

Construction accident victims appreciate us because we offer:

  • Aggressive action
  • More than 100 years of combined experience
  • A practice devoted 100 percent to personal injury
  • A reputation for securing multi-million dollar results
  • Strong financial resources to invest in every case
  • Compassionate legal care and individual attention

Contractors know the extensive regulations for building trenches—and their failure to implement proper safety measures is a choice. When construction companies and contractors disregard the lives of their laborers, they need a wake-up call to prevent it from happening in the future. Our lawyers want to fight to hold them accountable.

We Achieve High-Value Results

We work diligently to bring high-value results that make a difference in our clients’ lives. Construction incidents often lead to catastrophic injuries that require extensive medical care and support. If a trench collapse injured you, you can trust that our construction injury lawyers can fight for the money you deserve. Our law firm serving Long Island has won results in numerous construction incident claims.

Some of our results include the following:

  • $1 million for a client who fell off a ladder while working construction and suffered a head injury
  • $1.5 million for a construction worker who sustained a high-voltage shock when the utility pole he was moving came into contact with an electrical wire

We can’t guarantee the outcome of your case, but we strive to ensure you seek just compensation for the pain you suffered.  We handle all levels of injury cases.  Even if your case is not a seven figure case, call us. We work to secure each client the compensation they are entitled to.

How Much Compensation Can I Recover From a Trench Collapse Incident?

We cannot tell you the exact amount of compensation you can recover until we investigate your case and determine your losses.

In general, a settlement or award for an injury case could vary based on:

  • The severity of the injuries
  • The cost of your past and future medical treatment
  • How severely your life was affected by the injury
  • Who bears liability

Your medical treatment plays a significant role in tabulating your total damages. In fact, the cost of your care could make up a sizable portion of your compensation.

However, we believe you should wait until you receive sufficient treatment and understand your prognosis before determining your total costs. If treatment hasn’t concluded or you haven’t completed enough treatment, your doctor cannot accurately assess the extent of your recovery or any long-lasting conditions or permanent disability you sustained. You may require more treatment in the future if complications arise or the treatment was not as effective as hoped.

In addition to medical care costs, other expenses that stem from your trench collapse injuries could also factor into your compensation. Our state recognizes economic and non-economic damages, so your physical suffering, along with your psychological challenges, can also figure into your total losses.

Damages Available in a Trench Collapse Case

Our attorneys can tell you what types of damages we can help you claim in your trench collapse case.

Possible damages include:

  • Medical treatment, such as for surgery or other care
  • Hospitalization
  • Ambulance rides
  • Diagnostic tests, such as lab tests, X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs
  • Physical therapy
  • Lost income and benefits
  • Replacement household services
  • Reduced earning ability
  • Lost quality of life
  • Lost enjoyment of activities
  • Pain and suffering from your injuries
  • Permanent disability

Wrongful Death From a Trench Collapse on Long Island

If your loved one died due to a trench cave-in injury, we offer our sincerest condolences for your heartbreaking loss. It’s not fair that hardworking people and their families face devastation because of the carelessness of others, especially those in charge of ensuring their safety. You could file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party.

Recoverable damages in a wrongful death case could include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • End-of-life care costs
  • Lost financial support
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of guidance
  • Loss of services

Determining Liability in a Long Island Trench Collapse

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates trenching and excavation in construction. The agency requires contractors and construction companies to put protective systems in place to ensure worker safety and prevent cave-ins. When a trench collapses, negligence is likely a strong contributing factor.

OSHA notes that cave-ins are a leading cause of trench collapses. Moreover, a failure to provide trench protection commonly leads to excavation citations.

This may come as no surprise to construction workers and their families. While you generally cannot file a lawsuit against an employer in our state, others could be responsible for their negligence on a job site. Read on to learn more about how state law protects workers and who could bear liability as a result.

Construction Site Owners and Contractors May Bear Liability Under Labor Laws

New York Labor Law 200 requires construction site owners and general contractors to ensure the job site’s safety for workers and visitors. Contractors and site owners can bear liability for dangerous or defective conditions on the site if they knew or should have known about them if the site was under their supervisory control.

Some job sites lack protections out of a need to save money and time. Others may lack protections due to a lack of adequate training or awareness of the dangers.

A construction accident lawyer from our firm can investigate the trench collapse and the contractor’s history to determine any violations of OSHA regulations or state law that indicate negligence. You may have a claim against the construction site owner or contractor for your trench collapse injuries or your loved one’s loss.

Product Liability

If faulty equipment, tools, or machinery contributed to your trench collapse on Long Island, our firm can help you recover damages through a product liability claim. For instance, a failed hydraulic support, faulty ladder, or malfunctioning machinery could have contributed to the collapse or made the injury unavoidable. The product manufacturer may bear responsibility in this case, either for the product’s design, the product’s manufacturing, the warnings provided, or the product’s advertisement.

When Another Third Party Bears Liability

Someone else may have contributed to the trench collapse you experienced. If it was someone other than a coworker or your employer, you could recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit. For instance, a negligent third-party service provider, such as an electrician or engineer, could bear liability for your injuries.

If you have none of the above-listed avenues for a lawsuit against a negligent party, you could also seek a recovery through workers’ compensation insurance. Our law firm can collaborate with your workers’ compensation attorney if needed.

How Trench Collapses Happen on Construction Sites

A trench collapse occurs when the trench walls cannot support the weight of the soil on top of them.

When excavating a trench, a competent person on the job site must consider multiple factors, including the soil type, soil moisture, rock stability, and other conditions. Each of these affects the stability of the soil. For example, dry soil may not hold the trench walls together for long and wet soil may be too heavy for the trench walls to sustain. Many trench collapses happen in the winter and spring because the additional moisture increases the weight of the soil and exerts more pressure on the walls.

The leading cause of trench collapse is inadequate cave-in protection. When trench builders do not use the proper protections, they could more likely collapse.

Several things can trigger a collapse, such as:

  • Extra weight from equipment placed too close to the lip of the trench
  • Vibrations and weight from machinery, vehicles, and workers too close to the trench
  • Unsafe distance between the spoil pile and the trench opening
  • Water accumulating at the bottom of the trench

The Dangers Trench Workers Face

On average, the construction industry sees 19 trench deaths per year across the country, according to the NIOSH. Trench workers on Long Island face multiple dangers, including the threat of being buried under the soil.

According to OSHA, a single cubic yard of soil weighs about 3000 pounds. That’s about the same weight as a car. Burial in a large amount of soil during a trench collapse could mean being crushed to death or being suffocated.

Less obvious risks of working in trenches could also lead to injuries or death. For example, workers may run into unexpected underground utilities. Electrical wires and telephone lines can threaten electrocution, one of the four main causes of construction incident fatalities. Water lines beneath the soil may burst, flooding the trench and causing workers to drown. Workers may puncture or disturb gas pipelines, releasing hazardous gas that can lead to asphyxiation.

A Competent Person Must Inspect the Trench

OSHA requires a competent person on site to inspect the trench due to the risk of trench collapse injuries and related dangers. Per OSHA standards, a competent person refers to someone who has training and a designation by the site owner or contractor to inspect trenches, identify hazards, and take immediate corrective action.

They could need to evaluate the trench area and working conditions before the start of excavation, every day of work onsite, and throughout the day as necessary. If they find any dangers, they must halt work and remove trench workers until they resolve the situation.

The duties of a competent person can include:

  • Classifying soil
  • Inspecting protective systems
  • Designing structural ramps
  • Preplanning the trench digging
  • Monitoring water removal equipment
  • Conducting site inspections

OSHA Sets Guidelines to Prevent Trench Collapses

OSHA provides several guidelines and requirements to protect workers from getting injured in trenches.

When trenches are at least five feet, a contractor must employ:

  • Sloping: The trench walls are cut back at an angle away from the trench opening. This removes some of the weight from the walls and alleviates pressure on the soil, preventing a collapse.
  • Benching: A type of sloping, benching refers to forming a series of alternating horizontal and vertical steps leading away from the trench. Again, the design aims to prevent pressure from building on the trench walls.
  • Shoring: Shoring refers to the use of a support to brace the walls of the trench. Some form of metal, hydraulic, or other support can brace the trench’s sides to stabilize the walls.
  • Shielding: This method uses a metal material to protect workers in the event of a cave-in. Construction sites often use trench boxes, large metal boxes with an opening on the top and bottom. The sides protect the workers from a soil collapse, but trench boxes do not reduce pressure, so workers must remain inside the box to stay protected. Trench boxes must be installed and removed according to manufacturer specifications and OSHA requirements.

Improper installation or execution of any of these protective systems could result in a trench collapse or serious or fatal injury to workers. In that case, an injury lawyer at our law firm serving Long Island can investigate and help you obtain just compensation for your trench collapse injuries.

Statute of Limitations for Trench Collapse Lawsuits on Long Island

The state generally gives injured trench collapse workers just three years to file a lawsuit against the negligent party, and it could be as little as 90 days if a municipality is involved. Unless you have exceptions to your case, missing the deadline could mean losing your right to compensation. It’s in your best interest to contact a construction accident lawyer about your trench collapse case as soon as possible. Our law firm can make sure to investigate your case and file your claim before the legal deadline expires.

Contact Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP—Your Long Island Trench Collapse Advocates

Erin M. Hargis
Long Island Trench Collapses Attorneys , Erin M. Hargis

Injured construction workers should have a strong advocate. The personal injury lawyers at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP can fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your trench collapse injuries and stop dangerous and negligent trenching and excavation practices. You and your family should not bear the financial burden of these extremely preventable incidents on your own. We can also help families who lost a loved one to a trench collapse, as we can help you file a wrongful death suit and seek justice.
Call us today for a free case evaluation at (631) 451-7900, or contact us through our website. We’re ready to help. We can also assist you in Spanish.

Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP

1176 Portion Road
Holtsville, NY 11742

 

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