Atlanta Trenching & Excavation Accident Lawyer
It’s safe to say that any construction project of any size will involve some amount of trenching or excavation, whether it’s to bury cable and install underground utilities or build a foundation for a skyscraper. Trenches may seem innocuous, but they are deceptively dangerous. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHSA), somewhere around 1,000 trenches collapse every year, causing deaths in as many as ten percent of all collapses.
Employees who are injured in a trench collapse in Atlanta can receive workers’ compensation benefits to pay for their medical bills and cover two-thirds of their lost wages while they are out of work, and the families of workers killed on the job can receive a death benefit. But some construction workers are classified as independent contractors and don’t get the benefit of workers’ comp. Those workers (or their families) need to file a lawsuit against the responsible party and prove negligence to recover compensation for their injuries. Although proving negligence is harder than applying for workers’ comp, the amount recoverable is much higher. Negligence claims are also available to employees when a third party was responsible for the trenching or excavation accident that resulted in injury.
Shiver Hamilton Campbell is an Atlanta trenching & excavation accident lawyer that focuses exclusively on helping injury victims and their families recover significant compensation for serious or fatal injuries. Our firm is known for taking the most difficult cases to court and trying them before a jury, and we are known for the substantial results we achieve. If you have been injured in a trenching or excavation accident in Atlanta, or if you lost a beloved family member to a fatal construction accident, call Shiver Hamilton Campbell for a no-cost consultation to discuss the financial help that may be available to you.
Trenching Versus Excavation
OSHA defines an excavation as “any human-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the Earth’s surface formed by earth removal.” A trench is simply any excavation that is deeper than it is wide, up to 15 feet in width at the bottom.
Workers who are unaccustomed to working in trenches might think the walls around them are very stable, but nothing could be further from the truth. Any trench wall will collapse over time. If a trench is dug more than five feet deep, federal safety laws require that the trench walls be sloped, shored, benched or shielded for maximum stability. Even with these precautions, site supervisors must ensure that workers are kept in trenches for the minimum time required to complete their operations and that trenches are closed once they are no longer safe. It is the responsibility of those in charge of the site to take these measures and make sure only properly trained workers are sent into a trench.
Causes of Trench and Excavation Accidents
Getting caught in a collapsing trench is the greatest danger to workers engaged in trenching and excavation operations. One cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car and quickly crush or bury a worker trapped in a trench. A trench collapse is likely to cause severe or fatal injury. Other serious accidents that can occur during trenching and excavation include the following:
- Rocks or tools that are left at the edge of the trench fall in and strike workers below
- Heavy equipment or mounds of soil are left piled up near the edge, causing a cave-in or collapse
- Lack of shoring or inadequate shoring causes a cave-in
- Workers strike buried electrical cables with shovels or machinery, causing electrocution injury or death
- Workers strike underground gas lines, causing fires or explosions and severe or fatal burn injuries
- Workers strike buried plumbing or excavate below the water table, leading to flooding and drowning
- Workers suffocate or asphyxiate from the buildup of gases due to working in an unventilated or improperly ventilated trench
Contractors, developers, and property owners in charge of the site may be liable to workers injured in trenching and excavation accidents, as well as third-party contractors hired to rent the equipment or perform the operations. Failing to provide adequate training and supervision to people working in or near open pits or trenches, or failing to provide adequate shoring and simple safety features such as ladders or exit ramps, are examples of inexcusable negligence. Our Atlanta construction accident attorneys at Shiver Hamilton Campbell work to identify the responsible parties and hold them accountable when their lack of care leads to an otherwise preventable serious injury or death. We have the knowledge, skills, resources and dedication to take on your claim and get results.
Help Is Here From A Atlanta Trenching & Excavation Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a trenching or excavation accident in Atlanta or lost a beloved family member to a metro Atlanta construction accident, please call Shiver Hamilton Campbell at 404-593-0020 for assistance. We take on cases involving the most serious catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, and we fight to secure significant compensation for our clients who were hurt because of another’s negligence or wrongful conduct.