Articles Posted in Construction Accidents

construction siteFatal Crane Accident Reported at Southern California Construction Site


Many jobs are dangerous, but certain jobs pose more injury risks than others. According to a recent report from NBC 4 Southern California, a SoCal Edison worker recently suffered fatal injuries in a crane accident. The incident took place at around 4:00 p.m. in the Los Angeles area at a West Hollywood construction site. The fatally injured worker was transported to a nearby hospital by emergency medical responders, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival. An article in the Los Angeles Times also covered the story, detailing how the contractor was “crushed between a construction crane and a trailer.”

The accident occurred in an area heavy with construction, as it has seen a “redevelopment boom in recent years.” A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department described the incident as an “industrial accident.” Soon after the worker sustained these deadly injuries, representatives from the California division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“Cal/OSHA”) arrived at the scene to investigate.

construction siteConstruction sites can pose serious construction accident dangers to workers as well as to passersby. According to a recent report from ABC 10 News, a crane collapse in San Diego caused serious injuries to a laborer. At construction sites, employers have a duty to keep workplaces safe for employees. When accidents such as this one occur, it may be possible to seek financial compensation by filing a construction accident lawsuit.

Crane Collapse on a Southern California Freeway


As the report explains, construction workers on State Route 15 had been using a crane to move concrete barriers for a freeway ramp. That crane actually “toppled over,” and it pinned the injured worker between two barricades. An article in The San Diego Union-Tribune also discussed the accident, noting that the crane was a large one involved in the Caltrans construction project. In addition to severely injuring the employee, the accident also blocked lanes on the freeway for about five hours. During that time, motorists largely remained stranded until officers from the California Highway Patrol could arrive to reroute traffic.

Construction work takes place every day in sunny California. While many construction projects reach completion without any dangerous accidents or injuries, construction work can be extremely hazardous. Indeed, construction accidents often result in severe and fatal injuries. According to a recent article from ABC 7, a freeway bypass collapse in Willits left four construction workers with serious injuries and another trapped beneath debris.

Details of the Mendocino Bypass Collapse

How did this accident happen? Caltrans has been working on a freeway bypass in Mendocino County. It’s intended to be a nearly 6-mile overpass, but it has encountered a number of problems along the way. Most notable, it “has been beset by lengthy delays and cost overruns.” The bypass is projected to cost around $210 million, but it has only reached approximate 50 percent completion. It’s also two years behind schedule.

Cal/OSHA’s Campaign to Prevent Heat-Related Work Injuries

Do you have a job that requires you to work outside?  While the weather in Southern California is often warm, summertime and its heat waves can result in serious heat illness injuries to construction workers, roofers, agricultural workers, landscapers, athletes, and others who work in particularly hot temperatures.  According to a recent article in Digital Journal, this time of year means that California employers and employees alike “should take steps to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries.”

Hot Sun
Awareness about heat-related workplace injuries is important in our state, and Cal/OSHA has “launched a campaign to educate workers and employers about the risks of heat illness and ways to stay safe while working outside in hot weather.”  According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the campaign is part of a nationwide one that aims to educate employers and employees about the dangers of working outside in hot weather, particularly in the summertime.

Earlier this month in Bakersfield, an implosion at a decommissioned steam power plant led to the severe injury of five spectators, according to a report in New York Daily News. Construction accidents often result in serious injuries, and this incident was no different. In a parking lot at 6 a.m. near the planned implosion in California’s Central Valley, more than 1,000 people had gathered to view the destruction of the plant owned by Pacific Gas & Electric.

Soon after the plant building came crashing down, police officers heard screams for help, and one officer found a man whose leg had been severed. According to Lt. Scott Tunnicliffe, “it was a piece of shrapnel that came flying out of the explosion and came across and went through a couple of chain link fences, struck him, and impacted into a vehicle.”

Power%20Plant.jpgThe plant was decommissioned in 1986, and residents of southern California have been eagerly awaiting its implosion as new development has been planned in the area. Since 1986, the area remained relatively untouched until new plans were made for the space.

Routine work at California construction sites may seem reasonably safe, but construction accidents can often lead to serious injuries and fatalities. Last month, a construction worker died in an industrial accident in Murrieta. According to the Southwest Riverside News Network, the victim was 38-year-old Antonio Toro of Riverside. Like many other construction workers, Toro died after a forklift “flipped over and pinned him.”

cloudy%20courthouse.jpgToro’s death comes quite soon after another construction fatality in Southern California. In April 2013, an Edison worker died in an accident in Menifee. The victim, 38-year-old Jose Raul Ros, had been a distribution lineman. While working on an underground vault, an explosion led to his death, according to Los Angeles’s local ABC 7 News.

Thousands of construction workers are injured on the job each year in California, and many of these injuries result in fatalities. If you or a loved one have been injured in a construction accident, you should contact an experienced construction accident lawyer today. Although you might at first assume you only have a workers’ compensation claim, you may actually be able to file additional claims for compensation.

When you are injured at work, you may wonder how you can file a lawsuit and who you can bring the lawsuit against. In many cases, if you are injured at work, you cannot sue your employer. Instead of a lawsuit, you must file a workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ compensation law and its processes are quite different from a personal injury suit.

However, if you are injured at work by someone other than your employer or fellow employees, you may be able to seek personal injury damages against the responsible party. In some cases, there may even be more than one responsible party. In those types of cases, it may be easier to make your case because you only have to make your case for liability against all of the responsible parties.Then the responsible parties must present their own evidence to show that the other party caused your injury. Generally, this “finger-pointing” can lead to a larger recovery for you, because they will essentially help you prove your case against the other party.

While injuries can occur in any type of workplace, injuries are particularly commonplace in construction and other heavy industrial environments. If you think about a construction site or other heavy industrial workplace, the dangers are immediately apparent. Such places have a lot of tools, equipment, scaffolding, and materials that can cause harm to anyone on the job site. Those items can belong to anyone on the site, because many construction and heavy industrial workplaces have a number of contractors and subcontractors present. Statistically, the more workers and more dangerous materials on the job site, the more likely that an injury will occur.

Our San Diego accident attorney has been closely following the developments related to the San Ysidro scaffolding collapse. Local residents know that the accident sent dense clouds of dust and metal, wood, and concrete debris flying onto motorists driving below the construction site and left about two dozen people injured. Since this horrific and terrifying incident occurred, details have slowly started to emerged about what caused the collapse. Although the official cause remains under investigation, some information has come out in the aftermath of this accident. san%20ysidro%20collapse.jpg

The collapse occurred at the San Ysidro border crossing post at the border between California and Mexico. A construction company, which was hired to demolish an old bridge that is no longer in use was attempting to take the bridge apart one piece at a time. The company, Hensel Phelps Construction of Greeley, Colorado, had built scaffolding for workers to operate from as they dismantled the bridge. At the time of the incident, another company, Miller Environmental, Inc. of Anaheim, California, had its workers removing plaster from another building that was also set to be demolished. Miller Environmental is a subcontractor, hired by Hensel Phelps to assist with completing a portion of the project. State and federal officials are proceeding with their investigations to determine the precise cause of the accident and what could have – and should have – been done to prevent it.

As details of the incident and its cause continue to become available, another important question has emerged: Who is responsible? In any construction project, there is typically a general contractor who is responsible for overseeing the project in its entirety and ensuring that it is completed on time and to the specifications of the customer. However, the general contractor typically does not have the expertise to perform all aspects of the job. Therefore, general contractors will usually hire subcontractors to complete the tasks that require specialized knowledge in a particular area. For example, a general contractor who is hired to build a house will likely hire subcontractors to do the electrical wiring, plumbing work, and so on. This is a necessary and accepted aspect of construction, but it raises the question of which party or parties should be responsible when something goes wrong. The law usually allows victims of construction accidents to seek compensation for all involved parties who failed in their duty to keep the area safe.

By all accounts Junethea Centeno was a popular girl with many friends and an active Facebook page. Sadly, the 18-year-old Palomar College student died last Tuesday after she lost control of her Honda Civic on northbound I-15 in Escondido and struck a concrete barrier where some roadwork was being performed. A memorial Facebook page has been set up with an astounding 25,000 followers.

Junethea’s father, who was returning from Japan where he is stationed with the Navy at the time of his daughter’s death, believes the death may have preventable. He told the North County Times that he believes the way the temporary concrete barrier was set up created a dangerous condition on the roadway, and that had it been set up correctly, Junethea’s collision may have been far less severe. Her boyfriend visited the scene shortly after the crash told 10 News, “There were no orange drums, no cones, no reflectors, nothing like that.”

Apparently CalTrans was contacted, but it has refused to comment on the condition of the road. In cases like this, the legal question is whether the construction zone and concrete barrier were set up in a way that created an unreasonably dangerous condition. If the answer to that question is Yes, then a lawsuit could be brought against CalTrans, and probably the construction crew doing the work, assuming it was being done by a separate third-party contractor under contract with CalTrans. Before a lawsuit can be filed, however, a governmental claim must first be made against CalTrans, and that claim must be denied.

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The North County Times is out today with an article on highway work zone safety. The good news is that the number of accidents and injuries is down. The bad news is that doing road work is still a very dangerous way to earn a living.

Nick Nusser is a contractor from Atkinson Construction, and is one of many workers who make their living working on the side of the highway while cars race by. His “office is the freeway,” which, he says, makes him keep his “head on a swivel.” The only thing keeping him safe from careless drivers is a low concrete divider and an orange vest.

Despite the obvious dangers of working on the highway – which have no doubt increased with the advent of texting – the number of car accidents in work zones has actually declined over the last decade. The number of crashes statewide has declined from 6,901 in 1998 to 4,374 in 2008. Injuries and fatalities have also declined dramatically.

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