Lawsuits Filed After Scaffolding Collapses

Construction workers face danger daily in the ordinary course of their workday. Even so, when a worksite has been secured by safety procedures that have been carefully implemented, builders have every reasonable expectation of returning home to their families intact.  When an ordinary workday turns disastrous and lives are forever changed, these hard-working men and women can no longer provide for their families.  After a construction accident, what remedy exists for the injured to obtain necessary medical care and for these families to build new lives?

In October, 2015, two tragic scaffold collapses in Houston, Texas have resulted in injuries, deaths, and at least one worker left in a vegetative state.  So, who was at fault, and who will provide care for these workers and their families?

Building Scaffolding
Building Construction, Scaffold Collapse

Investigations are on-going, and whether the collapses were caused by anchors at the top of the building breaking loose after these anchors were improperly secured, faulty construction or materials used in building the scaffolding, faulty concrete causing a lack of integrity in the soundness of the scaffold’s attachment to the building, or bolts not properly secured, the investigations will point to the parties or party responsible for the failure of the scaffolding to provide protection and support.

Some of these workers will suffer life-long injuries, and will most likely collect Worker’s Compensation benefits unless the companies involved have opted out of Worker’s Comp Insurance as provided by Texas law.  Many large retailers, trucking companies, health care, and food companies have already opted out, which means the employer has almost complete control over the medical and legal process after workers are injured.

Worker’s Compensation exists because employers owe a duty to workers injured on the job and their families and to pay for the workers’ medical bills and lost wages.  According to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, the Texas alternative to Worker’s Comp usually cuts off treatment after two years and doesn’t pay compensation for most permanent disabilities and strictly limits payouts in the event of a death or catastrophic injury.

The families directly affected by these scaffolding collapses in October have retained lawyers to obtain any and all benefits due to them as a result of the workplace accident which has caused these horrific injuries.  Their construction accident attorney will investigate the cause of the accident, the extent of injuries and long-term impact on these individuals and their families, and whether or not a third party can be sued, such as the contracting company which installed the scaffold system or the manufacturer of the scaffolding.

These families have acted wisely in obtaining legal representation right away.  All states have a time limit (statute of limitations for work injuries) for injury claim lawsuits to be filed, and as time passes, evidence and witnesses can become difficult or impossible to find.

The personal injury lawyers at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC based in Morgantown have represented many construction accident victims in West Virginia during the past twenty-five years, and are ready to help you if you have been hurt or are suffering after the death of a loved one.  We have successfully handled a wide variety of claims ranging from slip and fall injuries to wrongful deaths from coal mine explosions and power plant accidents.  If you were injured in West Virginia, protect your legal rights by calling us today for a free case evaluation:  304-594-1800.

 

Common Foot Injuries From Accidents

Workplace accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents often result in various types of foot injuries.  These injuries can be extremely debilitating and life changing.  Suddenly, through no fault of your own, you find that you can no longer enjoy activities that have been an important part of your life up to the time of the accident.  Often surgery, physical therapy, and weeks of limited activity are required for optimum healing.  Some of the most common foot injuries include compartment syndromes, fractures of the metatarsals, and fracture of the heel bone (calcaneus).

Acute Foot Injuries

Acute foot injuries that often result from work or motor vehicle accidents include severe bruising, torn ligaments, puncture wounds, ruptured tendons, joint sprains, muscle strains, as well as various types of broken, fractured, shattered, or dislocated bones.

Compartment Syndromes of the Foot

Ankle pain - detailCompartment syndromes of the foot typically result from workplace, industrial, agricultural, warehouse, and motor vehicle accidents.  When a heavy object runs over, crushes, or impacts the foot, swelling occurs along with severe pain. The foot structure consists of many small compartments.  These compartments are filled with muscles, nerves, and tendons and are lined by a tight membrane.  When an injury to the foot occurs, there is often some bleeding in the muscle tissue, causing the foot to swell and expand.   The lining of this membrane has a limited capacity to expand.  If the fluid and muscle swelling inside the compartment becomes significant, they may exceed the blood flow in and out of the small compartments.  If the pressure inside the compartment increases too much, the nerves and muscles start to get squeezed and stop functioning properly.

Metatarsal Fractures; Lisfranc Injury

Injuries to the metatarsal joints are quite common.  They can occur from something as simple as twisting your foot when stepping unevenly or may occur from more violent injuries such as a fall, work accident, or car accident that crush the metatarsals. Surgery is required in most of these injuries.  The broken or dislocated foot bones often need screws that are inserted internally into the bones across the joints for optimum healing.  If surgery is not performed, then a boot or a cast is used.  It can take eight to ten weeks for this fracture to heal with a 70% success rate using the cast.  Surgery has a better success rate with a six-week healing time.  The screws are typically left in for four to five months after the surgery and then removed.  No walking on the foot is permitted for six weeks, and then walking is allowed with a removable b oot for the next four weeks.  Swimming and biking are permitted early on after the surgery. If left untreated, full healing may never occur which means you will never return to your normal activities and which also may lead to painful arthritis that requires treatment.

Fracture of the Heel Bone (Calcaneus)

Fractures of the heel bone are debilitating injuries.  Usually, these fractures occur from car accidents and work accidents when a tremendous force crushes the heel and fragments the bone. Surgery is required to put the bone back together with a metal place and multiple screws.  This procedure decreases the likelihood of severe arthritis later on and maximizes the potential for a good recovery.  If the bone is severely crushed, the bone may also need to be fused.  Following the surgery, no walking on the foot is permitted for three months, and physical therapy is required.  Typical recovery time is about six months.  Occasionally, the surgery does not result in healing and must be repeated. Surgery on the heel  should be performed as soon as possible after the injury to prevent permanent widening and deformity of the heel in addition to chronic pain and arthritis.

Morgantown Accident Lawyers

If your foot or heel injury has resulted from an accident due to the negligence of another driver or your employer, please contact our office and we would be happy to evaluate whether we can help you gain compensation for  your pain, lost wages, and medical bills.  Jeff Robinette at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC in Morgantown, WV has helped many workplace accident and car accident victims get the recovery they need. Call today for your free consultation at (304)594-1800 or visit our website to learn more about navigating the legal process of recovering from your injuries.  If you are a WV accident victim, we would be glad to send a free book to your home, or make an immediate download of one of our three books available to you for no cost or obligation.

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First Energy Found to be at Fault in Death of Employee

In September of 2011, 63-year-old Rivesville man was killed in a workplace accident at the FirstEnergy Harrison Power Station near Lumberport.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ruled the plant’s owner, First Energy, is at fault in the death of one of its employees.

OSHA ruled he died by getting crushed between a moving platform of a Rotary Plow Feeder and a standing guardrail. According to OSHA’s report, First Energy allowed employees to work in an environment where the equipment could cause several fatal injuries.

Officials said First Energy contested the ruling and is now pursuing a settlement with OSHA. (WBOY.com)

A bulk handling operations technician was trapped between a piece of machinery and a guardrail in the coal handling area near 12:30 p.m.  Ned Johnson had worked for FirstEnergy for twenty-five years and for the Harrison Power Station for two years.  This area was closed by the company after the accident.

Although at least three other FirstEnergy employees in Ohio and Pennsylvania have been killed on the job in the last six months, FirstEnergy’s Harrison Power Station is part of a labor department program meant to allow work sites with good safety records to avoid routine Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspections.  This program has been criticized by workplace safety advocates and congressional auditors.  The Harrison Power Station has not been inspected for more than a decade according to the U.S. Department of Labor.  The Harrison Power Plant was last inspected in July of 2000 and cited with two minor violations.

Operators of heavy construction and industrial equipment face some of the most dangerous work conditions in America. When a piece of equipment fails, bringing a machine that can weigh multiple tons or more to an emergency stop is often impossible. Operators behind the wheel or working near the equipment are at the mercy of unstoppable mass and energy.

For more information about workplace accidents  please visit us at http://www.robinettelaw.com or call 304-594-1800

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