Rescue crews have recovered the bodies of two workers at a construction site who were killed when a lift basket fell 80 feet from a crane, according to a recent report. The accident took place at the site of a bridge being constructed in Winters, California. Rescuers moved the bodies to a staging area near the bed of Putah Creek then to a waiting coroner’s van while family members waited at a nearby auto repair shop.
An OSHA crane team was on the scene almost immediately after the accident to determine its cause. The crane did not topple, but the victims still fell 80 feet when the basked broke loose from the crane. They landed in a 30-foot hole dug for the footing of the new bridge.
The construction accident occurred at the site where an old bridge had stood for decades. It was removed and the temporary bridge set in place while the footings were dug for the new bridge on either side of the creek bank. The bridge will span Putah Creek and connects Yolo and Solano Counties.
Company Accused of Previous Violations
Disney Construction is in charge of the project. In the last decade, Disney Construction has been issued nine safety violations. In 2008, at a bridge construction side in the South Bay, state inspectors found four serious breaches of regulations regarding work safety. The initial citations came with a fine of $4,500 that was later reduced to $750.
A second situation involved another South Bay job in 2006. That citation involved five violations as well as a $5,165 fine that was reduced to $1,500.
Construction Accidents Most Prevalent Work-Related Accidents
According to data from the California Department of Industrial Relations, there are about 673,000 workers in the construction industry in California. Construction workers died at a higher rate than workers in any other industry. From 2008 to 2012, there were approximately 280 deaths in California related to construction. Falls were the leading cause of these deaths.
Liability in Work-Related Accidents
Work accidents can be very complicated cases to pursue from a legal standpoint. This is because there are two compensation options open to some victims of work-related accidents: workers’ compensation and a personal injury lawsuit. If the worker was injured by a third-party’s negligence, a personal injury lawsuit may be the more appropriate course of action and may result in a much larger settlement.
However, that does not mean that workers’ compensation cases should be ignored. First of all, the employer is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for employees. This allows injured workers to receive instant medical treatment if they are injured on the job. Further, workers’ compensation can pay injured workers a weekly benefit while they recover. However, workers’ compensation also has some drawbacks. For example, a victim cannot visit just any doctor; he or she must see the doctor designated by the workers’ compensation policy. Workers’ compensation may also deny coverage for certain expenses or may limit the amount paid for care such as physical therapy, chiropractic treatments or occupational therapy and training.
A personal injury lawsuit may provide much more in an award of monetary damages than workers’ compensation. However, personal injury lawsuits can only be filed in certain cases and often take a relatively long time to settle. This may limit the funds available for medical and other expenses in the immediately future.
If you have been injured in an on-the-job accident, contact a Sacramento construction accident lawyer immediately. You should do everything possible to protect your rights and insure that your employer and the company’s insurance carrier pay you the money to which you are entitled.