Construction workers have a high risk of injury from accidents on the job site. Working with heavy machines, dangerous materials, and in high locations can put a construction worker at risk of catastrophic injuries and life-threatening conditions. Six construction workers were recently hospitalized after an accident at a construction site near Brickell City Centre.
On August 5, 2020, around 11:30 in the morning, Miami Fire Rescue crews and members of the City of Miami Police Department responded to a report of a construction accident in the area of Eighth Street and First Avenue. One nearby resident described the accident as “super loud” and “like an explosion.”
According to City of Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Pete Sanchez, the accident occurred when workers were moving a bundle of rebar from the ground floor to a higher floor. Some type of malfunction caused the bundle of rebar to come crashing back down to the ground floor. The rebar struck six construction workers who were on the ground level.
Helping the Injured Workers to Free Themselves
Some nearby residents posted cell phone videos that showed workers trying to free injured workers from the rebar.
Rebar trapped three of the workers when it fell, but they managed to get out before emergency crews arrived. Rebar pieces impaled two other workers. First responders rescued a fourth worker trapped under the rebar.
Emergency responders transported six construction workers to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The injuries caused by the construction accident included wounds to the shoulder, leg, head, and chest. A nearby construction worker reported that most of the injured workers were ironworkers, which can be a dangerous occupation.
The Cause of the Accident is Still Under Investigation
William Real of Civic Construction issued a statement later in the day. In the statement, Mr. Real said that a reinforcing steel cage came loose. The tower crane of a structural contractor was moving the cage at the time of the incident.
Mr. Real also stated that the company is working with OSHA and the City of Miami Building Department to determine the cause of the accident and prevent the incident from occurring again.
Construction Accidents Account for Large Percentage of Work-Related Fatalities
In 2018, 4,779 individuals died in work-related accidents in private industries. Construction fatalities totaled just over one-fifth of those deaths. Being struck by an object was the second most common cause of construction deaths in 2018.
In Florida, 332 people died from fatal work injuries in 2018.
The private construction sector had the highest number of employee fatalities. The number of fatalities in the construction sector in Florida increased from 75 in 2017 to 101 deaths in 2018. Construction and extraction occupations had the highest number of workplace fatalities for the year.
Injuries Sustained in Construction Accidents
Construction workers sustain a wide variety of injuries each year, while on the job. Some of those injuries are mild, but many construction injuries are life-threatening and have the potential for causing permanent impairments.
Construction accidents can cause numerous injuries including, but not limited to:
- Crushing injuries
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limbs or amputation
- Severe burns
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Brain stem injury
- Wrongful death
When a construction worker is injured on the job, Florida’s workers’ compensation insurance system may provide benefits. However, workers’ compensation benefits do not compensate workers fully for all damages and losses caused by a construction site accident.
Liability Claims for Insurance on a Construction Site
The workers’ compensation laws prohibit workers from filing lawsuits against their employers for covered accidents and injuries. However, there are exceptions to that rule. Employers can be held liable for damages caused by construction accidents in some instances.
A worker may also have a claim against a third party for damages caused by an injury on a construction site. Other parties that might be liable for a worker’s injuries include, but are not limited to:
- General contractors
- Equipment manufacturers
- Construction site owners
Other third parties might have some liability for a construction site accident. Investigating the cause of the accident is the first step in recovering fair and just compensation for an injured construction worker.
By filing a third-party claim for a construction accident, an injured worker may receive additional compensation that is not available through workers’ compensation. A third-party liability claim may recover compensation for all loss of income, ongoing personal care or medical care, permanent impairments, emotional distress, physical pain, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Construction injury claims are subject to a statute of limitations. In most cases, claims must be filed within four years after the accident. Because there could be exceptions, it is best to speak with a construction injury lawyer as soon as possible.