Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP
Treating California’s Injured With Dignity And Respect
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California Construction Industry Accidents

Constant growth in California drives the construction industry in residential, commercial and roadway construction.  Construction can be dangerous because contractors often fail to take adequate care to protect construction workers.  Contractors can violate safety rules, OSHA regulations, industry standards, and building codes, causing tragic accidents that needlessly injure or kill construction workers.

The attorneys of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP, represent construction workers who have sustained serious injuries, and heirs of workers who lost their lives, building our homes, offices and the roads.  We also represent bystanders, passersby and other individuals who have suffered injuries construction accidents.

If you were injured in a construction-related accident, retain a skilled construction accident lawyer with a proven track record of getting results.  In construction-related accidents, it is imperative to retain an attorney soon after the incident to start the proper investigation.  Construction sites are constantly changing, and it is important to preserve evidence of how the site looked at the time of your accident with video and photographic evidence, as well as speaking to witnesses to obtain statements while the events are fresh.

Construction workers are frequently injured from:

  • Falling
  • Vehicle Accidents
  • Machinery Accidents
  • Faulty Equipment
  • Structural Collapse
  • Fires and Explosions
  • Electrocution
  • Falling Objects
  • Poor Maintenance

Falls account for the most deaths of construction workers each year.  While it is the construction workers who are exposed to many dangers and most often are the ones who suffer injuries, many people are also injured simply walking by construction projects from falling objects or by construction equipment on the sidewalk.

Many construction accident cases require extensive investigation to determine the cause of the incident and to identify all the various parties, including general contractors, subcontractors, engineers, and architects.  Workers’ compensation issues may be intertwined with a personal injury case.  Construction accidents also can result in devastating consequences for both the worker and his or her family.  Retaining the right attorney with experience handling construction cases and assisting injured workers pursue third-party liability claims is very important to ensure your rights are protected.

An example of some of the Construction Accident cases ASW has handle, include:

 Construction Accident Cases

Construction Worker v. Construction Company – $8,900,000

 Construction worker struck by water truck, causing leg amputation

$8,900,000 settlement for a 21-year-old college student working a summer job for a construction company when he sustained an above-the-knee (AK) amputation of his leg.  While standing behind his water truck, coiling his water hose, at a project in Pleasanton, Alameda County, another water truck driver with a clear and unobstructed view of our client drove directly into him.  The impact crushed our client between the two water trucks and traumatically amputated his right leg near his hip.  The trial in this case began in Alameda County Superior Court.  The case settled after the judge ruled on various motions.

Truck Driver v. Construction Company – $5,375,000

Truck driver seriously injured when cargo load fell on him after construction company workers unsafely loaded flatbed.

Our client, an independent truck driver who hauled a variety of commercial parts and products, sustained serious crush injuries when a load of concrete wall forms fell on him during the construction of a building in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  The project manager hired our client to drive a load of its concrete wall forms from the Chinatown job site to one of its storage yards in Oakland.  Its employees loaded the concrete forms onto the flatbed with a crane in the truck staging area along Washington Street.  When he delivered the load to the yard and began to unstrap it, five concrete wall forms weighing more than 300 pounds each suddenly fell on top of him.  The construction company’s employees negligently built the load slanted to one side, failed to use long enough dunnage which added to the instability, and failed to band flat forms which would have prevented them from sliding off the flatbed and onto the truck driver.  Our client sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI), multiple facial fractures with residual deformities, loss of vision, multiple rib fractures, L1 vertebral fracture with a sciatic nerve injury, pelvic fractures, and multiple fractures of his lower legs that required multiple surgeries to repair, among many other injuries.

Iron Worker v. Palo Alto Concrete – $2,480,000

 Iron worker fell into concealed hole at job site, causing femur fracture and CRPS

 $2,480,000 for an Iron worker who fell into a concealed hole at a residential job site in the concrete basement floor of an under-construction Palo Alto private residence.  Concrete subcontractor Palo Alto Concrete and Construction, Inc. placed an unsecured, unmarked piece of used, scrap plywood to cover a sump pit, in violation of OSHA standards.  Thereafter, general contractor Mediterraneo Design Build, Inc. observed, inspected and approved the use of the plywood, which also directly violated OSHA regulations.  When our client stepped on it, the plywood unexpectedly flipped, sending him feet-first into the concrete pit, a concealed trap and a dangerous condition.  Had the cover been properly secured or properly marked, he would not have fallen in and would not have been injured.  The impact resulted in a comminuted, spiral fracture of his right femur requiring emergency surgery at Stanford Hospital.  He developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) that resulted in burning pain in his leg.

Passenger v. Construction Company – $2,550,000

$2,550,000 for passenger who suffered TBI and multiple spinal fractures in auto collision caused by construction company’s unauthorized closure of traffic lanes.

Our 34-year-old client suffered serious injuries, including a brain injury and multiple spinal fractures, in an auto collision caused by an unauthorized obstruction of freeway traffic by roadway contractor defendant Peterson-Chase General Engineering Construction, Inc. during a Caltrans maintenance project on the SB680-WB24 connector ramp in Walnut Creek.  Without Caltrans’ approval, Peterson-Chase closed the wrong traffic lanes at the wrong time, which created a bottleneck and an abrupt traffic jam.  This traffic jam forced a chain-reaction of emergency braking and the subject high-speed rear-end collision.  Defendant Peterson-Chase negligently obstructed the flow of freeway traffic when it improperly closed a majority of the lanes on the busy I-680 – State Route 24 connector ramp to perform roadway maintenance too early on the night of the incident, in violation of Caltrans’ permit.

Family v. Construction Company – $2,265,000

 Caltrans construction inspection killed when run over by a reversing dump truck.

Our firm represented the surviving wife and adult son of a 56-year-old Caltrans roadway construction inspector in a wrongful death case in Sonoma County who perished after a large dump truck at a highway construction project just outside Willits backed over him.  The project did not have a spotter to assist the reversing truck driver.

Pedestrian v. M Squared Construction – $1,750,000

 Pedestrian suffered an elbow injury when thrown to sidewalk by a fire hose used by a construction company that was caught in the wheel of a passing truck.

While walking to lunch with her husband on Pierce Street sidewalk towards Lombard Street in San Francisco, our pregnant client was struck by an unattended fire hose negligently placed across the sidewalk and Pierce Street by employees of defendant M Squared Construction, Inc.   The fire hose suddenly got caught in the wheel of a passing truck, while still attached to a fire hydrant.  The hose swung as it pulled taut due to the passing vehicle, quickly swinging across the sidewalk and violently striking plaintiff’s knees.  The impact threw our client in the air before she landed on the concrete sidewalk and suffered a permanent injury to her elbow.

M Squared Construction had used the fire hose to clean the pavement at its roadway construction project but inexplicably left it unattended, unguarded, and without any warnings or other devices to protect passing motorists or pedestrians.  M Squared left two unsupervised laborers to work at the intersection and kept it open to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.  M Squared Construction, Inc. settled the case of $1,750,000.

Construction Worker v. Property Owner – $1,200,000

 Demolition worker suffered the amputation of his lower leg when he used a torch to cut a large piece of metal and it fell on his leg.

$1,200,000 settlement for a demolition worker at the abandoned Hercules Power plant in Hercules, in Contra Costa County, who was left without supervision and instructed to cut up a large metal cylinder with an acetylene torch.  As he had nearly made the final cut, the cylinder opened and a large, hot metal piece landed on his leg, crushing it and causing serious burn injuries that required the amputation of his leg.

Electrician v. Construction Company

 Union electrician suffered serious injuries at construction site when he fell from an unsecured ladder

Our client, a union electrician, suffered serious injuries at a Kaiser construction site in Santa Rosa when he fell due to an unsecured trench ladder.  In failing to secure the ladder, Starch Concrete, Inc. violated the written jobsite safety policy.  General contractor Turner Construction Company, responsible for the overall safety of the site, failed to ensure that the jobsite was safe for all workers.

Student v. Construction Company

 10-year-old boy suffered a TBI when he ran into crossbeam on a partially installed fence while playing on a school playground

While playing tag during recess at Rivergold Elementary School (part of the Yosemite Unified School District) in Coarsegold, California, our client, a 10-year-old 5th grader, collided with a horizontal metal pole of a partially installed chain link fence.  The pole, virtually invisible to the student, “clotheslined” him at his upper chest and he landed on his head.  The fence, immediately adjacent to the playground, should not have been left mid-construction without adequate barriers and warnings by defendant Torres Fence Company, located in Fresno.  As a result of the incident, our client suffered a lacerated scalp and a mild traumatic brain injury, including a subdural hematoma in the right frontal region, and a small midline shift.  He had persistent symptoms of post-concussive syndrome, including headaches, blurred vision, and fatigue, as well problems with his memory, concentration, and reading comprehension.

Family v. Nail Gun Manufacturer

 Construction worker died when nail from nail gun lodged in his skull

Our firm represented the surviving family in a wrongful death/products liability case involving a construction worker who suffered fatal injuries while using an Omark, Model 330G nail or stud gun, also known as a powder actuated tool, to nail something to the ceiling.  As he stood on a scaffold to gain access to the ceiling and had the guard of the stud gun in the full offset position, he pulled the trigger and a nail penetrated the cement ceiling, “fishhooked” out beyond the coverage of the offset guard and lodged in his skull.  He then lost his balance and fell about 20 feet to the cement floor below resulting in his immediate death.

Demolition Worker v. Power Plant – $750,000

$750,000 settlement for a demolition worker at a closed power plant in Hercules, Contra Costa County, who was left without supervision and instructed to cut up a large metal tower.  The worker used an acetylene torch to cut the legs off a tower to drop it to the ground.  When it started to fall on him, he attempted to run away but the tower landed on him traumatically amputating his arm.