Have you been seriously injured in an excavation accident in Houston, TX? You may be entitled to compensation through a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Recovering the compensation you deserve for a workplace injury isn’t always easy. A Houston excavation accident lawyer can help you fight for the full compensation you deserve. Contact Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC today to schedule a free case review with an experienced excavation injury lawyer in Houston who can help.
How Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC Can Help with Your Excavation Accident Case
An excavation accident can be devastating, not only physically but also emotionally and financially. You may be facing a lengthy recovery, invasive treatment, psychological trauma, and financial uncertainty. Unfortunately, recovering the compensation you need after a workplace accident to recover and move on isn’t always easy.
Workers’ compensation should make it easy to recover benefits for your medical expenses, lost wages, and disability, but the insurance company and your employer may fight your claim. They may argue you are fully recovered when you aren’t or your injuries are pre-existing. A personal injury lawsuit poses other challenges including the burden to prove negligence.
A Houston personal injury lawyer can assist you through every stage of your claim and serve as your advocate to protect your best interests. You do not need to face a complex legal battle, paperwork, and accident investigation on your own. Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC fights for injured Texas workers and will fight for you too.
Brian White is a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer, a distinction shared by only 3% of Texas lawyers, which gives him an advantage in the courtroom. Our firm has a proven track record of recovering settlements and jury awards for our clients with the financial resources needed to see even the most complex cases through.
When you hire Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC to represent you, you can count on us to:
- Conduct a thorough investigation into your accident and how it happened
- Gather evidence including employer safety reports, medical records, statements, and surveillance footage
- Consult with experts to strengthen your case
- Identify avenues of recovery
- Handle all paperwork and communications
- Negotiate on your behalf
When a fair settlement can’t be reached, we aren’t afraid to take your case to court. Call Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC to schedule your free case review with a Houston excavation injury lawyer today to learn more about how we will fight for you.
Common Types of Excavation Accidents
Excavation and trench accidents can occur in many ways. Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC represents clients who have suffered injury in:
- Cave-ins. One of the most serious risks of excavation is the risk of a cave-in. A tunnel ceiling or trench walls may collapse when they are not properly shored or supported which can lead to serious injury. A cave-in may injure several workers and it has a high risk of fatality.
- Utility accidents. Some workers in a tunnel or trench may work near electrical lines, gas lines, or water mains. When a sewer or water line bursts, it can quickly flood a trench under high pressure. Gas and electrical lines can lead to electrocution, explosion, or fire.
- Low oxygen accidents. In an enclosed space, airflow can become poor. Gases like carbon monoxide underground may even seep into a tunnel and cause serious injury. Construction equipment, generators, and fumes from equipment may also reduce air quality in a trench or tunnel.
- Falls. Sadly, employees who are working near a trench or excavation may suffer serious injuries in a fall, especially if an opening is not properly marked and there is insufficient fall protection
- Falling object accidents. Workers in a trench or lower work surface may be seriously hurt when objects from above are dropped. This may include construction materials, debris, or tools.
- Heavy equipment accidents. The risk of working in a trench or tunnel increases when heavy equipment like backhoes or bulldozers are used nearby.
Any of these accidents have the potential to cause very serious injury. Every year, about 25 workers are killed in trench-related accidents. Two out of three of these fatalities involve a cave-in accident.
What Causes Excavation Accidents in Houston?
There are many factors that may contribute to excavation and trenching accidents in Houston. Mistakes during planning, human error, safety measures, and more may all contribute to a serious accident. Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC finds that many excavation incidents are attributed to one of more of the following:
- Poor planning. Much of the risk can be reduced through careful planning before excavation begins. Underground utilities should be mapped and construction should be considered to consider vulnerability to soil and wall collapse.
- Adequate testing for hazardous gases, fumes, and oxygen levels in trenches more than 4 feet deep
- Defective excavation equipment
- Improper training in the use of excavation equipment
- Inadequate safety equipment such as hardhats
- Unguarded trench
- Failure to properly stabilize and reinforce a trench
- Heavy machinery that is operated too closely to the edge of a trench. This can cause the trench to collapse or the machinery may fall into the trench.
- Lack of escape mechanisms
Most excavation-related accidents are completely avoidable if employers, contractors, and construction workers adhere to OSHA standards. An OSHA investigation in 2003 found that protection systems were used in just 24% of incidents involving trenches. Among the rest, the system was used improperly (24% of cases), available but not used (12%), or unavailable (64%).
The investigation also found that environmental conditions contributed to 64% of excavation accidents but the competent person wasn’t onsite in 86% of cases. While soil type is a major factor in cave-ins, the employer had not identified the soil type in 65% of trench cave-ins.
Common Injuries in Houston Excavation Accidents
Trenching and excavation are both crucial to construction in Texas. Unfortunately, they are extremely dangerous for workers who may be performing tasks as heavy equipment works near high vertical walls. When an accident occurs due to negligence or failure to follow safety guidelines, workers are at risk of serious injury or death.
Excavation injuries usually happen when the ground caves in on workers. Injuries may also occur due to excavation equipment, dropped tools, falling debris, or heavy equipment operating near a trench. Common injuries sustained in excavation accidents include:
- Back injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Crush injuries
- Respiratory illness
Excavation accidents that involve poor air quality, toxic fumes, cave-ins, and heavy equipment have the potential to injure multiple workers.
Compensation for Injuries from a Houston Excavation Accident
In Texas, there are two ways to recover compensation for a workplace excavation accident: workers’ compensation or a personal injury lawsuit.
If your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation insurance, you must use this system, although you may still have a third-party claim against someone other than your employer. Workers’ compensation has benefits that are more limited in scope but it’s a no-fault system that does not require proving liability. With workers’ compensation, you may be entitled to:
- Medical expenses
- Temporary income
- Impairment income
- Supplemental income
- Lifetime income
- Burial and death benefits
A personal injury lawsuit offers more comprehensive damages. You may be eligible to file a lawsuit against your employer if they are a non-subscriber without workers’ comp insurance and they were negligent. You may also have a third-party lawsuit against a product manufacturer, contractor, or coworker.
In addition to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and disability, a personal injury lawsuit allows you to recover compensation for non-economic damages. This includes pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress.
While you must prove liability in a lawsuit, Texas law removes some of these barriers against employers who do not have workers’ compensation insurance. Non-subscribers usually can’t use assumption of risk or contributory negligence as a defense. That means you can still be entitled to 100% of your damages even if your employer was only 10% at fault for the accident.
Statute of Limitations to File an Excavation Accident Injury Claim in Texas
After an excavation accident, you have a legal deadline to file your injury claim or you will lose your legal right to seek compensation. The statute of limitations in Texas depends on the type of claim you are filing.
With a personal injury lawsuit, you have two years from the date of your accident. With workers’ compensation, your employer must be notified immediately. You must also file your injury report within 30 days.
Do not assume you can delay pursuing your claim, even with a long statute of limitations. Delays can allow valuable evidence to be lost. Contact a Houston excavation injury lawyer with Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC today to protect your claim.
Request a Free Case Review from a Houston Excavation Accident Lawyer
Excavation-related accidents are often serious and leave workers with high medical expenses, a painful recovery, and financial hardship. This burden should not be on you. Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC is here to fight for you and help you take the necessary legal steps to recover the compensation you deserve.
Call our law office today to schedule a free consultation with a Houston excavation accident lawyer. You never pay attorney’s fees unless we secure a settlement or jury award for you.