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  • Leitner Varughese Warywoda

What is a Trench Collapse Accident at a New York Construction site?

Construction accidents in New York can take many different forms, and construction workers can sustain serious and life-threatening injuries in a variety of ways. A recent article from U.S. News & World Report highlights a trench collapse accident that resulted in the death of a 43-year-old New York construction worker. Although trench digging and trench work may not be on the news as often as scaffolding collapses or crane accidents when it comes to construction site injuries, it is critical for construction workers and their families to understand the risks of trench work and potential options for seeking financial compensation after an accident.

Learning More About Trench Collapse Accidents and Injuries

According to the article, the recent trench collapse occurred in a residential development as the construction worker had been digging a 10-foot ditch. Reports indicated that the walls of the trench collapsed. Although no immediate cause for the collapse was made clear definitively, law enforcement at the scene indicated that no trench box had been present. Trench boxes, which are sometimes known as trench sheets or trench shields, are a type of protective system that are supposed to protect a worker in the event of a cave-in accident.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that trenches can be extremely hazardous areas for construction workers. Indeed, an average of 19 trenching fatalities occur each year, and most of those deaths are preventable.

Filing a Construction Accident Claim After a Trench Collapse

Injured construction workers, or their families in the event of a fatal injury, may be eligible to seek financial compensation through the New York workers’ compensation system following a trench collapse. In addition, and unlike other states, injured construction workers or their families also may be eligible to obtain compensation by filing a lawsuit against the negligent employer who was responsible for the trench collapse. While most other states do not permit injured workers to file negligence lawsuits against their employers since the workers’ compensation system is an exclusive remedy, New York is a bit different.

Under New York Labor Law Section 200 or New York Labor Law Section 241, an employer may be liable for damages following a trench collapse. Section 200 is a more general law that protects construction workers from dangerous working conditions or a dangerous work environment. Section 241 specifically allows construction workers to hold employers accountable for dangerous construction site conditions related to demolition and excavation—central to trenching. An experienced New York construction accident lawyer can assess your case to determine whether you may be eligible to file a construction accident lawsuit under Section 200 or Section 241.

Contact a New York Construction Accident Attorney

Whether you sustained serious injuries in a trench collapse or another type of construction accident, or you lost a loved one in a construction accident, you should seek advice from an experienced New York construction accident attorney about seeking financial compensation. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our firm to learn more about how we can assist you. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC to find out more about filing a construction accident lawsuit.


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