Construction workers whose jobs require them to work below grade face a special hazard: the risk that the sides of the excavation may collapse without warning. In such cases, the worker often has little or no warning of the impending accident and are unable to take steps to avoid injury. A recent trench collapse on a construction site near Houston demonstrates the risks of such work.
Early news reports did not contain much specific information about the cause of the accident or how it killed one of three workers in the trench. According to local officials, three men were working in the trench when it collapsed at about 12:30 p.m. Two workers were able to escape, but the third, who has been identified as a journeyman plumber, was trapped. His co-workers were unable to extricate him from the collapsed trench. Rescue workers said that he died shortly after the collapse occurred.
Compensation for injuries
The dead man was apparently employed by a telecommunications contractor that had been hired to excavate communications lines. The family of the decedent is entitled to workers’ compensation survivors benefits if his employer has coverage for such payments. The employer of the decedent is not clear at the moment. The decedent’s workers’ compensation death benefits are paid only by his employer. If the accident was caused by a worker employed by a firm other than the firm that employed the decedent, the decedent’s family may have what is called a “third party claim” against the other firm.
Accidents such as these raise many questions about how the accident was caused and whether the accident was caused by the negligence of the injured person’s employer or some other firm. Anyone who has suffered an injury or lost a loved one under similar circumstances may wish to consult an experienced injury attorney for advice on seeking workers’ compensation benefits and pursuing a third-party claim for damages against the negligent party.