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Articles Tagged with “construction accident”

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At 830 Brickell Plaza, home of the future second tallest building in Miami (57 floors and 724 feet tall), a horrific incident occurred at the construction site. Reports relay that six construction workers were injured when a crane carrying a heavy load of rebar malfunctioned and crash to the ground. The steel bars were being transferred from a flatbed of an 18-wheel truck when the crane gave way. This resulted in several worked becoming trapped under the rubble, and at least two of them were impaled by the steel bars.

830-Brickell-Plaza-300x142For every construction site incident, OSHA is in charge of the official investigation and will have “final say” in determining the causes or contributing factors. In parallel, every single company working at the side will also launch their own private investigation, which undoubtedly will point to additional or different results. Such is the reality of construction cases when you have layer upon layer of different subcontractors.

Ultimately, we will all come to an understanding as to what happened and how it happened. Incredibly however, within hours of the incident, Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Pete Sanchez declared that “something malfunctioned and it came loose”. While we all understand this statement is hardly buttressed by any physical evidence, it is solely based on second- or third-hand knowledge, likely to have come from a company statement, either the general contractor, or the subcontractor who employs the crane operator. It is important to stress upon the reader that construction site incidents take years to fully investigate and that rushing to make an out-of-bounds statement, when the dust has not even settled, is irresponsible at best.

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Collapse of Garage on Miami-Dade College Campus in 2012

Whether a developer is trying to make a delivery deadline on a construction project, or cut costs because the project was under-budgeted at inception, or hire fewer workers in the face of safety, typically construction incidents stem from developers, contractors, and subcontractors cutting corners.  In recent memory, a garage collapse on Miami-Dade College campus in 2012, which caused injuries to eleven people, including four fatalities, ended in multi-million dollar settlements with the victims and Miami-Dade College.  Four years later, the rebuild of the same garage collapsed again, injuring two workers.

In an article titled “Identifying Root Causes of Construction Accidents”, published in the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, several causes were discussed and ultimately identified after studying thousands of different cases.  The authors concluded that one of the top three causes stems from management procedures which create and fail to identify, rectify and remove unsafe conditions that exist on and around a construction site.  The other two causes were linked to workers lacking sufficient training or knowledge.

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According to reports, a worker was killed while working on a Miami high-rise condominium building construction site yesterday. The details of the incident are unknown, but the Miami Herald reported today that, the 29 year-old construction worker was hit by a piece of heavy machinery being hoisted by a crane. According to Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll., the employee was working on the 37th floor of the condominium at the time, and the heavy piece of machinery that fell on him weighed more than 2,000 pounds.

For the past 15 years, the downtown area of Miami has seen an explosion of condominiums and office buildings, and endless construction sites. Sadly, every year construction workers are gravely injured, some fatally, due to the failure of heavy equipment or a varying degree of negligence of co-workers.

The latest incident reported by the Miami Herald today is very similar to a complex case Leesfield Scolaro resolved recently. In that case, a crane operator lowered the crane down for the night. To do so, he had to follow a certain procedure in order to properly and safely lower the crane: First the operator had to lower the luffing boom, make sure it was not extended, and then lower the main boom. Unfortunately for our client, the crane operator lowered the main boom first, while the luffing boom was still extended. A split second later, the crane began to tip forward. The workers present on the site ran for cover, but our client was unlucky. While running away, the crane boom struck him on his hard hat, knocking him to the ground. Then the boom bounced off the end of a beam, ricocheted to the ground demolishing and crushing his right leg. A lawsuit was filed immediately and after a successful litigation process, the injured construction worker was able to settle his lawsuit with all of the at-fault parties.

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Construction cases are among the most complex and difficult to win often for factual reasons, and always for legal reasons.

This week in Hallandale, a horrific construction site incident occurred when Christopher Ricci, 27, was killed after a crane toppled and fell on him in the Golden Isles neighborhood of Hallandale Beach. At the time, Christopher Ricci was working on a sea wall. “The crane started to topple over. Construction workers noticed what was taking place and they took off running” said Hallandale Beach police Capt. Sonia Quinones. Christopher took off running as well according to witnesses, but he was fatally hit by the boom before he could run for safety.

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Leesfield Scolaro successfully resolved a very similar case than the tragic Hallandale incident of Thursday morning.

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