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Tate Hodges - Summer Law Clerk
Tate Hodges - Summer Law Clerk
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Accidentally Backing over a Fellow Construction Worker

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Your first impression about this type of accident probably will be one of curious interest and inquisitive horror. After all, how often could this actually happen? Surely, there must be precautionary measures in place to ensure that one of the most traumatic construction accidents will never occur on any jobsite. However, a sobering realization is that this type of accident happens far more than we would believe.

The amount of catastrophic injuries and deaths has reached epidemic proportions. Highway and roadway workers are the most frequent victims of this hazard. To help reduce the amount of vehicular construction accidents, Congress has passed numerous regulations through the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). For example, adequate barricades, conspicuous clothing, and flag persons are required when a large vehicle is being operated on a construction site. Furthermore, OSHA requires an operable backup alarm if a vehicle is backing up. The lack of a flag person raises issues of supervision and adequate manpower. If a worker is injured as a direct result of failure to adhere to these standards, the injured person likely will have a strong legal claim.

In addition, if the injury is a direct result of a vehicle not operating properly, for example, a break malfunction, the injured may also have a product liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor of the vehicle. Product liability claims are especially helpful in obtaining recovery for the injured because unlike negligence claims, most product liability actions follow the legal concept of strict liability. In strict liability product liability actions, all the injured would need to prove is that the defective product was the proximate cause of the injury. Conversely, if the injury was a result of inadequate supervision, an OSHA violation, or the lack of reasonable care by a fellow construction worker, a negligence claim may arise against one or more responsible parties. Finally, workers compensation statutes can help the injured party obtain adequate compensation for costly medical bills, pain and suffering, past lost wages, and future diminished earning capacity. Products liability, negligence, and workers compensation claims are common issues that may arise in a lawsuit when a construction worker is backed over at a jobsite.

If you or a loved one has been injured from being struck by an operating vehicle on a jobsite, first, it is most important to report the accident immediately. Having a record of the accident immediately after it occurs is often required by law to have a legal claim. Second, it is strongly suggested to acquire an attorney who may help you in collecting important evidentiary documents, gathering witness information, serving the responsible parties with a lawsuit, and filing the lawsuit with the appropriate court. Although these types of injuries may seem rare, they do occur with some frequency, and it is important that you know your rights.