workers at trench in new york city

Working beneath the ground in NYC can be just as dangerous as working from a height. Despite safety precautions designed to prevent tragedy, trench accidents can cause devastating accidents and catastrophic injuries. If you were hurt, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your physical and mental suffering.

At Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C., we know what’s at stake for you and your family. Construction accident injuries are often serious. Injuries sustained in trench collapse accidents can be particularly severe. Getting an experienced lawyer’s help gives you the best chances of reaching the best possible outcome.

Our lawyers have over 40 years of experience fighting to safeguard injured clients’ rights across New York City. If you were hurt, call today for a free consultation with an experienced New York City construction accident lawyer.

How a Trench Accidents Lawyer Can Work to Safeguard Your Right to Compensation

Choosing a NYC personal injury lawyer to safeguard your rights can be difficult. There are countless attorneys out there advertising their services. 

It’s also one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make if you were hurt in an accident. Your lawyer is your advocate. Our lawyers have one primary goal: helping our clients get results. We have a proven track record of success that spans more than 40 years.

The construction accident lawyers at Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. know how the system works. We know how to get things done–even when the insurance companies don’t make it easy. Our lawyers have dedicated their careers to getting money for injured clients.

We handle every aspect of your case, from finding out what happened to making sure the money gets into your hands. When you hire us, we will:

  • Visit the accident scene and investigate, interview witnesses and examine accident reports
  • Hire the strongest available experts in science, technology and forensics who can testify about the cause of the accident
  • Fight back when the construction companies try to place blame on someone else
  • Defend your right to fair compensation, working with a strong team of specialists to find out what your case is really worth
  • Fight back when insurance companies try to deny, delay or reduce your payout

As your lawyers, we are here to fiercely defend your rights. Our strategic and aggressive approach has already helped us recover millions for injured clients. If you were hurt in a trench accident, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation today.

Why Do Trench Accidents Happen in New York City?

Construction worker digging dirt out with the help of crane

Our city is built upon a complex network of below-ground systems. Trenches let construction workers lay pipes, build foundations and generally provide the infrastructure that NYC rests upon. However, working in trenches is risky. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends taking proper safety precautions to prevent these potentially deadly excavation accidents.

Failure to Install Adequate Protective Systems

Protective systems can prevent trench cave-ins and trench collapses, which are two of the most dangerous types of trench accidents. An adequate protective system is one that is designed based on soil conditions, the weather, the trench depth and many other factors. Examples of protective systems include:

  • Sloping, which involves angling the trench wall
  • Using trench supports to shore up the sides of the trench
  • Shielding, which means installing support systems like trench boxes to support the walls
  • Benching or carving step-like structures into the sides of the trench

A protective system must be installed in any trench that is five feet or deeper. Soil conditions can change quickly Even a passing rainstorm can dramatically change the stability of the trench walls–and trench cave-ins can happen in an instant. 

Inadequate Inspections

New York state law requires a competent person to inspect the trench every single day. Conditions can change quickly, especially when weather conditions shift. The person in charge of inspections must have the experience needed to identify dangers and inspect the trench:

  • Each day before construction workers enter
  • After any type of weather event that might threaten the trench safety

Lack of Egress and Access

Ladders, steps, ramps or other exit features are required in trenches that are at least four feet deep. These exit and access features must be installed no more than 25 feet from workers to allow quick exit in the event of an excavation accident.

Most Trench Accidents Are Preventable

New York safety rules for excavation and trench work are detailed. Unfortunately, construction supervisors don’t always follow these protocols carefully. Trench accidents are often caused by:

  • Failing to properly inspect the trench
  • Failing to correctly analyze the soil and ground conditions
  • Lack of proper inspections, including after weather changes
  • Lack of a protective system
  • Defects in the protective system
  • Placing excavated soil too close to the sides of the trench

Most trench accidents involve collapses or cave-ins, where workers are caught underneath the earth. Other risks include:

  • Coming into contact with underground electrical wires
  • Drowning
  • Inhaling toxic fumes
  • Falling into a deep trench
  • Equipment malfunction
  • Equipment or tools falling into the trench
  • Explosions 

If you were hurt in a trench accident, our lawyers are here to help find out what happened. That way, we can hold everyone who was responsible financially accountable.

Risk of Serious Injury for Trench Workers

personal injury lawsuit

All construction workers face inherent dangers on the construction site. Trench workers are at risk of serious injuries and deaths every day.

OSHA statistics show that the fatality rate for trench and excavation workers is 112% higher than other construction workers.

Other serious injuries caused by trench accidents include:

You might not know where to turn for help if you were seriously hurt in a trench accident. Our personal injury lawyers are here to help. If you or a loved one were injured, call our law firm for a free consultation.

Who Will Pay My Compensation After a Trench Accident?

New York construction workers who are hurt on the job site have the right to workers’ compensation. Your employer pays into an insurance fund. The workers’ compensation insurance company pays you part of your lost wages and covers your medical bills.

You can only receive these benefits for a limited amount of time. Further, your wage reimbursement is capped–and might not be enough to cover all of our expenses.

It’s always important to speak with a New York personal injury attorney to make sure you explore all available options. You might waive your right to sue your employer by claiming workers’ compensation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t file a lawsuit against a third party.

For example, the following parties might be responsible for paying compensation over and above what workers’ comp provides:

  • Property owners
  • General contractors
  • Engineers
  • A company responsible for daily trench inspections
  • The company that installed a defective protective system
  • The manufacturer of defective equipment

Even if you or your employer were partly to blame, New York comparative negligence rules let you hold multiple people responsible for your injuries. To learn more, give us a call for a free consultation today.

When do I Have to Decide Whether to File a Lawsuit?

A lawsuit might be the last thing you want to deal with while you’re dealing with serious injuries. That’s understandable. It’s also the best way to make sure you get the money you need to treat those injuries. If you miss the deadlines, you lose your right to damages.

Personal Injury Lawsuit

Under New York law, you have to file a personal injury lawsuit within three years after the trench accident.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

You only have two years to file your workers’ compensation claim–but you must notify your supervisor as soon as possible (within 30 days).

Action for Wrongful Death

If your loved one died in a trench collapse, you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit for compensation.

Getting Full and Fair Compensation for the Damage Caused by Trench Accidents

Our lawyers can help you file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for damages that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover. A successful settlement or verdict will provide money to cover: 

  • Medical bills 
  • Future medical care
  • The full amount of your lost wages and salary
  • Lost future earning ability 
  • Physical therapy and rehab
  • Occupational therapy
  • Medical devices
  • Modifications to your home and vehicle
  • Long-term care 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Damages for wrongful death, including funeral and burial expenses, loss of your loved one’s company and more

You shouldn’t have to settle for recovering just part of the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers fight for every dollar injured workers deserve. If you were hurt in an accident, contact Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. today to learn more about what we can do for you.

Contact an Experienced NYC Trench Accidents Lawyer for Help Today

We know that recovering from your injuries or the loss of a loved one can be unbearable. We want to help you get justice–and our personal injury lawyers are ready to get started today.

To learn more about Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C., call for a free consultation with a skilled trench accidents lawyer today. Protecting your rights is our priority, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help.