Articles Posted in Construction Accidents

January 25, 2017: Alphonse Ferent. 51, of Stoughton, Massachusetts, has died from an accident that occurred at the Stop & Shop distribution center in Freetown, Massachusetts. A tractor-trailer pulled away from a loading dock, causing Ferent to fall between the truck and the loading dock.

Subsequently, a forklift that was being used to unload materials from the trailer fell on top of Ferent and crushed him. The Freetown Police and Fire departments arrived on the scene around 12:38 am and administered first aid to Ferent until an ambulance arrived. Sadly, the victim was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River.  The police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the accident.

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June 18, 2015: Ronald Morse, 40, a member of International Association of Ironworkers, Local 7 of Boston, has died, and Mark Praetsch, 30, a member of the International Union of Elevator Constructors, Local 4 of Boston, was seriously injured as the result of a construction accident. The accident happened on June 11, 2015 at a Suffolk Construction jobsite in Somerville, where a Partners Healthcare facility is being constructed. According to a Suffolk Construction spokesman, the men were injured when a hoist cab unexpectedly fell away from the building during assembly of the hoists, and fell then three stories to the ground.

Members of the Somerville Police Department arrived on the scene and provided first aid to Morse and Praetsch. The men were then transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, where Morse was later pronounced dead. Praetsch was initially listed in critical condition, but has since stabilized.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has opened an investigation to determine if Suffolk violated any workplace safety standards. No charges have been filed to date, and Ted Williams, U.S. Dept. of Labor Regional Director of Public Affairs, estimates that the inspection will not conclude for several weeks.

April 18, 2013 – Alfred Cabiya, 56, of Bristol, Connecticut, has died as the result of serious personal injuries sustained in a construction site accident at a Massachusetts Department of Transportation (“DOT”) facility in Northampton, Massachusetts. The accident occurred at approximately 9:40 a.m. on Thursday.

According to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Cabiya and two other workers were assembling two modular trailers, each measuring approximately fifty (50) feet by ten (10) feet. One of the trailers shifted during this process and pinned the workers between the two units. The trailers were being used as temporary office space by the DOT while its main building was under construction.

One of the other workers was transported by ambulance to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The third man was injured, but did not require hospitalization. The men were working for Trico Welding of Beacon Falls, Connecticut.

The accident remains under investigation by the Massachusetts State Police, the Northampton Police Department, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.

Source: MassLive.com, WWLP.com, Boston.com

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August 4, 2010 – William Nichols, 48, from Blackstone, Massachusetts died as a result of serious personal injuries he sustained during an explosion at a construction site in Norfolk. David Bethel, 72, from Foxboro, Robert Dena, 43, of http://www.bostonaccidentinjurylawyer.com/wrentham-massachusetts-persona.html, Thomas DiPlacido, 17, from Wrentham were also injured while working on the condominium construction site at The Village at River’s Edge, a housing development for people 55 and older. Mary Jackson, 58, who lived in the adjacent condominium, was also taken to the hospital. The accident occurred last Friday afternoon.

According to State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan, the explosion was accidental and construction being done in the basement resulted in the release of propane, which ignited. Coan has not yet determined the ultimate cause of the fire or why the gas caught on fire.

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January 6, 2010 – Gerard Boucher, 48 of Newburyport, Massachusetts, and his co-worker Geraldo Hernandez, 33 from Haverhill, are both recovering from serious injuries sustained when scaffolding collapsed underneath them on December 22, 2009. On Tuesday, Boucher was listed in fair condition at Massachusetts General Hospital. Hernandez is recuperating at home after being released from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Boucher and Hernandez were hanging fascia board trim along the second story of the home located at 25-27 Kent Street in Newburyport when the scaffolding collapsed beneath them. The two men hit the concrete sidewalk below and Boucher suffered serious head trauma.

Boucher does a lot of work in the area and his company, G.M. Boucher Contractor, Inc., was performing the renovations to the home at 25-27 Kent Street.

The accident remains under investigation by the Andover office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Source: The Daily News

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December 23, 2009 – Gerard Boucher, 48 from Newburyport, Massachusetts, and Geraldo Hernandez, 37 of Haverhill, were seriously injured when the scaffolding, which they were using to renovate a home in Newburyport, collapsed beneath them Tuesday afternoon. The two men were working at the home located at 25-27 Kent Street when the accident occurred.

scaffold.gifAccording to police, the men were hanging fascia board trim along the roof on the side of the house adjacent to the home at 29 Kent Street. It appears that a faulty bracing support caused the scaffolding to tumble. A third worker, who was installing ice shields on the roof at the time of the accident, heard the crash but did not see the men fall.

When rescue workers arrived on the scene, both victims were unconscious and Boucher had visible massive head trauma. The men were treated at the scene and then brought to Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport. Boucher was subsequently transferred by medical helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he is listed in critical condition. Hernandez was also airlifted to Beth Israel Hospital, where he is listed in good condition.

This accident remains under investigation by the Newburyport Police Department and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Source: The Gloucester Times, The Gloucester Times

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This Blogpost by Boston Personal Injury and Accident Laywer, Keith L. Miller, anaylzes a battle between insurers over costs of construction accident.

Following a construction site accident where an insurer of a subcontractor refused to defend the general contractor, who then successfully filed a declaratory action to force the subcontractor’s insurer to share in the defense and settlement costs of the action, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has refused to permit the general’s insurer to recover the attorney’s fees incurred in successfully bringing its declaratory judgment action.
 
zurich.jpgIn January of 2001 a worker fell and suffered injuries while employed on a project in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. A year later he brought a negligence action against the general contractor and another subcontractor on the project. The general contractor was insured under a general liability insurance policy with Zurich American Insurance Company (Zurich). The subcontractor also had a policy issued by Worcester Insurance Company (Worcester), and was required by contract to list the general as an additional insured.

Upon filing of the complaint, the general called upon the subcontractor and Worcester to defend. They refused and Zurich defended. Zurich also brought a declaratory judgment action in the general’s name, seeking indemnification from the subcontractor and Worcester for their refusal to defend. Ultimately, the negligence case settled, with the general contributing $75,000 to the settlement.

The general contractor prevailed in the declaratory judgment action and Worcester was ordered to pay one half of both the settlement amount and the costs of defending the negligence action. However, the general contractor also sought an award of the attorney’s fees incurred to file and prevail in the declaratory judgment action, even though it was evident that it was Zurich who had paid the fees. The Superior Court judge denied the request and the general contractor appealed.

The SJC affirmed and discussed at length its reasoning. Massachusetts generally follows the customary approach to the award of attorney’s fees in civil litigation, known as the “American Rule”. In the absence of some statute or other rule, successful litigants must nonetheless pay their own attorney’s fees and expenses.

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A serious and deadly construction accident, which took place in downtown Boston on Saturday, February 7, 2009, reminds of the dangers associated with construction related work, and in particular work being performed at high elevations using lift equipment.

In the Saturday incident, a mobile lift toppled and fell into a vacant lot used by the Brattle Book Shop, where there were several patrons present. The falll killed a construction worker who was working on the lift and severly injured a second worker. It is reported that the crane was being used to inspects roofs on a Suffolk University Dormitory, which recently opened on West Street, several blocks from downtown crossing.

According to fire officials the two men involved in the accident were working for Reliable Roofing & Sheet Metal LLC of Framingham, Massachusetts. It appears that Suffolk had hired Tremco Inc. of Beachwood, Ohio, to inspect the roof of the building located at 10 West Street. Tremco then subcontracted with Reliable Roofing to do the work. The lift being used had been rented from Equipment 4 Rent, located in South Boston and West Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

This was the second fatal accident involving lift and staging equipment in downtown Boston in the last year. The prior accident took place at a building a few blocks away on Boylston Street being renovated by Emerson College, which killed another construction worker as well as the operator of a motor vehicle, which was passing on the street below.

In such accidents, a worker is barred from suing his employer by the Worker’s Compensation Act in Massachusetts. However, claims can be made against other “third parties” involved in the work, but only if it can be proved that their acts and/or omissions were a contributing the cause of the accident.

Questions inevitably arise after such an accident: did the equipment fail? Were the workers properly instructed in the use and operation of the equipment? Were there adequate safety measures in place to protect the workers? Was someone other than the employer of the injured workers who had these responsibilities? Did anyone interfere with the use and operation of the equipment?

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KOSTRZEWA, admn. v. SUFFOLK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC.

No. 07-P-1450, December 18, 2008

The Massachusetts Apppeals Court has ruled that the general contractor for a project to renovate a government building in Boston may be found liable for an accident on the job for failing to maintain a safe workplace. The injured worker was the employee of an asbestos abatement contractor who had been contracted by the demolition subcontractor on the project renovating the Saltonstall Building in downtown Boston. The worker was injured when the scaffolding on which he was working fell over. His attorney brought this suit against the general contractor, alleging negligent supervision. The men were working on scaffolding that was approximately twenty feet high and mounted on wheels. The general contractor did not own and had not erected the scaffolding. To move the scaffolding to work on a new spot, the workers would either have someone on the ground push it or, using the wall or ceiling, they would themselves pull or push the scaffolding to the new location. At the time of the accident, the scaffolding fell over while the employee was trying to move the scaffolding on which he and the other worker were standing. The contract between general contractor the building owner conferred on the general overall responsibility and control of the project, including responsibility for safety. The contract provided that the general contractor was solely responsible for and had control over construction means, methods, techniques, sequences and procedures and for coordinating all portions of the work under the contract.

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This is the Boston Accident Injury Blog, written by Attorney Keith L. Miller, a Boston trial lawyer, with over twenty-five years of experience practicing law and trying case in the Boston area and throughout New England. He has started this Blog with two purposes in mind: first to provide persons with legal problems with information about what they can do to recover for injuries and damages caused by the conduct or misconduct of others, and second, to try to provide information to other lawyers about developments in the law in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

The Blog will attempt to inform and educate persons and businesses about their rights and their right of access to the court system when they need to redress wrongs, breaches or other injustices caused by others, and also to provide a forum to review and analyze recent decisions from state and federal courts, which involve interesting fact patterns and/or provide incite as to the present state of the law in Massachusetts, and elsewhere,

This Blog will also try to describe some of my areas of practice, including summary descriptions of cases of interest, which my firm has handled in the past. Today, a brief description of Attorney Keith L. Miller’s prior experience in CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT CLAIMS.

Attorney Keith L. Miller has represented numerous workers who are victims of construction worksite accidents. While workers are prevented by law from bringing claims against their employers, which is reserved to workman’s compensation claims, there are often third parties who may have legal responsibility for keeping a safe worksite, and therefore can be sued for negligence. Also, sometimes there are products used on the jobsite, which can be proved to be defective or unreasonably unsafe for use on the job. These are called product liability claims. Attorney Ketih L. Miller has successfully litigated both of these types of claims.

A CASE IN POINT:

A garbage truck operator struck in the face by steel hook used for raising dumpster collects over $300,000 from property owner whose employee improperly attached hook to dumpster

US_Garbage_Truck.jpg The Plaintiff was the driver and operator of a waste collection truck, removing trash from a dumpster behind a Boston apartment building. He was standing at the rear of the truck, raising the dumpster with a steel cable and hook, which had been attached to the dumpster by an employee of the property owner. The hook pulled free from the dumpster and hit the plaintiff in the face, causing serious facial injuries, which required extensive plastic surgery to repair. Keith L. Miller filed an action in Suffolk Superior Court claiming negligence against the property owner. The case settled prior to trial with a substantial six figure payment to the Plaintiff.

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