For those who live and work in the City of Chicago, construction on highrises is commonplace. The streets are constantly being torn up and construction workers take on new projects building or repairing high rising structures on a regular basis. We’ve become so conditioned to an environment that is riddled with construction projects that we often walk through construction areas completely oblivious to the dangers that exist above us should a worker make even the most minor of mistakes and allow a tool or other form of debris to fall onto unsuspecting bystanders. When such an unfortunate event occurs, it is the responsibility of the contractor or construction worker who is at fault for the accident to provide compensation as restitution for the injuries that result.
Common Areas Subject to Falling Construction Debris
Most of the areas that are a danger to bystanders are required to be marked off but most people pass signage on their normal routes to and from their destinations without notice. For our own protection, it is important to be aware of the places where most falling debris injuries occur so that we can avoid them if possible.
- High rise construction sites— there are many factors that can create hazards when workers operate at great heights. Tools, platforms, raw materials and other items may fall when dropped or if the structure itself becomes unstable and collapses. All of these scenarios threaten those who are on the ground below.
- Sidewalks beneath scaffolding— it is not uncommon to see scaffolding covering sidewalks like canopies and thousands of people walk those sidewalks to get where they are going. If the scaffolding itself is not secure, it may collapse and injure those beneath it or workers may accidentally drop tools or materials onto innocent bystanders.
- The sides of buildings undergoing repairs or renovations— even the simple task of installing or replacing window panels can end in disaster if the items being transported to great heights are not secured properly and come loose.
Forms of Debris that fall from Construction Sites
Construction projects require great amounts of materials and the workers themselves often carry large sets of tools around so that they have everything needed to perform their jobs. The items that may fall from buildings, platforms and scaffolding include the following.
- Tools such as hammers, wrenches or screwdrivers which are not properly secured or left out where they can fall.
- Glass panels or windows, which can cause horrific injuries if they fall onto workers or bystanders who happen to be walking beneath the construction zone.
- Wooden boards or panels used in the construction of buildings or which are parts of scaffolding.
- Concrete which may fall due to a floor collapse should it not be supported properly when being poured or setting.
Ways That Falling Debris Accidents Can be Prevented
Accidents that result from being struck by a falling object are considered one of the fatal four injuries that occur on construction sites because victims are often severely injured or killed. If it is possible to prevent these injuries, measures should be taken to ensure the safety of workers and those who must travel through the area where work is being performed. These are the most effective methods of preventing falling debris accidents.
- Marking the work area with signage that alerts passersby of dangers— adequate efforts must be taken to warn both workers and bystanders of the potential dangers even if the individuals might choose to ignore the warnings. The one person who heeds the warning may walk away with his or her life as a result.
- Creation of barricades— another way to prevent accidents from falling debris is to keep people out of the area entirely. Barricades keep people who do not belong near the work area away and reduce the chances that they will be injured.
- Inspection of equipment— it is important to inspect all equipment that is being relied on to move materials to and from great heights. Should any equipment be found sub-par, it should be repaired or discarded.
- Securing tools and all other objects which could fall— most of the materials that fall from construction sites are left loose and workers accidentally bump into or step on them. These objects cannot fall if they are kept secure or put away.
- Installing netting and other stopgap measures that may catch falling objects before they are able to strike unsuspecting victims.
Duty o Construction Companies Maintain a Safe Work Environment
It is the obligation of all contractors to provide a safe environment not only for workers to perform their duties but also for anyone who must pass by. Whenever a person is harmed in a falling debris accident, it is reasonable to review the safety policies of the contractor that is responsible for the employees operating on the site where the accident occurred. If it is determined that the construction site was unsafe and that the contractor could have implemented preventative measures but chose not to, then the contractor is considered liable and must provide compensation to all those who were harmed in the accident.
If you or a loved one was harmed or killed because of falling debris from a Chicago construction site or building, contact the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to learn more about your legal rights and how we have successfully recovered compensation for hundreds of others with cases similar to your own. By filing a lawsuit for negligence or wrongful death, you can send a message to the construction industry that corners cannot be cut on safety regardless of how doing so helps the bottom line. You will also be able to recover compensation needed to provide for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, out of pocket expenses and other financial considerations.
None of our lawyers require upfront payment and will only be compensated when you receive damages for your injuries and losses. If your attorney is unable to settle your case or win a judgment in your favor, our services will be free.