Boston Heavy Equipment Back Up Attorney
The city of Boston has been undergoing a tremendous construction boom in recent years. With it has come increased heavy equipment use around the city. Heavy construction equipment poses significant risks to construction workers and people passing by work sites, especially in a city like Boston that is seeing so much construction and has so many people.
If a piece of heavy equipment such as an excavator or backhoe has backed up into you and caused you serious injury, the construction injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman are ready to help.
Our law firm is all too familiar with the dangers posed by construction vehicles and other heavy machinery and the damage that they can do. It has been reported that vehicles and other equipment backing up cause approximately 30% of all construction accidents. More than 100 pedestrians are injured each year while passing by construction sites in the United States.
Our law firm can help you recover money for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. We will make sure that all negligent parties are held liable.
Construction companies must train their employees to operate equipment safely and responsibly. They must inspect heavy construction equipment regularly and keep it in a safe working condition. That includes making sure that heavy machinery is properly outfitted with mirrors and a working backup warning signal. All work areas must be properly marked and cordoned off to protect nearby pedestrians. If a construction company or equipment owner has failed to meet their obligations or has engaged in other dangerous work practices, they can be held responsible for their carelessness and negligence.
Heavy equipment accidents can lead to serious and life-long disabling injuries, sometimes even death. Having a skilled and experienced construction accident attorney on your side is crucial when so much is at stake. A lawyer can negotiate a settlement that properly compensates you for the full extent of your injuries. When a settlement is not possible, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against any parties who refuse to pay.
Backover accidents are crashes that occur when a driver reverses into and injures or kills a pedestrian. That pedestrian may be another construction worker or a civilian near the construction site.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) estimates approximately 210 workers were struck by and killed from backing vehicles between 2011 and 2013, and another 15,000 were injured. The accidents happened in work zones, roadways, the sides of the road, and in non-roadway areas.
In 2014, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reviewed reports by the Bureau of Labor Statics. They found that 443 construction accidents between 2003 and 2010 occurred due to workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment.
Construction workers injured in backover accidents while performing their job duties are entitled to compensation through Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system . Our workers’ compensation attorneys can help ensure you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to. Your benefits may include reimbursement of lost wages, coverage of your medical bills, and payment for any loss of function the construction accident may cause.Injured in a Heavy Equipment Backover Accident? The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman Can Help
It’s important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your construction backover accident so that your lawyer can promptly begin an investigation. Our law office has the resources to conduct a thorough investigation of your backover accident and identify all potentially negligent parties, including:
- The owner of the property where the accident occurred
- The equipment operator and other workers on the job site
- Companies responsible for servicing and maintaining the equipment
- Equipment manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
Contractors and subcontractors can be held liable for failing to train their workers and for failing to maintain safe job sites. If your accident was caused by defective equipment, a lawyer can file a product liability claim against the equipment manufacturer (Caterpillar, Komatsu, and John Deere, for example). Other companies involved in the product’s “stream of commerce,” such as distributors and retailers, may also be responsible.
The company responsible for servicing the machine could be held liable if the accident occurred because somebody improperly services or maintained the vehicle or machinery. For example, maybe the brakes failed or a backup alarm didn’t work, leading to the injuries.
If you are injured on a construction site due to a backover or other construction accident, seek medical treatment right away. Document your injuries after the accident and throughout the recovery process. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Photographic evidence can help communicate your injuries’ severity and can be valuable evidence if your case goes to court.
If possible, use your cellphone to take pictures of the construction equipment that backed up into you and the accident site. Ask for contact information from any witnesses at the scene.What Causes Heavy Equipment Backover Accidents?
Each time a vehicle or machine reverses, there’s the potential for a dangerous outcome. While drivers can see in front of them while driving forward, they have a more difficult time seeing behind them when driving in reverse. Mirrors and cameras can help, but they aren’t foolproof.
Here’s a look at some common causes of heavy equipment backover accidents:Lack of training – Heavy equipment operators often lack proper training to operate equipment safely. Poor communication – Constructions sites should have some system that allows the equipment operator to communicate with other workers on the job and maintain a safe work site. When there is no system, or the system breaks down, accidents are bound to occur. Hand signals are often used as a form of communication because of the elevated noise level present on most construction sites. Blind spots – In most cases, heavy equipment has larger than usual blind spots that make it difficult for an equipment operator to see every area around a vehicle. Certain types of construction work can impact an equipment operator’s vision. For example, operators seated high above the ground are often unable to see what’s happening at ground level. Drivers should be aware of the blind spots associated with the machinery that they are operating. Noise – If a construction site is particularly noisy, pedestrians might not hear a backup alarm and construction workers may not be able to hear one another. Workers also become use to backup alarms and are known to tune them out after awhile. Impairment – Heavy equipment operators under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs pose a danger to their co-workers and pedestrians. Just like in car accidents, cell phone use can distract drivers from what is going on around them. Types of Heavy Equipment Often Involved in Backover Accidents
All types of heavy equipment and machinery are dangerous. When performing backup maneuvers, the risk that they will cause serious injury increases drastically. Here’s an abbreviated list of types of construction equipment that are known to cause serious injury, and even death, when backing up:
- Front loaders
- Dump trucks
- Cement Mixers
Dump trucks are involved in backover accidents more than any other construction vehicle largely due to the nature of the work they perform.Heavy Equipment Backovers Can Cause Serious Injury and Wrongful Death
A piece of heavy equipment need not be moving fast when backing up to cause significant damage. The sheer size and weight of these steel beasts can cause serious injury, permanent disability, and even death.
Accident victims can become pinned by heavy equipment or become caught in the machinery and dragged along until the operator realizes what has happened. This can lead to additional injuries after the initial impact.
Some common heavy machinery backup injuries include:
- Head and neck injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Broken bones
- Crushing injuries
- Degloving injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Wrongful death
Most backing up accidents are preventable with training and advanced planning.
The property owner or general contractor should create an Internal Traffic Control Plan (ITCP) for any jobsite to limit the risk of injuries. The ITCP plan may include organizing the worksite to minimize the need for backing up, designating specific areas for backup maneuvers, and creating traffic patterns that limit or minimize vehicles and pedestrians from crossing paths. Construction sites should be marked with barricades, signage and flaggers when appropriate. Fencing can be used to keep pedestrians out of work areas and safe from harm. Cordoning off areas is especially important in urban environments where work is taking place near sidewalks and other areas where people are passing by. Pedestrian and vehicle crossings should be limited as much as possible near work areas where vehicles are backing up.
Heavy equipment operators should be properly trained on each piece of equipment that they are tasked with operating. Operators can learn through training where their blind spots are located and how to best work around them. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has blind spot diagrams on its website for specific construction equipment, including dump trucks, backhoes, and loaders.
Video cameras with display monitors installed inside the cab of vehicles allow heavy machinery operators to see behind them. “Proximity detection devices” is a newer form of technology that uses radar or sonar to alert equipment operators of people or objects behind them. Older equipment can be retrofitted with these safety devices. Many vehicles can be outfitted with sensors and ultrasonic devices that track movement and alert drivers to any dangers. Pulse technology has been utilized to measure the time it takes for an emitted pulse to hit an obstacle and return to the vehicle, giving drivers an idea of how far behind them an object may be. Other technology can be used to force vehicles to stop when dangers are detected.
Smartzone Proximity Systems are one of the newest forms of technology design to prevent backover accidents. These systems provide cell phone like personal wearable devices (PWDs) to alert workers when they are too close to equipment or other coworkers. Drivers wearing a PWD will receive a vibration or warning signal when workers are too close to their backing equipment. The individual wearing the device also will be alerted that they are walking too close to the equipment. Smartzone Proximity Systems work to alert drivers and pedestrians of anger they may not otherwise recognize.
The contractor should make sure that a communication system exists between the heavy machinery operator and other workers. It’s important that workers have the ability to alert the operator if a pedestrian is in the area or if something has gone wrong. Spotters should be used to help equipment operators back up safely. Workers should wear construction helmets and high visibility apparel so that they can be located easily, especially when work is taking place at night.
Equipment should be outfitted with backup alarms that work and are loud enough to cut through the noise of a construction site and provide warnings to workers and pedestrians in the area.
Machinery should be serviced regularly, kept in safe working condition, and checked before each shift.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers tips for preventing backover accidents on construction sites.
To learn more about how our personal injury attorneys can help you with your heavy machinery backover accident claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 367-2900 or submit a request through our online form.