Stephen Hasner | News | September 30, 2020
A parking deck under construction in Atlanta partially collapsed on September 11, 2020, causing injuries to multiple workers.
According to officials from Atlanta Fire Rescue, the building collapse involved a prefabricated parking deck being constructed in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood at the intersection of Linden Avenue and West Peachtree Street.
A column on the 11th floor collapsed, which caused debris to fall to the 10th floor. The cause of the collapse is under investigation.
Several Workers and a Firefighter Taken to the Hospital
One worker trapped under the debris had to be freed using saws, according to Atlanta Fire Rescue. The worker was strapped into a basket and lowered to the ground floor by a crane operator.
Several other construction workers were injured but were able to walk away from the collapse on their own. Four of the workers went to the hospital. A firefighter also went to the hospital with a suspected case of heat exhaustion.
The parking structure will have about 3,000 parking spaces. The garage is located just north of downtown Atlanta near Emory University Midtown Hospital.
Concerns About a Collapse onto the Freeway
There were concerns that the wall of the parking deck could collapse. If so, debris could fall onto Interstates 75 and 85. Officials closed sections of the adjoining streets and a ramp to the freeway as a precaution.
Engineers inspected the structural integrity of the building. Atlanta building inspectors also inspected the building. OSHA was also sending inspectors to determine whether someone violated workplace safety rules.
A Second Collapse Occurred the Following Day
Another worker sustained serious injuries the following day in a second collapse at the same construction site. The Atlanta Fire Department reported that a worker was injured when an I-beam collapsed through 10 stories in the interior of the parking structure.
The worker was on top of the I-beam working when it fell through the structure. Several workers were shoring up the building from the collapse on Friday when the second collapse occurred. A spokesman for Atlanta Fire said that multiple floors had “pancaked.”
Emergency responders transported the worker injured in the second collapse to Grady Hospital. Reports indicate that the worker sustained “significant injuries to his lower extremities.”
City officials have shut the project down. Parts of Spring Street, Linden Avenue, and W. Peachtree Street surrounding the structure were closed indefinitely.
News reports state that OHSA has fined the construction company twice in the last five years. One fine involved a fatality at a construction site at Northside Hospital.
Compensation for Accidents on Construction Sites
Construction site accidents can result in debilitating conditions for workers and others on the site. Common injuries associated with construction accidents include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Head and brain injuries
- Back injuries and spinal cord injuries
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Severe burns
- Internal organ damage
Georgia’s workers’ compensation system covers most accidents and injuries on construction sites. If the injury is related to work, the employee can file for workers’ compensation benefits. However, workers’ compensation benefits may not be the only source of compensation for an injured worker.
In some cases, a worker might have a claim against a third party for damages caused by a construction accident. Family members could have a wrongful death claim if a loved one died because of the negligence of a third party.
Third-Party Claims for Construction Accidents
Construction accidents occur for a variety of reasons. Workers injured on the job do not need to prove negligence to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
However, if a third party’s negligence contributed to or caused the worker’s injury, the worker may have a personal injury claim against that party. For example, if a defective product caused the worker’s injury, the worker may have a claim under product liability laws.
A third party claim can result in much more compensation for the worker than workers’ compensation benefits provide. Workers’ comp benefits compensate a worker for a portion of lost wages. A personal injury lawsuit can result in full compensation for all loss of income and benefits.
Also, a personal injury claim can provide compensation for pain and suffering. Workers’ comp benefits do not compensate an injured employee for pain and suffering damages. Likewise, a personal injury lawsuit could result in much more compensation for permanent disabilities and impairments than the benefits workers could receive under workers’ compensation.
Workers have the right to talk with a lawyer before deciding how to proceed regarding a construction site accident. A construction accident attorney evaluates the worker’s options for filing claims to receive maximum compensation for injuries on a construction site.