Articles Posted in Construction Accidents

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According to the latest government tracking data, workforce fatalities are down this year due in part to the depressed economy. Even though the construction industry is in decline, we still have several industries here in Orange County and Southern California that can cause serious injuries if the proper safety procedures are not in place. As a California injury lawyer, we are dedicated to assisting where we can to reduce needless injury. Here are just three examples.

Last week a massive explosion rocked Simi Valley’s industrial area where a man was killed while experimenting with hydrogen and oxygen while trying to generate alternative fuels. The accident happened while Realms employee, Tyson Larson was heating water in a pressurized container. The container exploded, killing Larson and injuring two of his co-workers. The blast could be heard up to one block away and the explosion was so violent that it caved in the roof. Cal-OSHA is still investigating but prior accident records indicate a similar explosion just 18 months ago.

Another recent industrial accident occurred in the Costa Mesa-based company Cera dyne. A 26 year old man is in critical condition after suffering traumatic injuries from flying shrapnel to the head and body. Initial Cal-OSHA reports state that the machinery failed but that the full investigation could take upwards of 3 months.

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I have recently written on the number of examples where tort reform has not worked. Workers compensation is a failure, as workers have no right to sue their employers for negligence. Health insurance companies, operating under ERISA laws deny coverage wrongfully, and often, and have no legal recourse. In none of these examples has there been a fair treatment of those injured due to the negligence of another. Instead there has been a compromise of their rights, allegedly for the sake of society.

One frequent argument proposed for tort reform is that a less expensive and more effective method of controlling negligence is through government supervision and regulation. Nothing could be further than the truth as evidenced by the recent Los Angeles Times article on October 21, 2009 investigating Cal OSHA penalties for employer negligence. I invite your review of this article personally becasue I believe it deserves a Pulitzer for fair and in depth investigative reporting by Jessica Garrison.

An employer, Bimbo bakeries in California, had six amputations and a fractured hand at the workplace between 2003 and 2006. Cal OSHA investigated each of these violations, determined them to be caused by a serious failure to abide by safety regulations, maintain guards on equipment and operate the factory safely. Investigators levied fines anywhere from $2000-$21,000. However, the article pointed out that the Cal OSHA appeals boards waived almost all of the fines assessed and levied against this particular employer, not because they found the investigations without merit, but according to Candice Traeger, chairman of the appeals board, a backlog of cases drew a federal complaint causing the board to settle thousands of cases for pennies on the dollar.

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Knott’s Berry farms’ Xcelerator ride will be shut down until further notice while investigators try to figure out what caused a cable to snap and injure two people on the ride.

Orange County Fire Authority paramedics arrived immediately on the scene Wednesday when the accident occurred. There were 9 people on the ride at the time but fortunately only two were injured; a twelve year old boy was treated for a leg laceration and the other person complained of back pain. The two injured were taken to nearby hospitals but were expected to be released soon.

All rides at Knott’s Berry Farm, including Xcelerator, are inspected daily. The cable in question was replaced last December and according to the cable’s manufacturer is supposed to be good for one year. The ride has a drop of 205 feet and reaches a top speed of 82mph.

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As some of you know, I am frequently writing about dangerous roads, and Oak Canyon Road in Trabuco Canyon is one of them. But tthe roadway does not seem to be playing a part in this accident.

Just two weeks after the fatal car accident that left two teens dead in Trabuco Canyon’s Oak Canyon Road, another accident left three people with serious personal injuries. Dureti Bishop was the most seriously injured person and she needed to be flown via helicopter to Mission Hospital. She was the passenger in a Yellow Cab mini-van being driven by Bunny Deuk of Long Beach. Deuk was also seriously injured as was the truck driver that was involved in the crash.

Orange County authorities are currently investigating this accident but witnesses said that the Yellow Cab was not speeding but was weaving back and forth on the road. The mini-van eventually clipped the front-left side of the truck and it was pushed into a ditch and caught fire. A local Park Ranger needed to break the windows of the taxi to rescue the driver and passenger.

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As Memorial Day weekend came and went and therefore the start to summer vacation season, millions of children of all ages are eagerly awaiting visits to carnivals, amusement and water parks. But for one child, Kaitlyn Lassiter, she will be speaking out against amusement park safety with Massachusetts’s congressman, Edward Markey. Tragically last year Kaitlin’s feet were severed on an amusement park ride. She will for obvious reasons never be the same but she is campaigning for better safety standards.

Congressman Markey has proposed bill, H.R. 2320, The National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act. If passed, this new law would close a huge loophole that allows federal safety oversight in a majority of the country’s major theme parks. 71% of customers who visit America’s top ten amusement parks-62 million-are riding on unregulated rides. Basically what this means for you as a consumer is that there are no government ride inspections or investigations of serious accidents or death.

Here in California we are one of only 27 states that have some safety regulations and ride inspections. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) regulates the installation, maintenance, operation use and inspection of all permanent amusement park rides. A new bill, SB 783 that will take effect January 1, 2009 will require stricter reporting to DOSH as well as park owners to have $1 million dollars of liability insurance coverage per occurrence, up from the current standard of $500,000.

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Well, it’s that time of the year again to “fall back” to standard time. This Sunday, most residents of the US will be turning their clocks back one hour, and going back to Daylight Standard Time. Even though the time change is meant to produce energy savings for the country, it usually leaves everyone feeling fatigued, at least for the first week or so, and that leads to safety risk at home and on the road.
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When you have been injured in a construction accident, if you are an employee in California, you are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. However, those benefits are severely limited. You receive reduced pay during your recovery, medical treatment that can be slow and incomplete and you are not entitled to pain and suffering damages.

A lawyer, experienced in California law, can investigate the accident to determine if you are entitled to additional financial recovery. You can call us to investigate those possible claims without any cost to you.

While worker’s compensation rights are the exclusive remedy against your employer, worker’s Continue reading →

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