It’s no surprise that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous. There are certain risks that construction workers face every day due to the nature of the work.
However, the unthinkable can still occur, including unforeseeable accidents.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 4 bridges were set to be demolished in Newton County. The first bridge’s deconstruction began Monday, October 18, 2021 under the direction of the general contractor, Georgia Bride & Concrete, and a subcontractor, B&D Concrete Cutting Inc.
The next day, around 5:30 p.m., a portion of the Access Road bridge collapsed near exit 88 on I-20. The collapse sent 3 construction workers into the Yellow River.
The first was Michael Garrett, who worked for Georgia Bride & Concrete. He was operating a company-owned excavator when a 70-foot section of the bridge fell into the water below. Further down on the same section, Demario Battle and Robert Mullins (B&D employees) were loading up concrete saws for the day into their truck when the collapse occurred.
Battle was discovered on the scene with severe injuries and immediately taken to Piedmont Newton Hospital. Tragically, he was declared dead by 6:45 p.m.
Garrett and Mullins were also seriously injured and transported by air to different hospitals where their conditions remained critical.
That night, crews worked overtime to recover all the submerged equipment and debris from the river. The Newton County Sheriff’s Office completed its investigation, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) still had to conduct its own.
Before this incident, the bridge was expected to be closed for around 9 months. It’s not known at this time how the timeline will be affected by the collapse.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, the bridge was built in 1937 and was considered to be in “fair” condition prior to the deconstruction.
Workers’ compensation for construction workers
Because they work in a dangerous industry, construction workers should know whether or not they’ll be covered should the worst happen. Under Georgia law, most injured workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which can cover medical expenses, lost wages during recovery time and death benefits if a worker dies on the job.
At a construction site, employers are required to obey all safety precautions and guidelines set forth by federal and state regulators. These requirements can include proper safety gear, training providers to workers, mandatory equipment maintenance and more.
Unfortunately, many employers try to cut costs by skipping out on their legal and ethical responsibility to provide a safe work environment for workers, laborers and contractors. As a result, vulnerable construction workers are injured and killed in the tens of thousands each year.
How can Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys help you?
Construction accidents tend to be more devastating and catastrophic than other on-the-job accidents. On top of that, construction accident injuries often involve multiple court filings — workers’ compensation, personal injury, even wrongful death claims — and more than one third party may be liable.
Adding to the complexity is the time limit injured workers have to file a workers’ compensation or a third-party injury claim. Your right to file an injury lawsuit in Georgia for a construction accident expires after 2 years. However, you must notify your supervisor of an injury within 30 days to receive workers’ comp benefits.
This is a lot to juggle while you’re trying to heal mentally, emotionally and physically. So let us handle the legal side of things.