Friday, April 8, 2011

Dangers of Trench Collapse in Minnesota

Trench collapse is probably one of dreaded types of construction accidents. Trench construction is highly regulated by OSHA and other state and federal entities to avoid serious injury or death to people working in or around trenches. Despite these regulations, trench collapses still happen with a fair amount of regularity.

Trench collapses and cave-ins can be caused by failure to follow safety guidelines, negligence or carelessness, flooding, improper shoring, equipment defects, machinery resting too close to the edge, inadequate safety equipment, or poor digging. Regardless of the cause, injuries sustained by workers involved in a trench collapse are almost always severe.

Trenches are associated with any number of dangerous. For example, workers can sustain serious injury if they accidentally fall into a trench. They can be injured if an object falls into the trench, striking them. Workers in trenches can be electrocuted or burned or killed in an explosion if a utility line is ruptured during excavation. Excavators and the workers operating them can tip into an open trench of the sides of the trench are not properly supported, or if the sides give way. Workers in trenches also face the risk of being overcome by the sudden release of gasses, either from a ruptured gas pipe, or from naturally occurring gases. The risk of a worker drowning in a trench occurs when a trench is too deep for the worker to get out of easily, or there is no escape access, and the trench fills with water from a ruptured pipe. The sudden release of water into a trench can also cause the ground materials forming the sides of the trench to suddenly collapse, trapping workers in deadly mud.

The most deadly type of trench accident is trench collapse, where the ground materials of a trench collapse, burying a worker. The sheer weight of soil or other ground material can crush or asphyxiate a worker in a very short period of time. Rescuing a partially buried worker is extremely difficult, and the worker may have sustained fatal injuries by the time he or she is rescued. Broken bones, lung collapse, back and neck injuries, and amputation injuries are all common when a construction worker is trapped in a collapsed trench.

Some common types of trench collapse or cave-in injuries include:
Minnesota construction workers who are injured in trench cave-ins or other trench accidents are generally entitled to Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits, including medical expense benefits, wage loss benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and rehabilitation benefits.

If the trench accident was caused by the negligence or carelessness of an entity other than the construction’s employer or a co-worker, in addition to a workers’ compensation claim, the injured worker may also have what’s known as a third-party liability claim, which includes claims for medical expenses, wage loss benefits, and pain and suffering.

If your loved one died as a result of a trench collapse accident in Minnesota, you may be eligible for Minnesota workers' compensation death and dependency benefits, and you may have a wrongful death claim if the trench cave-in was caused by the negligence of a third party.

If you’ve sustained injuries as a result of a trench accident in Minnesota, make sure you get all the benefits you’re entitled to. Contact Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email for a free, no-obligation case evaluation consultation with one of our Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyers.


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