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Philadelphia Injury Lawyer Blog

The Pearce Law Firm, including well-known Philadelphia injury lawyer Edith Pearce, is dedicated to the personal care of each individual case. We believe in educating our potential clients on the variety of cases being filed in the state of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The blog posts below feature accidents and events that may lead to potential law suits. Whether you need a personal injury lawyer to represent you due to car or truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, construction accidents, dog bites, or head injuries, The Pearce Law Firm works on your behalf to provide you the compensation you deserve.

Archive for Construction Injury


Workplace “Accident” From the Perspective of a Construction Accident Lawyer

January 7, 2013

In Woodland Park, New Jersey, two men were hospitalized after a workplace accident while performing their job for a northern New Jersey construction company that makes granite countertops and cabinets. On Monday, October 8th, the two men were moving a large piece of granite with a forklift. When the employee loading the granite struggled under its weight, the second who was operating the forklift jumped out of the forklift to help without putting the forklift in neutral to stabilize the vehicle. The two men sustained leg and hip injuries when the forklift rolled into them. While the injuries were not considered life threatening, both employees will need time out of work to recover.

In an event like this, a construction accident lawyer would consider a variety of ways to receive compensation for the victims.   Work place injuries are generally covered under workers’ compensation insurance, which is “no-fault.”  In other words, the victim does not have to prove negligence or fault to recover; rather they simply must show they were injured while working.   Although the employer is responsibility for workers’ compensation, often a civil suit can also be brought against another party who may have been responsibility for the accident.  For example, the quality and effectiveness of the forklift would also need to be assessed. Was this an issue of a faulty forklift and lack of an improper safety stop or switch on this equipment?

An accident implies that it was something that could not be foreseen or avoided. At The Pearce Law Firm, we recognize that this is rarely the case. In the event that happened in Woodland Park, there are many ways to discover what led to this accident and determine exactly what could have prevented it.  We also will determine which lawsuits and insurance to pursue, to maximize the victim’s compensation.  If you’ve been hurt at work, contacting a lawyer can help you get clear answers to the questions that could lead to significant compensation.

Posted in: Construction Injury

Construction Worker Killed On-Site by Backhoe

December 10, 2012

A tragedy has emerged out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Edward M. (Ed) Haines, 51, a mechanic was killed when he was called to service a backhoe in an eastern Pennsylvania worksite. While working on the backhoe, he became trapped underneath it and the backhoe ran over him. The machinery was not on a jack at the time, and authorities are continuing to investigate what went wrong. The site was being used for storage, and officials of Ray Gonzales Trucking Company, who owned the backhoe, said he was working at the site alone.

As a nationally-renowned Philadelphia construction accident attorney, our firm has taken part in complex litigation against property owners, developers and general contractors with sophisticated legal teams and insurance companies that are dedicated to avoiding liability. Some of the workers we represent have been unlawfully subjected to dangerous working conditions, as Mr. Haines very well could have been. The fact that Mr. Haines was alone when the accident happened complicates the investigation and legal proceedings, and it’s unlikely that his family, two children and a wife of 30 years, will get answers easily.

Police are investigating exactly what happened, likely in order to see if the management’s negligence led to the accident. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also probing the accident. Many times accidents like these could have been avoided, if simple safety measures were taken.

As a plaintiff’s attorney, I also represent clients in personal injury, police brutality, employment discrimination, and sexual harassment. While many feel that their employers, the police, and authority figures in general have their best interests in mind and will honor their civic and professional responsibilities, legal matters quickly become a numbers game. These types of cases can be very complex because of the different parties involved. Construction companies often use contractors, who then work on land owned by a developer. The construction company or developer may oversee the construction on land they do not always own. In the event of an accident, these conglomerates often succeed in making it unclear who is the responsible party.

My goal is to protect those who need protection, bring those responsible to justice, and get compensation for victims, like Ed Haines, and their families. Many times lawsuits have the benefit of forcing companies to be more careful and take extra safety precautions, so that these types of tragedies can be avoided in the future.

Posted in: Construction Injury

Cranes Cause Deadly Construction Accidents Near Philadelphia and Worldwide

June 16, 2011

Several crane accidents have occurred near the Philadelphia area over the last decade. This often deadly type of construction accident can affect construction workers working at a job site as well as bystanders around a construction job site.

Modern cranes lift heavy materials at construction sites and are often a necessary part of a construction job, but the recent lack of safety measures taken during crane use have caused this tragic type of construction accident to make front page news all too often.

In 2009, a tall construction lift toppled over and struck a downtown Philadelphia apartment building. The construction accident killed one New Jersey construction worker who fell 125 feet after the crane went down. Three people in cars driving close to the scene were hit by heavy falling debris, causing one seventy year old woman to be treated for a broken arm and two other passengers to be treated for minor injuries.

In another recent accident, an inexperienced crane operator failed to understand the length of his crawler crane’s boom, or arm. As he was off-loading a 20-ton steel slab, the load shifted, causing the boom to twist and collapse killing two construction workers standing 30 feet away.

Crane accidents often involve tipping cranes that have been loaded beyond their weight limit. Cranes that aren’t inspected properly for mechanical issues as well as proper load weight before use can be extremely dangerous. Cranes should always be equipped with the proper devices to secure workers should the crane tip. Cranes can also hurt workers as they accidentally snag power lines or nearby buildings causing construction workers to become injured or even killed by falling debris or by way of electrocution. If you have been affected by a construction accident, contact an injury lawyer.

Posted in: Construction Injury

Deadly Construction Accident in Philadelphia

June 2, 2011

In January 2011, one Philadelphia area man was injured and another was killed in a deadly construction accident. The two men were working at a job site in Allentown Pennsylvania early on January morning.

Subcontractors Michael Wilson, 20, and his best friend Otis Smothers, 21 were installing electrical conduit into the Linden Street Bridge between Fourth Street and American Parkway during what was supposed to be just another day of usual construction work.

The tragic construction accident occurred around 8:40 a.m. according to reports when a part of the trench that the two men were working inside suddenly gave way causing chunks of concrete and gavel to fall and partially bury them. Initially, authorities weren’t sure what caused the collapse.

Michael Wilson was pronounced dead at the scene after being pinned under heavy concrete debris for hours. Allentown, Pennsylvania police, firefighters, and emergency workers worked as quickly as they could to try save him to no avail.

Authorities were able to rescue Otis Smothers around 10 a.m., just a few hours after the initial accident. Smothers was taken to nearby Lehigh Valle Hospital-Cedar Crest for severe personal injuries. He was treated for severe cuts and damage to his shoulder and was listed in serious but stable condition upon his arrival.

The top Philadelphia injury lawyers note that thousands of construction workers are either killed or injured each year. Construction workers or their families may be entitled to compensation for hospital and medical expenses, past and future lost earning, past and future permanent physical disability, emotional distress, loss of love and companionship, damage or destruction of property, physical pain and suffering, or loss of enjoyment of life.

Posted in: Construction Injury

Man Seriously Injured at Philadelphia Construction Site

October 21, 2010

Earlier this morning, a 45-year-old Philadelphia man suffered serious personal injuries when a garbage truck crashed into a truck-mounted construction crane at a Center City work site. It was about 8 a.m. when the truck collided with the crane’s boom at the 4th and Market Street construction site, sending a heavy load of bricks tumbling to the ground. The Philadelphia construction accident injured one man, knocking him unconscious. The man was transported to the trauma unit at Jefferson University Hospital.

According to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics, one in 10 Philadelphia construction workers are injured in job-related accidents each year. More than 150,000 U.S. workers are injured on construction sites every year and nearly 1,000 of them die from their injuries. Read about it here. Construction parts and materials account for the greatest number of accidents, followed closely by falls and equipment mishaps. Cranes are considered the single most dangerous piece of equipment on construction sites.

The bulk of Philadelphia construction injuries cause damage to the worker’s trunk or back and can be debilitating, leaving the worker incapacitated for the rest of his life. Costly for both workers and their employers, construction site injuries force workers to miss at least 31 days of work and account for 15% of all workers’ compensation payments. But this represents only a small part of the total cost to workers and their families when construction accidents cause incapacitating injuries.

Severe Philadelphia construction accidents can leave injured workers with chronic pain and life-long disabilities. The worker and his family can face a lifetime of doctors’ bills, rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses and prescription medication costs. Loss of income and medical costs can take a serious financial and emotional toll on workers and their families. If you have been injured in a construction accident, ask an expert Pearce Law Firm attorney to review your case.

Posted in: Construction Injury

2 Workers Die in Pennsylvania Zinc Plant Explosion

July 29, 2010

A late afternoon explosion at a zinc smelting plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania last week killed two workers and sent a third worker to the hospital with serious personal injuries. The Pennsylvania construction accident at Horseheads Inc. was the latest and most serious in a long list of safety incidents at the plant. According U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) records, the agency issued 44 citations to the plant for alleged safety violations, 27 of them classified as “serious.” Safety violations included missing guardrails, use of an unapproved safety platform, lack of protection barriers, and failure to properly track worker exposure to the toxic metals lead and cadmium. In 2006, another Horseheads worker suffered severe leg burns when he stepped into an uncovered pit of molten zinc. That construction accident cost the Pennsylvania company $186.750 in federal fines.

Every year, thousands of U.S. workers are killed or seriously injured in accidents at construction sites and industrial plants. Many personal injury accidents occur when OSHA safety regulations are ignored. Poor supervision, lack of communication, poor worker training, and use of defective machinery or tools also contribute to the number of personal injury accidents in Pennsylvania and across the nation. Read more here.

When construction or industrial accidents occur, accident victims and their families are entitled to recover damages for hospital and medical expenses, lost earnings, permanent disability, emotional distress, destruction of property, physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and, should an accident victim die, loss of the love and companionship of their family member. Due to the complexity of construction and industrial accidents, victims and their families generally require the knowledge and assistance of an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney with proven expertise in handling construction accident cases. Pearce Law can help!

Posted in: Construction Injury

Pennsylvania Couple Dies in Fatal Truck Accident

July 20, 2010

According to Philadelphia personal injury attorney, Edith Pearce, despite advances in safety in automobiles and trucks, truck accidents continue to be a problem on Philadelphia and Pennsylvania roadways causing serious and sometimes fatal injuries. A Pennsylvania couple from Finleyville was killed Sunday while driving through Utah. Russell and Emelda Welsh, both in their 60s, died at the scene when a tractor-trailer driver lost control of his rig in a construction zone on I-15 near Pintura, Utah. Reportedly traveling at a high speed, the truck driver swerved into oncoming traffic lanes, crashing into the Welsh’s Kia SUV head-on. Just two hours earlier, a Utah woman had been critically injured at the same construction zone. In that accident, the woman lost control of her vehicle after hitting a bump in the road and crashed into nearby construction equipment, injuring construction workers. A sign saying “Bump ahead” was posted immediately ahead of where both vehicles lost control Utah police are investigating.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), highway work zone accidents killed 1,149 roadway workers in 2009, representing 9% of all deaths in the construction industries. Between 1995 and 2002, the latest figures available, 44 workers were killed at Pennsylvania road construction sites. And those figures do not include the thousands of motorists and truckers who die or are seriously injured every year in motor vehicle accidents that occur in roadway construction zones.

The increase in construction zone accidents has caused Pennsylvania and most other states to double traffic fines in construction zones as a deterrent to speeding and unsafe driving practices. Despite such precautions, the proximity of speeding cars to construction vehicles and workers creates the potential for dangerous accidents. Uneven road beds, poorly graded berm lanes, confusing markings, unmarked hazards and the distraction of construction activity can catch drivers unawares, resulting in tragedy as it did for a Pennsylvania couple in Utah this week.

Experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys can assist both injured construction workers and motorists who are involved in serious personal injury accidents in Pennsylvania construction zones. Thepearcelawfirm.com is always here to assist you!

Posted in: Car Accidents, Construction Injury

Pennsylvania Coke-Oven Explosion Injures 20

July 15, 2010

Yesterday’s powerful explosion of a U.S. Steel coke-oven in Clairton, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh seriously injured 20 workers, sending regional emergency crews rushing to the chaotic scene. Most of the injured workers suffered painful burns but at least 3 of the workers sustained severe, potentially life-altering injuries. The two most severely injured workers sustained serious chemical burns to their heads, necks, faces and airways. A spokesperson for West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh where the men are being treated said the inhalation injuries put these men at critical risk.

Another worker was hospitalized at West Penn with serious burns over his head, neck, face and hands and an ankle fracture. Five additional workers are being treated for serious burn injuries at another hospital. Learn more about burns here.

The accident occurred about 9:30 a.m. yesterday when a full shift of workers was at their posts. About 1,500 people work at the plant. The explosion at U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works plunged the plant into darkness, sending debris flying through the air. The force of the explosion bent steel beams and crumbled thick block walls. The resulting fire raged into the afternoon. Bob Full, Allegheny County emergency services chief told the Associated Press, “It’s a miracle that anybody even walked away from that.”

Investigators from U.S. Steel and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are investigating the cause of the explosion. Early eyewitness testimony points to a possible problem with the oven’s gas supply oven. This isn’t the first personal injury accident at the Clairton works. A maintenance worker was killed in a September 2009 explosion at the plant.

Manufacturing plants have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees. When serious personal injury construction accidents or death occur on the job, plant owners may be liable for medical expenses and damages to the victim and his family. Pearce Law Firm can review your case and advise you of your rights.

Posted in: Construction Injury

Natural Gas Blowouts Can Put Philadelphia Construction Workers at Personal Injury Risk

June 8, 2010

The tragic blowout at the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico and the resulting destruction has focused national attention on the hazards of oil and gas drilling. Closer to home, a blowout last week at a natural gas drilling site near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania raised fears of an explosion. The blowout sent gas and polluted drill water shooting 75 feet into the air for more than 16 hours before the drill crew was able to bring the blowout under control. Calling the incident a serious Pennsylvania construction accident and vowing a full investigation, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger told the Associated Press, “The event at the well site could have been a catastrophic incident that endangered life and property.”

Pennsylvania construction workers were fortunate to avoid serious personal injury at the Harrisburg blowout. Construction accidents in other states point out the potential hazards drill crews face. Yesterday, a natural gas line erupted south of Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas, sparking a massive fireball and explosion. One utility worker was killed in the construction accident and several workers were hospitalized with severe personal injuries. Earlier that day, at a West Virginia natural gas site located 55 miles southwest of Pittsburg, seven members of a natural gas drilling crew suffered serious burn injuries when they hit a pocket of methane gas that exploded.

Natural gas and Philadelphia construction accidents can have devastating consequences for workers and their families. Due to the involvement of multiple defendants, these cases can be a challenge to pursue. An experienced Philadelphia construction accident attorney can cut through the red tape and insurance paperwork to ensure that you get the settlement and help you are entitled to if you are injured on the job. Learn more here.

Posted in: Construction Injury

Safety Issues Investigated when Philadelphia Construction Accidents Occur

May 28, 2010

As an experienced construction accident lawyer in Philadelphia, I know firsthand how devastating a construction accident or work injury can be. Coal mining accidents and injuries have been in the news recently. According to the Energy Information Administration, Annual Coal Report of 2009, Pennsylvania was ranked fourth for coal production in the United States, producing 5.6% of the United States’ coal. Coal mining accidents and injuries in Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area is a great concern. That’s where The Pearce Law Firm steps in.

Yesterday, it was reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has suspended the mining permit of a nearly two-century-old eastern Pennsylvania company, Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co. of Pottsville. According to the Pocono Record Newspaper, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection accuses the coal company of illegal mining practices, violating water quality standards and failing to reclaim mined lands. These types of practices could cause these Philadelphia suburban coal workers serious accidents and injuries. Many times Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits are not enough to provide these injured workers sufficient money and medical care. Plus, the accident victim may not qualify for Pennsylvania unemployment compensation.

A congressional hearing into the cause of the fatal Massey Energy Co. mine explosion that killed 29 miners in Beckley, West Virginia last month has revealed that not only did the company regularly violate safety rules, it pressured employees to hide safety violations from federal inspectors. Family members of those who died in the country’s worst mining disaster in four decades testified that Massey threatened workers who raised safety issues and ordered workers to direct inspectors’ attention away from safety problems during mine inspections. It’s a cautionary tale for Philadelphia construction workers who work in hazardous settings every day.

Every year thousands of construction workers are killed or suffer severe personal injuries in construction site accidents. Construction workers rely on their employers to provide as safe a work environment as possible, including adhering to all safety regulations, encouraging safe work practices and maintaining construction equipment in good repair. Even when both the construction company and its workers exercise safety precautions, construction accidents can occur. ThePearceLawFirm.com offers only the best help when it comes to personal injury.

Last October a Philadelphia construction worker, James Wilson, was killed on a Center City Philadelphia job site when a construction lift collapsed. Two lifts were being used to inspect masonry on the First Presbyterian Church when the wheel of the lift Wilson was operating crashed through the lid of a sidewalk utility box. The lift overbalanced and fell, tearing through an adjacent apartment building and raining bricks and debris onto the street below. Wilson was killed and several drivers suffered personal injuries when debris struck their vehicles. The construction foreman said Wilson had been one of the company’s most safety conscious employees.

When a Philadelphia construction accident occurs, quickly contacting a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer allows an experienced construction accident attorney to investigate physical evidence and safety issues and interview eyewitnesses promptly to protect your legal rights. Call us now.

Posted in: Construction Injury