Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: A Major Perk of a Construction Injury Lawsuit

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in a construction accident, contact our Fort Lauderdale lawyers today.

Florida construction lawyers helping those injured at or near construction zones typically have a good idea of who to sue for their client’s personal injury case.  Yet, personal injury lawyers here in South Florida do make mistakes during the course of their client’s construction injury case.  However, small mistakes may go unnoticed and ultimately not affect the outcome of a case, but significant blunders could potentially cost the person injured at a construction site hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

As a North Miami Beach construction injury lawyer, a significant mistake that I have come to recognize that cannot be made is the decision of who to sue in a personal injury case. When injury occurs at or near a construction site, naturally the finger of blame is pointed immediately at the general contractor in charge of the construction zone.  While it is indeed the general contractor that ultimately won the bid for the construction project and typically bears the most responsibility, several other construction companies are involved as well.  In other words, these other construction companies may also be liable for the personal injury for which you have retained a South Florida lawyer.

Far too often, Florida lawyers that help clients injured in construction accidents file a lawsuit against only the general contractor and proceed with litigation.  Come time for mediation or settlement, the client agrees to a specific settlement amount with the general contractor and before funds are disbursed, a “release of claims” is signed by the client. And the moment the injured client signs on that dotted line releasing the general contractor from the personal injury lawsuit, all of the sub-contractors breathe a collective sigh of relief, for they all just dodged a major bullet.

As a Fort Lauderdale construction lawyer, I urge all clients injured in an accident at or near a construction area to question your attorney on this issue.  Often times, when an accident occurs in a construction zone, the general contractor is not the only party responsible. When that contractor wins the bid to perform the construction, the company most likely needs to employ several other construction companies (i.e. sub-contractors) to assist with the project.    And when an injury occurs on a construction site, Florida lawyers are quick to blame the general contractor, but it is necessary to take that extra step and challenge the work of the sub-contractors as well.  Because more times than not, this adds a couple extra zeros to the settlement.

Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: Can I Sue the Florida Department of Transportation for a Highway Car Accident?

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident at or near a construction zone, contact our Florida construction lawyers today.

Being a North Miami construction lawyer that helps those injured in car accidents on highways, I frequently come across road blocks (no pun intended) in litigation when trying to sue the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”).  Florida personal injury lawyers are always aggressive, but when it comes to attacking the Department of Transportation, the FDOT typically hides behind the shield of sovereign immunity.  Florida Statute 768.28 details sovereign immunity, and is almost always cited in arguments by the FDOT.

Not to delve into an entire legal thesis, but essentially the FDOT is immune from construction litigation arising out of an injury resulting from “faulty” roadway or highway design.  So, for any South Florida driver that is injured in a car accident and retains a lawyer to sue the FDOT because the highway was designed improperly or dangerously, be prepared for intense litigation.

As a South Florida construction injury lawyer, I have many cases against the Department of Transportation despite the presence of sovereign immunity.  In fact, today we are in mediation for a highway car accident on I-95 in Miami involving the FDOT, as well as several other contractors.  The car accident occurred back in 2008 and involved the newly installed “Express Lanes.”  Essentially, these express lanes are two toll lanes that are separated from the rest of traffic through the use of high performance highway tubular delineators.  These delineators are essentially large tube-like plastic poles that are often utilized by construction companies for the separation of traffic.

My client had been traveling on I-95 and became trapped in these “Express Lanes.”  Unbeknownst to her, when driving within these lanes, no exit is possible for over 10 miles. However, my client had to exit the highway prior to the end of the toll lanes, so she attempted to travel through the delineators in order to exit the highway.  Since these delineators were 20 feet apart, it gave drivers the appearance that travelling in between them was indeed possible — but it was not possible.  Unfortunately, my client crashed her car and had been involved in a near-death car accident.  Fire rescue and ambulances arrived to the scene instantly and thankfully her life was spared.

A major defendant in this construction car accident case is the Florida Department of Transportation.  As expected, a major defense of the FDOT is sovereign immunity.  So, how do you sue the Department of Transportation for this Florida highway construction car accident?  Most Florida lawyers should be familiar with the exception to sovereign immunity.  Simply stated, or as simply as one could state this complex area of law, when a dangerous condition exists that is known by the state (i.e. FDOT), the state owes a duty to the general public, such as my client, to warn of this known dangerous condition.

Ultimately, certain precautions must be taken by the state when undertaking construction projects on Florida’s highways.  Especially when a project involves a complete transformation of a highway, the Florida Department of Transportation has a duty to warn and inform the public of this drastic change to a roadway that hundreds of thousands travel on every single day.

Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: Why are Construction Workers Constantly at Risk?

Brandon Stein

As a North Miami car accident lawyer that sues for construction site accidents, a case that I have recently filed in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida is just another example of the dangers of working construction. For purposes of anonymity, I will refer to my client as John Smith.

Mr. Smith was a construction worker employed as an asphalt laborer to perform paving work for the construction of Biscayne Boulevard just north of the American Airlines Arena.   Note: I say “was” because due to the significant injury from the car accident, as his lawyer, I do not know at this point whether John will ever be able to work construction again.

Mr. Smith had reported to work at the construction site for an overnight shift.  Naturally, the risks of being involved in a car or truck accident rise significantly at night — that is precisely why the presence of construction flaggers are of utmost importance to preserve the safety of all people working at the site.  Given the huge responsibility of directing traffic, flaggers are often required to undergo additional training and have more experience than your average construction worker, such as John Smith.

However, Mr. Smith’s supervisor required him to direct traffic that night, which happened to be a Friday night in downtown Miami — needless to say one of the busiest nights of the week.  Mr. Smith, fearful of losing his job if he told his boss that he was not properly trained and could not to perform this task, simply did what he was told and proceeded to direct traffic without any training or experience.

This is a construction zone that has the presence of trucks and cars traveling through the area constantly — always with a risk of causing an accident involving a construction worker, including John Smith.  As expected, shortly after Mr. Smith began directing traffic, he was hit and nearly killed by a car traveling through the construction site.  Fire Rescue and police responded to the scene and John was taken by ambulance to the Hospital.  The injuries that construction worker, John Smith, suffered from this car accident ultimately required two surgeries and extensive rehabilitation — the only way to get compensated for his loss was to hire a lawyer and recover money damages for his pain and suffering.

A major issue in this case is whether my client, John Smith, received adequate training in order to be qualified to direct traffic.  In fact, Florida has its own training and certification requirements for construction companies to follow when it comes to flaggers.  The Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”) sets forth Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction.  Contained within those standards is a section dedicated to flaggers.  According to section 105-8.4 of the FDOT’s Standard Specifications, construction companies are required to provide trained flaggers to direct traffic.  In other words, it is illegal to have untrained, unqualified construction workers, such as John Smith, direct traffic and work as a flagger.

When you have untrained construction workers directing traffic, car accidents or truck accidents are inevitable to occur at the construction site, which almost always cause serious traumatic injury.  Being a North Miami lawyer who sues for car accidents or truck accidents in construction areas, I find on many occasions that the contractor has failed to abide by the standards set forth by the Department of Transportation.  When these failures occur, the person who pays the price is the construction worker that is placed in harms way and vulnerable to car accidents, or worse, truck accidents.

The one golden piece of information that I would like all construction workers to take from this article is that no matter the cost, never place yourself in a situation where you are performing work without the proper training.  Unfortunately, my client, John Smith, succumbed to the pressure of his employer to perform dangerous flagger work, which led to his injury from a car accident while at work.

If you or someone you know was injured from a car accident or truck accident in a construction area, please contact us today.

By: Brandon Stein

Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: Woman Awarded $1 Million in Lawsuit Against Construction Companies

As a Miami lawyer who sues construction companies, a common question many clients have is: “Who do I sue?”  While this may sound like an easy question to answer, when you are dealing with highly funded complex projects with multiple construction companies involved, the task is certainly difficult to determine who is responsible.  On most occasions, the client will come into my office, tell me the story of how he or she was injured, yet stalls when I pose the question: “Who wronged you?”  In construction site accidents, often times it is a bit hazy as to who is responsible for causing damage to the client.  The answer, more times than not, is that multiple construction companies are responsible.  This was most likely an issue that an Etowah County, Alabama jury was tasked with deciding prior to rendering a $1 million verdict.

In 2007, an Alabama woman was working at a local restaurant when she suffered a slip and fall injury as a result of a manhole cover extending nearly an inch off the ground.  The woman suffered injuries that required a fusion in her neck, rods in her back, and a lifetime of constant pain.  According to local media reports, two construction companies were apparently involved in the construction of the restaurant, as well as the surrounding area.

So, two questions: (1) Who to sue? (2) Who wronged the woman?  The lawyer of the injured worker answered these questions by suing two construction companies, rather than the injured woman’s employer.  These construction companies were named in this lawsuit because the manhole that was left elevated nearly an inch above the ground certainly rises to the level of a dangerous condition — i.e. a tripping hazard for the general public, including the injured worker.

While reports do not delve into the specifics of the injured worker’s argument against the construction companies, I would speculate that a key component to that argument is a breach of the duty of care owed by the two defendants.  The elements of proving a slip and fall claim in Florida are explained in a previous post from August 16, 2012.  Nevertheless, when construction companies are hired to perform work to repair, rebuild, or renovate an area, implied within every contract is that the work will be performed in a reasonably safe manner.  This includes when the job is complete, the newly constructed area must be reasonably safe for public access — assuming of course the construction site area is intended to be open to the public.

Even when a construction project is complete, liability for an injury occurring at the newly constructed area can still fall in the hands of the construction company.  When a person hires a lawyer after suffering a slip and fall injury, car accident injury, or any type of injury for that matter, a key consideration must be whether the incident occurred at a construction site — or at the location of a recently completed construction project. Unfortunately, many slip and fall cases or car accident cases are resolved without bringing in all necessary parties.  Sadly, the one who suffers the most in the end is the injured person for not recovering the full value of their claim.

 By: Brandon Stein

Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: B.C. Court Awards Man $680,000 After Fall at Vancouver Airport

The subject of a recently concluded lawsuit was a 60 year old native of British Columbia who was injured back in December 2006 after returning from a flight at the Vancouver International Airport.  Upon boarding a shuttle bus at the airport, the man lodged his foot between two steel plates located on the roadway — causing him to fall injuring his right leg and foot.  The extent and precise nature of the 60 year old’s injury has not been disclosed.

However, we do know that this married man was active and frequently enjoyed activities such as hiking, golfing, walking, and vacationing in the Caribbean.  Yet, post accident, all the man wants to do is sit and rest because of the significant amount of pain.  All of these factors had been raised during the course of this litigation.

How did the Vancouver airport and construction company respond to these allegations?  By denying that they owed the man any duty of care, while asserting that the area was reasonably safe for the public to travel.  Those defendants, the airport and construction company, argued that the 60 year old was injured as a result of his own negligence.  Nevertheless, the judge ultimately ruled that the two defendants were liable by breaching their duty to ensure the area was safe to travel.  Recently, a hefty $680,000 was awarded to the injured man for this slip and fall on a construction site.

As a slip and fall lawyer in Miami who sues construction companies, I find it extremely important to note that this roadway had been under construction at the time.  The Vancouver International Airport and the construction company hired to perform this job bears most, if not all, responsibility to maintain and keep safe the area under construction.  While the laws surrounding premises liability (i.e. slip and fall) differ from state to state, and country to country for that matter, the one constant factor to consider is whether the owner or operator of the premises owes a duty of care to keep the area reasonably safe for the general public.  Typically, when you are dealing with an area that is open to the public, the owner or operator of that location owes this duty of care.  In the State of Florida, statute §768.0755 codifies the requirements for an injured party to prove a slip and fall case against a property owner or operator.  In short, when a person slips and falls on a foreign substance, he or she must first prove that the dangerous condition was known or should have been known by the property owner or operator.  Also, the business owner must take ordinary and reasonable care to keep the area safe for the general public.

Business owners, as well as construction companies, constantly weasel around this statute hoping to free themselves from liability for significant slip and fall injuries.  For this very reason, I cannot stress how vital it is to immediately contact a personal injury lawyer if you should ever suffer an injury as a result of a slip and fall.

If you or someone you know was injured in a construction site injury or a slip and fall, please contact us today.

By: Brandon Stein