Our attorneys handle serious injury and death cases resulting from trench collapses, cave-in accidents, and other excavation accidents in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. If you or a loved one has been involved in a trench or excavation accident, please know that time is not on your side. You should contact us (or a competent construction accident attorney in your jurisdiction) immediately. If you are an attorney representing a victim in a trench collapse case, please feel free to contact us to discuss co-counsel opportunities.
Trench collapses result when a trench or pit is dug in the ground, and the sides cave in. Trench collapses are not uncommon in excavations in the Mid-Atlantic States where the trench or pit is not properly protected, shored, or inspected. This is because the soil is typically wet, loose, and oftentimes sandy due to the low altitude and proximity to bays, rivers, and the ocean. According to OSHA, “Trench collapses cause dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries each year”.
Trench collapses are preventable construction accidents. Shoring and daily inspection are required in many cases to prevent these types of construction accidents. A protective shoring system is required by federal regulations in all excavations five feet or more in-depth. Protective systems to prevent trench collapses include sloping of the walls of the trench and shoring using a trench box or other types of supports to prevent the walls of the trench from caving in. Other steps to take to prevent trench wall collapse and trench injuries include keeping heavy machinery such as backhoes and front end loaders from approaching the trench opening, keeping other heavy loads away from the trench opening, and other steps.
In addition to trench collapses and cave-in accidents, we are available for consultation in wrongful death and serious injury cases occurring in or around trenches due to underground utilities such as gas lines and electrical cables. Although rare, accidents do happen when equipment contacts underground utilities that were not properly identified or misidentified prior to opening the trench or prior to beginning the excavation. If you or a loved one were injured due to a gas leak/explosion or electrical accident caused by trenching or excavation over utilities, please contact us immediately for a free consultation about your and your family’s legal rights.