Articles Posted in Construction Accident

An artist hired to paint a giant mural on the side of a luxury beachfront condo under construction in Hollywood died after falling four stories when the scaffolding he was standing on collapsed. According to The Sun Sentinel, two other painters were also on the scaffolding, but were rescued by their personal safety harnesses. construction

The 32-year-old decedent, of Miami, was reportedly on a swing stage at the 41-tower site when the stage collapsed shortly after 1 p.m. The two other painters, both 36-years-old, were treated at a local hospital for injuries and later released. The general contractor for the site said work has been suspended while the Hollywood Police Department and the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) conduct simultaneous investigations. Authorities haven’t said at this juncture whether the decedent worker was wearing a safety harness.

The 41-tower building, which is on the border of Hollywood and Hallandale Beach, is slated to accept its first residents in January.  Continue reading

Central to every injury lawsuit in Florida is the evidence. The truth is important, of course, but in the end, it’s more about what you can prove. That’s why motions to suppress are so important – if one party can suppress evidence from another, they have a better shot at winning. But what if one side negligently fails to preserve relevant evidence?scaffolding

This is called spoliation, and it happens quite a bit, unfortunately, particularly when a plaintiff doesn’t file a lawsuit right away. That’s because there is certain evidence naturally in defendant’s possession – i.e., security tapes, vehicles, product parts, etc. If a key piece of evidence is lost or destroyed, plaintiff is going to face significant hurdles in proving the case. It could even mean the case can’t be proven. But that does not mean plaintiff is necessarily without remedy. Courts have wide latitude and authority to sanction for spoliation of evidence. The primary limit on this authority is that discovery rules on evidence are only applicable to acts of spoliation that happen either while a lawsuit is pending or following a court order. Additionally, more courts are beginning to adopt the federal standard for evidence spoliation set in Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLC.

The Zabulake standard requires the imposition of a litigation hold once the party “reasonably anticipates” that a lawsuit may arise from the incident.

The recent construction accident case of Schaefer v. Universal Scaffolding & Equip. LLC is an example of the type of remedy a plaintiff may have even when the evidence is destroyed. Plaintiff was a construction worker who was seriously injured when, as he alleges, a defective piece of scaffolding fell and hit him on the head. Continue reading

For the second time this year, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that part of the state’s workers’ compensation system is unconstitutional. worker2

This, however, came after the court declined to rule on a case that challenged the constitutionality of the entire system. In both cases it did take on, the court was careful to say that the fact some parts of the law were tossed didn’t render the rest of it invalid.

In Westphal v. St. Petersburg, the most recent decision, the court looked at the constitutionality of F.S. 440.15(2)(a), which abruptly ends disability benefits to injured workers 104 weeks after temporary total disability (or once one has reached maximum medical improvement, whichever comes first). This two-year cut-off, enacted in one of the Florida legislature’s many attempts to whittle away worker protections in the name of lower insurance costs, left some injured workers unable to work but not having reached their greatest possible medical improvement and thus not able to collect any benefits at all. This, the court ruled, is both unacceptable and unconstitutional.  Continue reading