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Investigating Construction Accident Cases

A proper investigation of a construction site accident is vital to a successful recovery. Our Birmingham construction accident attorneys at Cross & Smith have significant experience in investigating construction accident injuries in Birmingham and surrounding areas.

A significant construction accident injury will typically trigger an investigation by an Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) investigator. Securing the OSHA investigation report and related documents is vital. The OSHA report generally contains a treasure trove of information. This information includes: location of the accident, names and statements of witnesses, detailed description of the accident facts, photographs, and often times, recommendations for avoiding accidents in the future. The OSHA report may also include recommendations for citations and fines. The OSHA report can be obtained directly from the United States Department of Labor through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. After obtaining the report, it may also be helpful to speak directly with the OSHA investigator assigned to the investigation.

The Alabama Department of Labor may pursue a separate investigation from OSHA into the construction accident. If a state investigation is conducted, the investigation documents should be obtained and the investigator interviewed, if possible.

Premises owners and contractors will often conduct some sort of investigation as well. However, these investigations are sometimes incomplete and self-serving. In fact, these investigations often wrongly place blame on the injured worker in an attempt to deflect criticism to others. Nevertheless, it is still important to obtain these documents in the course of the lawsuit, if possible.

The injured worker’s employer will also complete a report for the worker’s compensation insurance carrier. This report is short and is known as a first report of injury. This report should be obtained in the course of the lawsuit as well.

The testimony of eye witnesses is an important part of the discovery and investigation of construction accidents that happen in Birmingham and elsewhere in Alabama. There are generally several individuals on-site when a construction accident happens, so there are several individuals with some knowledge of the accident. Also, identifying the job foreman is very important since he will usually have a wealth of information regarding the project and the individuals working on the project. It is important to obtain detailed factual information from all witnesses.

It is also important to remember than many construction workers are transient by nature and it is often difficult to locate these individuals after a project has been completed. Therefore, it is important to make contact with witnesses as soon as possible after the construction accident.

If possible, tools, equipment and materials involved in a construction accident should be preserved. If these items cannot be preserved, photographing and recording product information should be done with care. A spoliation letter can also be sent to anyone who has possession of the tools, equipment and materials involved in the accident. The letter should request that the evidence be preserved in its current condition and that no changes or alterations be made to the evidence.

If you, or someone close to you, have been involved in a construction accident, please call the seasoned Birmingham construction accident attorneys at Cross & Smith. Our attorneys have investigated and successfully pursued construction accident cases in Birmingham and throughout Alabama. You may contact us online or call our office at (877) 791-0618 for a free confidential consultation.

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