The recent explosion at a construction site in Gatesville Texas is a sad reminder of just how dangerous construction sites can be. Across the United States, work injury rates and fatal work injury rates just keep climbing.
In Texas, hundreds of people die every year in construction accidents, and thousands more are injured. Many never report their injuries and suffer silently. For many years, Texas has lead the nation in the total number of workplace deaths.
What Happened in Gatesville?
On June 26th, 2017, a construction site was rattled by a massive explosion that caused part of the construction project to collapse. Power was also knocked out for a large portion of the city of more than 12,000 people. As of June 29th of this year, two workers have died and 13 were seriously injured, some battling for their lives.
The blast happened in the unfinished portion of a hospital expansion that was taking place at the Gatesville hospital. Workers were on site, and were injured by flying shrapnel and falling debris.
It’s not yet completely clear what caused the explosion, though we do know that one of the workers was installing an air conditioning unit on the top of the building at the time of the explosion. Unfortunately, that man, Michael Bruggman, died immediately.
While we do not yet have all the details, there is speculation that either a gas line leak, or possibly a faulty generator caused the explosion.
Many of the workers have asked for privacy, right now we know that one worker is still battling for his life with burns over seventy percent of his body. He is unable to speak and faces a long road of recovery if he does survive his injuries.
What Will Happen to the Injured Workers?
All the workers injured in the blasts, and the families of the workers who have died will be faced with huge debts from hospital bills, lost wages, and the possibility of never returning to work again.
This is an unfortunately common situation. Fire and explosions are one of the top four causes of injury on construction sites and in the workplace, and have the highest fatality rate of all workplace accidents.
Workers injured or killed in construction fires and explosions are most often not responsible in any way for their injuries. Fires and explosions can be caused by faulty gas lines, flawed pipes and pipefitting, improperly stored explosive or flammable materials or open flames from equipment.
Workers injured in fires and explosions often suffer from:
- Blast injuries to ears, lungs and their intestinal tract
- Injuries caused by flying objects and shrapnel
- Falls and blows caused when the blast lifts them off the ground and throws them down or into surrounding objects
- Crush injuries from falling walls and ceilings
- Internal injuries from inhaling toxic fumes.
All of the injured men in Gatesville will need long-term care, and qualified representation to take care of them during their recovery and to ensure that their rights are protected.
The Road Ahead
The workers in Gatesville don’t just face an uphill battle in their physical and mental recovery from this tragic construction-related accident. They will also be faced with a dizzying amount of legal forms, regulations, insurance paperwork and pressure to settle.
The families of those injured and killed will face these same challenges.
Workplace and construction accident law in Texas is particularly complex. Questions about workmen’s compensation, insurance and how those affected will receive compensation for injuries will take a strong team of professionals to answer.
It can be too easy for the company’s people to bully or force injured and bereaved individuals into quick decisions that are not in their best interests. We at the Law Firm of Julie Johnson hope that the affected workers and their families find qualified and experienced legal representation right away to represent them, allowing them to focus on healing, safe in the knowledge that their rights are protected.
If you, or a family member has been killed or injured in an workplace accident, call us at today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and see what professional attorneys can do for you!