Late last year, developer Capstone Collegiate Communities along with Hoar Construction broke ground on a new student housing complex on the corner of North Ave. and Centennial Olympic Park Dr. in Midtown Atlanta. The two-building project is called Centennial Lofts, and it is set to bring 239 new apartments with a total of 750 beds for Georgia Tech students. According to developers, the goal of the project is to “offset increasing enrollment at the university.”
One of the buildings at Centennial Lofts will stand seven stories tall, while the other will have 12 stories. All the apartments will come with their own kitchen, living space and bathrooms, and in the taller building, there will be several attractive amenities, such as a pool deck, clubhouse, and saunas. This Midtown Atlanta student housing project is scheduled to be ready for occupancy for the fall 2021 semester.
Centennial Lofts will provide badly needed housing for students at Georgia Tech, and this will open the door for more bright minds to take advantage of the education offered by this top-tier engineering and technical university. While the project is ongoing, it is also providing numerous jobs for construction workers and those who work in ancillary industries.
While the benefits of Centennial Lofts are clear, they come with some cautionary notes. In particular, the construction of these buildings needs to be handled in the safest manner possible so as to avoid hazardous conditions that could cause injuries to workers. Construction is among the most dangerous industries, and if steps are not taken to ensure worker safety, there are numerous things that could go wrong and lead to serious accidents.
Construction Accident Risks at the Centennial Lofts Project
Although construction project managers are supposed to take measures to protect their workers, OSHA inspections reveal that they often fail to follow government safety standards. Some of the most frequently cited safety violations include:
- Fall protection
- Scaffolding and ladders
- Hazard communication
- Control of hazardous energy
- Machinery and machine guarding
Violations like these can result in various types of accidents on the job site. OSHA points to four hazards in particular (known as the “fatal four”) that account for approximately 60% of all worker deaths within the construction industry. These are:
- Slips and Falls: Slips, trips, and falls are the leading cause of construction deaths. Construction workers frequently perform tasks in high elevations and often on top of unstable and/or slippery surfaces. Under these conditions, a lot of things go wrong and cause workers suffer serious falls, and this is why it is so important to follow proper procedures in order to help mitigate the risk.
- Struck By/Struck Against Accidents: The second leading cause of construction deaths is getting hit by an object or struck against a hard object or surface. There are a lot of moving parts on major construction sites like the one at Centennial Lofts, and without proper organization, there is always a high risk of a worker getting struck by tools, materials, machinery, or other objects.
- Electrical Accidents: When a new building is built, the electrical wiring needs to be completed before the finishing work is done. And with buildings like the Centennial Lofts apartments, every unit will need to have several electrical outlets, and there will need to be ample outlets in the common areas as well. This means that there is a lot of loose wiring around as construction workers complete other tasks, and if procedures are not followed correctly, there is an increased risk of workers getting electrocuted.
- Being Caught In-Between/Crush Injuries: The fourth leading cause of construction deaths is getting caught in an enclosed area and/or having a ligament crushed. Construction is fast-paced work, and if workers are not careful, these types of injuries can happen frequently.
Aside from the fatal four, there are numerous other hazards that construction workers regularly encounter. For example, gas leaks on-site can cause fires and explosions, which can lead to severe burn injuries and a big mess to clean up. Repetitive stress injuries are also fairly common as workers perform the same task repeatedly for several hours at a time in the sweltering Atlanta heat.
OSHA also notes that construction workers encounter various hazards off-site, particularly the risk of highway collisions. With materials continually being hauled onto the construction site, those who drive the trucks are sometimes involved in accidents with other vehicles.
Liability for Midtown Atlanta Construction Injuries
If someone gets hurt while working on the Centennial Lofts project or any other construction project in Fulton County, they could miss a lot of time from work and end up with significant medical bills. But aside from the direct economic costs, there are also the intangibles, such as the physical and emotional pain-and-suffering that the worker has to endure.
If their employer has workers’ compensation coverage, then the employee can file a claim to have their medical costs paid along with a percentage of their lost wages. Unfortunately, however, the benefits paid by workers’ comp are fairly limited. This program provides no coverage for the intangible losses we touched on earlier, and under most circumstances, a worker is prohibited from suing their employer to recover compensation for these losses.
The good news for injured construction workers is that there may be other avenues available through which to obtain the full and fair compensation they deserve. This would happen if there was another party other than their employer who was responsible for the accident.
At first glance, this possibility might sound like a rarity, but in the construction industry, it is far more common than most people realize. Construction site accidents often have numerous contributing factors because there are multiple parties that are involved in the project.
For example, an electrical injury (one of the fatal four that we referenced earlier) could be the fault of an electrician who is not employed by the construction company. If this were the case, then it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the electrician or the company he/she works for.
Other third parties that might be at fault for an Atlanta construction accident include:
- The architect and/or engineer if the accident was caused by a faulty design.
- The manufacturer or seller of defective equipment or machinery that malfunctions and causes you construction worker injury.
- The driver of a vehicle that crashes into the vehicle of a construction employee and causes injuries.
- Any outside contractor or subcontractor whose actions caused the worker to get hurt.
Every construction site accident case is unique, and these are always very complicated events. An extensive investigation is required in order to thoroughly examine all of the facts and pieces of evidence and get to the bottom of what caused the accident and injury. This is why it is highly recommended that injured construction workers seek legal counsel very soon after the accident, and that they work with attorneys who have in-depth experience with these types of cases.
Injured in a Construction Site Accident in Midtown Atlanta? Contact Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. for Assistance
If you or someone close to you suffered an injury at a Fulton County, GA construction site, contact Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. for skilled legal guidance. Call our Atlanta office today at 678-981-5370 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys. We look forward to serving you!