Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has been in talks with the Midtown Development Review Committee to build a 20-story student housing tower on Spring Street across the Connector from Atlantic Station. The tower would be situated next to SCAD’s recently developed 14-story student residence hall.
If the proposed mixed-use tower is built, it would feature nearly 1,000 beds for students, a dining hall and food market, a 33,000 square-foot auditorium, 5,500 square feet of retail space, and a pool and open air courtyard on the rooftop. The SCAD student housing tower would also include 232 parking spaces housed within an eight-story parking deck.
Construction Site Accidents at the SCAD Housing Tower Project
If the 20-story SCAD student housing tower comes to fruition, it will provide accommodations for almost 1,000 additional students and add more space for students to enjoy various activities. The additional space will help enhance the experience of life on-campus at SCAD’s vibrant Midtown Atlanta location.
A new SCAD tower would be great for the area in many ways, and it would certainly provide a boost for the economy. The ability to accommodate more students also means more creative individuals who may choose to stay in the Atlanta area after graduation and make important contributions to the local region. Building the tower will also provide numerous jobs to those in construction and related fields, which will help our economy in the short term as well.
Midtown Atlanta construction projects are always a boon for the economy, but they do come with a potential cost. Over the years, a number of workers have been killed or seriously injured in construction site accidents. Most recently, there were several workers injured in two separate parking garage collapses at the Emory University Hospital parking deck.
Construction is consistently listed among the most dangerous industries. Workers are often asked to put in long hours doing fast-paced jobs and often working in high elevations and/or tight areas where they are susceptible to getting hurt from a fall. Just the sheer number of hours they put in can cause overexertion and repetitive stress injuries, but there are many other potential dangers as well.
OSHA identifies four hazards (dubbed the “fatal four”) that account for roughly 60% of all construction-related fatalities:
- Slips and Falls: Falls account for approximately one-third of all fatalities on a construction jobsite. As we touched on earlier, with so many workers that are performing tasks in higher elevations, there is a greater chance of someone falling a significant distance, especially if proper safety protocols are not in place.
- Struck By/Struck Against Events: The second leading cause of construction accident fatalities is getting struck by a hard object or struck against a hard object or surface. This could be heavy debris that falls from a higher floor, careless use of a hammer or another tool, or getting hit and thrown up against a wall. Struck by/struck against events account for about 11% of the fatalities in this industry.
- Electrocutions: Electrical injuries cause about 9% of all construction fatalities, making it the third leading cause in the industry. At all construction sites, there is wiring that needs to be done before the finishing work can start. For this reason, it is very important to secure all loose wiring to help ensure that a worker does not get electrocuted.
- Caught In-Between/Crush Injuries: About 5.5% of construction accident fatalities happen because a worker is caught in between or compressed by equipment or objects. Also included in this category is being struck, caught, or crushed in a collapsing structure.
These four are the leading contributors to construction accident fatalities. For nonfatal injuries, Liberty Mutual’s annual workplace safety index for the construction industry lists the five most expensive disabling injuries, defined as an injury that keeps a worker off the job for five days or longer. Some of these overlap with the previous list:
- Falls to a Lower Level: $2.5 billion
- Struck by Object or Equipment: $1.7 billion
- Overexertion (e.g., handling heavy objects): $1.48 billion
- Falls on the Same Level: $1.36 billion
- Pedestrian Vehicular Accidents (i.e., being hit by a vehicle): $790 million
Construction Accident Claims for Midtown Atlanta Workers
If a worker gets hurt on the SCAD student housing tower project or any other construction job site in Atlanta, the first place they will normally go for compensation is their employer’s workers’ comp policy. Most Georgia employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, and an injured worker can file a claim for benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident (with some limited exceptions).
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault program that allows an injured employee to obtain benefits without having to prove negligence on the part of their employer. However, the benefits that are available through the program are limited.
You can receive coverage for reasonable and necessary medical costs, a percentage of lost wages, rehabilitation expenses, and lost earnings for a permanent partial or total disability. These are all economic costs. But workers’ comp does not provide benefits for noneconomic costs such as pain-and-suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.
The good news is that in many construction accident cases, injured workers are not limited to what is available through workers’ compensation. If an outside party other than the employer is responsible for the injury, then you can bring a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at fault party. This opens the door to recovering both economic and noneconomic damages, giving the worker a chance to obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries.
Here are some examples of third parties that could be responsible for a construction injury:
- A worker is struck by a heavy object because a subcontractor nearby was carelessly wielding that object.
- A worker suffers an electrical injury because an electrician left some loose wiring in the area where they were working.
- A worker is hit by a vehicle while transporting some materials off-site.
There are numerous other potential scenarios in which you may be able to hold an outside party liable for a construction accident. Because each case is different, our attorneys will conduct a thorough assessment of the specific circumstances that contributed to the accident and identify any and all available legal avenues for recovering compensation.
Injured in a Construction Site Accident in Atlanta? Contact Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. for Assistance
If you or a loved one suffered a construction-related injury in Fulton County, Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. is ready to go to work for you. For a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team, message us online or call our office today at 678-981-5370.