Victims Remain Hospitalized After Corona Bridge Collapse
A bridge collapse in Corona on October 9 sent nine workers to the hospital with injuries resulting from the accident. Three of the employees were listed as critical and seven remained hospitalized as of October 17, according to the Press-Enterprise.
The accident occurred at E. Grand Boulevard and the 91 Freeway late in the evening of October 9. The victims were all injured by falling wooden support beams that were knocked loose when a portion of a bridge deck dropped unexpectedly. A malfunction during the jacking process caused the bridge section to drop.
Some 16 employees of project contractor Atkinson Walsh were on the construction site as a new bridge was being lowered and positioned as an on-ramp to Highway 91 in Corona. All construction was halted after the accident and E. Grand Boulevard was closed until the morning of October 14. The accident is currently under investigation by state agencies and is expected to take a number of months.
Relief funds established for victims
In the meantime, a relief fund has been established for two of the accident victims by the California Transportation Foundation. James Chaffee Jr. and Gilberto Ortiz will receive funds from the non-profit, which promises to match donations dollar for dollar up to $5,000. The rest of the injured workers will also have the option of signing up for the fund.
The family of another accident victim, Jarell Boyd, has set up a GoFundMe account to collect donations for medical bills and other expenses. Boyd, a 33-year-old father of two sons, suffered severe head trauma and remains in the hospital after undergoing surgery October 12. Family members told NBC Los Angeles they are hoping for answers on why the accident occurred and whether negligence played a role.
Highway work accidents & workers’ compensation
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 105 workers died at road construction sites in 2013 alone. Most of those deaths occurred in Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and California, respectively. The majority of deaths were caused by collision events involving either a vehicle or mobile equipment.
Workers’ compensation is available to all California employees that incur a work-related injury or illness. This compensation is designed to cover medical expenses, temporary and permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits. All California employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover the expenses of employees injured on the job.
While workers’ compensation offers financial relief after a serious injury, it is rarely sufficient for covering pain and suffering and other non-economic losses. However, victims of work-related accidents may be entitled to these additional benefits under California law. In some cases, a civil lawsuit is the only reliable means of pursuing compensation for injuries and losses incurred in workplace accidents.
Ellis Law is highly experienced in the area of workers’ compensation and injuries arising from workplace accidents. If you have been harmed on the job and would like to schedule a free case review with a Los Angeles construction accident attorney, please call 310-641-3335 to discuss your legal options.