An accident that involved a falling concrete wall at a construction site on the Near North Side of Chicago resulted in the death of David Varga, one of the workers. According to personal injury attorney Steven Levin of Chicago-based Levin, Riback Law Group, when a construction-related accident occurs, the first step is to preserve and collect evidence to help determine the cause of the event.
One of the reasons quick action is important is that the parties involved may be trying to gather evidence themselves. “A job site is by definition a fluid entity,” Levin explains. So it is important to determine quickly whether the wall was properly shored and whether proper safety measures were taken. The contractor will obviously want to move ahead to meet construction deadlines. They will also be thinking of their own liability issues. In this digital age, Levin adds, there will be co-workers taking photos and videos with their own wireless phones. It is important to follow up with them and get their pictures. It will also be important to get any toxicology reports on the victim that might show the presence of alcohol or some controlled substance.
It is necessary to follow up with potential evidence in the hands of the general contractor as quickly as possible. There will probably be Tweets, emails and texts that need to be obtained as soon as possible. Part of this process is to give immediate notice to the contractor, by email and otherwise, that you are representing the victim’s family and that any evidence should be preserved. “The next day, we’ll be in court, filing a lawsuit,” says Levin. This prompt action is essential so that the plaintiff’s representative can obtain photos, expert analysis, and generally gather available evidence. Comparing videos taken the next day with videos taken by co-workers will show if any after accident changes in the job site were made.
OSHA regulations impose specific rules on construction projects, and evidence of violations can be of use. However, Levin says, a lawsuit like this will be filed in state court and will apply common law rules.
Steven R. Levin is a principal in Levin, Riback Law Group, PC. Steven has vast experience in representing construction workers for various types of accidents. Very often injured workers do not know that they have rights in addition to worker’s compensation. These are typically called third party cases, and can involve unsafe job conditions, dangerous products and toxic substances, among other causes. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.