Accidents in New Mexico Construction Zones

There is more to protecting a construction zone than simply putting up warning signs and hoping for the best. It is the sobering responsibility of every construction zone administrator in New Mexico not just to adequately disclose safety hazards, but to actively protect individuals from harm on or around those sites. When this doesn’t happen, people get hurt. If you are a victim of a construction zone accident, we want to help you win compensation for your recovery.

All too often, one factor seems to override safety concerns on a construction site: deadlines. Management decisions which put productivity before protection often result in accidents—including those which result in injury or death. This is especially disturbing as construction professionals put themselves in harm’s way, working in and through a number unsafe conditions including:

  • Excessive on-the-job fatigue

  • Lack of proper sanitation

  • Lack of proper signage

  • Construction vehicles or equipment in harm’s way

  • Unsafe design leading to unsafe conditions

While there are dozens or even hundreds of types of injuries which might take place in a construction zone, most of those accidents boil down to:

  • Falls

  • Injuries related to equipment misuse or malfunction

  • Collapse or other structural failure

  • Fire or explosion

  • Disease from improper sanitation or environmental management

Falls are by far the most common construction site injury (35%), though equipment issues are also quite common. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration reports that over 4,500 persons perished from job-related accidents in 2011—over a dozen a day. Conditions which might facilitate such accidents may be exponentially increased when a construction site is on a highway, or at one of the oil and gas plants common in the state.

Negligence on Construction Zones in New Mexico

Unfortunately, OSHA standards are ignored too commonly, and construction sites seem to be the biggest offender. Of the organization’s ten most violated standards, nearly each is a construction site staple, including:

  • Scaffolding faults

  • Overall lack of fall protection

  • Lack of respiratory protection

  • Faulty ladders

  • Faulty electrical conditions

  • Unsafe machinery, or machinery that is wielded in an unsafe manner

To make matters worse, the overwhelming majority of accidents in construction zones are extremely preventable. Simple human error is the cause of most construction accidents—not faulty, but improperly maintained sites and equipment. Ultimately, the responsibility for such injuries often lies with the organization or institution responsible for putting the construction project together. If an accident was preventable, it often means that at least one party is culpable for the resulting injury or death.

Tragedy of Wrongful Death

Personal injury lawyers handle few cases as difficult and emotionally charged as wrongful death cases. There are so many sensitive factors and so many legal complications that it takes an attorney with years of wisdom and an absolutely solid grasp of New Mexico liability law to successfully negotiate a settlement for the victim’s surviving loved ones. Here are just a few of the complexities that a lawyer must navigate in a wrongful death case:

  • The emotional state of the victim’s loved ones, which must be respected and protected

  • The sensitive nature of an accusation that a company or individual negligently caused another person’s death

  • Expenses of funeral arrangements and interment

  • The possibility of criminal activity leading to wrongful death

As difficult as the idea may be, the family of an accident victim must engage a skillful, dependable, and compassionate lawyer as soon as possible following a wrongful death in order to conclude the settlement/judgment process quickly. Procrastination often leads to more pain and complication in the form of a drawn-out legal conflict.

Types of Wrongful Death

In New Mexico, the term “wrongful death” refers to the death of an individual that is caused, directly or indirectly, by the actions of another person (or a company). Some examples include:

  • A construction worker who is killed in an on-the-job accident because equipment was not maintained properly

  • A passenger killed in a bus accident by a drunk driver

  • A surgery patient who dies because of a faulty piece of medical equipment

  • A child who is a victim of a dangerous toy that poses a choking, strangling, or drowning hazards

Whatever the nature of the accident, it usually takes a skilled lawyer to prove responsibility, compile a reasonable demand, and negotiate a settlement that gives the victim’s family the financial relief they need as they mourn their loss.

Handling Wrongful Death Litigation

The specifics of your wrongful death lawsuit will depend on the circumstances of the accident under consideration.

  • Your lawyer may need to prove that a drug caused a side effect that led to death.

  • You may have to file a civil lawsuit for damages while a criminal trial is also underway.

  • Your attorney may have to show that signed agreements or contracts did not constitute the victim’s acceptance of the unreasonable risk of death.

  • Your legal team may face stiff opposition from an insurance company that does not want to pay on a claim, even to compensate the surviving family members of a wrongful death victim.