Falling Objects: Another Hazard for Innocent Pedestrians

Sidewalk Closed Sign by a Busy Construction ZonePedestrians do not only face the dangers of being involved in an accident with a negligent driver of a motor vehicle when they walk for exercise or to get around town. Being hit by a falling object is something most pedestrians would not lose sleep over. Yet it is another way they can suffer debilitating injuries when out for a stroll. Frequently, these objects hit a pedestrian on the head, causing traumatic brain injuries, other life-altering injuries, or even death.

What Are the Causes of Falling Object Accidents?

Pedestrians are hurt in falling object accidents when they are forced to walk near construction sites. This type of accident is not only a common cause of pedestrian injuries, but is also one of the “fatal four” most common types of accidents leading to construction workers’ deaths. Some of the objects that can fall on unsuspecting pedestrians include:

  • Hand tools such hammers and chisels

  • Heavy machinery

  • Large power tools

  • Paint cans

  • Buckets containing materials or tools

  • Construction materials such as bricks, tiles, and boards

  • Loose concrete or masonry

  • Nuts, bolts, screws, and other small objects

  • Crane or forklift loads

Construction site owners have a duty to maintain a safe environment for construction workers, visitors to the site, and pedestrians who must walk nearby. Common ways negligence causes pedestrian to be struck by objects include:

  • Failing to use barricades. Barricades are essential to limit access to the construction site and dangerous areas within the work area both during the work day and in the evening when a pedestrian could cut across a construction site to get to his destination.

  • Failing to post warnings. Construction owners should post warning of the hazards to pedestrians, such as areas of sidewalk too dangerous to use and not to enter the construction site. This is an easy way to prevent tragic accidents.

  • Failing to secure the construction site. It is important that the construction site be locked up or otherwise secured at night to protect unsuspecting pedestrians who may not realize the danger.

  • Failing to inspect equipment. When equipment is not inspected and repaired regularly, it can malfunction, resulting in the equipment or nearby objects suddenly falling onto pedestrians.

  • Failing to secure equipment and tools. Cranes and other heavy equipment should be stored in fenced-in areas. When contractors and their employees fail to secure the equipment and tools when not in use, these objects can fall, hitting those who are below.

  • Failing to secure materials. Construction workers often work from heights. Materials should be secured on hooks and with cords when being transported by cranes and hoists. They also must be placed where there is no danger of them falling when they are being used at a work station.

  • Failing to train workers. Workers must be trained in the safe use of the very dangerous tools and heavy machinery they use and how to prevent accidents by falling objects. Sadly, many construction owners are more interested in meeting the project schedule than worker and pedestrian safety.

  • Failing to utilize safety equipment. Many pedestrians are struck by objects when safety devices designed to prevent these accidents are not utilized. Use of shore and brace structures, tool guards, debris nets, toe boards, and catch platforms are a few of the ways to prevent objects from falling and hurting people.

Who Could Be Responsible for Compensating You?

You always want to pursue claims against all potentially liable parties. This increases the chances that you will receive all the compensation you are entitled to. Depending on the cause of your accident, one or more of these parties could face responsibility:

  • Construction site owner

  • General contractor

  • Subcontractors

  • Construction workers

  • Engineers

  • Equipment and tool manufacturers

  • Architects

If you or a family member were hurt by a falling object in a construction zone or other pedestrian accident, you do not want to try to identify who to file a claim with or negotiate with multiple parties on your own. You need an experienced personal injury attorney who has experience handling these complicated cases. Call us toll free at 877-401-6689 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.