Any construction project will typically require some sort of excavation. It could be digging a trench for the foundation of a new building, or installing sewer lines or electrical conduit. But excavation is an extremely hazardous construction operation. The slightest mistake could result in a potentially deadly collapse or some other type of horrible incident.

If you’ve suffered an injury or lost a loved one, please contact a Chicago excavation accident attorney with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates. We’ll investigate to determine how the accident happened, and then pursue compensation from those who either caused or contributed to it.

Please don’t hesitate to speak with one of our experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys by calling (800) 985-1819 or contacting us online for a free case evaluation.

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What to do after an excavation incident

Your first priority will be your safety, as well as anyone else involved in the incident. Get to a safe spot as soon as you can and then get medical help. Report the accident to your supervisor and take pictures to document what happened.

You should also speak with a Chicago excavation accident attorney to protect your rights and help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Types of excavation accidents

The following are just some of the kinds of excavation accidents that occur most often:


Trench collapses, or cave-ins occur when the walls or sides of an excavation collapse, burying workers beneath the soil or rock. These are among the most dangerous excavation accidents because they typically result in severe injuries or fatalities if proper protective measures are not in place.

Worker falls

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. On excavation sites, a worker can slip, trip, or lose their balance on an uneven surface or protruding object. These falls can occur from the edges of the excavation or from equipment within the site, causing significant injuries or even death.

Loads falling on an excavation worker

This type of accident involves objects or equipment falling onto a worker within the excavation. Falling loads can occur due to improper securing or handling of materials, equipment malfunctions, or insufficient safety measures. These incidents often result in severe fractures or crush injuries.

Hazardous materials released at an excavation site

Excavations can disturb underground pipes, causing leaks or releases of hazardous materials such as chemicals, gasses, or pollutants. This can pose serious health risks to workers, leading to chemical burns, respiratory problems, or toxic exposure-related illnesses.

Equipment rollover

Equipment rollovers happen when heavy machinery used in excavation operations tips over or overturns within the excavation area. Rollovers can occur due to unstable ground conditions, operator error, equipment malfunction, or insufficient training, resulting in a wide range of potentially severe injuries.

Equipment failure

This can include failures of vital systems, such as hydraulics or brakes, causing accidents or putting workers at risk of being struck by malfunctioning equipment parts or experiencing sudden movements. The resulting injuries can be catastrophic.

Causes of excavation accidents

Excavation accidents happen for a lot of different reasons, such as:

  • Inadequate training and supervision
  • Poor safety protocols and equipment maintenance
  • Excavation site negligence
  • Failure to identify or address hazardous conditions
  • Insufficient shoring or protective systems
  • Errors in excavation planning and design

Common excavation accident injuries

As noted earlier, the injuries from excavation accidents can be catastrophic, resulting in years – or even decades – of debilitation. In some instances, they can prove fatal. Some of the most common ones seen by our Chicago excavation accident attorneys include the following:

Excavation safety regulations and prevention

An excavation site is in a constant state of change. Today’s trench and tomorrow’s trench are not the same. Safety can only be ensured if appropriate procedures and systems are in place and checked regularly. For example:

  • Heavy equipment must be kept away from the edges of trenches.
  • Surcharge loads should remain at least two feet away from the edge of the trenches.
  • Constant attention must be paid to the proximity of underground utilities to the work area.
  • Tests for toxic gasses, low oxygen, and hazardous fumes must be conducted
  • Workers should never be asked to work under raised loads
  • Safe methods of exit and entrance (ladders, steps, ramps, etc.) must be in place and must be located within 25 feet of every worker

Omissions of any vital safety matters greatly increase the liability of those responsible for the excavation project.

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Wrongful death in excavation accidents

If an excavation accident results in death, and the negligence of an outside contractor or other third party caused that accident, a family representative may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A Chicago excavation accident attorney with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can provide more information.

Understanding workers’ compensation

Workers’ compensation provides benefits to employees injured on the job, including coverage for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. It generally applies regardless of fault, allowing injured workers to receive compensation without filing a lawsuit against their employer. Workers’ comp cases can be very complex, so you should speak with an attorney who has a deep understanding of this area of the law.

Make sure you meet the deadline to file a claim

An injured employee will typically have three years from the day the accident occurred to file a workers’ compensation claim in the state of Illinois. If you don’t meet this deadline, you might not be able to obtain any money for your work-related injury. Speak with one of our attorneys to learn more.

Possible damages to claim

If you’re eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll be doing so in an effort to recover your financial losses, or “damages.” The following are two examples.

Economic damages

This is compensation for tangible financial losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and property damage.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost quality of life, and more. Since they’re subjective, you’ll need the skill of a Chicago excavation accident attorney to obtain full compensation.

Parties who may be liable for your claim

The liable parties can vary based on the circumstances, but potentially responsible entities may include construction companies, contractors, subcontractors, equipment manufacturers, property owners, and other third parties whose negligence contributed to the accident. A Chicago excavation accident attorney will investigate to determine all the parties to target with legal action.

How our excavation accident attorney will prove liability

Your attorney with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates will investigate the accident, gather evidence, analyze safety protocols, review contracts, interview witnesses, consult experts, and build a strong case to establish the liability of the responsible parties.

Length of time you can expect your claim to settle

The settlement time varies depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the case, the severity of injuries, negotiations with insurance companies, and the court’s schedule. It can range from several months to a few years.

Cost of hiring an excavation accident attorney in Chicago

When you choose Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, you won’t have anything to lose because we won’t charge you a penny. We’ll only receive money if we’re successful in helping you get what you deserve.

Why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible

Immediate medical attention is crucial to assess injuries, prevent further complications, and document the extent of harm caused by the accident. Prompt medical treatment strengthens your claim and ensures your well-being. Delaying medical attention can weaken your case and jeopardize your health.

A skilled Chicago excavation accident lawyer can change your future

Excavation injuries can lead to permanent disabilities or loss of life. The damages pursued will include medical bills, the expenses associated with rehabilitation and continuing care, loss of income, loss of future earning potential, and pain and suffering.

It is unlikely that you will receive the full compensation that you deserve under the law if you do not have the support of a Chicago construction accident attorney with considerable experience in injury cases. There is a great gap between what “seems right” and what the law demands in establishing a powerful winning case.

Why hire Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates?

For decades, the Chicago excavation accident attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates have worked to ensure that hard-working families in Illinois receive the settlements they deserve after their lives were devastated by workplace injuries.

Our efforts have resulted in more than $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for these deserving men and women, as evidenced by our case results. Many of these clients were told that they “had no case” by other personal injury law firms. They had also been advised to accept a settlement that was far below what was achieved by our litigation team.

Our Chicago excavation accident attorneys are ready to help

Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates will assume responsibility for all costs associated with establishing, presenting, and, if necessary, litigating your case. You won’t be asked to pay us until we achieve a settlement or verdict in your favor. Learn how we can help you by contacting our team of Chicago excavation accident lawyers today.

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