When the scaffolding collapsed at a construction site in Houston a couple of weeks ago, one of those injured in the workplace injury filed a lawsuit within days of the incident. Some people were critical of the decision to sue right away and scoffed a the injured worker and his attorney. However, there are often very legitimate reasons to file a lawsuit immediately after an accident – especially a construction accident.
In the scaffolding collapse matter, the attorneys sought and obtained an injunction preserving the materials. In accident cases, it is quite common to seek injunctions and file a lawsuit immediately after an injury. An injunction is basically a court order prohibiting a party from taking an action.
The first type of injunction filed after a serious accident is a Temporary Restraining Order or “TRO.” When there has been a major accident such as the scaffolding collapse in this case, investigators from the company, insurance company and the federal government arrive on the scene to investigate the cause. This usually takes place while the injured workers are recuperating in the hospital and there are no representatives of them on the investigative team.
Obviously, the goal of the insurance company investigators is to reduce the amount they have to pay in damages to the workers or their families. Despite how it may be perceived by the media or others, it is always a good idea for injury victims to have legal counsel working immediately after an accident so they can be represented during the investigation.
The most common reason for an injunction or TRO after an accident is to require that evidence be preserved. In this case, the court ordered that the scaffolding materials be preserved so that experts for the injured workers can do their own analysis to determine the cause of the catastrophe. For instance, the cause could be faulty construction of the scaffolding. Similarly, the cause could be faulty or defective materials. In either case, the company at fault might be different.
These are important fact to discover so that the responsible insurance companies can pay the justified compensation to the injured construction workers.
It is not just in constructions accidents where a TRO or injunction might be necessary. Immediate action by way of a lawsuit and court order is often called for in car accident cases.