A three-story building, which housed a gym and a number of apartment units, suddenly collapsed, weeks after work was ordered to halt because of structural issues. According to an NBC New York news report, the building at 348 Court Street in Carroll Gardens came crashing down the afternoon of July 1. The construction site accident threw up debris into the street and onto several cars that were parked nearby. The FDNY said one person had been inside the building on the second floor, but made it out before emergency personnel arrived at the scene. That person was treated for what officials said were minor injuries. It was not clear why the person was in the structure.
Building Had a History of Violations
An official with the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) said that a partial stop work order had been issued on June 10 after workers were seen removing masonry bricks from the side of the building. A brick wall was seen “dangerously bulging over” a sidewalk that was left unprotected during demolition work, according to DOB records. The DOB is not issuing any permits right now for that kind of work and all work with the exception of installing a sidewalk shed was prohibited. A DOB official told NBC that no one should have been doing any construction work at the building around the time of the collapse.
The building had nearly a dozen open violations including two for cracks on the exterior. One complaint went as far back as 2006 stating that it appeared to have a horizontal crack and a bulge. The complainant said the building looked like it was about to collapse. There have been a number of similar complaints about this structure since then, in November 2015 and August 2018.
The rest of the structure that was still standing will be demolished, and the DOB has ordered the neighboring building to be evacuated temporarily. The DOB has said that an investigation into the cause of the collapse is ongoing. We are relieved that no one was seriously hurt in this building collapse. Such accidents certainly have the potential for enormous damage at all times.
Why Buildings Collapse
These types of incidents tend to occur due to negligence (carelessness) and/or safety issues not being identified or ignored. Some of the common causes of buildings collapses in New York City include poor building design; engineering errors; weak or damaged foundation; use of substandard building materials; failure to take proper precautions during construction, demolition or remodeling; or construction company or contractor errors. Buildings collapse because they lack structural integrity.
Everyone who is involved in a construction project must ensure that the structure is stable and remains stable. Any errors made during the construction or remodeling can compromise a building’s structural integrity. Building collapses often result in catastrophic injuries or even fatalities.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
General construction companies, managing agents, building owners, some contractors and sub-contractors have a responsibility to ensure that facades, scaffolds and other structures at a construction site are properly secured so they don’t pose a danger to workers, visitors or pedestrians at or near the worksite. If you have been injured as the result of poorly maintained or poorly secured facades or as a result of buildings that are not structurally sound, please understand that you have legal rights.
In such cases, injured bystanders or passersby can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injury, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Families of deceased victims may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as lost future income, funeral costs, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc. Liable parties may include construction companies, general contractors, sub-contractors, property or building owners/managers, manufacturers of defective products, etc.
Workers who are injured in construction accidents will be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits, which typically cover medical and drug expenses and a portion of lost wages. In addition, workers and their families may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for substantial money damages against a number of parties, and thus have two sources of compensation. Third-party claims are filed against parties other than the employer or co-employees and may include general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, managing agents, construction companies, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Whether you are a construction worker who has suffered injuries at a construction site or a bystander or pedestrian who has been injured by falling debris, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job – one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com
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