Two pedestrians suffered injuries after being struck by falling bricks in Midtown Manhattan the morning of Tuesday, June 11. According to an ABC news report, the incident occurred at 42 West 39th Street. The scaffold reportedly came loose sending bricks from the façade of a building down onto the sidewalk and the sidewalk shed. The two victims, a 43-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman who were struck, sustained injuries to their legs. A passerby said he heard a “big boom” and saw one of the victim’s feet bleeding. Both pedestrians were treated and released from area hospitals.
Contractor Cited for Violations
The workers on the scaffold were not injured, but were left dangling from the scaffolding until they were rescued. FDNY says the sidewalk shed served its purpose in this case by preventing a greater number of injuries and that this incident may have been a lot worse. Officials from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) responded to the scene and the preliminary investigation determined that pieces of a parapet wall coping stone from the 18th floor were dislodged from the building by a suspended scaffold rig and hit the sidewalk shed below, before bouncing off and striking the two pedestrians at street level.
A vehicle that was parked on the street was also damaged. The DOB issued a stop work order here and also slapped the contractor with six violations for failure to safeguard the site and failure to properly use the suspended scaffold.
Dangers to Pedestrians at Construction Sites
Pedestrians and passersby face numerous hazards due to construction sites that are improperly secured and/or maintained. A construction vehicle such as a crane, forklift, bulldozer or backhoe may hit bystanders due to the negligence (carelessness) of its operator. Objects that fall from scaffolding, cranes and other equipment at a construction site may also strike and injure victims.
Most construction activity in New York City these days require the use of ladders and scaffolding or temporary platforms to help workers such as steelworkers, ironworkers, painters and washers, etc. carry out their tasks. Unfortunately, the incident rates of victims (both workers and bystanders) being struck by falling tools, work materials or debris, etc. have increased. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that accidents involving struck-by objects accounted for 8.2 percent of the total number of construction fatalities in 2017.
The most recent fatality involving a bystander getting struck by construction site debris was in March 2015 when a 37-year-old woman was walking down West 12th Street and was fatally hit by a wooden sheet that had torn loose from a construction site fence due to wind gusts. The woman died in an area hospital after suffering major head trauma. In May 2014, a woman suffered a cut to her leg when the blade of a saw at a Manhattan construction site detached, flew in the air and struck her. There have also been cases where pedestrians have been struck by falling pieces of concrete or glass at construction sites that were poorly secured.
Compensation for Victims
Several parties may potentially be held liable for these types of construction site accident-related injuries involving bystanders or pedestrians. Construction companies, building owners and managers, including contractors and sub-contractors have a responsibility to ensure that scaffolds and other structures at a construction site are properly built and secured, so they don’t pose a danger to workers, visitors or pedestrians in the area. As we’ve seen, such incidents can result in major and even fatal injuries such as head trauma, lacerations, spinal cord damage, trauma to hands and legs, etc.
Injured pedestrians, 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. Liable parties in such cases may include construction companies, general contractors, sub-contractors, property or building owners/managers, manufacturers of defective products, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Construction Accident Lawyer
Whether you are a construction worker who has suffered injuries in a construction site accident or a bystander or pedestrian who has been injured by falling debris at a construction site, 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.
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