The owner of a construction company has been indicted for safety violations at a Brooklyn worksite that led to the death of a teenager and seriously injured two others. According to a report in the New York Daily News, prosecutors say the owner of two building companies may have hired an 18-year-old and several other inexperienced workers to replace a one-story structure in Bedford-Stuyvesant, with a five-story building.
Officials say that since excavation was not permitted by the New York City Department of Buildings in the rear of that building, the owner may have paid a co-defendant $10,000 to sign the work permit applications and insurance certificates as general contractor. Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez told the Daily News that deadly construction accidents are becoming more and more common as builders ignore safety protocols and hire untrained workers in order to maximize their profits.
Builder Disregarded Repeated Warnings
In this particular case, prosecutors allege that the builder went ahead with the illegal excavation even after the Department of Buildings “expressly prohibited it.” During the ongoing construction at that Brooklyn site (between June and September 2015), seven workers warned the owner about hiring inexperienced workers and the instability of the rear concrete wall, which was cracked, but the owner ignored their warnings, prosecutors said.
On Sept. 3, 2015, hours after a worker had expressed concerns about the crack in the wall, it collapsed on a worker and two other workers. He was pronounced dead at the scene while two others suffered multiple facial fractures and continue to suffer pain, the article states. The owner faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the second-degree manslaughter charges.
Construction Injuries and Deaths
The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health recently reported that construction-related deaths in the city rose from 17 in 2011 to 25 in 2015. That number increased from 33 to 55 in New York State. Incidents involving injuries or fatalities jumped from 128 in 2011 to 435 in 2015 in New York State. However, the number of safety inspections by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state agencies dropped from 2,722 in 2011 to 1,966 in 2015, the same study found.
The report also determined that 80 percent of construction accident fatalities in the city occurred at non-union job sites. During the 2014-2015 period, safety violations had existed at up to 90 percent of the construction sites where the fatalities had taken place. That is a significant number when taking into account that non-union construction work accounts for only about 25 percent of the city’s overall construction activity.
Know Your Rights
If you are a construction worker who has been injured in New York City, it is important that you understand your legal rights. Regardless of whether you are a U.S. citizen or an undocumented immigrant worker, you have the right to seek fair compensation for the losses you have sustained. Builders, construction companies, general contractors and sub-contractors may have a duty and an obligation to provide proper safety and job training for the workers they hire for a job.
There are several steps you would be well advised to take if you have been injured in a construction accident. First, file a report right away with your employer or supervisor. Secure immediate medical attention and treatment for your injuries. Try to preserve all physical evidence from the worksite. Your construction accident lawyer can also help preserve important pieces of evidence that could be critical to your case’s outcome. Document all your losses including all expenses associated with the incident and your injuries.
If you have been injured in a construction site accident, you may be able to file a third-party claim in addition to obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, which usually covers only medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. This allows victims and families to have two sources of compensation available for their losses. Third-party claims are usually filed against parties other than employers such as general contractors, sub-contractors, property owners, property managers, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, 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.
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 cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously 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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