A 67-year-old woman died after she was hit by a plywood piece that blew off a Queens building the morning of Jan. 16. According to a report in the New York Daily News, the woman was walking down Main Street near 41st Road in Flushing when she was hit by the thin 3-foot-by-2-foot piece of aluminum-covered wood. The piece was reportedly blown off the scaffolding of grocery store that was being remodeled.
One witness said the woman was breathing and conscious after she was hit and passers-by were trying to help her. Medics rushed the victim to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. Neighbors said the woman lived with her husband, daughter and grandchildren. Firefighters dismantled the building’s façade as well as some signs above it after the deadly incident. A property manager spoke to the Department of Buildings officials who arrived at the scene, based on the news report.
Ongoing City Investigation
A spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Buildings told the Daily News that the aluminum-covered plywood panel at the front of the building collapsed to the sidewalk below and struck the pedestrian. She said forensic engineers and inspectors from the department were on site conducting a thorough investigation of the entire building to ensure that the public was not further endangered.
The Buildings Department has ordered the property owner to build a sidewalk shed to protect pedestrians. They also said they would take aggressive enforcement actions against the responsible parties in this incident. Construction crews inside were in the process of remodeling the basement to add in a food court and subdivided units for more businesses, according to city records.
ABC News reported that there were 18 open violations at the property mostly for issues relating to illegal work without a permit inside of the building, unpermitted business signs, and for illegal occupancy. Falling debris was also reported on 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues and police closed the roadway in both directions. No other injuries were reported.
Steps That Should Be Taken
The Department of Buildings said in a statement that contractors are responsible for taking extra precautions to secure their sites especially during high winds. The department is advising property owners, property managers, contractors and crane operators to take safety measures during high winds. New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to report non-compliant conditions or 911 to report emergencies at construction sites or buildings. New Yorkers who suspect that a building or property has been structurally compromised should call 911.
Here are some of the precautionary measures that builders, building owners, managing agents, contractors and developers should take to safeguard construction sites:
• Secure material and loose debris at the worksite.
• Cover all electrical equipment.
• Store loose tools in a toolbox.
• Secure netting, scaffolding and sidewalk sheds. Brace and secure construction fences.
• Suspend crane operations and secure crane equipment when wind speeds reach 30 mph or greater.
There are several parties that may potentially be liable for construction site injuries. Construction companies, managing agents, building owners, some contractors and sub-contractors have a responsibility to ensure that 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. Liable parties may include construction companies, general contractors, sub-contractors, property or building owners/managers, manufacturers of defective products, etc.
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. Those who have lost loved ones in such cases may be able to file wrongful death lawsuits seeking compensation as well.
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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