Demolition Work Poses Unique Dangers to Construction Workers

Demolition work can be extremely hazardous and often results in major injury or fatal construction accidents. This is particularly true in New York City, where construction and demolition work are carried out almost nonstop, frequently creating dangerous conditions for workers. It is crucial in such cases that they (workers) are made aware of the dangers they face every day on the job and how to be safe. A New York personal injury lawyer can help protect their legal rights if they sustain injuries in a construction or demolition accident.

What Causes Demolition Accidents?

Demolition accidents may occur for a variety of reasons and many of them can be prevented. Some of the most common types of demolition accidents include:

Falls: Sadly, injury falls from a height happen frequently in many construction worksites including demolition sites. One instance of such falls is due to an unmarked opening in the floor. Our law firm recovered $2,500,000 for a worker who fell through an unguarded hole.

Struck by falling objects: With a lot of debris and equipment present at a demolition site, there is an increased risk of workers getting struck by debris or unsecured tools and equipment.

Burn injuries: There is the risk of burn injuries to workers stemming from electrical fires, gas explosions, etc.

Health issues: Demolition workers may also face long-term health problems such as mesothelioma, a type of cancer that develops in the lining that covers the outer surface of some of the body’s organs. This illness is usually linked to asbestos exposure.

How Negligence (Carelessness) Plays a Part

Demolition accidents typically occur from the reckless or negligent (careless) actions of a construction company, contractor, property owner or other party. Here are some of the ways in which negligence (carelessness) can play a part in demolition accidents:

• When there is a failure to perform an engineering survey before doing the demolition work. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires demolition companies to perform such surveys before the work can begin. But, when companies skip this step, the consequences can be devastating — from building collapses to falling debris.
• Lack of proper training for demolition workers or not warning them about potential hazards before starting the work.
• Failure to provide demolition workers with personal protective equipment or safety equipment such as hardhats, safety goggles, safety masks, construction-grade earplugs, etc.
• Failure to follow standard procedures to dispose hazardous materials such as asbestos, which may cause long-term harm.

Laws and Liability Issues

There are local, state and federal laws that protect workers who have been injured in falls at construction sites. Section 240 of the New York Labor Law is commonly known as the “Scaffolding Law.” This statute governs the use of scaffolding in work sites and provides several specific categories of construction work to which it applies, including erection, demolition, repairs, altering or remodeling, painting, cleaning and pointing. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of 4 feet in general industry workplaces, 5 feet in shipyards, 6 feet in the construction industry and 8 feet in long shoring operations.

In addition, fall protection must be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance. This type of personal protective equipment should be provided at no cost to workers. Construction workers should also receive proper job training, safety training and adequate supervision on the job.

Workers injured in falls can bring civil actions against the construction company, contractor and property owner/manager, etc. responsible for the safety of the jobsite. Construction accident injuries can be debilitating and sometimes, even catastrophic or fatal. A construction accident victim can seek workers’ compensation benefits from his or her employer. In cases where a worker dies from injuries suffered on the job, surviving family members may seek death benefits through workers’ compensation and/or file a wrongful death claim against a third party.

So in addition to workers’ compensation, victims 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

If you have suffered injuries in a construction-related 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. For over 51 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses.

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. Our law firm also recovered $3,000,000 for a man who fell and suffered two broken legs when he walked into an open elevator shaft. 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, lead poisoning and medical malpractice including, brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) and cerebral palsy cases in New York, 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.

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