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Falling Debris Death Spurs New York City Building Inspections

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New York City officials have launched a spate of building inspections after the recent death of a woman who was fatally struck by falling debris from a building in Midtown Manhattan. According to a news report in The Wall Street Journal, the city’s Department of Buildings inspectors have checked the facades of 1,331 buildings since the woman was killed the morning of Dec. 17. All the inspected buildings had outstanding violations over the conditions of their facades, officials said.

Investigators with the New York City Department of Buildings have been checking facades around the city that have already been identified as needing immediate repairs. The 60-year-old victim was killed by a piece of façade that fell from a building at 729 Seventh Avenue, a 17-story structure near Times Square. Earlier this year, city inspectors had issued the building’s owner a violation (in April) for failing to maintain the façade and required the owner to make repairs right away and enact other safety measures such as installing a sidewalk shed or netting, officials said.

No Repairs After Violations

Also, in July inspectors issued another violation after the building’s owner failed to make any repairs or implement the necessary safety measures. The building’s owner challenged the violations in a city administrative court in September. The administrative judge threw out the July violation and downgraded the violation issued in April. This meant that the Buildings Department could not issue any further violations.

The building owner ended up paying a $1,250 fine. Following the administrative hearing, the building’s owner applied for a permit to repair the façade and was issued a permit to build a sidewalk shed. However, they did not perform the work or put up the shed. They had not even hired a contractor to do the necessary façade work, officials said.

The sidewalk shed was constructed at the building, but only after the fatal accident on Dec. 17. The Department of Buildings issued an emergency stop work order and another violation after the deadly accident. The woman who died in this accident was an architect and served on the boards of a synagogue and an educational nonprofit. We offer our deepest condolences to her family members and friends.

Dangers Posed by Worksite Debris

Construction workers, pedestrians and bystanders face serious hazards due to worksites and buildings that are not adequately secured or maintained. For example, bystanders may be struck by construction vehicles or may be hit by objects that fall from scaffolding, cranes, facades and other equipment at a construction site.

A previous fatality involving debris occurred in March 2015 when a 37-year-old woman who was walking down West 12th Street was hit by a wooden sheet that came 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 from construction sites that are poorly secured.

Compensation for Victims

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.

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.

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

Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-city-inspects-1-331-buildings-after-falling-debris-death-11576711573

 

 



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