Reported injuries due to construction accidents in New York City have been higher in 2018 than in any year of the post-recession building boom, according to a news report in Crain’s New York. Also, construction accident fatalities in 2018 will equal its highest number for recent years even when not taking into account the full 12 months (October is the most recent month for the available data).
Based on the news report, the spike in these numbers may be linked to the increased construction activity as well as a better job of reporting incidents involving an injury and/or fatality. However, the fact that these issues remain highlights the gap in the city’s efforts to improve construction safety.
Alarming Increase in Construction Accidents
Accidents and injuries through October 2018 had already outpaced 2017’s year-end tallies of more than 650 accidents and injuries. Further, the number of construction accidents in New York City has gone up every year since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014 when the building boom began to gather steam. On Nov. 21, when a construction worker was crushed to death in Brooklyn, the number of construction accident fatalities citywide rose to 12, matching the number for each of the three prior years.
The number of injuries and deaths was even higher when fatalities tracked under different criteria by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were taken into account. New York City has enacted a number of laws to bring down risks for construction workers including higher fines and more rigorous oversight of construction projects citywide. Last year, city council members enacted a sweeping construction safety law that will eventually require every construction worker to get at least 40 hours of safety training.
The New York City Department of Buildings has noted that the number of construction accidents reported in 2018 represents 1.5 percent of all active work sites in the city and that a higher number of relatively minor accidents may have been reported in 2018. This is due to a new requirement that smaller projects be staffed with a site safety professional. In addition, the Department of Buildings has required more safety-related plans and meetings for larger worksites as well, and has hired 150 site safety inspectors.
Safety is Crucial
As New York construction accident lawyers, we have represented a number of workers who have suffered permanent and life-changing injuries as a result of lax safety at construction sites. Construction companies, general contractors, sub-contractors and property owners, managing agents etc., have a legal obligation to ensure that their worksites are safe.
Workers must also be provided with equipment such as fall safety devices (harnesses, safety nets, guardrails), and goggles to prevent debris from entering a worker’s eyes, earplugs, hard hats, etc. All workers should be provided with the safety training necessary for the job, regardless of whether they are union or non-union and whether they are legal citizens or undocumented immigrants. Any type of job and safety training must be provided in a language in which workers are fluent and comfortable. Failing to maintain a safe worksite and failure to provide proper safety training puts workers at serious risk of catastrophic and life-threatening injuries.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Workers who are injured in construction accidents may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits, which typically cover medical and drug expenses and a portion of lost wages. Families that have lost loved ones in a construction accident may be able to seek death benefits. In addition, workers and their families may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for substantial money damages against a number of parties, and therefore 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. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatment, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
If you have suffered injuries 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 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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