Three people – one worker and two pedestrians, suffered injuries after a 20-foot section of a scaffolding collapsed onto a sidewalk in Brooklyn. According to a CBS New York news report, crews were in the process of dismantling the large metal rods and panels the morning of April 14 when the scaffolding collapsed on Joralemon Street near Brooklyn Borough Hall. A man who was working on a different construction site said he heard the noise and later saw the confusion as people were fleeing the collapse.
Construction Company Cited
Another woman said she thought it was a car accident. But when she looked up, she said she saw metal everywhere and a couple of people on the ground. Witnesses said the worker, a crew supervisor was the most seriously injured and that his arm was badly hurt. The two other victims were pedestrians who were passing by and hit by the falling debris. While they did suffer life-threatening injuries, they are expected to recover.
The New York City Department of Buildings cited the construction company in charge of the project for failing to “safeguard persons and property during a construction operation” and issued a $25,000 fine. The cause of the scaffolding collapse is still under investigation.
When construction sites don’t take the necessary safety steps, workers as well as bystanders may end up sustaining major or even deadly injuries. Scaffolding collapses and debris from construction sites has caused a rising concern in New York City over the last few years. A 2015 report from the Department of Building showed that in the five years prior to 2015, 59 people were struck by falling debris at city construction sites. The numbers were on the rise at the time with 27 percent of those victims having suffered their injuries due to incidents that occurred between January and September of 2014. A 37-year-old woman was killed in 2015 after being hit by a piece of flying plywood on West 12th Street while walking past a condominium construction site.
The city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) has specific requirements to secure scaffolding that goes on construction sites. The agency requires property owners and/or property managers to protect scaffolding from high winds (speeds of 45 mph or higher). There are also several steps builders, contractors, developers and other parties must take to safeguard construction sites. They are required to tie down and secure material, untethered objects and/or loose debris at construction sites to prevent injuries to workers and pedestrians. Loose tools and equipment must be stored and put away. Netting, scaffolding and sidewalk sheds must be secured. Crane operations must be suspended when wind gusts reach 30 mph or higher. Construction fences must be braced and secured.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Scaffolding collapses or debris from construction sites have the potential to cause significant injuries and damages. Such collapses may result in major injuries including head injuries, lacerations, internal organ damage, etc. Injured workers may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits from their employers. In some cases, depending on the nature and circumstances of the incident, workers may also be able to file third-party claims for significant money damages against parties (other than the employer or co-employees) who may have caused or contributed to the incident and thus have two sources of compensation available to them. Examples of third parties include but are not limited to general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, etc.
In such cases, injured bystanders or pedestrians may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a number of parties including 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. Individuals who have lost loved ones in these types of incidents may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against at-fault parties seeking compensation as well.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Whether you are a worker or a bystander who has been injured in a scaffolding 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 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.
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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