Roof Collapse in Brooklyn Sends Metal Crashing onto Scaffolding

A partial roof collapse in Brooklyn the afternoon of May 19, caused metal and debris to fall on cars and scaffolding below. According to ABC7, there were no injuries reported as a result of this roof collapse. The construction site accident occurred just after 4:30 p.m. on 143 Roebling Street between Metropolitan and Hope in Williamsburg. A portion of the roof collapsed onto the sidewalk shed, FDNY officials said.

Building with a History of Problems

Scaffolding AccidentABC7 reports that the portion of the roof that gave way was the parapet, which lines the roof to keep people on top safe. However, in this case, it became the danger zone, the report states. A shower of bricks hit the fire escape before landing on the sidewalk shed below, and the scaffolding collapsed under the weight, officials said. More than 100 emergency personnel including, firefighters, building experts and medical teams responded to what they called a “major collapse matrix.”

Fortunately, no one was trapped under the debris field or inside the vacant building. According to ABC7, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) records show a history of problems at the location. In July 2022, another section of the parapet fell, which led to the construction of the sidewalk shed. In two years since, officials say no work was done to repair the aging building.

Common Causes of Structural Collapses

Roof/building collapses are primarily caused by structural failures, often due to poor design, substandard materials, or inadequate construction practices. Construction errors, such as improper load distribution or faulty workmanship, can critically weaken a structure. Over time, lack of maintenance can allow small issues to escalate, compromising the building’s integrity.

Any modifications and renovations that are not properly assessed and executed can destabilize the original design of a structure. In some cases, external impacts, such as vehicle collisions or explosions, can lead to immediate structural failure. Understanding these causes is crucial for implementing safety measures and improving building codes to prevent such accidents. Building collapses have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities.

Who is Liable in a Roof/building Collapse?

Depending on various factors that contributed to a roof or building collapse, multiple parties can be held liable for the incident. Contractors, construction companies, or builders may bear liability if the collapse resulted from poor construction practices, the use of substandard materials, or negligence (carelessness) during the building process. Engineers or architects may be held accountable if design flaws or errors contributed significantly to the collapse.

Building owners may be liable if they failed to maintain the structure adequately or ignored necessary repairs that would have prevented the collapse. Additionally, manufacturers of faulty building materials or components may be held accountable if their products were the cause of the collapse. In some cases, multiple parties may share liability based on their degree of involvement or responsibility in the construction, design and maintenance.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

Many construction workers including roofers, ironworkers, steelworkers, laborers, carpenters, masons, bricklayers, painters, window washers, and electricians etc. carry out their tasks at elevations while on scaffolds, ladders, platforms, etc. Such jobs are often physically demanding and expose the workers to various perils. Roofers routinely encounter a number of risks while on the job, making it one of the most hazardous professions in the construction industry. Roofing accidents tend to lead to severe injuries, long-term health issues, and, in the worst cases, fatalities.

Workers who have been injured in crush accidents on the job may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, which covers medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. In addition, workers may also be able to file a third-party claim against a negligent (careless) party other than the employer or co-employees for significant monetary damages and have two sources of compensation available for their losses.

Examples of third parties include, but are not limited to, general contractors, construction companies, sub-contractors, building owners, managing agents etc. 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 who may be held liable for the fatal incident.

If you or a loved one has been injured 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. For over 52 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.

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 cases 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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