A worker suffered life-threatening injuries in a Brooklyn construction accident after officials said he plunged 10 feet onto a concrete floor while working on an unfinished stairwell. According to a report in the New York Daily News, the worker who suffered major head trauma, was using a long crowbar to pry loose a wooden plank around the stairwell shaft way when the accident occurred. The victim, who was not wearing a safety harness, suffered major head injuries and was listed in critical condition at a local hospital.
Safety Violations Reported
The worker was in the process of installing masonry around the shaft for a staircase that was yet to be installed, when he fell nearly 10 feet into the basement. A full stop-work order was immediately enforced on the construction company with six violations cited including one aggravated penalty for failure to safeguard the site, according to officials with the New York City Department of Buildings.
Officials also said there were no guardrails installed around the shaft way. The worker was a member of a construction crew erecting a four-story building on Richardson Street near Union Avenue in Greenpoint. He was working on the ground level and fell one floor down to the basement.
Witnesses said Department of Buildings officials and police are reviewing video security footage from the site to determine precisely what occurred. Those who were in the area said the worker was standing near the shaft working on a wooden plank when he lost his balance and fell. Department of Buildings records indicate a number of prior safety violations at the location as well as a stop-work order issued in October for failure to correct a previous problem.
Falls are the single, leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 381 out of 971 deaths in the construction industry in 2017 (39 percent) were caused by falls. Fall-related construction accidents whether they involve steelworkers, ironworkers or workers on scaffolding, ladders, etc. result in catastrophic injuries that could leave them disabled and without the ability to secure a future livelihood.
These types of injuries are preventable and OSHA has a number of safety standards in place to ensure worker safety. However, when contractors and construction companies take shortcuts and put profits before worker safety, the consequences can be devastating. Workers who are operating at heights, such as on a ladder or scaffolding, should be equipped with fall safety devices such as harnesses and safety nets, etc. Any opening on the floors should be covered or secured by using guardrails in order to prevent workers from falling through them.
Workers should be provided with job and safety training. Since a majority of New York City’s construction workers are from other countries, job and safety training should be provided in a language they can comprehend.
Compensation for Workers
New York has strong laws to protect workers who are injured in falls. Section 240 of the New York Labor Law is commonly known as the “Scaffolding Law” because it regulates the use of scaffolding, staging and other devices that workers use at construction sites. The law primarily requires general contractors, building owners and construction companies to provide the necessary equipment to protect workers from on-the-job falls.
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.
Contacting a Construction Accident Lawyer
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. 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.
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