A stack of bricks cascaded onto the sidewalk right after they ripped through a scaffolding at a construction site in Gramercy Park. According to a CBS New York news report, the incident occurred on Park Avenue South and East 21st Street. About 200 pounds of bricks fell 10 stories, crashing through the scaffolding that had been erected there for safety. Construction crews were reportedly restoring a building’s facade and a bucket of bricks that was being raised fell as the metal cable of its hoist snapped.
Officials said, fortunately, no one was standing underneath the scaffolding when the load came crashing down. A witness said she just heard a loud noise and then saw a lot of dust. Sidewalk sheds are meant to protect pedestrians from falling debris. However, in this case, the bricks went right through. CBS reports that the FDNY has requested a structural stability inspection after the accident.
Inspectors with the New York City Department of Buildings issued a full stop work order at the building where the incident occurred along with 11 violations for site-safety non-compliances. Our construction accident attorneys are relieved to note that no one was injured in this incident. This could’ve been a lot worse had someone been standing or walking under the scaffolding at the time.
Falling Debris Hazards
There have been a number of cases recently where pedestrians and bystanders have been injured by falling debris from facades or construction sites. Some of them have resulted in major injuries and tragic fatalities. City records show that between 2008 and 2014, there were 96 construction accidents involving pedestrians and other passersby in New York City, resulting in 155 injuries.
More than 75 percent of these accidents took place in Manhattan. In 2014, 18 construction accidents involved bystanders, the most of any year since 2008. Since then, there have been several others. Construction experts say lax, inexperienced contractors or negligent (careless) construction companies often make mistakes and don’t pay attention to worksite safety that leads to these types of tragic accidents.
When passersby are hit by debris from a construction site, the consequences can be devastating. Individuals may suffer serious or even catastrophic injuries such as head trauma, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, internal organ damage, etc. As we’ve seen in some cases, these types of accidents may even result in deaths.
Earlier this month, a 5-year-old girl was struck and killed by a decorative stone fence that fell on her. The girl was reportedly walking with her mother on Harman Street in Bushwick when they came upon a decorative stone fence, which has been described as a row of heavy marble pillars with a shelf on top. When the girl pulled on it, parts of the fence came undone and struck her knocking her to the ground. The girl suffered fatal head trauma.
Whether objects fall and strike bystanders at a construction site or from a building, the injured victims and families of deceased victims have legal rights. In cases where debris or equipment from a construction site or building strikes a victim, the construction firm, general contractor, sub-contractor, building owner and manager and/or other responsible parties may be held liable depending on the circumstances of the incident. If a part of a building falls off and hits and injures someone, the building owner and/or property manager may be held responsible with a premises liability claim.
Construction companies and contractors have a duty to ensure that their worksites are safe not only for workers but also for passersby. They are required to conduct frequent inspections of the worksite, ensure that appropriate safety features are installed to protect and safeguard workers and others in the vicinity, and make sure that workers are properly supervised at all times so hazardous situations don’t arise during the course of the work.
Whenever any work is being done on facades, it is crucial that netting or other safety features are put in place to avoid posing risks to pedestrians and passersby. When an injury occurs due to the negligence (carelessness) of a construction company or contractor, these entities can be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused to victims.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction or pedestrian 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.
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