In May 2017, the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn issued an official indictment regarding the 2015 building collapse that resulted in an 18-year-old worker’s death and injury to two others. The court charged the owner of the construction company that employed the victim with numerous offenses, including reckless endangerment. Allegedly, the owner ignored complaints he received about a poorly maintained retaining wall at one of his work sites.
When construction companies fail to properly train their workers, maintain their sites and equipment, and enforce safety regulations, construction accidents can occur and potentially injure and kill workers. All workers have the right to a safe work environment and training in a language they can understand, including undocumented workers.
Why was the Construction Company Deemed Liable?
The construction company that employed the victim was deemed to be liable for his death because its owner failed to take the necessary care to prevent accidents. Allegedly, he began the project without properly training the seven workers who would perform the labor. After the workers stated that the project’s initial excavation was unsafe because the exposed walls were cracked and unstable, he ordered the project to continue anyway. On the day of the fatal collapse, workers asked for two-by-fours to support the wall, but his response was that they were working too slowly and must continue digging near the wall.
When a construction company puts its own workers at risk of injury, it is liable for any damages they suffer. Failing to take care to protect one’s employees from harm is an act of negligence.
Building and Wall Collapses in New York
Building collapses happen in New York with some regularity. A few recent examples include:
- Three construction workers injured in a building collapse in Queens;
- Concrete slab collapse in Queens injured multiple victims;
- A victim suffered a minor injury due to a scaffold collapse in Manhattan; and
- A Bronx building collapse caused four train delays.
New York City not only has a lot of buildings, but it also has a lot of old buildings. Older structures often do not meet today’s building codes and in many cases, have suffered warping and other structural damage over time. Owners of older buildings have the responsibility to properly maintain these properties to reduce the chance of tenants, visitors, and workers being injured. Responsibility to prevent injuries also lies with construction company owners who should practice extra care when working with older and damaged buildings.
Recently, the New York City Council passed a bill to require the city to track all construction site injuries and deaths. Ideally, this tracking system will aid with construction accident investigations in the future.
Work with an Experienced Brooklyn Workplace Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages through a workplace injury claim. To learn more, schedule your initial legal consultation with our team of experienced Brooklyn construction accident lawyers at Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. today. Our office is located on Court Street in Brooklyn.