The construction industry has always been a dynamic sector in Brooklyn. From the hundreds of immigrants who arrived on this side of the Atlantic Post World War II to periods of recently intense immigration, the construction sector has been a gateway to the labor market for hundreds of people coming to New York from diverse backgrounds.
In Brooklyn, the same thing is happening now; a cosmopolitan citizen is consolidating and growing along with the new buildings in the city. However, the dynamism of the sector has not made it immune to violations of the law. There have been cases of workers who did not have the basic guarantees to perform their duties, such as health insurance, training, and the use of adequate equipment.
In a landmark case that underscores the importance of safety in the construction industry, a construction contractor in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, was recently found guilty of homicide nearly five years after a tragic accident claimed the life of a worker. The conviction of the contractor, Jiaxi “Jimmy” Liu, for charges including criminally negligent homicide serves as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of negligence in construction sites.
Luis Almonte Sanchez, the victim of this avoidable tragedy, perished as a result of a catastrophic incident that could have been avoided if appropriate safety precautions had been taken. Eric Gonzalez, the Brooklyn district attorney, emphasized the significance of this decision, saying it should send a clear message to building contractors who prioritize saving money over quality.
This case is representative of a wider trend in which government agencies are showing a keen interest in workplace justice, particularly in fields like construction, where there are frequently many workplace violations. It emphasizes how crucial it is for construction workers to have legal representatives who will fight for their rights in cases of negligence, giving them the assistance they require during the trying period following construction accidents.
After reviewing our archives with our professionals, we have decided to address the most relevant aspects of construction accidents in the city of Brooklyn and thus share valuable information for our entire community, helping the victims of these cases to know what strategy to initiate when facing an event of this type and also how to deal with pain and suffering.
Types of Construction Accidents
Although the types of accidents in this type of workspaces, such as construction camps, may change over time, our professional construction accident attorneys from Brooklyn believe that outlining the different types can help to understand the case that our client narrates or details, and thus understand the legal strategy that will be compatible with the characteristics of the event narrated. That is why we have grouped the most common types of cases that have come to our office:
Falls from Heights: These accidents often involve workers falling from ladders, scaffolds, or roofs due to inadequate fall protection measures.
Scaffold Accidents: Collapses, instability, or improperly assembled scaffolds can lead to severe injuries or fatalities.
Crane Accidents: Mishaps during crane operations can result in equipment collapses, dropped loads, or workers being struck.
Machinery and Equipment Malfunctions: Accidents may occur when construction machinery, like bulldozers or excavators, malfunctions, endangering both operators and nearby workers.
Electrocutions: Contact with live wires, inadequate grounding, or electrical equipment malfunctions can lead to serious electrical injuries.
Struck-by Object Accidents: Construction sites often have heavy equipment and materials that can strike workers, causing injuries. For instance, a worker hit by a swinging load from a crane.
Trench and Excavation Collapses: Workers inside trenches or excavations may face cave-ins, leading to entrapment or suffocation.
Gas and Chemical Exposures: Poorly ventilated areas or mishandling of hazardous materials can result in toxic gas exposure or chemical burns.
Fire and Explosions: Accidents involving flammable materials or faulty equipment may lead to fires or explosions, causing severe injuries or fatalities.
Welding and Cutting Accidents: Improperly executed welding or cutting operations can result in burns or fires.
Building Collapse: Poor construction practices or structural weaknesses can lead to the collapse of buildings under construction.
Slip and Trip Accidents: Uneven surfaces, debris, or inadequate signage can cause workers to slip or trip, leading to injuries.
Heat-Related Illnesses: Working outdoors in high temperatures without adequate hydration or rest can result in heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Repetitive Motion Injuries: Continuous tasks, like lifting heavy objects, can cause musculoskeletal injuries over time.
Vehicle Accidents: Collisions involving construction vehicles, like dump trucks or forklifts, can result in severe injuries on construction sites.
Why is crucial to consult specialized legal representation after a construction accident at Brooklyn?
A construction accident lawyer from Brooklyn is required due to the complexity of these cases, which frequently involve numerous parties, intricate regulations, and potentially fatal injuries. Here are 15 justifications for why hiring such legal counsel is essential:
- Navigating Complex Regulations: Specialized lawyers understand the intricate web of federal and state construction regulations, ensuring compliance and identifying potential violations.
- Determining Liability: They can investigate the accident thoroughly, identifying who is liable for your injuries, which can extend beyond just the employer. Even the general contractors could be found liable.
- Preserving Evidence: Specialized attorneys can ensure crucial evidence is preserved, preventing its destruction or alteration at a construction site accident.
- Estimating Full Damages: They possess the experience to accurately assess the full scope of damages, including long-term medical costs and loss of future earning potential.
- Handling Insurance Companies: Dealing with insurance companies can be daunting; specialized lawyers negotiate on your behalf to secure fair compensation.
- Workplace Safety Expertise: They understand OSHA standards and can hold employers accountable for safety violations that led to your injury.
- Medical Expertise: Specialized attorneys work with medical experts to prove the extent of your injuries, ensuring proper compensation.
- Collecting Witness Statements: They can interview witnesses and collect statements that strengthen your case.
- Negotiating Settlements: Experienced lawyers can negotiate favorable settlements that cover all your expenses and losses. These negotiation skills are very positive when going through cases of workers' compensation claims or workers' compensation benefits.
- Experience with Uninsured Employers: If your employer lacks workers' compensation insurance, specialized lawyers can explore alternative avenues for compensation.
- Knowledge of Third-Party Liability: They can identify third parties, like equipment manufacturers, who may share liability for your injuries.
- Mitigating Employer Retaliation: Specialized representation can help shield you from employer retaliation, ensuring your job remains secure.
- Timely Filing: Construction accident cases have deadlines; specialized lawyers ensure your case is filed promptly.
- Advocacy in Court: If necessary, they can vigorously represent you in court, making a compelling case before a judge and jury.
- Maximizing Compensation: Ultimately, specialized legal representation aims to secure the maximum compensation possible, helping you rebuild your life after a construction accident. The injured construction worker situation will define the amount of possible compensation.
Good legal advice will be paramount throughout the process. Together with the support of our professionals, you will know which path to take at each stage of the process, and we will help speed up your recovery time by providing a holistic approach to your particular situation. The legal approach will be left in the hands of our experts and you will be able to dedicate that extra time to concentrate on getting better or to accompany your family member in the recovery process.
Common Causes of Construction Accidents
As that New York Times article describes, construction accidents can develop due to a variety of factors. Often the responsibility extends to the contractors on the site, or there may even be individual responsibility on the part of a supervisor in charge for failing to comply with compliance issues, such as proper use of equipment and materials appropriate to the functions to be performed on the site.
If we had to mention some of the most common cases, we would take into account the following:
- Negligent Supervision: Inadequate oversight by supervisors can lead to workers being exposed to dangerous conditions or unaddressed hazards.
- Safety Protocol Violations: When safety protocols are disregarded or not enforced, accidents, such as falls or equipment mishaps, become more likely.
- Faulty Equipment: Malfunctioning or poorly maintained machinery and tools can result in accidents that cause severe injuries.
- Inadequate Training: Workers who haven't received proper training are more susceptible to accidents, as they may not know how to use equipment safely or recognize potential hazards.
- Human Error: Mistakes made by workers, even with the best training, can lead to accidents, particularly in high-pressure construction environments.
- Lack of Fall Protection: Failing to provide fall protection measures can result in fatal falls from heights. Also, falling objects could affect people outside the construction camp.
- Unsafe Scaffolding: Improperly constructed or maintained scaffolding can lead to collapses and falls.
- Electrical Hazards: Working near live wires or in wet conditions without proper precautions can result in electrocutions.
- Inadequate Respiratory Protection: Failure to provide adequate respiratory protection in situations like asbestos removal can lead to severe health consequences.
- Trench Collapses: Workers in improperly supported trenches are at risk of being buried or crushed in a collapse.
- Unsafe Excavation Practices: Neglecting proper excavation practices can cause cave-ins or destabilize surrounding structures.
- Heavy Lifting Accidents: Improper lifting techniques or inadequate equipment can result in back injuries and strains.
- Chemical Exposure: Mishandling or failing to use protective gear when dealing with hazardous chemicals can lead to toxic exposure.
- Overexertion: The physical demands of construction work can lead to overexertion injuries if proper breaks and rest periods aren't provided.
- Fire and Explosions: Working with flammable materials or in areas with inadequate fire prevention measures can result in catastrophic fires or explosions.
Brooklyn and New York State Construction Laws
Having some knowledge of the laws that apply to the City of Brooklyn and the State of New York will allow you to feel more confident when analyzing your case and the possible legal consequences it may have. In addition, if you are someone who has just moved to Brooklyn, these general points about the Brooklyn legal framework for this type of accident will be very helpful:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets safety and health standards for workplaces, including construction sites. Contractors in Brooklyn and throughout New York State must comply with OSHA regulations, which cover a wide range of safety measures, from fall protection (29 CFR 1926.501) to electrical safety (29 CFR 1926.416). Violations of OSHA standards can result in fines and legal consequences for contractors.
New York Labor Law Sections 240 & 241:
New York Labor Law Sections 240 and 241 are crucial for construction workers' safety. Section 240, often referred to as the "Scaffold Law," places strict liability on property owners and contractors for certain gravity-related accidents, such as falls from heights. This means that if safety regulations are not adhered to, and a worker falls from an elevated position, the contractor or property owner can be held responsible for the worker's injuries. Section 241 outlines specific safety requirements and violations that can lead to liability in construction accidents.
Workers' Compensation Laws in New York:
Workers' compensation laws in New York provide benefits to workers who are injured on the job. These benefits include medical coverage and wage replacement. Construction employers in Brooklyn are generally required to carry workers' compensation insurance to ensure that injured workers receive necessary medical treatment and compensation for their lost wages.
Right to a Safe Work Environment:
Workers in New York, including those in Brooklyn, have the legal right to a safe work environment. This right is protected under various state and federal laws, including the New York State Constitution and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. Workers have the right to report unsafe conditions without fear of retaliation and should be provided with the necessary safety training and equipment to perform their jobs safely.
Contact The Ward Law Group for a free consultation! Get rid of that stress of dealing alone with this problem!
At The Ward Law, we are ready to receive your inquiries at our new NY offices at 535 5th Ave Suite 910, New York, NY 10. We will not charge you for evaluating your case; after having analyzed it, we will tell you what could be a valid legal strategy and if the argument that we will defend in the different instances has the proper solidity. Our success rates back us up.
Since we started in the field, we have focused on serving our community, that magnificent principle has allowed us to see hundreds of happy endings and hundreds of hugs consolidate into a new opportunity to start over.