Articles Posted in Construction Accidents

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Construction worker at a height

OSHA is investigating the death of a construction worker who died due to injuries sustained at the Wynn Boston Harbor construction site in Everett, Massachusetts on Tuesday according to a report by Fox 25 News in Boston.  The exact circumstances are still under investigation.

In New York, construction accidents such as the one described above touch upon various aspects of personal injury law, including the Labor Law and Wrongful Death Law.   The law firm of Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, LLP has over 50 years of expertise in handling construction accident and wrongful death cases.  Based on our experience, our legal analysis of this accident under New York law would necessarily involve these two aspects of the law.  The New York Labor Law Section 240 was enacted to protect workers from height or gravity-related accidents.  Although often called the “Scaffold Law,” it also can involve construction workers injured by materials which have fallen from a height due to improper hoisting, securing, etc.  This law imposes absolute liability on owners and general contractors who violate its terms resulting in injuries to workers lawfully on the premises.

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Congratulations to our partner, Jonny Kool, for the settlement of a Bronx Labor Law case in the amount of $3.8 million. The case involved multiple injuries sustained by a 57-year old bridge painter on May 10, 2013, at the High Bridge Rehabilitation project in Bronx County. The plaintiff was seriously injured when the end of a 400 pound vacuum hose (used in sand-blasting operations) came loose as the hose was being lowered. The end of the hose fell approximately 20-25 feet and struck the plaintiff in the head and shoulder. The force of the impact jarred his hardhat off and knocked plaintiff off his feet, causing him to fall over onto the platform floor.

The plaintiff was knocked out and woke up in the ambulance. He sustained a closed head trauma with hearing loss and a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) requiring cognitive therapies, cervical disc injury necessitating reconstructive surgery including two-level neck fusion at C4-C5 and C5-C6, right ankle ligament tears necessitating Brostrom ankle reconstruction, right shoulder rotator cuff and tendon tears necessitating arthroscopic shoulder reconstruction with anchor placements and significant disc herniation with L4-L5 annular tear confirmed intraoperatively producing lower extremity numbness that necessitated a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion of the L4-L5 segment with placement of a biomechanical device. As a consequence of these injuries, the plaintiff was, and remains, disabled from his occupation as a Local Union 806 Structural Steel and Bridge Painter.

Our office moved for Summary Judgment on behalf of the injured bridge painter to legally establish the liability of the bridge owner (the City of New York) and the General Contractor for the project pursuant to New York Labor Law 240(1). While the motion was pending, the parties agreed to a settlement in the amount of $3.8 million.

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This morning, at approximately 9:47am, 6 construction workers were injured in Brooklyn when the roof they were working on collapsed to the basement of the Brownstone building. According to CBS New York, the workers were putting up cinder blocks on the roof when the collapse occurred. 6 workers were reported injured with 4 in serious condition.

A roof collapse like the one described above could implicate the Labor Law of the State of New York which was enacted to protect workers at heights whose bodies and materials could be subject to falling and the force of gravity. Questions must be asked as to why the roof collapsed and why it could not support the load upon it.

Commonly known as the “Scaffold Law,” New York Labor Law 240(1) offers financial protection to construction workers who have suffered elevation-related injuries. The labor law places absolute liability-meaning that liability is imposed regardless of fault–on the property owner and general contractor when a worker suffers an injury due to a fall from elevation or is struck by a falling object. By placing absolute liability on general contractors and property owners, the labor law essentially provides construction workers compensation for damages for most elevation-related injuries.

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A worker at a Manhattan construction site plunged 10 stories to his death on Monday when the wooden platform on which he as standing collapsed. According to a report by the New York Daily News, the 62-year old man was doing a survey on the 16th floor when the tragedy occurred. He fell 10 stories before landing on the 6th floor. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The New York City Buildings Department issued a violation to the contractor for failing to safeguard the site and also issued a full stop-work order at the building.

This tragedy underscores the need for enhanced safety at construction sites as well as the the continued efforts of our legal community to hold construction companies accountable for their lapses in safety.

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Construction sites present many potential hazards to workers. As a result, many serious injuries can occur if workers fail to act responsibly. On Wednesday. a scaffold collapsed at a construction site at 36th Street and Eighth Avenue. As reported by CBS New York, the collapse occurred on Wednesday afternoon after 4:00pm. The extent of the injuries remains unknown at this time.

Due to the complex nature of construction accident lawsuits, it’s within the best interest of victims to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our attorneys have decades of combined experience. Our attorneys’ experience combined with a unique knowledge of the law has led to a number of enviable verdicts and settlements. For instance, we recovered $7.01 million in a wrongful death lawsuit following a construction accident.

If you have suffered an injury in a construction accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation for any damages incurred. Please call 212-406-1700 or contact us online for a free case evaluation from Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool. We will do anything in our power to help you secure the compensation you may be entitled to.

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In 2015, there were 25 deaths involving construction workers in New York City. Of those 25 deaths, 18 involved immigrants, with 13 being from Central and South America according to a report published in Crain’s New York Business Magazine.

Attorneys who practice construction accident law in New York City are well aware that a large percentage of construction workers are Latin-American immigrants with many countries in Central and South America being represented in the construction worker labor force. These workers often have little control of the dangerous nature of the jobs they perform and are tasked with activities that routinely put them at risk for injury and death. Lawyers in this area of law routinely tell stories of clients who would get fired and/or threatened with deportation if they dared to complain about inadequate safety devices or hazardous working conditions.

The attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, LLP are recognized leaders in construction accident law in New York. Our office has handled hundreds of construction accident cases for clients injured or killed on construction sites, particularly workers from Central and South America.

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Construction sites present many potential hazards to workers. As a result, many serious injuries can occur if workers fail to act responsibly. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our firm represents workers who have suffered any type of negligence-related injury on the work site.

These are the top 5 things you should do if you have been injured at a construction site in New York:

  1. Report the accident. This is the most important thing you can do following an accident for multiple reasons. In the construction industry, the reality is that many accidents are unreported. Often, workers are not legal residents and fear reporting an accident will jeopardize their job or immigration status. Other times, construction companies do not want an accident reported because it will reflect badly on their safety practices and could lead to OSHA investigations and/or penalties. Despite these concerns, an accident must be reported to your foreman, supervisor or whomever else is in charge. Not only does this document the accident and exactly what happened, it also puts them on notice of a potentially unsafe condition so they can take steps to prevent others from getting injured in the same unsafe area.
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On October 18, 2012, the plaintiff, a 31 year old Local 79 construction worker was performing demolition work at 675 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. He was using a power saw to cut and remove overhead metal ducts. The ladder was placed on a work surface that was not cleared of dirt and demolition debris. In addition, a co-worker who was holding the ladder steady left the area at the time of the accident. While the plaintiff was descending the ladder, the ladder shifted and toppled over causing the plaintiff to fall approximately five or six feet and strike the concrete floor.

As a result of this fall, he was seriously injured and rendered disabled. He required multiple surgical procedures including an anterior cervical discectomy fusion, left hip surgery and a left ankle ligament reconstruction. Furthermore, despite epidural injections to his lower back, his back injury progressively worsened until he eventually underwent a lumbar laminectomy.

During the discovery phase of the litigation, settlement discussions were held which resulted in the settlement of $3.7 million on behalf of the injured plaintiff. The partners and staff at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, LLP extend our heartfelt congratulations to our partner, Jonny Kool, on this tremendous result.

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In New York City, there are many dangers that New Yorkers must be aware of. When a “high wind” warning is issued, another danger is added to the list. In recent years, news reports have identified the risks of high winds particularly at construction sites where cranes, equipment and other debris affected by high winds have resulted in catastrophic or fatal accidents. Recently, this warning had to be issued again as reported in the Gothamist.

Under New York law, property owners and construction site owners and workers have a duty to maintain their premises and equipment in a reasonably safe condition to protect those persons lawfully on or in the vicinity of the premises. Specifically, there are laws, rules and regulations as to construction sites which must be followed in “high wind” situations and there could be both criminal and civil repercussions for any violations which cause injury. Construction companies and property owners will vigorously defend such claims saying that there was nothing that could have been done or denying knowledge of the windy condition. These types of assertions can often be refuted with certified weather reports and eyewitness testimony.

Individuals who have suffered an injury due to negligence at a construction site can face a number of hardships. Victims can suffer serious debilitating injuries, such as amputations, severe head trauma, and death. In addition to physical injury, victims of construction accidents may also be forced to deal with financial difficulties, such as lost wages and costly medical bills. Individuals who have suffered any of the aforementioned hardships should seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer. The accident attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool understand the hardships that victims of construction site accidents face, and are committed to securing them proper compensation for their injuries.

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Our partner, Jonny Kool, recently settled a New York State Labor Law case on behalf of a 34-year old bridge painter from Orange County who was seriously injured while painting the Newbugh-Beacon Bridge. On November 8, 2013, the plaintiff was working as a bridge painter for Kiska Construction, Inc. which was hired by defendant New York State Bridge Authority in the capacity of general contractor to rehabilitate the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge (North Span) located over the Hudson River between the cities of Newburgh and Beacon, County of Orange, City and State of New York.

On the night of the accident , at about 11:00 p.m., the plaintiff was standing on the platform of a scissor-lift truck. The lift truck stopped and its scissor lift platform was elevated off the chassis into working position at a significant height, about 15 to 20 feet above the roadway, with its rear gate in the down/open position. Without any signal from anyone, the lift truck operator put the lift truck into gear and drove forward. The unexpected movement of the truck caused the raised scissor lift platform to bounce sharply. The workers standing on the elevated platform lost their balance. Plaintiff, who was positioned towards the back of the elevated lift, about four feet from the gate, lost his footing and fell backwards as the lift truck drove out from underneath him. The lift truck did not stop and continued forward. He rolled off the elevated lift platform and through the open rear gate. He then fell down 15 to 20 feet to the roadway below. He struck the roadway surface sustaining severe injuries.

At the of the incident, Mr. lived with his wife and their three children lived with his wife and their three (3) children in Sullivan County, New York, and was a member of Local 806, the Structural Steel and Bridge Painters’ Union.