The worker who was killed when a Midtown building in the process of being demolished collapsed on Saturday was 26-year-old Pedro Bacilio. He lost his life when the five-story house at 27 W. 38th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues fell down. A second worker was trapped for three hours in the rubble before he was dug out by emergency crews. Specialized tools were required to get him out alive. Seventeen other workers were lucky to escape uninjured.
Demolition is one of those activities where particular care and attention have to be maintained throughout the process. At times, part of the building may become unstable too soon and it may be necessary to shore it up so that it can be demolished bit by bit.
The owner of the land, the Fortuna Realty Group, was getting the building demolished to make room for a 170-room boutique hotel.
It appears that earlier in the week an engineer working on the project had asked for the demolition to stop for a while to make the building more stable. It has not been revealed exactly what was happening on the site when the building’s interior from the 5th floor down to the basement collapsed, leaving a V-shaped hole with one worker lodged at its base. He was fortunately the one that was eventually freed.
Even though demolition work is potentially dangerous, there is a code of conduct that has to be followed to ensure all workers remain safe and free of injury. Something went wrong on this tragic day that will leave one family mourning and another caring for an injured worker. No one expects to bid good bye to a loved one when they go out to work one day but do not return or end up in hospital. We have faith in our legislators and employers that workplaces, however hazardous, remain safe throughout the duration of work activities.
When the families start to recover from the shock of the accident, they will be seeking answers, as they have not only lost someone dear to them but a steady income too. The injured worker may be entitled to workers’ compensation, but this will depend on whether he was a direct employee of the demolition company undertaking the demolition or part of a team of contractors. He will have to seek help from an experienced personal injury attorney to confirm his status. If he is not entitled to workers’ compensation he may be eligible to file a personal injury claim from the person who is found to have caused the accident.
A successful and experienced New York personal injury lawyer such as Richard S. Jaffe Esq. will be able to determine what compensation he is entitled and work to ensure the right amount is received. If he is eligible to file a personal injury compensation claim he may be entitled to include medical costs, loss of earnings, pain and suffering and even punitive damages if the person found to be at fault was negligent in his duty of care for the workers at the demolition site.
You can contact Richard S. Jaffe Esq. for a free consultation at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, 2001 Marcus Avenue, Suite W295, Lake Success, NY 11042. Phone: 516-358-6900 or toll free: 800-483-6149.