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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

New York Construction Site Accidents: Will it Ever See a Decrease?

A construction worker, yet to be identified, lies critically injured in the hospital after falling 5 stories from a block in Flatiron that was undergoing a condo conversion. When he landed, he was impaled by a steel bar. The building is situated at 34 West 17th Street, which had recently been purchased by Atkins and Breskin, who is a developer based on Lower East Side.

The construction worker was an employee of New Empire Builder Corp. and at this stage it’s not known if he is likely to survive such a serious accident.

Unfortunately, construction accidents in New York are still on the increase, as the city is in the middle of a building boom. Up to the end of July 2015 there were 314 construction accidents reported. This was a 52% rise over previous years. In the same time period 10 workers were killed when the annual average figure had been around 5.5 up to that point.

Rich Chandler, Commissioner for the Department of Buildings (DOB), reported that the construction worker fell off a ladder while in the process of installing sheetrock above him onto a ceiling frame. It is alleged that the worker was not correctly equipped with the right safety gear when the fall took place. The shaftway which he fell down should have been appropriately covered and the man should have been wearing a safety harness.

A technician who worked on elevators witnessed the impaling and said the steel rebars pierced the worker’s back, abdomen, buttock, groin and thigh. In fact, the victim never actually hit the ground but was being held at least one foot above by the steel bar. It seems that the bars should have been covered which might have helped to prevent such a serious injury.

The building did have the correct construction permits, but in August of last year the DOB had issued a fine to Atkins & Breskin for $1,000 for keeping an unsafe elevator, and because the dodgy elevator was not fixed, a further $1,500 fine was imposed. Also the construction business called New Empire Builder received a fine topping $20,000 from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration for 6 serious violations 12 months ago, which included the failure to provide equipment to prevent falls on the construction site.

Right at this moment, no doubt the family of the injured victim will be at his bedside in the hospital hoping that he will survive this horrific ordeal. If he survives, it may be many months before he fully recovers, which will mean loss of income for his family and long-term financial hardship if his recovery spans a long period of time. He may be entitled to workers’ compensation, which will help to cover some of the financial hardship.

However, if evidence can be found that the construction company employing him behaved negligently in not ensuring his safety he may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the company. This will mean he can claim the full value of the accident, including medical costs from the accident to full recovery, all loss of earnings covering the same period, an amount for pain and suffering and for any additional care required over the recovery period.

His family will need to seek assistance from an experienced Long Island personal injury attorney, such as Richard S. Jaffe Esq., who offers a free consultation to determine eligibility to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact him 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.

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