The Options Available in New York if You’ve Lost a Loved Due to a Fatal Construction Accident

Any accident that costs the life of a construction worker is a tragedy. When a construction worker dies on the job, he or she likely leaves behind a family that depended on him/her for many things, including wisdom, guidance, leadership and financial support. While no amount of money can replace a lost loved one, that undeniable fact does not replace another inevitable fact, which is that such a loss has the potential to put an enormous financial burden on the family left behind. Fortunately, here in New York, the law provides many families with legal options for getting much-needed monetary compensation. To learn more about your options if a loved one has been fatally injured at a construction job, reach out to a skilled New York City construction attorney to get the help your family needs.

Unfortunately, 2018 has had its share of these types of accidents. A.E. was a construction worker from Staten Island who tragically became the city’s fifth construction fatality back in July while on the job at a project in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. NBC New York reported that workers were dismantling a scaffold when a beam that was being used as part of that scaffolding fell 12 stories inside the courtyard of the building. It eventually crashed down on A.E.’s head. The fallen worker was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

More recently, a family of construction workers from Newark suffered a catastrophic loss at a job site in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. The New York Daily News reported that workers were hauling a metal wall with a forklift on the day before Thanksgiving when the fatal accident happened. The forklift tipped over on its side and the wall fell onto O.P., killing him. A worker told the Daily News that O.P.’s son and two brothers also worked on the site.

Reports indicated that the city’s Department of Buildings had authorized the use of a certain type of forklift (“engine-powered”) on the project, but that a different type of forklift (a manual one) was being used with the wall when the accident took place. According to Brooklyn’s borough president, there were reports that crane operators on the site refused to work due to very high winds. This raised a concern that, possibly, decision-makers at the site decided to haul the wall with the manual forklift as “a way of circumventing a decision by the crane operators” and continue certain activities even after the crane operators told them the winds were dangerously high.

In A.E.’s circumstance, he died as result of falling construction materials that struck him. New York Labor Law Section 240(1) provides injured workers or the survivors of fatally injured workers with an avenue for recovery of compensation. That law specifically covers workers hurt or killed as a result of “elevation-related” risks of harm. That can mean the worker falling or, as happened to A.E., objects falling and striking the worker.

Another law, Section 241(6), is designed to protect the worker whose injuries arise as a result of someone else’s failure to follow New York’s safety regulations. For example, if O.P.’s family could prove that the wall was being hauled by a forklift that wasn’t approved for the job, then they might possibly have a case. New York regulations prohibit lifts or fork trucks being used beyond their capacity ratings. If the wall that fell on O.P. was heavier than the capacity rating of the forklift that was moving it, then that might possibly give the worker’s family a case under this statute.

This all demonstrates that construction work is very dangerous, but that some of that danger comes from improperly protecting workers’ safety. When a worker is lost due to inadequate protection or safety violations, the law gives that family some options in court. To find out more about them and which is best for you, consult the New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates for the representation you need. Our team has many years of experience providing thoughtful advice and helping injured workers and their families.

Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.

More Blog Posts:

What New York State Safety Regulations Can I Use as the Basis for Pursuing a Construction Injury Lawsuit?, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 1 de Octubre de 2018

Catholic Mass to Honor New York Construction Workers Killed on the Job Reminds All of the Importance of Workplace Safety, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 30 de Mayo de 2018