New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Filing a Construction Accident Lawsuit
Posted on Feb 5, 2018 in Construction Accidents
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in calendar year 2016, out of 4,693 worker fatalities in the private sector in the United States, 21.1%, or 991 deaths, was in construction – this means that or 1 in 5 workers in the construction business died on the job.
The leading causes of death in the private sector construction industry were falls, followed by workers being struck by an object, electrocution and employees accidentally getting stuck in or between equipment, objects, etc. According to reports by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these “Fatal Four” constituted 63.7% of construction worker deaths in 2016.
The BLS stated that 631 lives in the US could be saved every year by eliminating the Fatal Four. Here is a look at the number of deaths that these causes were responsible for out of the 991 total worker fatalities in the construction industry in CY 2016:
- Falls – 384 deaths, or 38.7%
- Struck by an object – 93 deaths, or 9.4%
- Electrocutions – 82 deaths, or 8.3%
- Caught in or between objects – 72 deaths, or 7.3%
The last category includes workers in construction who were killed when they were caught-in or compressed by objects or equipment as well as crushed, caught or stuck in collapsing equipment, structures, or material.
Construction Accidents Leading to Personal Injury Lawsuits
As you can see, one of the most hazardous places to work is a construction site. With heavy equipment, unstable structures, extreme heights, electrical components and more, it is quite apparent that there are many potential causes for injury to those who work in this industry.
As mentioned above, there are four primary causes of death and injury in construction and taking steps to eliminate these causes could reduce the number of deaths and injuries to construction workers. When employers fail to take these steps and it results in an injury to a worker, the injured party often has a viable case to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Falls: These accidents cause the highest number of deaths in construction each year and come in a number of different forms. Some of the most common examples include the following:
- Falls to lower levels in buildings that are partially complete
- Slips and trips
- Falls from ladders
- Falls off of or as a result of a collapsed scaffold
Some of the most common causes of falls in the construction industry include the following:
- Unstable, cluttered, or slippery working or walking surfaces
- Edges without adequate protection
- Wall openings and floor holes
- Ladders that are not positioned safely
- Misused or improperly used fall protection methods and equipment
Electrocutions: A large number of workers in construction are exposed to the danger of electrocutions. Faulty connections and exposed wires pose a hazard for those working at a construction site. Electricity-caused injuries fall into four categories:
- Electric shock
- Falls as a result of contact with electricity
- Electrocutions (fatal)
Struck by Object: In this category, the most reported injury is workers being struck by automobiles or other machinery. Other objects that pose a danger to workers in a construction site include objects being moved by a crane, falling ladders and scaffolds, and tools, bricks, and other items stored at the higher levels of structures under construction.
Caught In/Between: Being caught in or between equipment, etc. in a construction site can result in serious injuries, such as loss of limb, and in some cases, death. Common causes of injuries caused by this category include:
- Rotating equipment
- Equipment rollovers
- Excavation/trench collapse
- Unguarded parts
- Rigging accidents
- Equipment maintenance
Concrete Slab Crushed Man at Construction Site
On August 9th, 2017, a man was crushed by a 30,000- to 40,000-pound concrete slab that fell at a construction site for a Southeast Austin apartment complex. He was an employee of the subcontractor working with the construction company, Cadence McShane Construction Co., that was building the apartment complex.
Emergency crews responded to reports of a man who was trapped under a concrete slab inside a fenced-off construction site. Rescuers were unsuccessful at getting to the victim initially. He was pinned under the slab which leaned against a tractor-trailer that was sitting under a crane. Efforts were made by firefighters to cut away at the slab with drills, sledgehammers and other tools to free the man, but he was dead when they finally got to him.
The chief of the Austin Fire Department said that the slab was a concrete panel that was preformed for a parking garage being built on the site. It was not immediately known how the man became trapped under the slab.
Authorities reported that while investigators sorted through the rubble, the construction was put on hold which is just sensible and ethical. The deadly accident was investigated by Austin police and federal investigators in collaboration with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
According to statistics from OSHA, over 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year. Online records show that the agency recorded more than 70 deaths in the state of Texas alone from January 12th, 2017 through April 27th, 2017.
In January 2017, a construction worker died when he was run over by his own backhoe after being thrown from it. In another incident in August 2016, a construction worker was killed after a construction trench collapsed. Authorities said at the time that another worker was also injured in the incident.
Filing a Lawsuit After a Construction Accident
When a construction worker dies due to a job-related injury, there are two different potential lawsuits that his or her family members can file: a wrongful death lawsuit and a survivor claim. In the vast majority of cases, the family of the deceased worker files both claims in the same case. The differences between the two are primarily in the type of damages available.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit: When a wrongful death claim is filed, the deceased worker’s family basically argues that:
- The worker died due to the negligence of the defendant.
- The worker had family members that he or she was very close with.
- The death of the worker caused the family members to suffer losses.
- Being responsible for the worker’s death, the defendant should compensate the close family members for the losses they suffered.
Therefore, in a wrongful death action, the members of the deceased worker’s family do not file a lawsuit for harmed caused to him or her. Rather, they file a suit for harm that was actually caused to them due to the loss of a loved one. The damages in this type of action can include:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of love and emotional support
- Loss of quality of life
Survivor Claim: When the family members of a deceased worker file a survivor claim, they basically argue that:
- The worker died as a result of the negligence of the defendant.
- The negligence caused pain and suffering to the worker before dying.
- If the worker had survived, he or she would have been able to file a lawsuit against the defendant and recover compensation for that pain and suffering.
- The defendant should not escape liability simply because the worker died.
- Being responsible for the worker’s death, the defendant should have to pay the damages for pain and suffering to the estate of the deceased worker.
Since the survivor claim is only available after someone has died, it is somewhat unfortunately named. The idea in this type of action is that when a person is harmed, that person has a right to sue, and that right should not die with the person. This means that the right to sue “survives” the death of the person. Therefore, a deceased person’s estate can recover damages for the pain and suffering experienced by a worker prior to his or her death.
This is where RMFW comes into the picture. We know this arena well. We know how to win these types of cases. Do not succumb to the pressure of signing any deal with the insurance company. They are not on your side and don’t allow them access to your medical records.
They will use your medical records against you. Call us today! RMFW has won millions of dollars for past clients – you too can be on this list.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Man Crushed by Conveyor at a Construction Site
In Staten Island, New York, a wrongful death alleged that a construction worker died at a construction site when a large conveyor swung into him, crushing him, while being hoisted by two cranes.
The wife and administrator of Antonio Manuel Veloso’s estate, Maria Veloso filed a lawsuit against the rigger, crane companies, and several other parties stemming from the tragic accident that took place at the site of Staten Island Asphalt Inc.
Filed in state Supreme Court, St George, the lawsuit alleged that the victim died as a result of the defendants’ negligence, carelessness, and wanton and willful disregard. It sought unspecified monetary damages.
Police said that 54-year old Veloso suffered severe injury when a load fell off a crane. He was alert and conscious after the incident, but shortly began experiencing pain and difficulty breathing shortly afterward.
The Fire Department said that he was taken to Richmond University Medical Center suffering from severe trauma and cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead about one hour after the incident.
According to the civil complaint, a member of the Laborers International Union of North America Local 1010, Veloso was an employee of C.A.C Industries Inc. The company, based in Queens, specializes in heavy construction, such as highway work, utility work, water main and sewer installation, etc. The complaint did not specify the work performed by C.A.C and Veloso, but said that Veloso was “lawfully” on the premises as a worker of the company.
The lawsuit alleges that Veloso was grievously hurt when a large drag slat conveyor that was being hoisted by cranes, operated by John J. Gall Crane Service Inc. and Cranes, Inc. and manufactured by JV Trucking & Rigging, swung into, struck and crushed him. The complaint contended that the conveyor was “caught” by a horizontal support beam, causing it to swing into Veloso.
Based on its investigations, the Staten Island Buildings Department suspended Joseph Volpe’s master rigger and hoist-machine operator licenses after the incident. He was an employee of JV Trucking & Rigging.
The Buildings Department also slapped eleven violations to 364 Meredith Avenue, LLC, the property owner, including occupation of a number of adjacent properties in the absence of valid certificates of occupancy and unlicensed electrical work performed without a permit.
After the incident, a spokeswoman for Staten Island Asphalt said that the company was saddened by the Veloso’s loss and the tragic accident that took place. She added that the firm was fully cooperating with the investigation that was being conducted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
An OSHA spokesman stated that it can take up to 6 months to complete such investigations.
Some of the defendants named in the lawsuit were Cranes, Inc., John J. Gall Crane Service Inc., JV Trucking & Rigging, and 364 Meredith Avenue, LLC.
Fatal Construction Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If a person is fatally injured on the job on a construction site due to a person or entity’s gross misconduct or negligence, the construction worker’s family may be able to bring a wrongful death claim on their loved one’s behalf. Depending on the circumstances, they could file multiple lawsuits simultaneously.
For example, if a construction worker sustained fatal injuries because of a defective product, which the contractor knowingly brought onto the site, then the family of the construction worker may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit, a wrongful death lawsuit and a product liability lawsuit.
Get Legal Expertise for Wrongful Death Claims for Construction Accidents
Wrongful death claims stemming from construction accidents can be complex and take a long period of time to resolve as they often involve large companies.
These companies or public agencies, more often than not, have legal teams from major firms representing them. Their legal counselors employ various tactics to delay procedures and prolong the entire process for as long as possible in the hopes of discouraging the plaintiff from pursuing the matter further and giving up.
If you have lost a loved one in a construction accident caused by the employer’s negligence, carelessness or gross misconduct, you should immediately seek the help of a personal injury attorney with experience in handling wrongful death cases in construction accidents. This is where Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff, of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280 should enter your life.
We don’t tolerate this. We will hit the other side and make sure you and/or your family is compensated properly if your case is viable.
With RMFW Law, you can take the proper steps to ensure that you obtain fair compensation for damages and hold the defendants accountable for their actions. Put a stop to this now! Call us today!