The construction worker killed on a Brooklyn job site last week shines a spotlight on the dangers of construction work, and rightly so. The construction industry accounts for more on-the-job deaths than any other industry in the United States. In fact, each year about 900 construction workers die “in the line of duty,” compared with fewer than 100 firefighters and fewer than 50 police officers. New York City is no exception. The construction industry fatality rate in NYC is 10.9 per 100,000 full-time workers, compared with a 2.2 rate for New York City workers overall. No other industry had a rate in double digits.
Unsafe Working Conditions Lead to Construction Accidents
However, it’s no coincidence that the largest number of construction-related deaths (359, or 39.9% in 2014) occur as a result of falls, and construction-industry fall protection issues are the leading source of OSHA citations. In fact, two of the three most-cited violations are specific to the construction industry.
The number of fatalities resulting from construction accidents is unsettling on its own, but of course only a small fraction of construction injuries result in death. Nationwide, construction is one of a handful of industries in which more than 10,000 employees lose work days to work-related injuries each year.
Common Causes of Construction Injuries
In addition to the frequently cited fall protection and scaffolding violations mentioned above, many different types of construction injuries are possible. Some of the most common include:
- Violation of other construction site safety standards
- Foreman or co-worker carelessness
- Faulty equipment
- Being struck by an object
- Being caught between equipment and structures
- Exposure or overexertion
Liability for Construction Injuries and Deaths
Every construction accident is different. However, in an industry plagued by injuries and accidental deaths and frequently cited for worker safety violations, most serious injuries and deaths occurring on construction sites could have been prevented.
New York State Scaffold Law
Because construction-industry falls are so common and so dangerous, the New York legislature has extended special protections to workers on most construction, demolition and repair sites in the state. This law imposes “absolute liability” on the owner and general contractor when a worker falls.
Absolute liability means that the owner and contractor are legally responsible for the worker’s injuries whether or not they were actually negligent, and regardless of any contributory fault on the part of the worker.
Help for People Injured in Construction Accidents
Dansker & Aspromonte represents people who have sustained construction injuries, and the families of those who have lost their lives in construction accidents. Whether the injury occurred through the negligence of the property owner or contractor, as a result of faulty equipment, or was the result of a fall and thus triggers absolute liability, we can help.
We have won verdicts and negotiated settlements for many victims of construction accidents in the past, including:
- A $1.6 million jury verdict for a laborer who fell from a ladder and was unable to work for 6 months
- A $3.1 million verdict for a laborer who sustained a herniated disc in a fall from a ladder
- $1.3 million for a construction worker who fell through a hole in the scaffolding
- $2.25 million for a carpenter who fell from a ladder and sustained facial and knee fractures
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a construction accident, get the help you need to ensure a fair settlement or fight your case at trial. Contact us as soon as possible to learn more about how we can help you get the compensation you deserve. We’ll do the work while you focus on recovering from your injuries and getting back on your feet.