NEW YORK – There’s a famous phrase coined by Sir Isaac Newton; “what goes up must come down.” In the sprawling concrete jungle of New York, everything is going up. New skyscrapers and multi-story buildings are being built every day, defying Newton’s warning. Unfortunately, construction poses risks not only to workers but the people walking by.
In March, a young woman was struck and killed by a plywood board that was blown off a construction fence in Greenwich Village. Although this sounds like an extremely rare and unlucky event, falling tools, glass, or other objects injure a person more than 12 times per year.
Construction accident lawyer, Ross Cellino says almost every kind of accident can be prevented with the right precautions and protocols. However, construction accidents keep happening for a variety of reasons.
“In the cases we see, negligence is usually a factor in these kinds of accidents and it’s not the workers but the construction companies held responsible,” said Cellino, a co-founder of the Law Offices of Cellino & Barnes. “Our laws and regulations require managers to have safety measures in place so construction accidents don’t happen but we get cases every day coming from construction sites.”
In 2014, 18 construction accidents involving non-workers were reported to New York City. Although no one was killed, fences have been blown over or, in some other way, struck pedestrians in 16 separate events, injuring 23 people, the Journal’s report revealed.
In 2011, a construction worker dropped a hammer from a scaffold, striking a child in the head.
A building code revision put in place last year now requires construction fences to be built to withstand 80 mph winds however, other accidents are happening at the highest rate in years.
“It’s not just pedestrians getting hurt either,” Cellino added. “Cars are getting struck by falling objects and several people have been hurt because falling debris like bricks came crashing down on top of a vehicle.”
Construction accident lawyers say it’s not just New York going through growing pains either; any city with construction sites can potentially put those passing by at risk.
NEW YORK – In the lines of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, a soothsayer warns the emperor “Beware the Ides of March.” Of course, Caesar ignores that message and today, the Ides of March still hold an ominous meaning to millions of Americans and researchers are once again sending the same warning after the second Sunday in March.
Using data from the U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety, the researchers found workplace and construction accidents spiked nearly 6 percent and workplace injuries resulted in significantly higher rates of lost work days.
“That one hour can really make a huge difference. Tests show again and again that a worker’s attention to detail drops off if the body doesn’t get enough rest and with so much construction in the city, workers should be urged to get some sleep in New York,” construction accident lawyer Ross Cellino said.
Researchers at Michigan State pointed out that it wasn’t uncommon for workers to complain how tired they were in the week following the lost hour of sleep however workers would rarely blame an accident on sleep loss.
“Employers set the guidelines and standards so these injuries don’t happen,” Cellino said. “Unfortunately, we’ve had cases where employers don’t follow their own guidelines in order to meet a quota or there isn’t enough supervision to enforce the guidelines a company has in place.”
Biology shows the body can undergo drastic changes after a loss of time, even as little as one hour. Take jet lag for example: many travelers complain of fatigue after returning from a west coast flight. In essence, the same thing happens to millions of Americans every March.
New York construction accident attorneys suggest safety first in the days following a time switch. Heed the warning signs. After all, Caesar didn’t (and we know what happened to him). Et tu, Brute?
Q: Last January I was hit on the shoulder by a brick that fell while I was working on the construction of a six story building. I had to undergo reconstructive surgery, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to the type of work that I’ve done all of my life. Do I have the right to compensation?
A: Under New York law, a worker who is injured when he is hit by a falling object on a construction job has the right to make claim against the insurance companies for the general contractor and the owner of the property. The general contractor and the owner have the obligation to make sure that workers on a construction project are provided with a safe place to work. You have the right to be compensated for your past and future pain and suffering, the disability associated with your shoulder injury and any future loss of earnings if you are unable to return to work.
Q: I’ve been a union plumber for 14 years. This past summer, my boss was hired to do the plumbing work for a major addition that was being built on a business building. I was working in a trench that was at least ten feet deep. The trench collapsed and I was buried up to my shoulders under a heavy load of dirt.
I suffered multiple fractures to my pelvis and injuries to my bladder and prostate for which I have undergone multiple surgeries. My doctor tells me that I can forget working as a plumber. I now suffer pain all the time. I can’t work, and I don’t know which way to turn. Can I do anything legally?
A: It appears as though you have a right of action against the owner of the commercial building on which you were working, and against the general contractor for the job. New York’s Labor Law provides protection to workers who are hurt as a result of accidents like yours.
The Industrial Code provides that trenches deeper than five feet must be shored-up in such a manner as to insure that they will not collapse on workers whose job requires them to work in trenches. If you can no longer work as a plumber, you will have a right to be compensated for your past and future lost wages and benefits. You also have the right to compensation for everything that you have been forced to go through, including your past and future pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has suffered a construction injury contact our construction accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes now.
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