A Brooklyn construction accident can often result in civil litigation for damages. However, recently an accident with extreme violations led to criminal charges against six people and three companies. A construction worker died at the site in Brooklyn in September 2018. At the end of November 2019, the Brooklyn District Attorney announced indictment charges.
According to ABC7 News, construction worker Luis Sanchez Almonte died as a result of a wall collapse when he was working in a construction site trench. The accident occurred in Sunset Park.
The subcontractor ignored a cave-in warning, and the collapse occurred shortly afterward. Three people and two companies face manslaughter charges, and three other individuals face lesser criminal charges related to the accident and death.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez alleged that the subcontractor took shortcuts to bolster profit margins and failed to follow safety protocols.
During the period between April and September 2018, WSC Group Inc. had hired workers for demolition, excavation and to work on the foundation at Sunset Park. They were demolishing a one-story industrial building and were building a four-story manufacturing building and community facility in its place. The construction work included an underground garage.
Neighbors and laborers had reported the dangerous construction site conditions. The indicted companies and individuals were not in compliance with DOB and OSHA regulations. In fact, they failed to adhere to the design plans submitted by the DOB. They submitted new plans, which were not approved. Investigation revealed too deep of an excavation, improper installation of the underpinning system and failure to follow safe bracing procedures.
Part of the excavation system’s support and a masonry wall beside the residential apartment building collapsed. During the collapse, one of the under pinning sections struck Luis Almonte Sanchez, who was working on the foundation. The estimated weight of the collapsing section was between 15,000 and 45,000 pounds. The debris buried Sanchez and because of unstable site conditions, they could not recover his body until the following day.
While the criminal charges reflect the egregious extent of violations and are an effort to bring justice, surviving family members would need to pursue a civil case to recover monetary damages. Civil cases can generally move forward after the criminal case is concluded.
If a loved one has died as a result of a construction accident, our experienced attorneys can advise you about pursuing legal action.