100% Free Consultation
100% Free Consultation

Can Injured workers and families who have lost their loved ones pursue lawsuits?

By December of 2017, a construction site at 61 Ninth Avenue in Chelsea had been repeatedly cited for construction code violations.

On December 18, a 54 year-old construction worker was standing on the sidewalk when an anchoring bracket came loose. Scaffolding from 10 stories above him plummeted to the ground, striking him on the head. The worker’s body lay sprawled on the ground. He was unconscious, suffering from a debilitating head trauma. Paramedics rushed the worker to the hospital, but he died an hour later.

Worst of all, the accident was completely preventable. The New York Daily News reported that for seven months, since May 2017, inspectors had visited the work site and cited the general contractor for multiple violations, many of which dealt with scaffold issues.

What recourse do families have under New York law for fatal construction accidents caused by falling objects?

New York Labor Law 240, also referred to as the "Scaffold Law," offers legal protection to construction workers who suffer injury and families who lose loved ones in height-related accidents. The general contractor and property owner are strictly liable and can be held accountable for injuries that occur due to unsafe work conditions. This not only applies to workers who fall from heights, but also for workers who suffer injury from falling objects and debris when working under a scaffold, ladder or roof.

Failure to tie down materials, replace worn out parts, failure to install guardrails or to ensure workers have hard hats or other safety equipment when involved with work done at heights are in violation of Labor Law 240.

Compensation can help offset financial burdens

Construction workers take risks daily at construction sites. Their families trust they will come home safely, but when the worst happens, the shock and loss can be overwhelming. Even so, there is no need to suffer economic hardship. You can recover compensation for medical costs, future lost income and other related expenses.

At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLPhttps://sacksteinlaw.com, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss construction site injuries and death, and the prospects of taking legal action.

Situations where property owners or contractors are potentially liable for injuries

Falling objects and debris can cause injuries at construction sites, but not every instance of a worker being injured by a falling object is subject to a lawsuit.

What types of objects often fall and injure construction workers?

Material such as bricks, mortar, a hoist, a hammer, equipment, a plank, a collapsing scaffold or construction debris are examples of falling objects.

What New York law applies to falling objects and debris injuries?

New York Labor Law Section 240 is the law that provides attorneys with a basis for taking legal action in cases that seek compensation for workers injured by falling objects or debris.

When objects are being lifted or hoisted and fall on a worker, the court may hold the owner or general contractor liable, especially when a construction device is faulty or when safety precautions were not in place or being properly followed.

What kinds of situations involving falling objects generally do not incur liability for owners and general contractors?

A light object that falls a very short distance and hits a worker may not be applicable in a falling object case. Significant damage must exist to bring a case, otherwise litigation can be cost prohibitive. When materials that are part of the building itself, such as a brick from the building falling on the worker, injury from this type of accident may not be covered under Labor Law Section 240. When no safety violations occur, grounds for a case may not exist, but this depends on the situation.

How do negligence or safety violations relate to proving a case?

When a construction worker has not been properly trained or was not properly supervised and due to this negligence, an object falls from a height and is heavy enough to significantly injure a worker, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Perhaps the general contractor failed to observe that the wind or wet weather conditions made surfaces too slippery and dangerous for construction work. As a result, a worker slips and knocks an object off a scaffold, which injures a worker below him. In instances where an OSHA violation causes a falling object injury, lawyers often have grounds to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

When to Seek Legal Help

Construction site injuries require case evaluation from an experienced injury lawyer. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP https://sacksteinlaw.com, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your injury and evaluate how we can assist you.

On June 26, when a scaffolding collapsed, six construction workers suffered injury at a Queens construction site accident in Long Island City.

The incident occurred at 42-20 27th Street, between 42nd Road and Queens Plaza South, according to ABC7NY.

Workers were doing construction on the building’s fifth floor and pouring concrete when the scaffolding failed. All injuries were non-life threatening, but some injuries were serious.

NBC New York reported that the Department of Buildings stopped the work and issued the contractor an aggravated violation for failing to maintain a safe site.

High Fatality Rates Due to Construction Site Accidents

In August 2016, CBS News ran an article that reported one in five worker fatalities in 2014 occurred in the construction industry. The top causes of construction worker deaths were falls, electrocutions, being struck by an object and being caught between objects, equipment or material.

What NY Laws Protect Construction Workers?

New York Labor Law Section 240 (1) has provisions to protect workers that use ladders and scaffolding. Building agents and contractors must properly maintain scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes and other devices so workers are not at risk for accidents and injury.

In fact, scaffolding must be constructed to bear four times the maximum weight required when in use.

Violations of NY Labor Law that cause construction site accidents can make contractors and building owners liable for damages.

For Serious Construction Site Accidents, Seek Legal Help Immediately

When a construction worker is seriously injured or dies in a construction site accident and you suspect a contractor or building owner was at fault, consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. Our attorneys at Sackstein Sackstein & Lee can evaluate the accident and hold liable parties accountable. Seeking compensation for damages can help a family member recover from a serious injury or help the family deal with the consequences of a tragic fatality.

Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP primarily focuses its practice on personal injury cases.



On April 12, 2017 an experienced construction worker, age 59, fell to his death at a Times Square construction site, and authorities state the accident was preventable.

The Daily News reported that Jose Cruz of Sunset Park fell from an I-beam near the second floor when he was helping remove part of a steel deck from a slab. He was a welder working on the site at 1604 Broadway, near W. 49th Street. He fell at 11:05 a.m. and was rushed to Mount Sinai West where he died.

The Negligence Involved

City Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler believes the accident was completely preventable. He said Cruz’s personal protection equipment should have had tie offs. The Department of Building (DOB) attached a stop work order to the front of the 1604 Broadway site and shut the job down. It will likely be shut down for some time.

The DOB will be increasing safety inspections all around the city and is investigating whether the 1604 Broadway site had a construction superintendent. The Times Square site general contractor was Streamline USA, LLC, according to several city permits issued.

The president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York criticized Cruz’s death, saying it was an unnecessary tragedy and stressed the need for better workforce training.

About Streamline USA

OSHA (U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration) cited seven violations in March 2016 given to Streamline USA for violations that OSHA considered serious. The citations arose out of inspectors responding to a complaint made about unsafe job conditions at the 1604 site. OSHA levied $19,200 in fines against the company, which Streamline contested.

In September 2016, OSHA cited the company for two violations related to inadequate scaffolding protection at a different NYC site, 58 Ninth Ave, the address of Homestead Steakhouse. A planned inspection resulted in OSHA issuing the company $17,746 in fines. Payment was listed as pending.

Legal Liability in Construction Accidents

New York City has stiff scaffolding and construction accident laws. Families whose loved ones die in a construction site accident should seek a legal option to protect their rights.

For more than 65 years, Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP  has helped numerous people recover compensation for wrongful death and serious injuries.

Copyright © 2024 Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP All Rights Reserved Powered By Gravimetric.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram