The collapse of a building under construction presents a serious threat of death and permanent injury. With the sheer number of buildings being constructed, renovated, and demolished in New York, the risk is especially pronounced. Those involved in the process are required to follow building codes, architectural design standards, and safety regulations. When they don’t, lives are put in jeopardy.
Buildings don’t just collapse. There is almost always an element of negligence involved. And that’s where it becomes critical to retain an experienced personal injury attorney. If you were hurt in a building collapse, Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C. can review your case and discuss your legal options.
Why Do Buildings On Construction Sites Collapse?
The construction, renovation, and demolition of a building requires a great deal of care to ensure workers and others aren’t injured. Because there are so many different parties involved in these processes, there are plenty of opportunities for mistakes. These are some reasons that buildings on construction sites collapse:
- Design, engineering, or architectural failure. When erecting or renovating a building, there are important design, engineering, and architectural standards and codes that apply. Failure to observe these could make the structure unsound.
- Lack of support. Buildings, especially multi-story high-rises, absolutely have to be built with appropriate support structures throughout. This is a specific type of engineering failure that may cause injury and death.
- Foundation problems. If the foundation is weak, damaged, unleveled, or otherwise flawed, the rest of the building becomes hazardous. Excess water and misjudgments about the soil on which the building is set could be contributing factors.
- Roof failure. The roof could cave in during construction or renovation. Roof failure may be due to various reasons such as poor construction or excessive weight and stress resulting from standing water or accumulation of snow or ice.
- Poor building materials. Using inadequate materials to construct or renovate a building can prove deadly. The materials themselves may generally be of acceptable quality, but their use may not be approved for the structure in question.
- Unsafe demolition procedures. Demolishing a building is an intricate process, much more complicated than most people witness during the actual fall of the structure. If this is not done properly, workers can be hurt.
- Changes to the construction or renovation. Constructing and renovating a building requires extensive planning. One relatively minor change in the blueprints can affect the entire structure and hurt the workers involved.
Understanding the reason for the building collapse is a necessary step in pursuing damages against the responsible parties. It’s up to the injury victim to explain exactly how the at-fault party was negligent, including (but not limited to) the reasons listed above.
Who May Be Held Liable For A Construction Collapse?
Construction workers have the right to pursue a workers’ compensation claim if their injury occurred during the course of their employment. But in many of these accidents, there are multiple parties involved. Depending on the circumstances, a personal injury claim may be brought against the following:
- General contractors
- Demolition crew
- Building materials suppliers
- Property owners
There are two main sections of the New York Labor Law that could impose liability for the collapse. They are:
- Section 200. General contractors and others are required to keep construction sites reasonably safe under this part of the law. That means ensuring sites are “constructed, equipped, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to the lives, health and safety of all persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.”
- Section 241. Subsection 6 of this section requires that all areas in which construction, demolition, or excavation work is to be performed “shall be so constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.”
Recovering Compensation For Construction Collapse Injuries
If you or a loved one were hurt in a construction collapse, you will almost certainly be faced with serious physical and, perhaps, psychological injuries, substantial medical bills and a painful recovery. You should not have to incur those expenses because of someone else’s negligence. Workers’ compensation laws don’t allow you to sue your employer, but you could potentially sue one of the other parties listed above in a personal injury claim.
Besides medical bills, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Your physical injuries
- Your disabilities
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy
- In-home personal care
- Lost income
- Lost future income (diminished earning capacity)
If the accident victim dies from the collapse, certain eligible survivors can pursue a wrongful death claim against the liable parties. Wrongful death damages are similar to personal injury damages, but there are some distinctions. In general, however, the survivors can recover damages for the victim’s injury, pain and suffering, their loss of support, guidance and instruction, medical expenses, the costs of burial or cremation, and more.
Our Role As Your Attorney
When you hire Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C. as your law firm, we get to work right away to investigate why the accident happened. That may include, among other steps:
- Reviewing construction site permits, citations, inspections, and investigations
- Reviewing the injured worker’s medical and other records related to the injury
- Speaking to witnesses about what they observed
- Taking pictures and recording video of the construction site
- Identifying any and all parties that could be held liable
- Obtaining copies of all insurance policies covering the construction site
- Negotiating with insurance companies to demand an amount that fairly accounts for your past, present, and future damages
- Taking your case to court if necessary, trying it before a jury, and obtaining a court judgment
Contact Our New York Construction Collapse Attorney
No one should have to suffer life-altering and potentially fatal injuries because a building has been constructed, renovated, or demolished in an unsafe manner. We understand the stress and pain that you and your family are going through, which is why our mission is to hold all responsible parties accountable for their role in your accident. Contact Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C. today to get started.
Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. help clients with their construction collapse claims throughout New York including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and Brooklyn.