An owner of two construction companies in Brooklyn faces charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide for the death of an 18-year old immigrant laborer from Ecuador. Michael Weiss, 47, pleaded not guilty to these charges as well as additional charges of reckless endangerment, assault, grand larceny, tax fraud, and falsifying business records.
Weiss allegedly ignored complaints about a poorly maintained retaining wall, which later collapsed and killed 18-year old Fernando Vanegaz, while injuring two other laborers. Workers asked Weiss to address the wall multiple times, and federal regulations also required him to do something about it.
Construction Company Owner Negligence: A Growing Crisis
This accident is just one of many in a recent spike of fatal New York City construction accidents. 33 workers have perished in these accidents since January 2015.
Many, if not most of these accidents could have easily been prevented if construction site management had adhered to safety standards. In a New York Times article, Brooklyn district attorney Eric Gonzalez was quoted as saying, “Construction site deaths such as his [Vanegaz’s] are becoming all too common as builders ignore safety protocols and hire untrained workers to maximize profits.”
No one should be forced to risk their life to just to pay their bills. The owners of these companies make huge profits from the hard work of their laborers. These workers deserve to be treated with basic human decency. No family should be forced to grieve for a loved one killed in an easily preventable work accident.
How Can Families Of Fatal Construction Accident Victims Seek Justice?
There’s no way to erase the pain of losing a loved one. Death is especially difficult to deal with when it involves a young person taken far before their time. While it may not be possible to change the past, it’s still important to hold negligent parties responsible for their callous indifference to worker safety.
In the case of Michael Weiss, the criminal justice system is seeking to punish him for his crimes. But criminal courts often fail to give victims and their families the consideration they deserve. A wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit can help hold these companies liable and provide compensation for the pain and suffering of a serious or fatal work accident. These claims also demand accountability from the construction industry as a whole and may prompt other site managers and owners to enforce higher safety standards.
If you or a loved one has been severely injured or killed in a construction accident, our dedicated construction injury lawyers are here to help you during this difficult time. We understand that a legal battle may not be a top priority right now, but it’s important to shed light on this serious issue so that other families don’t have to suffer from the unexpected death of a loved one. When you’re ready to take action, we’ll be ready to listen.