Queens is refurbished and built by the hands of construction workers. They very literally build the future of our borough, and New York. Each day, they also risk great injury. Work sites are dangerous, especially when employers fail to do their part in promoting worker safety.
Construction Accidents In Queens
The personal injury attorneys that work at Lipsig Law Firm live locally. We talk with construction workers on a regular basis, and understand what it’s like to be in their shoes. They scale buildings on temporary scaffolding, climb high ladders, work with dangerous machinery and stand in piles of debris on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, we’ve also seen many workers who have suffered from serious injuries while on the job. We have listened to stories of the lack of support from their employers following their injuries, and have understood their concerns about missing work, paying medical bills, and supporting their families.
All too frequently, workers who have sustained injuries while on the job are provided insufficient workers compensation, and do not receive enough support from it. Many employers seem to think that these workers don’t deserve more comprehensive help. We say you do.
Worksite Injury Risks On The Rise
Queens is currently New York’s most quickly growing area. The borough is expanding at a rapid pace, requiring more construction work and more construction workers. Unfortunately, this has also meant that construction accidents in Queens have become far more common. In fact, over the last five years, the borough has seen a disproportionate number of workers sustain personal injuries.
Across the five boroughs of New York City, construction continues to boom and injuries continue to rise. New York has about 72,000 active work sites annually. If you were recently hurt on the job, you are joined by many other hardworking men and women. Statistics say that about 200 workers across New York City sustain severe and debilitating injuries yearly.
Common Construction Accidents
- Slips and falls – across the U.S., falls make up about 15% of injuries sustained on the job.
- Ladder falls – high, extended ladders are most commonly used on urban construction sites, causing more severe injuries from falls.
- Scaffolding injuries and falls – because scaffolding is a temporary structure created to scale buildings at heights, it is commonly the cause of injuries and falls.
- Debris, falling objects, or ceiling and building collapse – in New York City, falling objects are cited as the number one reason for fatal construction accidents.
- Welding accidents – statistics indicate that more than 1 out of every 250 construction workers suffer fatal injuries when spending a lifetime working in welding.
- Forklift accidents – 1 out of every 6 job fatalities involve forklifts, and about 25% of forklift accidents happen within construction.
- Product malfunctions – it is estimated that 34 million people are injured or killed due to product malfunctions each year.
Workers’ Compensation: Is It Right For Me?
The workers’ compensation system helps ensure that employers obtain insurance on behalf of their workers. It is required in many states, and heavily encouraged in others, and the coverage secured is used to help pay for personal injury claims that have occurred at work. This type of support, however, tends to be limited, and often leaves the employee with insufficient funds to cover lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Most employees readily accept their employer’s offered workers’ compensation benefits. But it’s critical that you first carefully evaluate all of your options, considering the advantages of a personal injury lawsuit over workers’ compensation claims. This is imperative because, upon acceptance of workers’ compensation, you are simultaneously giving up your rights to take any legal action against your employer. After accepting workers’ compensation, you will only be able to explore 3rd party lawsuits.
Common Complaints Regarding Workers’ Comp
- Workers’ compensation significantly limits the benefits offered to the individual, typically covering only about 1/2 to 2/3 of an employee’s average weekly paycheck.
- Workers’ compensation is provided through a governmental agency with the state, and can, therefore, require lengthy paperwork, and waiting times for each medical procedure to be approved.
- Workers’ compensation does not leave room and considerations for pain and suffering or psychological damage after a traumatic injury.
- Workers’ compensation claims are not always successful.
- If a lawsuit is possible, it can obtain much greater compensation for both past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and more.
Depending upon the specifics of your individual personal injury case, because employers make workers’ compensation available to their employees, this can take away an employee’s right to pursue legal action. There are many exceptions to this rule, however, and it is critical to protect yourself by discussing the details of your injury and its causes with an experienced attorney.
The largest exception to this rule is New York’s Scaffolding Law.
How Can New York’s Scaffolding Law Help Me?
New York’s Scaffolding Law is widely considered the largest source of litigation for injured construction workers. It provides expansive protection to anyone who has been injured on the job because of working at a height, or working within an area of different elevations. The law ensures that all liability for damages suffered under these circumstances by the employee will fall on the shoulders of the property owner and contractors.
The moment that an individual can establish a violation of this law, complete liability of the general contractor or property owner is established as well. For anyone in the construction industry in Queens or neighboring boroughs, this coverage provides an incredible level of protection, and the opportunity to be fairly compensated through the law.
This law, Section 240 of the New York Labor Laws, shows understanding of the special considerations that anyone working at heights deserves, and tries to outline how to best protect these workers to prevent accidents.
Other Exceptions Entitling You To Take Legal Action
There are several other exceptions that entitle someone suffering personal injuries on the construction site to pursue legal action. These are:
- If your accident was caused intentionally
- If your accident was caused by the negligence of a 3rd party, defective equipment/product, or a mistake from someone other than your employer
Get Full Legal Protection After A Construction Accident
The attorneys at Lipsig Law Firm understand Queens and the people who live here. They offer dedicated help to anyone injured from a construction accident. On-the-job accidents are about so much more than just the physical injuries they cause. They are about job or wage loss, psychological struggles, and stress, pain and suffering, depression, deformities or scarring, and permanent, life-altering damage.
Verdicts And Settlements In Construction Cases
- $1.8 million – construction worker, age 47, was injured when struck by a bucket
- $1.78 million – construction worker, age 31, was injured falling into a hole
- $2.5 million – asbestos worker, age 63, was injured falling from a ladder
- $2.7 million – construction worker, age 25, was injured falling from defective scaffolding
Do not let concerns over cost stop you from going after what you are truly entitled to. Lipsig Law Firm offers completely free, completely confidential consultations, and our services are on a contingency-fee basis. This means that you owe us absolutely nothing until we successfully settle or win your case. Looking into your rights could not be easier. And in the aftermath of a construction accident, easy is a welcomed change.
Latest Construction Updates
By Tom Moverman
September 21, 2018 – Construction Worker Fatally Electrocuted In Accident
According to an inspector, a construction worker was performing an electrical installation in a bathroom on an energized circuit when he was electrocuted. He has failed to de-energize the circuit prior to working on it and was taken to Lenox Hill Health Plex where he was pronounced dead. Three violations were issued after the accident.
August 31, 2018 – Fire From Construction Site Leads To Statue of Liberty Evacuation
On August 27, the FDNY was called to handle a propane fire that was burning in a construction area on Liberty Island. Officials found a propane tank that was tipped over and leaking fuel, a 100 lbs tank on fire, and another tank nearby which were all located within about 200 feet from the base of the Statue of Liberty. A partial evacuation of the park was ordered and it took firefighters about 2 hours to contain the blaze. One construction worker suffered minor injuries.
July 26, 2018 – Construction Company Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter After Worker’s Death
A New York City construction company pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a case involving a fatal work accident. They were deemed responsible for causing the death of a 44-year-old worker who fell to his death from a Financial District construction site because his equipment did not meet city safety regulation standards. The company was also ordered to pay over $800k in restitution to workers for wage theft and to the state of New York for insurance fraud.
June 27, 2018 – Two Construction Workers Killed By Falling Objects In Lockport
Two construction workers were killed when they were crushed by eleven 800-pound slabs of countertop material in Lockport, NY on Monday, June 25. The workers were unloading the material from a trailer at an XPO Logistics facility when the slabs fell on top of them. The XPO safety team and law enforcement are working together to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident.
May 29, 2018 – Construction Worker Crushed By Glass Well In Manhattan
The NYC Department of Buildings has halted construction at a Manhattan work site after a construction worker was crushed to death by a glass plate on Saturday, May 26. The 67-year-old man was working on a mega-skyscraper in Midtown at 217 W 57th St. when the 8-foot by 14-foot glass plate, which weighed several thousand pounds, fell on him. A second man was also injured while trying to rescue the first.
April 11, 2018 – Landscaping Worker Killed In Heavy Equipment Action In Colonie
A 61-year-old landscaper was killed after being crushed between two pieces of heavy equipment in Colonie, New York on Saturday, April 7. Police responded to a call and arrived at TNT Landscaping to find the victim pinned between the two pieces of heavy equipment. He was pronounced dead at the scene due to head trauma.
March 15, 2018 – Queens Construction Worker Killed In Forklift Accident
A 34-year-old construction worker from the Bronx was killed in a forklift accident while working at a Queens job site on Tuesday, March 13. The accident occurred at a construction site on 89th Avenue near 150th Street at around 11 am. The worker was riding on top of a forklift and when the forklift driver reversed, he hit his head on a beam. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The construction site has five open Environmental Control Board violations, including one for working without a permit. There were also multiple stop-work orders at the time of the accident. The DOB has issued a violation for failing to safeguard the site.
February 11, 2018 – Construction Worker Died After Fall On Queens Job Site
A 26-year-old construction worker was killed after falling from the sixth floor of a building he was renovating in Queens on January 24, 2018. The building was at 62-98 Saunders St. in the Rego Park section of the borough. The worker fell out of a window while he was renovating the bathroom. According to the Department of Buildings, the work was being done without a permit and the owner of the building has been cited for violations regarding unsanctioned renovations and failure to safeguard his workers. This was the second fatal construction accident of the day in New York City, as another man fell to his death while working a hotel in Manhattan earlier in the day.
January 4, 2018 – Seattle Construction Worker Falls To Death In Jobsite Accident
A construction worker in Seattle fell to his death in an accident on his work site on Saturday, December 31. The 23-year-old worker was installing rebar at a college dormitory project when he fell through the safety barriers of an elevator shaft. The state is investigating the accident, and the worker’s family believes the accident may have been preventable. They believe the plywood he stepped through did not have required shoring underneath, and that there may have been insufficient railings surrounding the elevator shaft.
December 13, 2017 – Operator From Fatal 2016 Crane Accident Sues For Defamation
The operator of a crane that collapsed and killed a pedestrian in Manhattan has filed a lawsuit regarding an investigation that blames him for the accident. The man’s operator’s license was suspended after a Department of Buildings investigation found that the operator failed to properly secure the crane the night before the accident and lowered the boom at an improper angle.
His lawsuit claims that these findings are wrong and qualify as defamation. He also claims that his construction site did not allow him to lay down the crane and that the city allowed the crane to remain up every evening. The suit was filed against a contractor called Crane Tech Solutions, which the city enlisted to investigate the accident. He has also filed a $2.5 million notice of claim against New York City.
November 29, 2017 – Construction Worker Injured After Being Struck By Drunk Driver In Staten Island
A construction worker suffered two broken legs after he was plowed into by a drunk driver on his job site in Staten Island in the early hours of Saturday, November 11th. The driver sped past a line of construction cones and a flag before veering into the construction site at about 12:50 a.m. The vehicle struck a 37-year-old worker before flipping sideways into a ditch where the workers were repairing a water main.
Medics brought the injured construction worker to Staten Island University for treatment of his injuries. The driver blew a 0.163 breathalyzer, about twice the legal limit. He was charged with drunk driving, vehicular assault, and reckless endangerment.
October 25, 2017 – 2 NYC Buildings Inspectors, 12 Others Arrested In Construction Safety Violation Scheme
14 people have been arrested for participating in three different construction schemes involving property managers, developers, and inspectors in the industry. Two New York City buildings inspectors allegedly looked the other way on safety violations at construction sites in Brooklyn and Queens in exchange for cash and gifts.
Another investigation revealed that a certified independent asbestos investigator had been charging $1,000-$3,500 for fraudulent passing asbestos reports.
In one scheme, a licensed master plumber allegedly sold his license to workers without permits for between $1,000-$2,000.
June 30, 2017- 2 Queens Construction Companies Under Federal Investigation
Two Queens-based construction companies are being investigated by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) after a building collapse injured several workers in Astoria on June 20th, 2017. The accident occurred shortly after a crane dropped a heavy load of building materials on top of the roof, which collapsed and trapped multiple workers. Three workers suffered serious injuries in the accident.
June 9, 2017- Construction Company Owner Charged For Worker’s Death
The owner of two NYC construction companies faces multiple criminal charges after the death of an 18-year old laborer. Michael Weiss has plead not guilty to charges of manslaughter, negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, assault, grand larceny, tax fraud, and falsifying business records/
18-year old Fernando Vanegaz was killed when an unstable retaining wall collapsed on him and two other workers, who were also injured. Federal regulations required Weiss to fix the wall before ordering work in the area, and multiple employees had repeatedly voiced their concerns to Weiss.
This accident is the latest in a growing trend of fatal NYC construction injuries, as since January 2015, 33 laborers have died in fatal accidents.
May 5, 2017- Workers Trapped On Bridge Pier In Construction Accident
Two construction workers were trapped by a shifting reinforcing bar on a bridge pier for the new Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway in Union County. One of the workers had to be freed after he was trapped and the other trapped worker was able to free himself. Emergency responders took an hour to free the trapped worker and fortunately, neither of them had serious injuries. They were taken to a local hospital to be evaluated. The contractor stopped work at the pier until the accident is investigated. OSHA went to the site to investigate.
April 5, 2017- Seven Ton Hammer Falls On Queens Construction Worker
A construction worker was rescued on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, after a 7-ton steel hammer fell on his legs at a Queens work site. The accident took place just before noon at 82nd Avenue and Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens. The man is expected to survive and was conscious the entire time he was trapped. He was transported to Jamaica hospital where he reportedly had non-life threatening injuries. The cause of the accident is currently unknown.
March 24, 2017- Queens Homes Under Construction Collapse
The recent raging Nor’easter winds are being blamed for the collapse of two luxury houses under construction in Queens. The houses were located in the 700 block of Jarvis Avenue in the Far Rockaway section. The FDNY sent out a tweet that there were no injuries and the situation was under control. The winds of more than 40 MPH were blamed for the twisted metal framing and snapped wood.
February 3, 2017- Object Falls On A Construction Worker And Kills Him
On Thursday night, February 2, 2017, an object fell on a construction worker at a construction site on Vagabond Road in east Mecklenburg County. Initially, it was reported that crews responded to a trench collapse at the accident site, but it was, in fact, an object that fell and killed the construction worker. Officials have not released further information nor have they identified what fell on the man. The construction site where the incident took place is a quarter mile down a gravel road where there are several homes being built.
January 31, 2017- Construction Worker Dies On A Unversity Campus
A construction worker died recently following an accident that took place at University of Kentucky student center. The 47-year-old man was employed by Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal of Lexington. It has been reported that he fell from the roof of the building and died of multiple blunt- force injuries according to the coroner. At the time of the accident, a number of people were on the roof unloading roofing materials where the construction worker ended up falling from about 30 feet above the ground. It is very likely that there were no harnesses in use when the accident happened.
December 21, 2016- San Antonio Construction Accident Leaves One Dead And One Hurt
In San Antonio, one man has been killed and another one has been hurt in a construction accident downtown. According to authorities, the two men fell almost 60 feet from inside a box that tipped as it was being lifted towards the window of a building. The surviving man is in critical condition. The accident is under investigation by the police and OSHA.
November 2, 2016- Construction Worker Dies After Being Run Over By Dump Truck
In Idaho, a construction worker was run over by the trailer of a belly dump truck and died from his injuries. He was immediately taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center where he later passed away from his injuries. Crews were working with a belly dump truck that was unloading gravel. The deceased worker was operating controls behind the truck when the trailer rolled over him.
October 1, 2016- Workers Seriously Injured In West Seattle Construction Accident
Two construction workers were seriously injured after a crane hit a power line in West Seattle. Emergency personnel responded to the accident after they received reports of a serious construction accident. Both construction workers had to be rushed to Harborview Medical Center with severe burn injuries and are both in critical condition. The worksite where the accident happened was evacuated and shut down as investigators from the Department of Labor and Industries tried to figure out what caused the accident.
September 16, 2016- New Jersey Architecture Firm Owner Dies In Accidental Fall
A 52-year-old New Jersey architectural firm owner died after an accidental fall from the roof of a New York City skyscraper. It is believed that he had gone to the roof of a 48-story building in New York city after he kneeled down to take a measurement. When he stood up he apparently got dizzy and fell to his death. A Building Department spokesman stated that there is an ongoing investigation into this incident.
August 5, 2016- Crane Collapse On Tappa Zee Bridge Causes Serious Damage
A huge construction crane recently collapsed onto the Tappan Zee Bridge. Crews worked all night to clear debris. The 256-foot tall crane was a new piece of equipment that was driving piles into the new bridge. Thankfully, there were no cars that were hit when the crane collapsed. However, two cars crashed as they were trying to avoid being crushed by the crane and three people suffered very minor injuries.
June 16, 2016- Construction Company Owner Charged With Manslaughter For Worker’s Death
Following a worker’s death, after he fell six stories at a Coney Island construction site last year, the construction company owner has been charged with manslaughter and other charges. The owner was indicted for failing to follow safety regulations and his other charges include reckless endangerment, criminally negligent homicide and violation of the workers’ compensation law.
May 10, 2016- Construction Contractor Calls For Compulsory Harnesses For NY Construction Workers
Construction contractor, Gilbane Building Co., is proposing that all workers on construction job sites in New York wear safety harnesses. The safety harnesses are supposed to be worn when workers are working above six feet. The construction contractor has used this policy on its sites and it has prevented 20 of their workers from potentially deadly falls over the past five years. This proposed policy is currently more than what the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration requires.
April 8, 2016- Willis-Knighton Medical Center Construction Accident Injures Nine Workers
Friday morning, April 8, 2016, a construction accident took place at Willis-Knighton Medical Center and injured nine workers. Eighteen workers were accounted for, nine of those were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. According to hospital officials, the accident happened while workers were pouring concrete when the scaffolding and infrastructure fell. Shreveport rescue units responded to the accident, but the cause is still unknown.
March 23, 2016- Crane Accident Leaves Construction Worker Crushed To Death In West Hollywood
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported that a construction worker was crushed to death on Tuesday 22, March, due to a crane accident at a construction site. The accident took place in West Hollywood. Officials described the incident as an “industrial accident” where the worker was crushed between the crane and most likely a trailer. The victim was pronounced dead at a hospital he was transported to.
February 17, 2016- Man Gets Sentence Of Up To 3 Years For False Safety Manager Hires
A building safety consultant was recently sentenced to one to three years in state prison for sending people to pretend to be licensed site safety managers at a number of New York City high-rise construction sites. The man identified as Richard Marini, president of Avanti Building Consultants, offered inspection services of qualified safety managers at construction sites found in the Financial District, Gramercy Park and the Upper East Side. Instead of actually sending qualified safety managers, he would send hairdressers, bellhops and other people he found on eBay or Craigslist to act as safety managers. He was also ordered to pay $610,000 in restitution.
January 25, 2016- Raleigh, NC- Lawsuit Filed On Behalf Of Killed Construction Workers
In Raleigh, NC, the families of three construction workers who were killed in a skyscraper fall in March 2015, have filed a lawsuit. The filed case seeks damages for Anderson Almeida, Jose Luis Lopez-Ramirez and Jose Eraso Claros Hernandez.
The three men were killed when they were working on the ninth floor of a skyscraper. According to the lawsuit, the scaffolding they were working on became unstable and they fell. The companies being held responsible for this accident are Associated Scaffolding, Choate Construction and Klimer Platforms.
December 30, 2015- Gas Line Fire On Queens Construction Site
A gas line was fractured by construction workers on a Queens construction site causing a fire to erupt on the site. Fortunately there was no explosion. Nearly 40 workers were on site and according to firefighters only one worker sustained a minor injury. Firefighters had the fire under control within an hour.
December 23, 2015- Lawsuit Filed On Behalf Of Construction Supervisor’s Death In Cottage Grove, Oregon
A trucking company is being sued in an $8 million civil action lawsuit following a construction supervisor’s death. The supervisor was run over and killed by a truck driver driving an asphalt dump truck. The lawsuit alleges that negligence caused the accident because the truck driver did not know the safety rules when he was driving the truck. The victim’s family is seeking compensation because the family breadwinner is no longer there to provide for them.