New York Demolition Accident Lawyers
Demolition is one of the most dangerous operations performed in the construction industry. In 2021, there were over 1500 demolition permits issued in New York City alone. With each demolition site employing several workers, thousands of lives are put at risk of suffering a severe injury or fatality every year.
Whenever an NYC demolition accident occurs, a thorough investigation should be conducted into safety practices and available safety equipment prior to the accident. If an employer, contractor, or another third party failed to provide a safe work environment or was otherwise negligent, a demolition accident lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a New York construction site accident, we want to help. At Hill & Moin, we care about our clients. With our law firm on your side, it’s “like having a lawyer in the family,” as our clients have told us.
We offer all potential clients a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Call (212) 668-6000 to schedule yours today.
Different Types of Demolition and the Risks Involved
There are various methods of demolition that can be used to tear a building down. Contractors should choose the option that is the safest and best for the job. Unfortunately, many opt for the easiest and cheapest demolition method instead, skipping important risk management and planning stages.
This is the slowest and most labor-intensive form of demolition, which involves tearing down a building piece by piece. Each building part is removed in the reverse order of construction. The main purpose of hand demolition is to recover building components for future use.
The safest way for this type of demolition to be performed is systematic, floor by floor, from the roof down. Each construction site employee should be provided with personal protective equipment to prevent injuries from inhaling dust and being hit by falling debris.
Mechanical demolition is the most common method used by contractors to tear down buildings. Cranes, excavators, bulldozers, and other heavy machinery are used to demolish a structure. This type of demolition usually requires fewer workers and is a quick, efficient, and cost-effective way to get the job done.
The operation of the heavy machinery used in mechanical demolition requires a great deal of skill and training. Operators may be required to work at great heights, putting them at risk of a fall injury. Building collapses, flying debris, and excessive dust are other potential hazards.
Explosion or implosion demolition
Explosives are sometimes used to bring down large buildings in heavily populated areas. Explosive devices are placed and detonated in a way that causes the structure to collapse on itself in just a matter of seconds. Contractors like this method because it can be done quickly and cost-effectively.
In order to be done safely, building designers should be consulted and explosive experts must perform the demolition. However, the use of explosives always comes with risks; injuries can occur even when all required safety precautions are taken.
Common Causes of Demolition Accidents on New York Construction Sites
While controlled demolition is an effective way for contractors to clear lots for new construction, it can be a hazardous and dangerous task. Contractors and construction site owners have a duty to follow strict safety standards to keep their workers safe during demolition projects.
The following are some common causes of construction site injuries:
- Falling objects: Falling objects are one of the top causes of catastrophic and fatal injuries in the construction industry. Employees may be hit by flying building materials from the use of explosives or other debris falling from above as the building is being demolished.
- Improper use of explosives: If not placed and detonated properly, explosives can threaten the safety of everyone in the surrounding area. The improper use of explosives includes failure to clear the area before detonation, premature detonation, and improper placement.
- Exposure to asbestos and other toxins: Asbestos particles are often in the air when older buildings are demolished. Workers should wear respirators to protect themselves from mesothelioma and other diseases.
- Fires: There is always a risk of a fire occurring at demolition sites, even when explosions are not involved. For example, failure to shut off electric power sources or gas lines can cause workers to suffer severe burns or asphyxiation.
- Defective or improperly used equipment: Heavy machinery is often used on demolition projects. If improperly used or defective, a severe injury could occur.
- Falls: A worker may fall from a ladder or scaffolding while working on a demolition project. A person could also be injured by falling through a skylight or hole, or by accidentally stepping off of a ledge.
- Building collapse: A primary cause of fatalities during demolition projects is building collapses. A worker may be harmed because of improper training, lack of warning that the structure was unstable, or an unintentional collapse.
New York Labor Laws That Protect Demolition Workers
Regardless of how big or small a construction company is, employers have a legal obligation to obey all state and federal labor laws. If an injury occurs because an employer failed to follow safety protocols or provide their employees with proper equipment, he or she can be held accountable for their actions.
Labor laws that protect New York demolition workers include:
- Labor Law 240: This section of the New York Labor Law protects workers who were harmed in a fall or by objects falling on them at a construction site
- Labor Law 241: New York Labor Law 241 Code Rule 23 mandates the specific safety measures that contractors and property owners must comply with when demolishing a building
New York Demolition Accidents Cause Devastating Injuries
Demolition accidents can cause workers or passersby to sustain catastrophic injuries. At Hill & Moin, we have over 40 years of experience helping clients recover compensation who have been injured in demolition and other construction site incidents.
Common injuries sustained in demolition accidents include:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Cuts and bruises
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of limbs
Determining Liability After a New York Demolition Accident
In New York, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover the financial losses of their employees if they are injured on the job. Work comp benefits should cover the cost of all medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages, and wrongful death compensation if the accident was fatal.
In some situations, you may be entitled to recover compensation other than workers’ compensation benefits. If your injuries were caused by a third party, then that negligent company, government entity, or person could be held liable.
The following third parties may be found liable in New York demolition accident cases:
- Contractors or subcontractors: A contractor or subcontractor who did not follow proper safety protocol and allowed unsafe conditions on a demolition site could be found liable for your injuries
- Designers and manufacturers: If your injury was a result of a defective piece of machinery, tool, or other equipment, then the manufacturer or designer may be held accountable
- Coworkers: If coworkers caused or contributed to your accident by improperly using equipment or in some other way, they could be held liable for your injuries
- Property owners: A New York property owner could be at fault if his or her actions or inactions directly caused your accident and injuries
If you suspect that your demolition accident may have been caused by any negligent third party, do not hesitate to seek the help of a construction accident lawyer. An experienced attorney can investigate your case, identify all liable parties, and help you file a claim or lawsuit against them.
Recoverable Compensation Following a New York Demolition Accident
If you have been injured while on the job at a New York demolition site, then you are entitled to pursue compensation for your losses. A construction accident attorney can determine what damages you may be able to recover and calculate the value of your claim.
Recoverable damages following a New York Demolition accident may include money for:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney About Your New York Demolition Accident
Were you or someone you love injured or killed in a New York demolition accident? If so, a construction accident lawyer can help you understand your legal rights. At Hill & Moin LLP, we are dedicated to helping our clients through this difficult time in their lives and will treat you with the same kindness and respect that we would if you were a member of our family.
Keep in mind that New York employers have a legal obligation to provide safe working environments to all their workers. This means that you have legal rights as a worker, regardless of your current legal or immigration status.
At Hill & Moin, we take construction accident cases on a contingency fee basis. You pay nothing out of pocket and we are not paid unless we win an award or settlement for you. Call (212) 668-6000 to schedule your initial free case review today and to learn about your Personal Injury Recovery SolutionsⓇ.
Don’t wonder about your rights!