During the last week of May of this year (2010) alone, there were two serious construction site accidents involving falls from significant heights. One involved a worker at a residential building falling fifty feet while he was working on the building’s steel framework. The other involved a worker at the Throgs Neck Bridge.

The first worker died after falling fifty feet. The bridge worker fell 15 to 20 feet off a ladder and was seriously injured.

With respect to the worker that died, officials indicated that it seemed as if he was not wearing a safety harness ! It is precisely this point to which we direct our attention.

There are several facts that make accidents at construction sites unique in the area of Personal Injury Law in New York:

  • Construction site accidents are among the most frequent accidents that occur;
  • The resulting injuries are among the most serious that occur;
  • Public policy is very inclined to seek protection for injured workers and their families;
  • the law, especially with respect to liability (who is responsible for the accident that occurred) is not at all necessarily what the layman might think it is–the law can be extremely complex.

The fact that the worker that fell and was not wearing a safety harness should not, and does not, eliminate the possibility that the worker or his family will have a THIRD PARTY LAWSUIT available to him. This would be in addition to any workers compensation claim the worker or his family might have.

It is truly esential when dealing with a construction site accident that a personal injury attorney, in addition to a workers compensation attorney, be consulted. As we have noted on previous blog postings, this could mean very substantial differences to the injured worker and his family. Because of the law’s complexity in this area, be very certain the Personal Injury Attorney chosen is well experienced in this important area of law.


Collapsing Cranes | Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer


Within just the last several months there have been a spate of crane accidents in New York City, some of which have resulted is serious injury and even death. The latest crane collapse occurred in Brooklyn , at a construction site. Four workers were injured. Not long before that a large crane “tilted,” hitting a 25 storey building.

Before these incidents, the City of New York has seen crane accidents over a period of years.  With injuries come lawsuits, and cases have been going to trial. Just this month (April, 2010), in a case that involved the death of two construction workers in May, 2008, in a crane collapse, a judge  took the rare step of fining the City of New York, one of the defendants in the case, for failing to provide documents to the Plaintiffs as ordered by the court . There was also a criminal case pending against the owner of the crane company for taking inappropriate steps to repair a part of this crane that had previously cracked.  It was this part that caused the crane to subsequently collapse.

In the collapse of the crane into the 25 story building, New York City suspended the operator’s license.

It was determined that because the operator left the crane in other than the safest position possible, the collapse occurred.

In a criminal case that may well be symptomatic for so many of the problems the City faces at construction sites, the City’s former chief crane inspector pleaded guilty to “receiving bribes”.  His career with the City spanned 26 years.  He admitted he took bribes over the last several years to basically provide abbreviated and inadequate inspections of cranes, as well as crane operator qualifications.

It was after the second of two crane collapses in 2008, that resulted in a total of nine deaths, that the City began to seriously crack down on inspections.  The City then also began a program of “beefing up” its crane inspection system.

Crane collapses are almost invariably serious events involving drastic injuries.  Those seeking to bring a lawsuit based upon crane accidents would do well to investigate carefully the reputation and experience of any personal injury lawyer that they consider retaining to represent their interests.


Construction Accidents In New York City | Update


Construction activity in New York City, as almost everywhere else in the nation, has experienced a drastic slowdown during this past year.  The reason is not difficult to fathom: the Recession, and the consequent constriction in financing by banks.

One piece of good news accompanies this fact: building sites reported THREE (3) fatalities in all of 2009.   That represents a downward spiral of 12 deaths in 2007 and 19 fatalities in 2008 !*

New York City Buildings Department – tougher enforcement caused decline in construction accident fatalities.

While the recession certainly had a major role in this situation, the officials in the New York City Buildings Department attribute tougher enforcement of rules as a contributing factor in the decline.It should be noted, however, that tougher enforcement was undoubtedly directly linked to the experience of two recent horrendous construction crane accidents.

In taking solace at the diminished number of fatalities at construction sites, the overall number of injuries at construction sites rose in 2009.  According to officials, this was mainly due to improved reporting of accidents.

It is vital to remember that construction site accidents virtually always involve THIRD PARTIES which may be responsible for recoveries, in addition  to WORKERS COMPENSATION recovery. Any construction  worker, involved in any accident at a construction site, should contact an experienced Personal Injury attorney immediately, so that his rights and interests can be fully protected.  A Worker’s Compensation attorney will also have to be contacted at some point.

*–Associated Press


Elevator Accident | New York Labor Laws | Workers Compensation


In an effort to repair an elevator in a five story cooperative in Manhattan, a repairman lost his life on Wednesday, January 13, 2010. While the exact method of the repairman’s death is not yet determined, speculation is divided between a fall in the elevator shaft or electrocution. The repairman was there to deal with tenant complaints of elevator misalignment with the floor, and with “squeaking” sounds.

Having died in the course of his employment, the representatives of the deceased will look to Workers Compensation for their remedy.

Without explaining the intricacies of the New York Labor Law, whether the repairman’s estate will have a viable THIRD PARTY lawsuit against the owner of the building, in addition to the Workers compensation claim, may well rest on a judicial determination as to whether a “repair”, as opposed to “maintenance,” was involved in the work being performed by the repairman at the time of his death !! The availability of a THIRD PARTY action could make a significant difference in the eventual amount recovered.

The laws surrounding injuries sustained by workers in the construction trades and allied fields are very protective but also very complicated at times.

The difference to the injured party and that party’s dear ones can be very substantial since, as an almost inviolable rule, THIRD PARTY actions result in recoveries significantly greater than awards under Workers Compensation.

An attorney with considerable experience in handling THIRD PARTY LABOR LAW cases is essential to safeguard the vital financial interests of those grievously affected by a worker’s accident. If you or your family member have been injured contact Orlow, Orlow, & Orlow today.


New York Construction Accident Injures Two Workers in Pelham

New York School Roof Collapse Injures Two; One Seriously

The roof of a Pelham elementary school collapsed Saturday afternoon, injuring two construction workers.

According to Pelham Police Chief Joseph Benefico, Colonial School at 315 Highbrook Avenue in Pelham was in the process of an addition when a front wall gave causing a roof collapse and the injury of two construction accident workers, Workers were cutting the first floor when the accident happened on Saturday, October 31st, 2009.

Superintendent Dennis Lauro and Colonial’s Principal Janet Rothstein wrote in a letter

“Our architects and school officials are conferencing with the New York State Education Department, which must give us clearance to re-open school. Based on the inspection on Saturday, the building is deemed safe. We are also planning a second engineering inspection as an extra precaution. In addition, our Board Construction Steering Committee would like to have the demolition work completed and the site cleared before reopening Colonial.” The letter promised a comprehensive memo to be released later today.

Wager Contracting Co. Inc., of New Rochelle, is the contractor for the construction project and declined to answer questions about the workers’ conditions.

Even if they Collect New York Worker’s Compensation, Construction Workers may be entitled to sue and collect an Injury Reward in New York

Despite many recent New York City construction accidents, a continued negligence of safety allows for further injuries.  As experienced Construction Site Accident Attorneys in New York we too see the same pattern over and over again. It is a shame and all of those responsible for safety should be held accountable. One thing many do not undertsand is even if they were injured and are receiving Workers Compensation for a Construction Accident in New York, they may still be entitled to sue for damages.  No matter what they think, if you or someone you know is collecting workman’s compensation for on the job injuries, especially New York Construction Accidents, they should collect contact an experienced Construction Injury Attorney,


Another Construction Worker Dies Operating Heavy Machinery and falling from height

As Reported by the New York Times, A construction worker died after falling 125 feet when a tall construction lift toppled and struck a downtown Philadelphia apartment building, the authorities said. The investigators are looking to see if the construction worker who fell, was properly harnessed and all safety procedures were followed.  According to witnesses the machine operated by the construction work toppled when a city sidewalk grate gave way.

A Notice of Claim has been filed.

Experienced construction accident attorneys should immediately begin to investigate the procedures that we in place, the safety equipment as well as the construction equipment, and immediately question all witnesses.


Construction Accidents In New York: Preventing Ladder Accidents


As Construction Accident Attorneys in New York City, We see may different causes, but ladder accidents are significant. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission there are over 164,000 visits to emergency rooms annually caused by ladder accidents.  Other sources quotes figures of over 500,000 such visits each year.
In an effort to make everyone aware of the root causes for these many injuries, here is a list of the most frequent reasons ladders cause accidents, in order of  frequency:

–Forgetting the rung position on the ladder while descending;
–Carrying materials while ascending or descending the ladder;
–Climbing without three points of contact on the ladder;
–Choosing the wrong ladder for a task;
–Not securing the ladder base to secure footing;
–Positioning the ladder on unstable surfaces;
–Working outside the ladder footprint;

Please pay careful attention to these cautionary tales of ladder accidents. We have helped many people recover substantial amounts after being injured in construction accidents, but no amount can make up for the loss of life or limb. Ladder Accidents Are Too Common. Don’t Allow yourself to be a victim. If you have been, consult an experienced attorney.


Extension Ladder Accidents in New York

Ladder Accidents on Work/Construction sites

One of the most prevalent types of accidents  in the repair or construction of structures involves the use of ladders.   Aside from the commonly perceived ladder accident where a ladder that is unevenly balanced then falls, or a step on the ladder gives way, there is a far more dangerous and deadly type of accident.  These involve the use of metal, most usually aluminum, ladders. As a Construction Accident Attorney in New York City, we see these injuries way too often.

The National Electrical Safety Code requires a minimum clearance of 18.5 feet from a high voltage power line to the ground.  Home improvement stores sell aluminum or fiberglass (and perhaps wooden) ladders.  The aluminum ladders are generally somewhat less expensive and weigh less than the fiberglass counterpart.   When not extended, these ladders are often as much as twenty (20) feet, and can extend to as much as forty (40) feet.

Several workers are killed each year by electrocution while utilizing aluminum ladders. They saved money on the purchase of the ladder, it was less cumbersome to carry and move, and these “benefits” cost them their lives.  Many more suffer life altering disabilities.

The danger to the worker usually occurs while the ladder is being erected, lowered or moved by the worker.  The worker has to shift his work spot, he moves the extended ladder, a tree may partially hide a power line, the wind is blowing, the aluminum ladder comes into contact with the power line while it is held by the worker–electrocution results!

Certainly in New York State, an employer has a statutory duty to provide safe equipment for their workers.  Can providing aluminum ladders be deemed safe–particularly in areas where overhead high voltage power lines exist?


Can an “Undocumented (“Illegal”) Alien recover for an injury?

Should  an  “undocumented  alien”  bother to bring a lawsuit should  he/she be injured?

It is clear that millions of persons in our American workforce are present in the United States without proper documentation. As any other worker, these individuals are subject to dangers in both the workplace and in pursuit of their everyday lives.

If any person institutes a lawsuit, there are several areas of loss that go into determining the “damages” that resulted from that injury. The major areas are “pain and suffering”, out of pocket expenses such as medical expenses and often, most significantly, loss of income, past and future.

To begin with anyone, documented or not, may bring a lawsuit. The status of an individual in New York is not relevant at all when referring to “pain and suffering” or “out of pocket” expenses. The fact that someone is “undocumented” does not in any way disqualify that person from bringing a lawsuit, whether work related or otherwise.

The difficulty arises with respect to past and future wages and income lost by that person . The argument was presented that if someone is theoretically disqualified from working because they do not have the proper documentation, then how can that person make any claim for wages lost as a result of an accident that prevents them from working.

The question is a valid one. Those arguing against permitting the recovery of lost wages say that to permit recovery would undermine the immigration policies of the United States since it would encourage aliens to continue to enter the United States, even without proper documentation, and enter our workforce.

New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, on Feruary 21, 2006, decided that undocumented aliens COULD NOT BE BARRED from recovering lost wages in a lawsuit. The court said that to do otherwise would only reward employers for hiring undocumented aliens and would actually encourage employers to hire more undocumented aliens.

One big warning: If it can be shown that the injured employee obtained their job through deception and fraud, then that person will not be able to obtain their lost wages. This makes sense because the employer, when hiring the employee, thought the person was “legal” and only hired him/her because of the fraud. There was no intent by the employer to reap a benefit from hiring an undocumented alien.

Whether you are “undocumented” or not, it is very important to contact a competent injury attorney with experience in dealing in these matters, as soon as possible, in order to protect all your rights and interests.

Posted by New York Injury Attorney Steve Orlow


New York City Construction Accident

In recent years, there have been millions of injuries on construction sites throughout the United States. While these can range from a small bruise to a fatality, the numbers are staggering: one in 10 construction workers will be injured on the job this year. That’s more than 400,000 men and women a year, thousands of whom live and work in NYC.

The most common accident is a fall, but burns and cuts are common, as well as injuries to legs, arms, and hands. On average, there are more than 11,000 disabling injuries every single hour of each workday in the US, with many of these occurring on NYC work sites. To protect yourself and your rights, it is vital, then, to have able New York injury attorneys on your accident case.

10 percent of construction workers in NYC get hurt on the job every year. Ironworkers are said to be especially at risk, primarily for burn injuries.

Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: even if you are already receiving workers’ comp benefits, you may still be entitled to more money for your injuries. Often, third parties are partially responsible for accidents caused on a construction site. These third parties could include equipment manufacturers or even coworkers. In any case, the settlement you might receive from such a suit could be exponentially greater than your workers’ comp benefits.