Construction jobs are one of the most dangerous careers in the country, as the risk of suffering a life-threatening injury at work is higher than in most industries. And within the construction industry, building collapses are one of the most terrifying, deadly types of incidents.
If you’ve been injured in a building collapse, you’re likely facing long weeks of painful recovery and unable to return to work. New York construction workers have many rights after injury, including having their medical care covered by workers compensation and filing a lawsuit for damages after building collapse injuries.
A New York building collapse attorney from The Weinstein Law Group can explain your legal options and advocate for you. Contact us today at (212) 741-3800 for a free consultation with a New York construction accident lawyer.
What should I do after being injured in a building collapse on the job?
Call for immediate medical assistance, especially if you are trapped. Once your condition stabilizes, you can consider the legal implications of your situation.
There are many things to remember in the days following the building collapse in New York City to protect your health and ensure that your New York building collapse lawyer has the best chance of building a solid case for compensation for you.
Hold on to all medical records
Your medical records are necessary evidence in both a workers’ comp claim and a construction accident lawsuit. Everything from your initial diagnosis to lab tests and scans links your injuries to the collapse and details their extent.
Report the accident as soon as possible
The sooner you report the accident, the better. If you delay reporting, vital evidence could be lost, or witness accounts be less specific.
Collect evidence yourself
Take photos or a video of the accident scene. These may be the only photos taken immediately after the collapse! You can also take photos of your injuries. Jot down notes about what happened immediately before the building collapsed, including who was around or what you saw and heard.
Talk to a lawyer
An NYC building collapse is a serious issue, and the responsible parties may wish to draw as little attention to the incident as possible. If the construction company owner or building owner was negligent, they have a vested interest in protecting their professional reputations. Your lawyer works for you and your interests and can ensure your needs and losses aren’t ignored after the crash.
Keep a journal
Note the effect your injuries have on you each day, from how well you can move independently to the level of pain and suffering you feel. Your daily “pain log” is part of the evidence your New York building collapse attorney uses to ask for compensation for pain and suffering and can demonstrate that the building collapse injuries have had a profoundly negative effect on your quality of life.
How can a New York building collapse attorney help me?
Whether workers’ compensation covers your injuries or you are eligible to file a lawsuit for damages, a lawyer can protect your rights and represent your interests. New York law permits injured construction workers to sue certain third parties, like building site owners, general contractors, and developers whose negligence led to the building collapse or unsafe working area.
Specifically, your New York City building collapse lawyer may handle the following.
Complete all paperwork
Reporting the accident and filing a worker’s comp claim or a lawsuit can be confusing for many people. One mistake on a filing can mean your claim is delayed or a court motion denied.
Verify work permits for the building site. We have the knowledge and resources to verify whether the building’s work is properly permitted.
Meet all deadlines
Some legal deadlines and those for workers’ comp are short. Your lawyer ensures deadlines are met and makes the injury claim process as smooth as possible for you.
Accurately value your case
You may have considerable medical bills, such as for surgery or rehabilitative therapy. While you’re recovering, you could be out of work with no income. The party responsible for the New York building collapse should cover all costs associated with your injuries, including medical care, pain and suffering, and unearned wages from the time you missed work.
Investigate the building collapse
Your lawyer gathers evidence to determine the cause of the collapse and identify all parties that shared responsibility for it. They also analyze physical evidence, interview witnesses, review any job site security camera footage, and delve into possible safety violations to identify all parties liable for the building collapse in NYC.
Offer legal guidance and support
You will be faced with many choices throughout the claims process. Your lawyer provides objective legal advice tailored to your situation. They may also advise you whether you may have a better outcome through settlement negotiations or what to expect if you decide to take your case to court.
Navigate the NYC workers’ compensation system
If you are eligible to collect workers’ compensation, you are not required to have an attorney to file for your benefits. However, many injured construction workers may face challenges securing their claim or even having it denied outright. Working with a lawyer can help ensure that there are no delays in receiving benefits or help you file an appeal for a denied claim.
How common are building collapses in NYC?
In April 2023, a parking garage collapsed in lower Manhattan, leaving one person dead and many others injured. This is just the latest in a string of serious building collapses in the city, leading many people to question how frequent building collapses are in NYC. Other recent collapses from the last six years include:
- A 100-year-old building used as a parking garage collapsed at 57 Ann Street, killing one
- The wall of a SoHo demolition site collapsed, killing one worker and injuring two others
- A brick wall fell on a construction worker at Sunset Park, killing one worker and injuring another
- Scaffolding collapsed at the Murray Hill Building, killing one worker and injuring three others
- A commercial gym collapsed at Carroll Gardens, injuring one person
- A commercial façade fell in Manhattan, killing a notable architect
- A construction worker was crushed by building debris in the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx
Catastrophic injuries and chronic pain are common outcomes of a building collapse, and construction workers may not be the only victims. Bystanders or site visitors could also be harmed.
How do construction wall and roof collapses occur?
Support is key to a building’s structural integrity. Most roof or wall collapses happen because the support fails, whether because it’s improperly designed to support the load, there are not enough load-bearing walls and supports, or those load-bearing walls are in the wrong places, or the material has deteriorated to the point to be unsafe.
Determining the reason for a building collapse is the first step your New York building collapse accident attorneys take in investigating the accident. The cause of the building collapse often indicates the party or parties responsible.
Demolition is one of the most dangerous jobs in an industry already fraught with danger. Planned demolition is a precise task, and any errors in placing demolition charges, or using too much or too little explosive could result in a building collapsing instead of in.
If heavy demolition equipment is improperly placed on the upper floors of the building to be demolished, then it could cause the supporting walls to collapse.
Demolition errors could happen because of errors in the initial demolition plan or improperly placed explosives. The liability could start with the contractor and extend to a demolition subcontractor or workers who were not properly trained to complete demolition or violated site safety protocols.
Design or construction errors
Some building designs are fundamentally unsound, so it’s just a matter of time before a partial or full collapse.
A design error could be the fault of the architect or developer. Or, perhaps a developer listed the wrong building materials that were recommended for the job, such as lower-grade steel support than the design needed for safety.
Some construction errors could be deliberate, such as cutting corners with the materials and using lower-quality materials that aren’t strong enough to carry the required load. Or, contractors may use the wrong type of material for the job entirely, deviating from the architect’s recommendations.
Sometimes, faulty building materials may not be the contractor’s fault though. A third-party vendor could send over a poor batch of concrete or steel beams that had fundamental flaws in the metal. Your lawyer may investigate the building materials used to ensure they are up to the NYC building code.
All building materials deteriorate over time, some faster than others. Older buildings may be naturally unsafe and need regular maintenance to address failing integrity.
Or, the foundation of the building may be compromised by changes in the soil, such as extensive erosion or a drought. Some building collapses are from “natural causes” as the building itself shifts or is a victim of tremors, heavy winds, or a hurricane.
What kinds of injuries are common in construction collapse incidents?
A wall, roof, or building collapse can be devastating, resulting in life-changing injuries or even death. Traumatic injuries like these are common in a construction accident collapse:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which can cause permanent brain damage
- Spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, and partial or total paralysis
- Crushing injuries leading to involuntary amputation
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding, which can cause sepsis if not treated immediately
- Broken bones and compound fractures
Many building collapse victims suffer multiple injuries and could be rendered permanently disabled. Or, they may require an extended hospital stay or reconstructive surgery to repair facial damage from flying debris. It’s not uncommon for victims to require long-term care in a skilled nursing facility or intensive physical therapy to regain the ability to walk or move.
Hurt in a building collapse? Call our New York building collapse attorneys today
Have you been hurt in a building collapse? Were you injured on the job and want to know your legal options? You can seek justice after being hurt in a collapse, holding the at-fault party or parties liable, and securing fair compensation for your injuries and other losses. We can help. Contact The Weinstein Law Group today at (212) 741-3800 for a free consultation with a New York City building collapse litigation professional.
Commonly asked questions about construction collapse accidents
We gladly discuss questions specific to your case in your initial free consultation.
Which construction feature presents the greatest collapse hazard?
Truss assemblies pose a significant threat of total collapse if even a small part of the structure lacks integrity or fails. Modern lightweight construction may also pose a serious threat.
If any internal load-bearing elements in a building fail, then the building could collapse. The internal elements fold into each other, pulling the exterior walls in and causing a partial or total collapse.