Brooklyn scaffold failure left woman with brain damage
One moment on June 30, 2019, a 32 Brooklyn woman was celebrating a promotion in the outdoor courtyard of Mission Dolores, a now-closed bar in Gowanus, Brooklyn NYC. The next, the Brooklyn woman was knocked out, lying in a pool of her own blood after a scaffolding on the roof of a building at 243 Fourth Ave., next door to the bar, plunged 12 stories to the ground. In an instant, the young New York woman’s life changed because construction and scaffolding companies ignored basic safety rules and well recognized construction industry safety standards.
Now the Brooklyn woman is fighting to recover from severe brain damage — and Brooklyn prosecutors are weighing criminal charges against the companies involved. The scaffolding wasn’t properly attached to the rooftop from which it fell, say New York City investigators.
The crash fractured the woman's skull, and caused her brain bleeds and seizures, hospital records show. Two years later, she still deals with seizures, dizziness and headaches and has trouble focusing.
Our NYC construction accident lawyers know that unsafe scaffolding and improperly secured scaffolding has been responsible for countless injuries to New York construction workers. While construction workers often suffer injuries and even fatalities because of unsafe construction practices, this recent tragedy is gaining more attention because someone who was not involved at all in the construction project was seriously injured. This pedestrian's injury is helping to shine a light on the construction industry that often cuts corners on safety and little attention is generated when the victim is an undocumented worker. A recently filed lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court blames Vadem Brodsky, who ran 243 Development LLC., the building owner; the scaffolding company, Silvercup Scaffolding; and the contractors working on the building, Werize Inc., Master Roofing & Siding Cons., Inc. and C&L Stucco Corp., among others. The New York City Department of Buildings inspectors say the construction companies were not up to code and committed a series of violations. Our New York City construction accident lawyers know all too well, how seriously someone can be injured when safe construction practices are not followed. In other words, since proper construction practices prevent these types of accidents from happening, they should not happen, in the first place.
The contractor was hit with a violation for failure to safeguard public property, with the DOB saying that the scaffolding collapsed because it was not tied back to anything. Silvercup Scaffolding was similarly charged by DOB with leaving the scaffolding “improperly secured,” according to the inspector.
Brodsky, who was the site safety coordinator, was charged with failing to perform his duties. He could not be reached for comment.
The recently filed lawsuit in Manhattan alleged that no one had checked the scaffolding on the roof of the building for at least ten days leading up to the collapse because the building’s elevator was out of service. However, it is also probable that the scaffolding was not installed and secured properly in the first place.
The Scaffold Law is a New York State law that holds employers and property owners fully liable when an employee becomes injured due to a gravity-related fall while working at high elevations without proper safety equipment. The law was enacted in 19th century and is contained in New York State Labor Law § 240/241.
Critics and politicians have blamed the law for driving up public construction costs in New York State. New York State is the only state that imposes an absolute liability penalty in gravity-related injury cases (Illinois repealed their similar law in 1995). Scaffolding regulations are nothing to take lightly. In the construction industry, scaffolding accidents are certainly among the most common. It should also be noted that improper scaffolding is the #3 overall most cited violation. Our New York construction accident lawyers support the underlying purpose of New York's Labor Law 240 and 241, which is intended to protect New York's construction workers.