New York Construction Related Fatalities Are On The Rise By Michael Joseph on December 17, 2023

According to the report, a total of 11 fatalities occurred in the construction industry in 2022 in New York City, marking the highest number in three years. Additionally, recorded injuries rose to 554 last year after plateauing in the previous two years. The report attributes worker falls as the leading cause of injury and death among construction workers in the city.  In 2020, Brooklyn led all the boroughs in the number of fatalities, with six deaths, while Manhattan had the highest number of injuries with 255. New York State and New York City have a higher fatality rate than the national average, indicating the need for better safety measures in the construction industry. Construction deaths accounted for 22% of all worker deaths in New York City and 24% of all worker deaths in New York State, compared to 21% nationwide. These statistics provide an alarming indication of the increased incidence of construction deaths in New York City and State. Non-union job sites pose greater dangers to construction workers. In New York City, 79% of workers who died on private work sites were non-union. In the seven OSHA-investigated sites in the city, 100% of construction workers who died were non-union.  Our NYC construction accident lawyers know that construction companies often take advantage of non-union workers and that non-union companies often cut costs by neglecting worker safety.  This is evidenced by the high rate of latino deaths on construction sites, where a high percentage of workers are undocumented, and are forced to endure unsafe work practices. Latino workers are more likely to die on the job in New York State. While Latinos make up an estimated 10% of New York State's workers, in 2020 about 18% of worker fatalities were Latino. 

It is disheartening to note that falls injured nearly 200 workers and killed nine in 2022. Our NYC construction accident wrongful death lawyers know that the families of these worker must be heart broken, and will inevitably suffer financial hardship.  Worker falls account for almost half of all construction fatalities, and the industry must address this issue urgently. The report also reveals that most fatal falls occur from heights of fewer than six stories. This information should urge construction site managers to create and enforce stricter safety protocols to mitigate such accidents. In addition, it would be insightful to invest in technology that can prevent or detect falls in real-time and minimize or prevent injuries or fatalities.

So when a construction worker dies in a tragic work accident, the family must be wondering, can we sue. The answer is that the next of kin, usually the worker's spouse has the right to sue for any financial loss for themselves and the deceased construction workers children. It is important to note that, any cause of action for wrongful death must be brought in the name of the estate, which means that the spouse needs to be appointed as either the executor or estate representative by the Surrogate's Court. Once the spouse is appointed, then they can seek damages for the financial loss suffered as a result of the death, including the value of the guidance, education and other services that the deceased spouse provided during their lifetime. A cause of action can also be brought for the pre-death pain and suffering of the construction workers. 

New York's Labor Law 240, often referred to as the "ladder law" allows the spouse or executor of a deceased construction worker to sue for violations of the labor law, which requires certain protections for workers working at elevated worksites and protection against items falling onto the construction worker from above. These protections are generally considered to be protection against gravity related events, including workers falling and items falling onto construction workers. These protections include functional ladders, scaffolds, life lines, harnesses, nets, chutes and other protections.

Our NYC construction accident fatality lawyers know that while Labor Law 240 is the most common Labor Law that is relied upon, Labor Law 241(6), requires protections against a wide variety of work place hazards, including everything from same passage ways, bracing, shoring, during excavations, trenches and demolition, as well as protections from being struck by machinery. If there is a violation of Labor Law 241(6), which references New York's Code of Rules and Regulations, also known as the Industrial Code, the family of a deceased construction worker can also sue for violations of section 241(6).  

For decades, our New York City construction accident lawyers have represented both union and non-union workers, as well as the families of construction workers who were killed in construction accidents. Our attorneys know the construction industry and how to prove the case, and obtain the highest possible award or settlement for the families of construction workers that died while working to provide for their families. 

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The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC, has been helping injured victims recover compensation for their injuries for over a decade. Our attorneys are members of several prestigious organizations, including: 

  • New York State Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • New York County Bar Association
  • Westchester County Bar Association

To request your free initial consultation with our team, call our New York City office at (212) 858-0503 or our White Plains office at (914) 574-8330. You can also request a case review online.

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