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Death of construction worker may create personal injury claim

As New York City basks in the light of a financially healthy construction market, the cries for safety are increasing at an equal pace. The recent death of a 43-year-old construction worker at a Brooklyn hotel site has kept the issue viable for the building trades and construction councils to apply increasing pressure for enforcement of the city's safety standards. The worker was reportedly struck in the head when part of a pile drilling machine flew off.

The President of the Building and Construction Trades Council lamented the worker's death and pointed blame at irresponsible developers who employ non compliant contractors. He urged the city and the real estate industry to make safety on construction sites a "top priority" to prevent accidents from occurring. The hotel in Brooklyn is owned by GFI Hospitality and the contractor is Broadway Construction.

The safety standards are supposed to be universally applied regardless of whether a site is union or non-union. The problem lies, however, more with the non-union sites, where compliance is harder to enforce. The hotel site apparently is non-union.

When construction accidents do occur, the injured workers, or the families of deceased workers, may be able to assert a tort claim for personal injury or wrongful death damages against one or more entities on the work site. While it is true that workers' compensation covers the medical expenses and partial lost wages of a construction worker who is hurt or killed on the job, the complex nature of the construction industry often provides a legal opening for the collection of damages over and above workers' compensation coverage. The best way to determine whether a claim exists and what options are available is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with the construction industry's practices and rules in New York City.

Source: rew-online.com, "Latest worker death prompts fresh safety call", Linda Barr, Oct. 24, 2016

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