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August 2017: A Deadly Month For Falls

Sadly, August offered no respite from the string of tragic injuries and deaths that have plagued our city in recent months and years. 

Last month’s high profile accidents had a unifying theme: falls. From elevator falls and construction site falls to falling trees, falls were the common ingredient in many of New York City’s august incidents. 




An Elevator Shaft Fall Claimed A Life

On Friday August 18, 22-year old Jonathan Wieslaw Lupinski of Yonkers died after a 20-foot fall down an elevator shaft in the NoMad condominium building. The site of the accident is a luxury condo tower that is anticipated to be completed sometime next year.

This vividly paints the contrast of the current construction landscape in New York City: construction workers being injured and killed while lucrative projects speed ahead. This particular building has been the subject of several injury complaints since its construction began, including one involving a falling piece of wood that struck a worker in the head. 

As we’ve noted before, a reckoning is well past due. We can no longer place the profits of real estate developers, building owners, and contractors over the health, safety, and lives of construction workers. 

A Worker Was Severely Injured in a Fall From a Roof in Brooklyn Heights 

Antonio Garcia, a 41-year-old laborer, was replacing shingles on a Brooklyn Heights building on August 16 when he fell from the roof and landed on his head. The incident shocked his coworkers and left Mr. Garcia in serious condition at Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. 

Sadly, his coworkers felt the need to make clear that he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. This is because contractors, building owners, and insurance companies often seek to paint the picture of substance abuse or negligence on the part of the injured worker rather than taking responsibility for what happens on their construction sites. 

A Mother and Her Children Were Hurt by a Falling Tree

A stroll through the park with her children quickly turned tragic for Anne Monoky Goldman. While walking through Central Park with a baby strapped to her chest and two youngsters in a stroller, a large American Elm tree fell and struck her in the head. Resulting injuries included her fractured vertebrae, her two-year-old’s fractured skull, and numerous facial injuries. Miraculously, all of them survived despite being nearly crushed by a 75-foot-tall, 3-foot-wide tree. 

All of these incidents in the month of August illustrate the dangers facing construction workers and city residents in New York City. Whether you are working many stories in the air on a new building or going for a walk with your kids, you are often at the mercy of safety precautions being taken by coworkers, contractors, or city officials. 

In the case of the fallen tree, city officials will surely investigate whether periodic safety inspections were conducted and accurately recorded.

As for the construction falls, it is yet another reminder of the willingness of too many property owners, developers, and contractors to play fast-and-loose with the rules. Laborers commonly work on scaffolds, roofs, ladders, and other places that are inherently dangerous. Combining those conditions with a lack of safety-equipment or a rushed construction schedule is often a recipe for injury or worse. 

At Block O’Toole & Murphy we will continue looking out for the wellbeing and legal rights of New Yorkers harmed on the job or in public. If you or someone you know has been hurt in an accident, call us at 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with a proven personal injury attorney.