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Angel Ezpinoza Killed by Falling Scaffolding in Morningside Heights

Staten Island construction worker Angel Ezpinoza was tragically killed on Thursday afternoon, June 12th when a piece of scaffolding fell and struck him in the head. Ezpinoza, 28, suffered severe head trauma and was rushed to Mount Sinai St. Luke's hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to the New York Daily News, the beam fell while scaffolding was being dismantled by two co-workers as Ezpinoza worked on the landing below. The workers were employed by Pratt Construction and Renovation Inc., a Brooklyn-based company, and were there to perform renovation work on the building's exterior. 

The incident occurred at the International House on Riverside Drive near W. 122nd Street. Although this 13-story building serves as a dormitory for international students from Columbia University and other universities, it is independently owned and operated.

Investigators are already examining the forensic evidence to determine how and why this accident happened. They will be looking for answers about what steps the contractors at the site took to try and prevent equipment and debris from falling and striking workers and civilians below. More should have been done to prevent this senseless and very sad death.

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Ezpinoza in the wake of this tragedy.

Sadly, deaths resulting from falling object accidents are far too common. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,450 on-the-job fatalities classified as "Struck by Falling Object or Equipment." Furthermore, "Struck by Object" is the second-most common cause of death for construction workers, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's "Fatal Four."

In the wake of a falling object accident, it's important to understand which laws and safety regulations may have been broken. In some instances, a case could be made if inadequate safety measures were present on the job site, such as:

  • The failure to safely secure items that could be dangerous if they fell
  • Equipment is mishandled by an employee who did not receive the proper training
  • Items were left on the scaffold overnight, creating a falling object hazard
  • The maximum load of the scaffold was disregarded

A number of labor laws guarantee worker safety on New York construction sites, and if any of those were broken, the victim or their survivors may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit as well as receive workers compensation benefits.

The falling object attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy have dedicated their careers not just to fighting for the rights of injured workers, but also to dealing sensitively and professionally with the families of victims who have lost their lives in an on-the-job tragedy.

While we cannot undo the emotional trauma caused by serious or even fatal construction accidents, we have made it our mission to aggressively fight on the behalf of our clients for every dollar they are entitled to. We've litigated wrongful death construction accident cases as well as falling object lawsuits. Select results include:

  • $7,300,000 settlement for a construction worker who lost his arm in a falling object accident
  • $7,000,000 settlement for a 25-year-old carpenter who was seriously injured while he and his co-workers were dismantling scaffolding
  • $4,475,000 settlement for the family of a 33-year-old union foreman who was killed in a floor collapse
  • $3,750,000 settlement for a worker who suffered multiple fractures in his left leg when a beam fell on him
  • $2,250,000 recovery for the spouse of a worker killed in a tragic elevator accident

Learn more about your rights under New York Labor Law by calling us at 212-736-5300.

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