Illegal building work is to blame in a Brooklyn building façade collapse that left a man with a fractured skull. On Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at approximately 3:00 p.m., Oumar Ba was walking by a Crown Heights grocery store when video surveillance captured debris and bricks falling on top of the 39-year-old father of two, leaving him unconscious. Bystanders who witnessed the incident, which occurred at 1412 St. John’s Place near Utica Ave., rushed to help. Ba was taken to Kings County Hospital where he was listed in serious but stable condition, with a fracture to his skull and injuries to his ribs and shoulder.
This was a harrowing incident, and we wish the victim a full and speedy recovery.
According to Department of Buildings (DOB) inspectors, work on the walls was being done without the legally required permits. The owner of the building was issued violations for failure to maintain the building and illegal work. New York City’s Local Law 11, established 40 years ago, requires that all buildings taller than six stories undergo façade inspections every five years by a licensed engineer or architect. The building that collapsed is said to be up to a century old, with much of the original design still intact. Given the age of the building, it is not uncommon for an incident like this to occur, but it could have been avoided with the proper permits and inspections. Many New York City buildings are flagged for not putting the proper protections in place to shield pedestrians in the event of falling debris.
In the last month alone, we have seen three building collapses in New York City. On July 1, 2020, Jacinto Salazar was injured when a three-story vacant building collapsed on him in Carroll Gardens. On July 8, 2020, a man was injured in a partial building collapse in Murray Hill. And just last week on July 16, 2020, a piece of another Murray Hill building façade fell, striking scaffolding below and causing it to collapse. Tragically, this accident killed 59-year-old worker Mario Salas Vittorio, and injured three other workers.
Building collapses pose a major risk to many innocent people; they can cause injuries or even death. It is the responsibility of the owner to be aware of all the dangers on their property, and properly maintain the building to ensure its safety. When they fail to do so, they put pedestrians like Mr. Ba and others at risk.
The personal injury lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are here to help you. If you have been injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence it may be possible to file a premises liability lawsuit. We have obtained many notable results in premises liability and building collapse cases. Top results include:
- $5,850,000 settlement for a woman who required multiple spinal surgeries after her apartment ceiling collapsed onto her
- $4,995,000 settlement for a construction worker who had to undergo multiple surgeries after the floor he was standing on collapsed, causing him to fall 20 feet
- $4,475,000 settlement in a wrongful death case for the children of a worker who died after the floor at his work site collapsed under him