NYC Falling Object Accident Lawyers
Shockingly, there were 1,200 occupational fatalities classified as “struck by falling object or equipment” from 2017-2021, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means at least one American worker was killed every other day because of a falling object; tragically, many of these senseless incidents could have been prevented had employers, contractors, and other parties responsible for worker safety adhered to proper safety regulations. Thankfully not every falling object case results in a fatality, still, serious injuries often occur.
Additionally, when objects fall in public spaces, such as retail stores, sidewalks, and buildings undergoing renovation, workers are not the only ones affected – pedestrians, shoppers and onlookers can also be struck or even killed.
New York City Falling Object Case Example
New York City-based law firm, Block O’Toole & Murphy, has represented many clients who have been struck by falling objects. In one particular case, Agron Halili was a superintendent at luxury Manhattan high rise going about his duties when a brick fell from the highest floor in his building and struck him in the face and head. Workers for Phoenix Building Restorers, Inc were performing work known as “pointing” on the façade of the building near the rooftop.
Pointing is a process whereby old brick and mortar is replaced with new brick and cement to hold the bricks in place. Companies performing this type of work need to take care to avoid objects dropping and falling on people and property below the work site. Contractors often install netting below the floor where work is being performed to catch falling objects.
The law also requires that when building materials such as bricks are being hoisted up to elevations where work is being performed, care is taken to make sure that the load is safely lifted to prevent injuries to pedestrians and workers below.
As a result of the contractor’s failure to install sufficient netting, Mr. Halili sustained fractures to his face, along with neck injuries and back injuries. A brick hit his face and head from ten stories above. Mr. Halili was initially seen in the office of a local medical doctor and then transported to the hospital. A friend recommended that he meet with Daniel O’Toole, an attorney at Block O’Toole & Murphy. It was in his hospital bed with his mouth wired shut that Mr. Halili’s journey with Daniel O’Toole began.
Being unexpectedly hurt in an accident is not only a physical shock but it is also an emotional and economic shock as well. Having practiced law in New York since 1992, Mr. O’Toole was able to calm his client with knowledge and expertise in New York workers’ laws and construction law.
Mr. O’Toole guided his client through the workers’ compensation process, ensuring that his medical bills were paid and that his lost wages were covered during the years of disability that followed the accident. A lawsuit was filed against the general contractor who was overseeing the façade work. Additionally, the subcontractor performing the pointing work, Phoenix Building Restorer, Inc., was sued as well.
The case was heavily defended by the defense who argued that Mr. Halili, as superintendent of the building, was not involved in the work being performed and therefore was not a covered person under Labor Law 240(1). Mr. O’Toole successfully argued that his client was a covered person entitled to protection under Labor Law 240(1). This law, sometimes known as the “Scaffold Law” ensures that workers such as Mr. Halili are protected from falling objects. In this case, Mr. O’Toole argued that the subcontractor Phoenix Building Restorer, Inc. failed to provide netting to catch failing materials and prevent people such as Mr. Halili from being harmed.
Ultimately the lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy were able to establish liability against the defendants. The insurance companies for the defense did not offer a fair amount of money, even after liability was established. The case then proceeded to a three-week trial in Brooklyn Supreme Court before Judge Leon Ruchelsman where Mr. O’Toole and the firm’s founding partner, Jeffrey Block, obtained a verdict in excess of $3,000,000 for Mr. Halili. The case settled thereafter, and Mr. Halili was able to focus on his recovery and his family. In the years since this accident, Mr. Halili has healed and has been able to resume a happy and successful life. He and Mr. O’Toole remain good friends.
Injuries from Falling Objects
The risk of injury associated with a falling object is obvious, but that actual forces imparted by such objects needs to be explained to insurance companies and juries if a falling object case is not settled. Due to gravity, when an object drops from above, it gains nearly 22mph every second. That’s why when small, lighter objects fall, such as nails, tools or debris, they pose serious dangers to people below. When larger objects fall, such as panes of glass, planks of wood or even heavy machinery, the results can be even more catastrophic. Serious injuries that can result from being struck by objects include:
- Brain injuries
- Face, head and neck injuries
- Back and spinal injuries
- Paralysis (total or partial)
- Fractured, broken or shattered bones
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Nerve damage
Falling object incidents are serious. If you’ve been harmed by debris or other objects that fell from above, you may be able to recover financial compensation against the negligent party. A personal injury attorney skilled in litigating falling object lawsuits can investigate the incident and help juries and insurance companies understand how a falling object injury has impacted your life.
Our team of accident lawyers has a long history of successfully recovering compensation for clients in falling object cases. Notable results include:
- $110,174,972 jury verdict for a cyclist who was injured by a railroad tie that fell from subway tracks above
- $15,000,000 settlement for the surviving wife and children of a worker who was crushed by a 28,450-pound commercial air chiller when the chains holding it broke
- $7,300,000 settlement for a construction worker in Brooklyn who had to have his right arm amputated after a column fell on him during an attempted steel demolition
- $7,000,000 settlement for a carpenter struck in the face by a 5 pound metal clamp that fell from a pipe at a construction site in Astoria, Queens
- $5,000,000 settlement for Local 282 Teamster worker who was hit by a falling plank in the course of his work
- $3,750,000 settlement after a steel beam fell on a Bronx construction worker and fractured his left leg in multiple places
- $3,500,000 settlement for a pedestrian who was struck by a piece of falling debris that fell from an apartment building on Park Avenue
- $3,500,000 settlement after a union carpenter was struck in the head by a metal beam, causing ongoing headaches and depression
- $3,411,000 verdict for a building superintendent who was struck by a falling object on the job
- $3,300,000 settlement for a laborer whose left foot and ankle were broken after his hoist strap gave way, dropping debris down on him
- $3,075,000 verdict for a plumber who was injured in Queens when an excavator mistakenly dropped a load of gravel on him
- $2,150,000 settlement for a carpenter in Manhattan who was struck in the face by a twelve-foot wooden plank, sending him tumbling down a flight of stairs
- $1,500,000 settlement for a worker who was injured in Tribeca when a metal beam fell on him and fractured his right tibia
- $1,475,000 settlement for a delivery man in Brooklyn who was injured by falling debris from an adjacent building
- $1,325,000 settlement for a worker who was injured in Sag Harbor by a falling piece of glass that had not been properly secured
- $1,100,000 settlement for an ironworker who lost part of his finger after steel grating fell on him at a Bronx construction site
OSHA Regulations to Prevent Falling Object Injuries
Given the disturbing number of falling object injuries that occur on construction sites in particular, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has guidelines to prevent falling object injuries to workers. They include:
- Wear hardhats whenever overhead or other dangerous work is being performed
- Properly secure tools and machines when not in use
- Stack materials carefully and securely to prevent them from falling or sliding
- Use OSHA-compliant toe boards or guardrails on scaffolds
- Wear eye or face protection when working with tools or machines that produce flying particles
- Clearly designate work zones so both workers and pedestrians can easily see them
- Inspect cranes daily at the start of each work shift
- Never clean clothing with compressed air
Falling Object Injury Lawsuits: What Is Involved
New York laws require owners, contractors and employers to take the necessary steps to create a safe environment for workers, pedestrians, and other passersby; an important facet of this is taking appropriate measures to prevent falling object injuries. Particularly at construction sites where laborers are in greater danger of being struck by objects that fall from above, there are a number of Labor Laws that protect workers and hold third parties liable if they were negligent in ensuring on-the-job safety. In a falling object incident, a skilled lawyer will investigate where safety laws and regulations were not followed. A case may be made if injuries were caused by inadequate safety measures such as:
- Faulty safety protection (cracked hardhats, frayed debris net, etc.)
- Not providing the right safety devices
- A foreman demanded work continue through a rainstorm, causing an accident
- Equipment is mishandled by an employee who was not adequately trained
- A crane load is dropped after being improperly rigged
- An object falls from a scaffold which didn’t have appropriate toe guards or handrails
Consult a Falling Object Injury Lawyer Today
Preventable accidents are all too common on worksites where safety regulations are disregarded in an effort to cut corners and save time. If you were injured by a falling object on a construction site or other space, our attorneys are here to help. Simply fill out our FREE case evaluation form or call 212-736-5300. An experienced accident lawyer will evaluate your claim at no cost to you and determine whether you are eligible to claim damages to help cover:
- Wrongful death of a loved one
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Diminished future earning potential
- Compensation for your pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
We represent all accident victims in New York State, including the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, Yonkers, New Rochelle, and upstate New York.