New York City Construction Injury Claim Attorneys

Scaffolding Collapse Update: Kreindler attorneys are closely following yesterday's scaffolding collapse tragedy in Manhattan.

Premises liability accidents can often be prevented. Unfortunately, in recent building catastrophes, particularly in New York City, records often show that a building owner has been previously cited for "failure to maintain exterior building facade."

Kreindler has more than 50 years of experience handling complex construction and premises liability claims.

Kreindler attorney Andrew "Duke" Maloney currently represents the surviving family of a Long Island, NY father of 3 who was killed in NYC in 2018 by a falling piece of a corroded fire escape which hit him in the head while he was walking on a SoHo sidewalk. In that case, the rotting fire escape had been painted over by the building owner and its contractors in a cost saving manner to hide the prevalent rusting metal and decay. The building owner was cited for violations.

In another accident last year in midtown Manhattan, both the building owner and the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) knew for many months that pieces of the building’s façade were falling apart and creating a dangerous condition to anyone walking below. The City correctly issued a violation to the owner, and a paltry fine, but the owner failed to act and the City failed to follow up. Days, weeks, and months went by with no corrective work being performed.  Worse still, no scaffold or sidewalk shed was installed to protect pedestrians until the danger was resolved.  A piece of the façade fell to the sidewalk and killed a woman who was exiting a retail store.

Scaffolding in Midtown Manhattan, New York City
Scaffolding in Midtown Manhattan, New York City

Kreindler attorney and former President of American Association for Justice (AAJ) Anthony Tarricone is prosecuting a similar building collapse case in Boston, MA in which a crumbling piece of building facade fell upon a young pedestrian from New York while she vacationed in Boston in late 2018.  The case, The Common Ground Façade Collapse, has many similarities to last year's midtown Manhattan tragedy in which an eminent New York city architect was killed by falling concrete.

The Boston case is even the same part of building - the parapet. It overhangs a public sidewalk, is a public nuisance and the building was in deadly condition at the time of the incident.
Anthony Tarricone, Kreindler Partner

Mr. Tarricone and Senior Kreindler Counsel Joe Musacchio are also currently prosecuting a construction site case in which a welder was seriously injured while working in a trench as part of a major construction project, the Utility Corridor and Roadway Relocation (UCRR) project at the University of Massachusetts.

Building Facade Liability - Potential Causes

Structural engineers cite deterioration over the years for weakening facades of old buildings. The combination of trapped moisture and expansion from freeze-thaw cycles further decay building facades which can then trigger debris to fall.

In addition to materials deteriorating on buildings, other contributing factors to falling debris tragedies include strong winds and lack of inspections.

Lack of Mandatory Inspections

One of the engineers and author of the Allston Common Ground collapse report, Bob Freel, told The Boston Globe that he believes low-rise buildings should be inspected regularly to avoid these types of accidents. In addition, Michael Peterman, an architect and co-chair of the international materials organization ASTM (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials) facade inspection task group, doesn’t believe there are any cities that currently require facade inspections for low-rise buildings.  In New York City, Local Law 11 requires buildings over 6 stories high to have their façade and fire escapes inspected only once every five years.  As the building ages however, deterioration accelerates and they should be inspected at shorter time intervals because failure can occur within a year or two after the last inspection for older buildings.

Additional unexpected Facade Collapses

As time goes on and buildings age, facade collapses are becoming more common. The front of a 115-year-old building toppled over in downtown Russellville, Alabama, barely missing the building owner and a small child. In August 2018, bricks from the front wall of an art gallery in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood crumbled onto the sidewalk and into the street causing traffic to be rerouted. And tragically, in 2015, a 2-year-old girl died after she and her grandmother were crushed beneath stone and debris when an eighth-floor window ledge fell from a Manhattan building.

Handling a Wide Range of Workplace Injury Claims

It's not just pedestrians who are in danger.  Contractors and workers fixing the dangerous conditions on the exterior and interior of buildings risk injury and death from falling debris or falls from scaffolds or roofs. Kreindler has decades of experience helping injured workers and pedestrians maximize their sources of financial recovery. We explore all possible sources of responsibilty including pursuing third-party civil lawsuits if a party outside of the employer, for example the building owner or general contractor, can be held responsible for causing the accident.

Kriendler attorneys are experienced with:

Our legal team consults industry-leading experts including engineers, OSHA experts and other safety experts to understand if industry regulations were overlooked putting you and your coworkers at great risk. As part of our investigative efforts, we will interview anyone who witnessed the workplace accident to further substantiate the cause of the accident. All of our workplace accident claims are prepared with enough evidence to prove fault in trial. Insurance adjusters often make large settlement offers for any medical-related expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering to avoid going up against us in trial.

Contact a Skilled Workplace Accident Lawyer

At Kreindler, we are fully aware that third-party workplace injury claims need to be handled in close conjunction with workers' compensation claims. An error could greatly affect the overall amount of compensation an injured worker could secure. We know the complex interplay between these areas of the law and we know how to help you secure the compensation from responsible third parties to which you are entitled. Please contact us for a free consultation.