Construction workers involved in the demolition or renovation of older buildings face unique work hazards that are not faced by workers who are construction a new building. One of the principal risks is the collapse of roofs, walls and floors that have stood for many years without any sort of inspection or maintenance. The recent collapse of walls and a portion of a ceiling on a demolition/renovation site in Prospect Lefferts Gardens in Brooklyn demonstrate the nature of these risks.
The incident occurred on Friday, July 30, 2021 during the mid-afternoon. The incident was first reported at about 2:00 p.m., shortly after the collapse occurred. Two workers were stationed on the second floor of the existing building. The incident began when a brick wall collapsed. The wall’s collapse was followed by the roof caving in.
According to building permits issued for the project, the owners of the project planned to add three stories to the original two-story building. A full stop work order has been issued for the project.
Injuries to the workers
The two workers were trapped for more than one hour as co-workers and emergency responders worked to pull them from the rubble. A deputy assistant New York fire chief said that emergency medical personnel entered the rubble to stabilize the workers’ medical conditions. The EMTs administered IV blood transfusions and assessed the workers’ current medical condition.
After being pulled from the building debris, the two men were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. Both were reported to have suffered serious injuries, but their conditions had stabilized in the hospital.
Liability for accident
Sorting out liability in a case such as this one can be complex. Both men are presumably entitled to workers’ compensation from their employers, but the identity of the employers has not yet been determined. If the collapse and resulting injuries were caused by the negligence of another party, perhaps a sub-contractor assisting in the demolition work, the injured men would have what are called “third-party claims” against such a party. Anyone who has suffered an injury or lost a loved one under similar circumstances may wish to consult an attorney who is experienced in handling construction accident cases for advice.