January 27, 2013—Astoria, New York–A construction accident at the site of a new apartment building in Queens resulted in the death of a worker who plunged 15 feet into a basement, striking his head on a steel girder, according to witnesses and news reports from the NY Daily News.
Unsafe Conditions May Have Been Present
The 42-year-old unnamed employee was working at the Broadway site when he fell through a hole in the first floor. He plunged fifteen feet into a basement area and was struck by a steel girder. He was rushed to the hospital but died of his injuries. Workers who were interviewed about the accident refused to give their names but confirmed the circumstances of the man’s death.
Work at the site was called to a halt with the Department of Buildings investigated. The general contractor employing the worker, Centex Builders, has not commented on the death or investigation.
This is not the first problem for this particular work site. In 2012, neighbors complained that the construction was damaging their buildings’ foundations. However, work has continued despite the complaints until this accident forced the site to close pending investigations into their safety procedures and other issues.
This is the second serious construction accident to occur in the city in two days. Just the day before the worker fell to his death, another construction employee in College Point, who was working at the site of the proposed New York Police Department Academy, fell 12 feet down an elevator shaft and sustained serious injuries.
Construction Accidents Account for Large Number of Worker Injuries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction accidents account for 16 percent of all worker fatalities for the year 2011. The events that led to these fatalities include:
- Homicides, one percent
- Roadway incidents, 12 percent
- Falls, 35 percent
- Struck by object, 10 percent
The remainder of these fatal accidents can be attributed to miscellaneous or unique causes.
Worker’s Compensation or Personal Injury?
One of the first questions that most victims injured in construction accidents have is whether they should claim worker’s compensation or file a personal injury claim. The answer to that question depends on the type of accident and the circumstances under which the accident occurred.
In general, worker’s compensation is designed to pay medical bills and payments to a worker who is injured in a true “accident” on the job. This means that the employer was not necessarily negligent in causing the situation that led to the injury. On the other hand, if an employee is injured because of a deliberate or negligent action on the part of the employer, the employee may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover all the damages to which he or she is entitled.
The decision to file a worker’s compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit is not one to be taken lightly. If you have been injured on the job, it is very important that you talk to a personal injury attorney before settling your claim.