- August 5, 2016
A New Yorker recently was struck on the head and seriously injured by a piece of plywood that came loose at a Midtown NYC construction site. According to a news report, the man was minding his own business, waiting for a walk signal at Fifth Avenue and E. 30th Street.
Serious construction accidents involving innocent bystanders are more common than one might think. According to a New York Times story, a young woman was killed in March 2015, as she walked down the street near her home on a windy day and was struck by plywood fencing blown from a nearby construction site.
Construction Companies Owe a Duty to the Public
Those in control of the construction site – the landowner, the general contractor and subcontractors – are charged with a duty to take reasonable care that persons nearby are not injured. While they are required to maintain a reasonably safe work environment for their workers, they owe an even greater degree of care to bystanders. They must take great care to avoid injuries caused by, among other things:
- Falling debris: Scaffolding must be properly erected. Security fencing must be constructed in such a fashion so as not to harm those walking nearby. Tools and other equipment must be secured so that they do not pose a hazard to passersby.
- Hazardous materials: Care must be taken in the handling of chemicals used in the construction process. Measures must be followed to prevent injury from dust and silica associated with concrete work and sandblasting.
- Vehicular movement: Contractors and others must exercise considerable care with regard to the movement of bulldozers, backhoes, concrete trucks, dump trucks, and other vehicles at the work site.
- Electrical wiring: Electricians and general contractors must assure that there are no loose wires or “live” electrical contacts that can cause harm to the public.
OSHA Laws and Regulations Aren’t Just to Protect Workers
OSHA laws and regulations are primarily intended to foster safe work sites. But, they have a secondary purpose as well: To protect others who happen to be near the construction site. Evidence that a construction firm has been cited for OSHA violations can sometimes be used to show an overall negligent pattern of conduct on the part of those in charge of the work site. That evidence can support a finding of liability and, if the violation is sufficiently egregious, it can even form the basis of a claim for punitive damages.
Experienced Legal Counsel is the Key to Recovery for Construction Fatalities
In virtually every instance, recovery for injuries sustained in a bystander accident near a construction site requires skilled, experienced legal assistance, the kind that is provided by the law firm of Stenger, Roberts, Davis & Diamond, LLP. Construction companies and firms that insure them all have teams of attorneys on retainer. If you or a member of your family has been injured near a construction site, you need a strong team of your own. The law firm of Stenger, Roberts, Davis & Diamond, LLP not only has the skill, but the experience and resources to help you recover the damages that you may deserve. One of the most highly respected law firms in Hudson Valley, we have offices in Poughkeepsie and Wappingers Falls. If you have a legal need, we have a solution. As one of the largest firms in Dutchess County, we have the power to bring substantial resources to your case, no matter how complex the issues. Call us at (866) 290-6929 or complete our online form.