A building collapse is a frightening risk that construction workers face. If a building collapses due to an explosion, structural defect or other reasons, workers caught in the accident can suffer permanent, disabling injuries or death.
New York law provides important protections for these workers and their families. The law imposes a duty on construction site owners, contractors and their agents to follow regulations that are aimed at preventing building collapses. It also gives workers and their families the right to recover if an injury or death is caused by a failure to live up to this duty.
If you have been injured or lost a family member in a building collapse, contact Powers & Santola, LLP. Our construction accident lawyers represent victims in Albany, Syracuse and throughout New York. We can provide a free consultation.
Why Do Building Collapses Occur on Construction Sites?
Buildings can collapse due to age and deterioration. They may also collapse while under construction. There is a range of contributing factors that could lead to this very dangerous situation, including:
- Poor design – The plans drawn up by an architect or engineer may have been based on incorrect calculations or simply bad judgment.
- Flawed materials – The choice of steel, wood, concrete and materials used in construction plays a key role in a building’s structural integrity (or lack thereof).
- Poor execution – A building collapse may occur if a building is not constructed as it was drawn up or is built using different materials than those that were initially selected (for instance, a contractor uses cheaper materials to save money).
- Bad foundation – Even a perfectly designed and constructed facility can collapse if the foundation is not stable.
- Contact with equipment – An accident involving a crane or other piece of heavy machinery used on a construction site can trigger a building collapse.
- Fires or explosions – Highly volatile, combustible materials can be negligently handled at construction sites and cause accidents that bring a building down.
An investigation into a building collapse requires sifting through design and engineering plans, invoices, contracts, physical evidence and witness statements as well as consultation with experts. A law firm must have the skill and resources to handle such an investigation.
Who Could Be Injured in a Building Collapse?
The most likely persons to be seriously injured or killed in a building collapse are the construction workers present on the site.
Workers may have no warning that a collapse could occur. They may have been provided with no safety gear that could possibly protect them from a fall or from being struck by steel, concrete or other debris. If not killed, a worker may suffer permanent brain damage, loss of limb, severe internal organ damage or paralysis.
Passersby are also at risk in a building collapse and could be severely injured or killed simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Building Collapse?
New York law is very clear about liability for construction accidents. Property owners, general contractors and their agents can be held accountable when preventable accidents occur that are the result of violations of labor laws, building codes or other state, federal or municipal regulations. In some cases, architects and engineers can be liable if their negligence caused a collapse. The manufacturers of defective materials can also be held accountable.
Contact a New York Building Collapse Attorney
The lawyers and staff of Powers & Santola, LLP, have years of experience in recovering compensation for the injured in Albany, Syracuse and elsewhere in New York State. We focus specifically on protecting the rights of construction workers who were injured on the job.
Construction accident attorney Daniel R. Santola is widely recognized as the author of many published legal articles and a textbook on New York State construction accident law. He can use his knowledge in this area of the law to review your case and pursue compensation you deserve. To learn more, simply contact us today by phone or through our online form.