Lever & Ecker, PLLC October 13, 2016 Construction Accidents
In addition to all of the other safety issues being addressed by the Department of Buildings (DOB), the administration may now need to look into the work being done by Special Inspectors throughout the city on construction sites.
The DOB announced that they have pulled the license of an engineer who was hired to look over the job site of a building that was under construction in 2011. The building collapsed, killing one worker and injuring four others.
Whenever someone dies at work, the DOB performs their own inspection to determine what went wrong. What they found was shocking.
At the site of the building collapse, the administration found that incorrectly poured concrete and an unstable steel structure caused the accident. Both of these structural mistakes that should have been corrected – if the inspector had done his job. The inspection went deeper, looking into other locations that he had been hired to oversee.
It was determined that the engineer had not actually showed up during crucial installation and testing times, not just at the site of the collapse but at numerous other sites. He also could not provide the DOB with proof that he had done inspections he should have. Photographs of previous job sites with clearly unsafe conditions were found, with only pure luck leaving workers unscathed.
Based on the evidence, the engineer’s case was handed over to state officials for additional disciplinary action.
It’s no secret that New York’s construction workers are employed in one of the most dangerous industries in the country. This fact has been made even more obvious with the surge in construction accidents over the last two years. Both the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the DOB has been working together to find ways to increase safety on construction sites, including increasing the number of stop-work orders being issued, performing additional surprise inspections, and the use of Special Inspectors throughout the building process to ensure safety procedures are being followed.
A Special Inspector is a woman or man who is registered with the Department of Buildings. These individuals may work alone or for an agency that is a registred Special Inspection Agency.
Each inspector is qualified to overlook certain types of construction, such as:
There are a total of three classes of special inspection – Class 1, 2, and 3. The definitions of each class clarify the type of work they will be expected to perform.
Not only are inspectors supposed to be licensed and registered, they must also provide proof of insurance to the DOB in order to qualify. This insurance protects the contractors and workers who are on the job sites that the inspector is instructed to look over.
In some cases, the insurance policy that is obtained by the inspector will provide compensation for the property and physical losses sustained from a mistake or failure on their part. However, as is often the case, insurance adjusters are trained to pay out as little as possible in claims. This means that they look for ways to reduce the amount give or deny a claim outright. In addition to this disturbing fact, insurance policies only cover a certain amount of money. Once the limits of the policy have been reached, the company stops providing coverage.
In cases where insurance isn’t available or simply isn’t enough to cover the losses sustained by a victim, a construction accident lawsuit is typically filed. A lawsuit serves several purposes. It allows the victim to pursue justice and it also gives them the opportunity to present their case and get the compensation they need.
Compensation may fully cover the cost of both past and future medical expenses, lost income, and physical pain and suffering if the victim is scarred, disfigured, or has constant pain.
The victim isn’t the only party that is capable of pursuing legal action – if the accident results in a death, the loved ones of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit.