A man lost his life in the recent collapse of a building under construction in the Bronx and two more were seriously injured. It was a grim reminder that the construction industry has recently become New York City’s deadliest profession. But why?
According to The New York Times, the worker who died was nonunion. The Times indicates that nonunion workers make up 92% of all construction site fatalities in New York.
A big reason is associated with training. Despite the law requiring 40 hours of training for such workers, the city rarely enforces them—and so too do many employers.
In April of this year, CBS reported on a story about deaths on construction sites in the U.S.
The CBS reporter interviewed a bricklayer who expressed a common concern: When contractors try to underbid each other, they need to cut costs somewhere. Too often, sadly, it’s with cheap, untrained labor.
Legal recourse options
In general terms, construction site workers who are injured on the job must apply for New York workers’ compensation benefits to recoup costs for medical expenses, physical therapy, and lost wages. However, these benefits are predetermined and often do not cover the costs associated with serious accidents, like spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries.
In some situations, individuals injured on a construction site may be able to file what’s known as a third-party personal injury lawsuit.
In these civil actions, the injured workers may be able to file a lawsuit against, for instance, the manufacturer of the equipment or chemical that caused the injury.
By filing a third- party personal injury lawsuit, a worker can oftentimes recover more than what he or she would recover via workers’ comp benefits, like compensation for pain and suffering and other benefits not paid for under workers’ comp.