Under most circumstances, construction workers who are injured on the job may claim benefits from workers’ compensation insurance. These benefits cover medical bills, rehabilitation and lost wages. Additionally, workers’ compensation provides death benefits to surviving families when their loved ones die as the result of a workplace accident. As reassuring as that may sound, most New York families would prefer that construction company owners would simply make the work environment as safe as possible to avoid those catastrophic work injuries.
One New York company owner faces 14 criminal charges, including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, following an accident that killed one of his employees and injured two others. The construction project involved removing a one-story building and replacing it with a five-story building. However, the owner instructed his crew to excavate an area on the site that the New York City Department of Buildings had not approved.
For months, the workers requested materials to shore up the walls around which they had been ordered to excavate, but the owner allegedly refused. In fact, only hours before the deadly accident, the workers apparently repeated their requests and expressed to the owner their fear that the site was dangerous without proper safety measures. That afternoon, a wall adjacent to the excavation collapsed, killing one man and seriously injuring two others.
Workers’ compensation may cover workers and their families in similar situations, but not damages such as pain and suffering or punitive damages. if the work injuries resulted from gross negligence on the part of one’s employer. To potentially recoup such losses, it will be necessary to file a claim in civil court and must typically be based upon evidence of the employer’s gross negligence. New York employees or their families can obtain advice and guidance for their best options by contacting an attorney.
Source: CBS New York, “Construction Company Owner Charged With Manslaughter In Worker’s Death“, May 10, 2017