Queens Fatal Construction Accident Caused By Wall Collapse

A recent fatal worksite accident revealed the everyday perils faced by New York City construction workers, from electricians and plumbers to journeyman painters and day laborers. While mixing concrete for a new five-story commercial and residential building on Queens Boulevard, a worker was killed when sections of an 18-foot wall sheared off and he was crushed under cinder blocks and collapsed scaffolding.

The deceased, a Mexican immigrant, left behind a wife and two sons, as well as three brothers who were working for the same subcontractor at the construction site that day. One brother was injured, along with two other workers. Soon after the collapse, police and city building inspectors closed off the site to begin an investigation.

Many workers injured in construction accidents expect to depend on workers' compensation to help them through a difficult period of lost income and increased medical expenses. But if the harm was caused by a party other than the worker's employer, the injury victim or surviving family members can also seek compensation in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

In this case, several media reports immediately cast suspicion upon the site's developer, and the Queens Boulevard construction site had already been cited for 20 hazardous violations of the NYC building code. "The department pays close attention to any developer or contractor who continues to flout the law and put the public at risk," a Buildings Department spokesman told the Daily News, also stating that the case may be referred to the Queens district attorney.

Personal Injury Challenges for Undocumented Immigrants

Losing a family member due to a construction fatality brings tremendous challenges, from coming to terms with anger over a contractor or developer's negligence to trying to understand complex insurance issues. But one issue should cause no worry: A worker's immigration status has nothing to do with the right to seek justice through construction injury litigation.

New York City personal injury attorneys Carl Lustig and Mitchell Sassower of the law firm of Arye, Lustig & Sassower, P.C., explained that undocumented aliens who are injured in construction accidents "generally are entitled to the same rights to recovery for pain and suffering as U.S. citizens." They are also entitled to recover for lost wages as long as they did not tender false work authorization documents to obtain their employment.

The harm caused by falls from ladders, being struck by falling objects, electrocution and other construction-related accidents can have a lasting effect on a family that loses a paycheck and faces an uncertain financial future. By working closely with a dedicated NYC construction accident attorney, injured workers or family survivors have ready access to answers about their legal options and prospects for recovery.