A wall collapse that killed an 18-year-old construction worker in Brooklyn in 2015 has led to multiple criminal charges against the owner of the construction company he worked for. The New York Times reported on May 10, 2017, that Michael Weiss has been charged with criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, assault and numerous other offenses related to his construction businesses.
Should negligent builders be held criminally responsible when their workers get hurt because of preventable safety problems? Brooklyn prosecutors seem to think so – at least in this case.
Negligence and greed can cause injuries
If convicted of the most serious charges, Weiss could face a 15-year prison sentence. According to the criminal indictment, his actions – or inaction in the face of repeated requests for help and complaints about safety -- led to the death of one worker and serious injuries to two others. Some people see this case as a step in a just direction for workers whose rights are sometimes overlooked because of the greed of developers and builders.
No one suggests that every construction accident in which a worker is seriously injured or killed should result in criminal liability. But every serious injury or death has important consequences for the injured worker and his or her family. Certain New York laws – the “Scaffold Law” in particular – were put in place to protect workers from some of the dangers of working at heights. Experienced lawyers who regularly handle construction accident cases understand how these laws may apply to your injury case.
When workers and their families need legal guidance
After a worker is hurt or killed in an accident, his or family can experience trauma, emotional challenges and financial hardship. In such cases, the help of a knowledgeable construction accident attorney can be invaluable in protecting the family’s rights, including the right to money damages to which they are entitled.