January 23, 2018 was a tragic day for New York City workers. Not one, but TWO men were killed that day when they fell to their deaths on different work sites, one in Rego Park, Queens, and the other near Gramercy Park in Manhattan.
As reported by Crain’s New York Business, 26-year-old construction worker John Davie died when he fell from a window while working on a condo on Saunders Street in Queens. Just hours earlier, 33-year-old elevator technician Ju Cong Wu died when he fell down an elevator shaft while working on a new hotel at 111 East 24th Street.
Why do so many New York City workers die like these young men — while simply doing their jobs?
Common threads in horrific cases
In these two tragic accident cases, and in many similar ones, some see compromise and greed as two central issues. It seems that the project owners, focused on money, weren’t concerned enough about their workers to have proper safeguards in place. And both workers were doing non-union work.
In the Queens case, the renovations Mr. Davie was performing were being done without a permit. The condo owner was cited for this and for failing to safeguard the worker, according to the Crain’s report.
The elevator worker, Mr. Wu, was not connected to a safety harness, according to a news account from pix11.com. The city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) stopped work on the hotel, but it was too late to stop his completely preventable death. Notably, the project, owned by McSam Hotel Group, had been cited for 17 other complaints to the DOB, according to the Daily News.
What workers and their families can do
Injured workers and their families have certain legal rights. With the help of an experienced construction accident attorney, they may be able to obtain money damages through a third-party injury or wrongful death claim, a lawsuit used to hold negligent parties responsible.