Those who work in the demolition business know it comes with some very real hazards. While the use of demolition contractors in the construction industry can help level large areas much faster than a team of human workers, the use of explosives sometimes ends with unpredictable results. Shrapnel and mis-timed detonations are just two concerns. Even when these “grand demolition” projects go according to plan, there remain inherent dangers.
Explosives can release dangerous toxins in a building’s materials and send them airborne. And explosions can also start dangerous, rapid-moving fires which can threaten general public safety. They can cause a worker to fall unexpectedly from a height or jar loose building materials that can fall on a worker from above. But there are also risks in traditional demolition of a small house or five-floor walkup.
Regardless of the demolition project, there is a sequence of events (and equipment that must be used) during each step of the process in order to make certain that all crew members involved in this dangerous task are safe. Many times, several different, specialized subcontractors or equipment suppliers may be involved during a building’s demolition. However, if speed is the overriding mission of any building demolition project, it can lead to corners being cut or other complications that end up causing serious injuries — all because the property owner or general contractor wants the building down as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one has been injured in any building demolition accident, you are likely eligible to receive a large array of compensatory benefits. The New York demolition accident attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC have handled every conceivable claim resulting from a demolition and construction-related accident. We can identify what benefits you are entitled to, then get them for you as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Common Causes of Demolition Accidents
This haste in the demolition process often leads to serious accidents. Our attorneys know the types of mishaps that happen, and we work to hold negligent parties accountable. Injuries and deaths as a result of demolition accidents are often caused by:
- Premature detonation of explosives, if they are involved
- The premature or uncontrolled collapse of structural areas scheduled for demolition, such as ceilings, outside fire escapes, and load-bearing walls
- Falls from heights, such as through open floors and off of scaffolds
- Exposure to toxic chemicals or other contaminants that are part of the demolished structure (such as prolonged exposure to asbestos for long-term members of a demolition crew)
- Falling debris which inadvertently strikes a worker (or maybe a pedestrian passing the job site)
Any of the above mishaps can lead to injuries such as:
- Concussions or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Neck or spine trauma
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Burns or other serious wounds
When There’s an Accident, Who Compensates You?
The primary method of compensation for demolition crew members is through New York’s Workers’ Compensation. Even if the accident is your fault, your employer’s “no fault” workplace insurance will pay virtually all of your medical bills, a percentage of your lost wages and most – if not all – of your disability. This depends on several factors and the length of time you are unable to work. If seriously disabled, Social Security will help pay some of these expenses as well.
It is not unusual for subcontractors to be part of your demolition project. If one of those “subs” – or someone employed by one of them – played a hand in your injury, it is possible to supplement your workers’ comp benefits through at least one third-party insurance claim or lawsuit. Maybe a truck hauling away debris injured you, or a backhoe or bulldozer driven by the employee of another sub hurt you. A scaffolding subcontractor, the explosives contractor, or some other employee of another company could have done something that led to your injury.
Through third-party lawsuits, you can demand compensation for pain and suffering, punitive damages, if appropriate, be completely covered for all your lost wages AND full disability regardless of the length.
If a family member was accidentally killed on a demolition site, other compensation could be available through a third-party wrongful death claim as a supplement to your deceased family member’s workers’ comp and Social Security death benefits.
Contact Our New York Demolition Accident Lawyers
Knowing the high level of risk present in demolition situations, New York State has special regulations that try to both ensure demolition workers’ safety and provide for them if an accident does occur. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we can help evaluate your claim, then apply our expertise to your specific needs. We understand the significant dangers you accept as part of your job every day. And we believe you should be provided for if something goes wrong. A demolition accident can be painful and emotionally distressing to endure, and you need help to get all of the benefits to which you are entitled. Contact us today for a free consultation. And remember: if we don’t win your case, there are no legal fees whatsoever.