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Common Causes of Demolition Accidents in New York

Worker demolishing part of a NYC home.

Construction workers face many hazards during demolition.

Demolition work poses inherent risks as it involves the dismantling, razing, destroying, or wrecking of buildings or structures. Similar to construction, demolition carries numerous hazards, but additional risks emerge due to unknown factors, such as modifications made to the structure during its construction phase.

Engaging in demolition work within New York City entails recognizing the inherent dangers associated with the job. Unfortunately, demolition accidents are alarmingly frequent, often leading to severe injuries or even fatalities.

If you find yourself injured in a demolition accident in NYC, experienced legal representation can make a meaningful difference in the outcome of your case. At Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of New York's injured. Our experienced construction accident lawyers can serve as your trusted advocates in seeking justice and fair financial compensation for your losses. To review your potential legal options, schedule a free case consultation today.

Top 5  causes of NYC demolition accidents

Demolition accidents are accidents that occur during the process of demolishing a building or structure. Common causes of NYC demolition accidents include:

1. Falls from height: Demolition work often involves working at elevated locations, such as scaffolding or upper levels of buildings. Accidents can occur due to inadequate fall protection, unstable surfaces, or human error while working at heights. These incidents can result in severe injuries or fatalities.

2. Equipment failures: Demolition requires heavy machinery and equipment like cranes, excavators, and wrecking balls. Malfunctions or improper maintenance of these machines can lead to accidents, causing severe injuries to workers or those nearby. Equipment failures can include hydraulic system failures, structural collapses, or mechanical errors.

3. Explosions and fires: Demolition work sometimes involves handling hazardous materials or encountering unexpected sources of ignition, leading to explosions or fires. Gas leaks, electrical faults, or improper handling of flammable substances can cause these incidents. Explosions and fires pose significant risks to workers and can result in severe burns, respiratory injuries, or even fatalities.

4. Structural collapses: During demolition, structures can collapse unexpectedly, leading to devastating accidents. Weak foundations, improper dismantling techniques, or unforeseen structural weaknesses can cause buildings or portions of structures to collapse, trapping and injuring workers within the debris.

5. Toxic exposure: Demolition work often involves encountering hazardous substances like asbestos, lead-based paint, or other toxic materials that may have been present in the building. Improper handling or inadequate safety measures can release these toxins, causing respiratory problems, poisoning, or long-term health issues for workers and nearby individuals.

Proper training, adherence to safety protocols, regular equipment inspections, and appropriate handling of hazardous materials are vital in preventing such accidents and minimizing the risks involved in demolition work. However, a lack of planning is one of the leading causes of demolition accidents. The most frequently cited OSHA demolition standard is failing to complete an "engineering survey" before demolition.

What are common demolition injuries?

Demolition is associated with a large number of fatal and severe nonfatal injuries. For instance, in 2019, about 8% of construction-related accidents in New York City involved demolition, the third most common type of injury incident on construction sites after worker falls and material failures.

The most common demolition accident injuries include:

  • Impalement
  • Electrocution
  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
  • Vision loss
  • Hearing loss

Fatal demolition injuries are predominantly caused by being struck by a falling object, being caught in or crushed by a collapsing structure, and falling from a roof.

Work-related illnesses are also common in the industry. In demolition, exposure to potentially lethal and carcinogenic substances, including asbestos, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and other toxic substances can cause chronic, fibrotic, interstitial lung disease, malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and cancers of the larynx and gastrointestinal tract.

Contact a construction accident lawyer who knows New York

If you're a construction worker who was injured in a demolition accident in New York City, it's essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible. At Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP, our construction accident attorneys are here to provide the legal support you need. We understand the urgency of your situation and the importance of obtaining the compensation you deserve. By contacting us for a free case evaluation, we can assess the details of your accident, explain your rights, and guide you through the legal process.

With our comprehensive knowledge of New York workers' compensation laws and experience pursuing third-party lawsuits, we will fight tirelessly to help you recover the maximum compensation available for your damages.

Don't navigate the complexities of a demolition accident case alone. Let our construction accident lawyers provide the legal advocacy and support you need to secure a favorable outcome. Contact us to learn how we can help you and take the first step toward obtaining the justice and compensation you deserve.

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