Manhattan DA Pursuing Construction Site Cases

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Thursday, Sep 7, 2023

What is being done about construction accidents in New York? There is a construction boom going on in New York City that can be plainly seen by the construction cranes that have become part of the city’s skyline. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there has also been spike in construction accidents that have resulted in injuries and death to construction workers. In response, the Manhattan district attorney’s office has been bringing criminal charges against builders who have violated safety laws or failed to report site-injuries. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. recently said that the construction boom has created an environment where builders have cut corners. Even worse, a multi-agency task force formed last year has revealed fraudulent safety inspections, bribery and other crimes that have contributed to creating unsafe conditions. These crimes have been the basis for a number of cases brought by the district attorney’s office. As we recently reported, Harco Construction LLC was convicted of manslaughter in the death of an immigrant worker in a construction site trench collapse. The case set a precedent for finding that a general contractor or a firm managing a project could be held criminally liable for a worker’s death even though that individual was working directly for a subcontractor. While attorneys for Harco believe the verdict will be overturned on appeal, that case and the ongoing efforts by the DA to prosecute these cases, have sent shockwaves through the construction industry. Although construction work is inherently dangerous, Harco and other similarly situated firms may have trouble doing business in the city as they have been labeled “bad actors." The overarching issue is the nature of the relationship between companies, contractors and subcontractors, and which is ultimately liable for worker injuries and deaths. This comes against the backdrop of the amount of new construction in the city where there was 92 million feet in 2105, compared to 19 million in 2011. During this time, the number of accidents tripled, resulting in 5 deaths already this year. In addition to trench collapses, construction sites have been plagued by fires, explosions, crane collapses, and a wide range of other accidents. While the district attorney’s office should be lauded for its efforts to pursue bad actors for safety violations, injured workers also have powerful legal recourse - a personal injury lawsuit. If you or a loved one was injured in a construction accident, you should engage the services of a personal injury attorney.

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