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When criminal negligence leads to death and injury on the job

New York hardhats risk their lives every day on the job. You might be climbing to the top of a skyscraper to install a window on a precarious ledge. You might be working in a construction zone where a falling tool or piece of machinery could strike you without a moment's notice. The list of potential dangers at the average construction site is literally endless.

Fortunately, most construction workers are protected by workers' compensation insurance, so they can pay for their medical care if they suffer an injury. Also, in extreme cases, when it's clear that a worker's employer – or another contractor at the worksite -- neglected to keep the area safe and free of potential dangers, injured workers may be able to pursue personal injury claims in civil court.

Example of recent Brooklyn construction accident

In one case that happened in 2015, a 19-year-old construction worker died when a wall collapsed on him at a Brooklyn worksite. Recently, police have charged the 47-year-old owner of the company that employed the deceased worker with manslaughter. Police also charged the owner with criminally negligent homicide.

Police allege that the owner of the construction company ordered his workers to excavate part of the worksite, where they had not received approval from the Department of Buildings. The workers asked the owner to shore up the excavation site where there were exposed walls, but the owner refused, which was a violation of OSHA regulations. Having insisted that the workers continue excavating without safety precautions, the wall eventually collapsed onto three of the workers. The 19-year-old worker died at the scene. The two other workers suffered catastrophic and lasting injuries.

If convicted of his charges, the construction company owner could spend up to 15 years in prison.

Were you hurt due to your employer's criminal negligence?

Workers who suffer injury – and surviving close family members of workers who die – as a result of a criminally negligent employer will have the ability to seek financial restitution in court. Whether it's a wrongful death claim or a personal injury claim on top of one's workers' compensation benefits, a New York personal injury attorney can help you explore your legal options in this regard.

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