Articles Posted in Construction, Industrial and Workplace Accidents

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According to a Syracuse.com article titled “Syracuse Jury Awards Injured Roofer $2 Million For Fall From Binghamton Dorm Project,” on October 26, 2012, a Syracuse jury deliberated for more than three hours before awarding David Stauber $2,007,658 for injuries he sustained in June of 2010. Mr. Stauber was represented by Syracuse construction accident lawyer Aaron Ryder, of Bottar Leone, PLLC.

In June of 2010, Mr. Stauber was employed by Apple Roofing. He was installing a roof at a Binghamton University dormitory project when, suddenly and without notice, the platform from which he was working collapsed and he fell approximately 60 feet to the ground. The central New York scaffolding accident caused a traumatic brain injury and other orthopedic injuries.

Before trial, the general contractor, LeChase Construction, conceded liability for the accident. During the week long damages trial, Ryder called a number of the plaintiff’s treating physicians who testified that he sustained a brain injury with sequela including post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as a severe elbow injury. Representing LeChase, attorney Lisa Coppola from the 35 attorney law firm of Rupp Base Pfalzgraf Cunningham & Coppola, LLC, argued that Mr. Stauber sustained minor and temporary injuries as a result of the five story fall.

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Moments ago, a ceiling inside of the University/Snow Building, located at 120 East Washington Street, collapsed onto Steven Pallotta, a 25 year old construction worker who was on the 9th floor. According to a Syracuse.com article titled “Worker Removed From 9th Floor of University Building After Ceiling Collapses“, the worker was severely injured. The cause of the ceiling collapse is unknown at this time.

“I happened to be driving by the building minutes after the ceiling collapsed,” said Syracuse construction accident lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq., of Bottar Leone, PLLC. “From the outside, you would never know that renovations were underway inside of the this 100 year old building. I’m sure OSHA will investigate what happened.”

New York State has special laws that protect construction workers injured on the job. Those safety laws, known as Labor Laws, hold property owners and general contractors liable for injuries in certain circumstances, including during construction, demolition and renovation. New York’s Labor Laws may provide an injured worker and his or her family compensation in addition to benefits from Workers’ Compensation.

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A construction worker was injured on Friday in Plattsburgh, New York, when debris from the roof of the shopping center in which he was working fell on him. The worker was trapped by the debris until he was freed by rescue personnel. He was transported to CVPH Medical Center for medical treatment.

Construction workers, like this project supervisor, are protected by New York Labor Law sections 200, 240 and 241(6), which hold property owners and general contractors responsible for serious personal injuries that occur on construction sites.

To speak with an experienced New York construction accident lawyer, contact us at 800-336-5297 or by email at info@bottarleone.com.

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According to Syracuse ladder accident attorney Michael A. Bottar, Esq., of Bottar Leone, PLLC, “hundreds of ladder accidents happen every year despite OSHA regulations that require companies to make ladders safe for construction workers to use.” Some of those regulations are discussed in our recent release titled Syracuse Ladder Accident Lawyers Discuss New York Construction Site Fall and OSHA Injury Statistics.

A shocking 127 people died in 2009 due to falling of a ladder. That number rose to 129 in 2010. Fortunately, a ladder accident that occurred yesterday on Old Liverpool Road in the Town of Salina, did not result in a fatality.

Even so, worker Richard Coe was badly injured. Syracuse.com reports that Coe, 49, fell approximately twenty-five (25) feet to the ground when the aluminum ladder he was working from tipped over. Coe, who was employed by Landmark Constracting & Development Co., sustained a traumatic head injury and back injury. OSHA and Syracuse construction accident lawyers will be investigating the accident.

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A Syracuse man died yesterday after falling into a hydro-turbine. On Monday, July 8, 2011, Wave Hydroelectric, LLC co-owner Jon C. Stranburg fell off of a walkway and into the turbine water tank below. Because the turbine was running, Stranburg was pulled below the surface of the water. According to Syracuse.com, the turbine’s braking system malfunctioned.

In the State of New York, a worker cannot sue his or her employer for lost wages or pain and suffering unless he or she suffers a “grave injury.” According to section 11 of the Workers Compensation law, a “grave injury” is defined as a “death, permanent and total loss of use or amputation of an arm, leg, hand or foot, loss of multiple fingers, loss of multiple toes, paraplegia or quadriplegia, total and permanent blindness, total and permanent deafness, loss of nose, loss of ear, permanent and severe facial disfigurement, loss of an index finger or an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in permanent total disability.”

By definition, the tank Stranburg fell into is a “confined space.” A confined space is an area that limits the way a worker can enter or exit the space. Confined spaces are not intended for continuous occupancy.

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On June 29, 2011, Syracuse personal injury lawyer Anthony S. Bottar filed a New York wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the wife and son of Robert B. Burkard, a 47 year old man who was killed when his car was struck on June 28, 2009 by a vehicle operated by Leo A. Coleman. Burkard’s widow and son also sustained serious injuries in the collision, which occurred at the intersection of County Routes 54 and 125. The named defendants are several Sackets Harbor establishments, including the Boathouse, Sackets Harbor Brew Pub and Good Fellos.

As reported in the Watertown Daily Times article titled “DWI Victim’s Widow Sues 3 Restaurants,” Coleman admitted that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident and now is serving time in state prison.

Under New York State Dram Shop laws, all businesses that serve alcohol to customers have a duty to ensure that they do not provide alcoholic beverages to customers that are visibly intoxicated. A restaurant or bar that serves alcohol to a patron that is visibly drunk (or who may be drunk given the number of alcoholic beverages consumed over a given time period) may be liable for damages caused by the intoxicated customer, including personal injuries that arise out of a car accident that occurs after the customer leaves the bar.

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From 2000 to 2006, nearly 300 construction workers died when a trench in which they were standing caved-in on them. “There are four types of trench collapse,” said Syracuse personal injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq., of Bottar Leone, PLLC, a New York law firm representing workers disabled in a trench collapse. “Each is preventable.”

One type of trench collapse is known as a “soil pile slide.” A soil pile slide occurs when dirt removed from the trench is piled too close to the edge. If the dirt is piled too high, becomes too wet, or is exposed to vibration fro machinery, it may slide back into the hole. Even though the soil pile slide is the most common trench collapse, it causes few fatalities. The second type of trench collapse is known as a “shear wall collapse.” A shear wall collapse occurs when the top part of the trench wall breaks free from the surrounding earth and fills the trench. Shear wall collapses occur most often in clay-based soil. They occur without warning and usually result in fatalities because, on average, 2-3 yards of soil weighing 5-8,000 pounds can fill the trench. The third type of trench collapse is known as a “belly slough.” A belly slough occurs when the middle part of the trench wall (i.e., the belly) breaks free from the surrounding earth and fills the trench. A belly slough usually occurs around underground utilities or where there is running water near the trench. This type of cave in usually results in deep burial and worker fatalities. The fourth type of trench collapse is known as a “lip slide.” A lip slide occurs when the lip of the trench fractures and a small portion of dirt falls into the trench. Sometimes, a lip slide will precede or cause a soil pile slide or shear wall collapse.

Click here to view the CDC and NIOSH web-based training tutorial called “Trench Safety Awareness,” with trench collapse animations. While trench cave-ins can be prevented with sloping, benching, shoring and shielding, many contractors fail to take steps to protect workers. Recently, OSHA found that two trenches in Hahira, Georgia were dangerous because they lacked trench cave-in protection. There was no shield system in place. While on site, OSHA also found that the contractor failed to have a ladder on site to gain safe access to the trench, that employees were exposed to unreasonable fall hazards, and that employees were not properly trained about excavation hazards.

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“New York has more than 7,000,000 acres of farmland and almost 25,000 farm families. And farming in New York, especially on our hilly landscape, can be challenging,” said Syracuse personal injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq., of Bottar Leone, PLLC, a team of New York product liability attorneys.

According to the National Safety Council, the leading cause of farmer death over the past 40 years has been tractor rollovers or overturns. Many of the tractors involved in incidents leading to serious injury or death were brought into the country long ago. Some of the tractors were imported through intended channels, including authorized United States dealers and distributors. However, some of the equipment is “gray market.” Gray market equipment is equipment manufactured for another market, such as Asia, but imported into the United States through private channels for resale and use.

However tractors made their way into the United States, and into the possession of New York farmers, many are not equipped with rollover protection systems (also known as ROPS). ROPS include seatbelts, as well as cabins or cages to protect an occupant from a crush injury should the equipment flip during use. “These machines may be unreasonably dangerous and, in turn, defective,” Bottar said.

This year, New York State will spend as much as $100,000.00 to equip tractors with ROPS by offering a discount or subsidy to farmers of $600.00 for a ROPS system to update equipment manufactured by, e.g., Kubota, Yanmar and Caterpillar. The telephone number for the ROPS hotline is: 1-877-ROPS-R4U.
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“More than 400 construction accidents occur every day,” said Syracuse work injury lawyer Anthony S. Bottar, Esq., of Bottar Leone, PLLC. “Aggressive deadlines and tight budgets often lead general contractors and property owners to cut corners. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are preventable.”

Last Wednesday, a Binghamton construction accident led to traffic delays on the Vestal parkway, near the main entrance to Binghamton University. At or about 7:30 a.m., a construction worker was driving an excavator when the arm of the machine struck and severed a utility pole. The pole fell to the ground and downed a Time Warner Cable fiber optic line. Fortunately, no one was injured.

This was not the case with the June 3, 2010 Binghamton scaffolding collapse discussed in our entry titled Syracuse Work Injury Lawyer Consulted On Binghamton New York Construction Accident Liability.

“In this instance, the workers were lucky,” said New York personal injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq. “Not everyone is. We recently represented a man who was strapped to a utility pole when it broke and fell to the ground. His pelvis was crushed in the fall. While we were able to recover $1,700,000.00 for him, he is now permanently, totally disabled. He will never be the same.”
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“For nearly three decades, Bottar Leone, PLLC has represented people throughout the State, like 27 year old Erin Freitag, who have been injured by a municipal employee,” said Syracuse personal injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq. “Sometimes municipal employees are negligent, usually by failing to properly maintain a roadway (leading to an accident), or for failing to timely remove snow/ice accumulation but, from time-to-time, we are asked to represent people involved in an incident with a municipal dump truck, garbage truck, plow or piece of heavy equipment.”

According to the Watertown Daily Times, Ms. Freitag was walking through an Elm Street parking lot on March 18, 2011 when she was run over by the back tires of a Potsdam Department of Public Works front loader. Whether the Village DPW is liable for Ms. Freitag’s injuries will depend on how the accident occurred. Even if media reports suggesting that Ms. Freitag was distracted are true, that does not mean that the Village does not owe her a duty of care.

“Anyone can make a mistake at any time,” Bottar added. “Even an employee with a perfect safety record. Years ago, we represented a woman who was run over by a street sweeper. She was, literally, sucked-up into the machine. True story! When municipal employees finally found her inside the street sweeper bin, she was badly injured. That employee had a good safety record, but the woman should not have been run-over.”
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