On Tuesday, March 17th, a woman known as Tina to her friends, was killed as she walked along an NYC street, when a 4×8 piece of plywood flew off of a construction site fence and struck her, pinning her to a wall. After her death, the NYC Buildings Department issued a stop-work order at the Greenwich Village construction site, and general contractor Turner Construction Co. says that it’s working with authorities and doing its own investigation in the meantime.
Could this tragedy have been avoided? Further investigation will determine that. However, in the meantime the question remains; who is liable? While this is just one example of a death of a passerby due to a construction site, there are many other incidents like this happening nationwide, in addition to the tri-state area. An occurrence such as this is just as likely to happen to a west coast, Midwest, or New York construction insurance company as it is to one in New Jersey, which stresses the importance of obtaining a New Jersey Contractors Insurance policy.
Construction sites, needless to say, are dangerous environments, even for civilians and passersby. Liability for injuries, however, depends on the details of the accident. For example, while the city itself could be held liable, there are various construction mistakes that could cause falling debris, thus the construction firm itself would be held liable. What type of construction mistakes could imply fault, and therefore liability?
Unfortunately, in high traffic cities such as NYC, this is a difficult task, however anyone who is close enough to a construction site that they could be within range of falling debris should be wearing a hard had. The fact of the matter is, pedestrians are often too near to zones where debris may fall and affect them.
Individuals just passing by a construction site may not even realize that a construction project is occurring, and therefore will not be aware or alert as they are walking along the street. There should be clearly visible signs at all construction site access points.
Failing to Inspect Equipment
Whether it’s fencing, hooks, cords, etc. all equipment should be secured and inspected daily for wear and tear. Any equipment, tools or other construction items that have flaws should be replaced right away.
These are just a few examples of how a construction firm could be held responsible for the injury of a pedestrian or passerby. In our next post, we’ll delve a little further into a construction firm’s liability when it comes to pedestrian injuries.
At Tri-State Insurance agency, we understand the numerous risks you face in the construction industry. Our comprehensive construction insurance program includes coverages for general liability, Worker’s Compensation, and more. For more information, please contact us today at (888) 990-0526.