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Who is liable in construction worker on-the-job deaths?

Working with heavy construction equipment is never 100% safe. In fact, just last week, on July 13, a man working at a Bronx recycling plant lost his life when a suspended excavator bucket crushed him. He was welding the bucket at the time it fell and fatally injured him.

While he wasn't working at a construction site, the excavator was regularly used to in the recycling plant's operations and workers who are struck by heavy objects is one of the most common causes of construction worker deaths.


When such an accident causes someone’s death, obviously family members are distraught and aren’t thinking of who might be liable for the accident. They may not know they could file a lawsuit to cover costs that worker’s compensation might not cover.

Who is eligible for worker’s compensation?

In this case in the Bronx, the worker was a Guatemalan native. Even if he was an undocumented worker, his spouse or children under 18 may be eligible for worker’s compensation death benefits. So too might his parents or grandparents if they rely on his income for support.

Is a subcontractor liable?

Families also can file a personal injury lawsuit if they feel a subcontractor’s negligence led to their loved one’s death. In this situation at the recycling center, a subcontractor may have used the excavator and left it in a dangerous operating condition. If there is evidence this is the case, filing a personal injury lawsuit will ensure a subcontractor doesn’t escape liability and could pay pain and suffering damages to the deceased worker’s estate.

Is a product manufacturer liable?

Another option families who have lost a loved one in an on-the-job accident have is filing a personal injury lawsuit against an equipment product manufacturer. For those killed in construction accidents, perhaps the machinery had inherent design flaws that led to the deceased’s death. Or perhaps the manufacturer had production issues that caused faulty parts. In either case, a family could receive compensation as part of a product liability claim.

If you lose a spouse or family member due to an on-the job accident, consult an experienced personal injury attorney. You will need advice as to what level of compensation you might be entitled to.



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