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Structure Failures

Syracuse Lawyers Representing People Injured in Construction Accidents

Design or construction flaws can cause structure failures, which can result in serious injuries. Construction workers and visitors face grave risks when buildings collapse. If you were injured or a loved one was killed due to a structure failure, medical bills and lost income may mount quickly. To protect your rights, contact the Syracuse construction accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano for a consultation.

Structure Failures

Structure failures may be caused by architectural errors, engineering mistakes, poor building design, weak or flawed foundations, improper weight distribution, low quality building materials, construction worker errors, failures in strength testing, failure to take proper safety measures, and ceiling collapse. Everyone who works on a construction project should ensure that the structure can adequately support the designated load. Injured persons may be able to hold financially accountable anybody responsible for a structural failure.

Many different parties may bear some responsibility for a structural failure including architects, engineers, property owners, general contractors, subcontractors and materialmen. In some cases, structure failures result from negligently performed demolition. If you were injured in a structural failure because the property owner did not provide reasonable and adequate protections, it may be possible to hold the property owner liable. Where a general contractor fails to adequately supervise subcontractors and ensure that the new foundation being poured complies with New York building regulations, it may be held accountable. Subcontractors can be held responsible when they fail to follow architectural specifications or fail to perform the work precisely. A materialman or supplier can be held liable if the materials supplied are defective or do not conform to specifications. An experienced lawyer can help you identify all responsible parties and all possible causes of action for pursuing your claim for compensation.

Labor Law Section 200

Under New York Labor Law section 200, a construction worker may be able to recover damages from owners, general contractors, and subcontractors. This law requires construction site to be operated in a way as to give reasonable and adequate protections to workers from general construction site hazards. You can obtain protection under Section 200 if you are permitted or suffered to work at the location of the structure failure or other accident.

Labor Law Section 240

Sometimes structural failures result in falls from heights. A contractor, project owner, project manager and building owner may be held responsible for your injuries under Labor Law section 240 if they neglected to provide a safe working environment or failed to provide proper safety equipment to protect you against the risk of injury. Protection under this section is extended to people employed on the building or structure.

Unlike cases brought under a theory of negligence, comparative negligence is not a defense to a lawsuit brought under section 240.

Labor Law Section 241

If you were injured because the owner and contractor did not take certain reasonable steps to provide adequate safety on site, you may also have a claim under Labor Law section 241, which includes several specific rules that apply to construction that involves demolition and excavation such as how floors should be constructed as the building progresses and what materials should be used. Under Labor Law 241, owners and contractors are supposed to arrange equipment at the site in order to minimize risk to construction workers and visitors.

Premises Liability

Sometimes visitors to a construction site are injured due to a structure failure. As a visitor invited onto a construction site, you will need to show that the property owner either caused the dangerous condition leading to structure failure or knew or should have known about it and issued warnings or made repairs. You will also need to show the dangerous condition was a substantial factor in your injuries. In many cases, property owners will raise the comparative negligence of a visitor in connection with a premises liability lawsuit.


If you can establish liability, you may be able to recover compensatory damages. These may include economic or noneconomic losses. Economic losses can include medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, and replacement services. For example, if you are paralyzed while working at a construction site due to structural failure, you may need a wheelchair and rehabilitation. The cost of the wheelchair and rehabilitation are economic losses that may be recovered in a lawsuit. Noneconomic losses can include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment and loss of consortium.

Retain an Experienced Attorney in Syracuse

If you are injured due to a structure failure at a construction site in or around Syracuse, you may be able to recover damages. As a construction worker, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation, but generally workers’ compensation doesn’t cover the full scope of damages. You may also be able to recover damages in a lawsuit under the labor laws. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our lawyers represent people injured due to construction accidents in Rochester, Syracuse, and throughout Upstate New York, including in Oneida, Cooperstown, Auburn, Lyons, Canandaigua, Oswego, Binghamton, Wampsville, Watertown, Ithaca, Elmira, Herkimer, Utica, and Lowville. Contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 833-200-2000 or by completing our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY