New York City is known for its skyscrapers that surround pedestrians who stroll down the sidewalks, contributing to the unique character of the city. Unfortunately, these buildings often deteriorate to the point that NY residents, workers, and tourists are in constant danger. Thankfully, the Department of Buildings exists to protect us by performing routine inspections of buildings to identify unsafe conditions and demand that the owners take action to resolve the situation.
A recent news article from The New York Times highlighted a recent blitz of façade inspections after a piece of debris fell and killed a local architect as she was walking down the street. It was terrifying to discover that the owner of the building was fined for the infraction months prior and failed to correct the problem. The inspection blitz discovered approximately 345 Class 1 violations (violations that designate unsafe conditions) that had been reported but not repaired throughout New York City.
What is the Department of Buildings, and What Do They Do?
The NYC Department of Buildings is a government agency that regulates building construction and safety. They inspect and certify all buildings, including those under development. Their website states:
“The Department of Buildings promotes the safety of all people that build, work, and live in New York City by regulating the lawful use of over one million buildings and construction sites across the five boroughs. With a focus on safety, service, and integrity, the Department enforces the City’s Construction Codes, Zoning Resolution, and the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law.”
This department regulates everything from elevators to stairs, building façades to roofs, sidewalks and paths, and everything in between. If all regulations were followed, the general safety of NYC residents from building-related injuries would be all but assured. While this department may not be well known to you, your safety and well-being in our city rest, in large part, on the shoulders of this agency and its inspectors and compliance department.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured or Lost a Loved One
If you’ve suffered an injury, whether on a construction site injury or as a pedestrian, you have the right to file a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit. The Department of Buildings provides and enforces strict regulations, and violations that result in injury are legally actionable in civil court. At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, we have over 50 years of experience representing people injured due to problems with aging and decrepit buildings and helping victims recover millions of dollars in compensation from the responsible parties. In cases where your injuries result in an inability to earn a living, the situation is a personal and financial disaster. Some recent case examples include:
- $10 million awarded to a construction worker who was injured by falling debris
- $750,000 awarded to a 69-year old man who tripped due to unsafe conditions
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one, we offer a no-cost initial consultation to review your case and determine whether it has merit. If it does, we may take your case and fight on your behalf to recover the maximum fair compensation you and your family deserve. Call us at (212) 986-7353 to find out if you have a case.