February 3, 2023
New York Establishes Carlos’ Law to Help Protect Workers
By Jonathan Damashek
Working in construction is a dangerous job, but a new law aims to reduce its deadliness. NY Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Carlos’ Law in December 2022, named after NY construction worker Carlos Moncayo. He died on a job site in 2015 after his employer ignored several warnings from inspectors.
The new NY law increases the penalties for corporate criminal negligence when that negligence hurts or kills employees. If you or someone you know have been injured in a construction accident in New York, don’t hesitate to reach out to a New York construction accident attorney right away to have your questions answered.
Who Was Carlos Moncayo?
Carlos Moncayo, 22, lived in Queens. He immigrated from Ecuador and was employed as a non-union construction worker.
In April 2015, Moncayo worked on a job site in New York’s meatpacking district. His foreman ordered him into a trench that wasn’t properly reinforced. There had been several warnings about safety hazards, according to court records.
The management received one of those warnings about an hour before the trench collapsed, burying Moncayo. His injuries killed him on the job site.
His employer was charged and convicted of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and three counts of reckless endangerment.
Carlos’ Law Expands Criminal Corporate Liability in New York
Before Carlos’ Law, companies rarely faced steep penalties for criminal negligence. The maximum fine was $10,000 if an employee died.
With Carlos’ Law in effect, companies will face fines 50 times steeper penalties for felonies and 30 for misdemeanors.
Corporations will face fines of no less than $300,000 and no more than $500,000 for misdemeanors. In felonious negligence cases, the penalty will be no less than $500,000 and no more than $1 million.
What Is Negligence?
You must prove someone was negligent in personal injury cases. By law, negligence occurs when someone fails to exercise an “ordinary duty of care.”
Someone can be negligent when they don’t exercise caution when they should have been careful. On a construction site, a contractor, subcontractor or owner might be negligent when they don’t use proper safety gear and someone is injured or killed.
In Moncayo’s case, the company, contractor, and foreman were all warned to reinforce the trench. When they refused, their inaction resulted in Moncayo’s death. They were grossly negligent.
Construction Site Negligence in New York
Construction workers, owners, or contractors are negligent when they fail to comply with local, state, or federal safety rules or regulations.
Examples of construction negligence include poor workmanship, failing to meet building codes, ignoring safety regulations, or not following standards of care.
Negligence can cause severe injuries or accidents, like the “Big Four”: falls, electrocution, caught-in, and struck-by accidents. Some sites might also lack proper warning signs, or there might be defective equipment.
Proving Negligence in Construction Accident Cases
Evidence is needed to prove someone’s negligent actions caused a work site injury or death.
Public records are helpful when proving a company was grossly negligent and guilty of criminal corporate liability.
Site inspections, training records, or maintenance records can help show your employer knew about potential hazards before an accident hurt or killed you or a loved one.
A New York personal injury lawyer will know how to find these records. They’ll also be able to use expert testimony to prove the company was negligent.
Pursuing a Construction Site Negligence Case in New York
You’ll likely have workers’ compensation insurance to cover accidents on-site. However, workers’ compensation claims might not address fault or the cause of your accident.
It’s possible to pursue a third-party liability claim against an employer, construction site owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and others.
Speak with a New York work injury lawyer to help identify those responsible for your accident. In most cases, your attorney can investigate the cause of your injuries to establish fault. They’ll review your economic and non-economic damages to calculate your claim’s value.
They can prepare the necessary documents and negotiate with the insurance company. Your attorney can take the matter to court if the settlement offer doesn’t meet your needs.
If a company is found to be criminally negligent in the injuries or deaths of a worker, they will be held to much steeper fines than before Carlos’ Law became effective.
Call HKD for Help in Your New York Construction Accident Case
You’ll probably have questions about compensation after you or a loved one were injured or killed on a construction site in New York City. Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. can answer questions about compensation and recovering damages.
We have decades of experience and have recovered millions of dollars for construction accident victims. When a company is criminally negligent, they need to be held accountable. We’re ready to hear your story and get to the bottom of your case.
We know money cannot return a loved one or restore a body broken by construction, but it can help you move forward. If a construction company ignored warnings and citations or somehow caused the accident that injured or killed you or a loved one, you deserve compensation. HKD can work with you to recover that money.