Latino Workers Are Especially Vulnerable to Construction Accidents
Construction is a dangerous profession, but the risk of injuries might not fall equally on all races. According to The Center for Popular Democracy, well over half of the workers who died on construction sites were recent immigrants or Latinos who had been born in the United States. Indeed, from 2003 to 2011, around 70% of fatalities were made up of this demographic.
These numbers are eye-opening. Immigrant and Latino constriction workers are often working for contractors who do not follow required and necessary safety protocols. As a result, they can suffer devastating injuries and often leave loved ones behind after a fatal accident. If you have suffered an accident, please contact one of our New York City construction accident lawyers for a free case review.
Is a Lack of Unionization to Blame?
One reason why so many Latinos might be injured is that many of them are non-union, and they work on non-union worksites. According to the New York Times, about half of all workers at non-union sites were Hispanic or Latino as of 2016. The number has probably increased since then. By contrast, the percentage of Hispanics or Latinos on unionized sites is only 30%.
Non-union contractors tend to be smaller and often complain that they cannot afford to practice the same safety as larger contractors. Unfortunately, Latino workers often pay the price.
Unions provide many protections to workers. They have sufficient clout to raise safety issues during collective bargaining and can make life very difficult for an employer that wants to cut corners. Unfortunately, workers who are not unionized do not have these protections but instead must put their trust in government regulators, who are often overworked and stretched beyond their capacities.
Many Latino construction workers are also not legally documented and are working in the United States without authorization. Consequently, they may be afraid to speak up about safety violations on the job site for fear that they will identify themselves to immigration authorities. Without meaningful immigration reform, this problem will not go away.
What Can Be Done?
The Latino population is a valuable member of the New York community, and threats to their safety should be taken seriously. No one should risk serious injury or death by trying to provide for their families.
If you were injured, then obtaining compensation is necessary to obtain proper medical care. An employer, no matter how small, should have workers’ compensation insurance. If they don’t, they can be sued for the cost of the injuries.
Other options will depend on the details of the accident. In some cases, our clients can bring lawsuits against another entity, such as the manufacturer of defective equipment. These lawsuits provide critical compensation, such as money to make up for the pain and suffering that injuries cause.
Speak with Our NYC Construction Accident Lawyers
At Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, we believe in making our client’s voices heard. Navigating a construction accident claim is complicated, and we are happy to help. Please call 212-285-3300 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation.