Cristian Velez-Hurtado, 33, of Patterson, New Jersey Died In Construction Accident After Falling Through The Roof of An Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital Identified As Marlboro State Hospital
MARLBORO, NEW JERSEY (November 20, 2021) – A construction worker identified as Cristian Velez-Hurtado has tragically died after falling through the roof of an abandoned psychiatric hospital.
Marlboro police officials are saying that the accident took place around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 17th. Cristian Velez-Hurtado was working on the roof of the building when he suddenly fell through it and hit the ground below.
Firefighters and paramedics were called to the Marlboro State Hospital in order to help the worker. Despite the best efforts of first responders, Cristian Velez-Hurtado died following the accident.
The hospital has been closed since 1998 and state officials have not said what type of work was being done on the building.
Liability In Marlboro Roof Fall Accidents
Falls are one of the leading causes of serious injury and death in the construction industry. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “In 2019, 11.4 million U.S. workers were employed in construction, a 25% increase since 2011.[…] Falls remain the leading cause of work-related deaths in construction, accounting for more than one in three (36.4%) of the total number of fatalities in this industry (401 of the 991 construction fatalities recorded in 2019 were falls to a lower level).” Falls are preventable the vast majority of the time. Here are just some of the measures that can help prevent falls in the construction industry.
- Workers should be provided with personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) when working 6 feet or higher from another level.
- Workers should be given adequate training to recognize potential hazards.
- Guardrails and safety nets should be installed to protect workers from falls and from being struck by falling objects.
When a worker is injured or killed in New Jersey they will typically be protected by a number of laws. The family of any worker that died in an accident may be able to seek support through the state’s worker’s compensation system. Worker’s compensation in New Jersey is a no-fault system that can help cover some of the unexpected expenses that may come with the sudden loss of a loved one. Depending on the specific facts, the family of a deceased worker may also be able to seek aid through a third party liability claim. A third party liability may be possible when an entity separate from a worker’s employer contributed to the accident.
A potential source of third party liability could include a property that is in a dangerous condition. Property owners and general contractors in New Jersey have a legal obligation to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. OSHA regulations require workers to be given fall protection when they are working on a surface 6 feet or higher from the ground. When building owners or general contractors fail to follow basic workplace safety rules, this could create the basis for a negligence claim. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any worker is injured or killed on the job.
- Photos of the accident site should be taken.
- The safety record of general contractors should be examined.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- A full, independent investigation should be conducted.
The family of any worker that died after falling through a roof may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and funeral expenses. Potential beneficiaries in a civil claim will typically include the worker’s next of kin. A New Jersey construction accident attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal rights are.
Investigating A Marlboro Roof Fall Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Cristian Velez-Hurtado. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to authorities. It is our sincere hope that steps will be taken to prevent additional tragedies like this.
This accident also raises a number of safety concerns. Was this worker given fall protection? Was this roof examined for structural damage that could make the roof unstable? Could this tragedy have been prevented? Safety must always be the number one priority for any construction company.