The construction industry is dangerous. Major construction accidents can involve both a risk to life and property damage that can sometimes reach liability in the millions of dollars. In tight urban environments, like New York City, the risk of damage from construction on an adjoining property is particularly high. One of the most severe situations that can pose a risk to life and property on a construction site is a collapse. Whether the collapse is of a new structure that fails, an adjoining structure that was undermined, or, as New York City has recently experienced, a tower crane failure, the collapse can be devastating. The natural instinct is, of course, to immediately see to the protection of life. Unfortunately, little attention is given to the legal consequences that will certainly come out of the collapse. Contractors must, like any other business, take steps to protect their business (including the jobs that they create) even in the face of sometimes tragic circumstances surrounding a collapse. There are important steps that every owner, developer, contractor and subcontractor should take to protect themselves in the event of a construction collapse.
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