Six Hurt in Harlem as Van Hits Scaffold

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Block O'Toole & Murphy looking for witnesses to scaffold collapse accident in Harlem.

Stephen Murphy

It sounded like the whole building fell down

On March 7, 2009, an out-of-control van jumped a curb and barreled into a scaffold. The scaffold collapsed, injuring several pedestrians. Police officers, an ambulance and members of the fire department raced to the scene, finding 29 year-old Kevin Bouley, the most seriously injured of the pedestrians, buried under a rain of steel pipes and wood. Mr. Bouley, a Harlem resident and a small business owner, was walking towards a nearby subway station when this tragic accident occurred.

"It sounded like the whole building fell down," said a 40 year-old witness who owns a deli next to the 15-foot-tall scaffold on Lenox Avenue at 136th Street. "People were trapped underneath it. I saw Mr. Bouley. His leg was broken. There was a mailman who leaped out of the way. His mailbag was crushed." Passers-by and construction workers dragged the injured pedestrians clear of the debris. Police officers helped Mr. Bouley and the other injured persons to Harlem Hospital. It remains a mystery why the driver of the van lost control.

Mr. Bouley sustained severe injuries, including a skull fracture and brain contusions, as well as a fractured neck, fractured back, broken leg, broken arm, bruised kidneys, fractured ribs, fractured sternum and fractured clavicle. He is expected to begin rehabilitation in the next week or so.

Last month, as reported by the New York Post, a safety violation was issued by the New York Department of Buildings for the rickety scaffold.

Witnesses from the neighborhood said the scaffold remained for months without any work being done on the building. The rationale for this is elusive. Unfortunately, New York City has become synonymous with construction related tragedies like scaffold collapses, crane accidents, ladder falls and deadly objects that fall from buildings. Far too often, safety takes a back seat to money.

Mr. Bouley has retained the New York construction and catastrophic personal injury law firm of Block O'Toole & Murphy to protect his rights and make sure that his medical bills are paid. New York Construction Trial Lawyer Stephen Murphy, of Block O'Toole & Murphy, has been impressed by Mr. Bouley and his family, "Kevin is obviously a fighter. He is determined to make sure this is only a minor setback. His family is strong and incredibly supportive." The construction accident law firm is investigating the case and looking for witnesses to the accident. "We're looking at all possibilities - including the likely scenario that this scaffold was an accident waiting to happen. No stone will go unturned," said Murphy. The firm is inviting those with information about the scaffold and this tragic accident to contact them immediately.

Block O'Toole & Murphy is one of the premier personal injury law firms in New York City. Their experienced team of New York construction accident and personal injury lawyers are devoted to truly caring for and fighting for the rights of their clients. The law firm of Block O'Toole & Murphy handles referrals for catastrophic injury cases on behalf of other lawyers and firms. The experienced trial attorneys at the firm are Jeffrey A. Block, Daniel P. O'Toole, Stephen J. Murphy, S. Joseph Donahue, David L. Scher, Fred Aranki, Nick Gjelaj, Sean Constable, Anthony Minko, Javier Solano and Thomas Gearon.

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