Raymond Bell

Lives and injured in Manhattan / Window washer Raymond Bell tells how he fell three stories due to inadequate safety equipment at his job site in Manhattan.

I was working as a self-employed window washer on Lafayette Street in Manhattan when I fell three stories. I was in the process of cleaning windows and my harness was tied to the anchors on the building used for window cleaning. One of the anchors came out, causing me to fall three stories and hit the concrete.

I lost consciousness and when I regained consciousness momentarily, a firefighter was giving me medical attention and waiting for the EMTs to arrive on the scene. I passed out again and was in a coma for a month. I spent a total of two months at Bellevue Hospital. Afterwards, I needed long-term rehabilitation at a center on Roosevelt Island.

I suffered a head injury, permanent nerve damage to my feet, had my right elbow crushed, and fractured my left arm, among other fractures. More than a dozen years have passed since my accident in 2000 but I’m still in pain when I walk. I can no longer work as a window washer.

My case settled in 2013. It took so long to receive any money because two of the three insurance carriers had declared bankruptcy and were in liquidation. Without the Scaffold Safety Law, I would have been unable to recover compensation from my accident.

Before working as a window washer for many years, I was drafted into the Vietnam War and suffered afterwards from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.