Crane safety is a key issue in the construction industry explains Arkady Frekhtman, one of the NY crane accident attorneys at the F&A construction injury law firm in Manhattan. Cranes that tower over skyscrapers, bridges and other structures are essential to the building process. Given the size and weight of this machinery, the potential for catastrophic accidents is a significant concern. Sometimes, collapsing or out-of-control crane booms strike workers or innocent bystanders. Severe injuries or loss of life often occur.
Jury Awards Workers Millions
Recently, a Texas crane accident resulted in a multi-million dollar award. According to the Houston Chronicle, on May 12, 2017, a jury in Harris County, Texas, awarded two male iron workers and family members a total of $16.5 million. Pennsylvania-based Maxim Crane Works, the company which owned the crane, was found liable in the civil litigation.
The day of the 2015 accident, the two men were working at the site of a new Apple store at a shopping mall on Westheimer Road in Houston, Texas. They boarded a scissors lift to remove and replace a large window. As they worked aboard the equipment, an operator lost control of a crane which knocked the scissors lift over. The two workers on the lift both sustained crushed vertebrae along with other injuries.
New York Crane Accidents
A number of serious crane accidents have plagued New York in recent years. In November 2016, a beam weighing more than three tons broke loose during a lift, killing the crane operator and a flag man in the Briarwood neighborhood in Queens. Authorities later blamed a rigging failure for the deadly accident.
On July 20, 2016, mangled metal covered seven lanes of the Tappan Zee Bridge after a crane carrying a vibratory hammer collapsed during construction of the new span. Three motorists and a worker sustained injuries. Fortunately, none were life-threatening. The eight-lane replacement bridge is designed to last 100 years.
On February 5, 2016, a TriBeCa crane collapse killed a 38-year-old man sitting in his car. In December of that year, authorities ascertained that operator error was to blame. The boom was not properly secured before a windblown snow squall struck Manhattan.
On May 31, 2015, a rigging strap snapped as an industrial HVAC unit was being lifted by a crane in midtown Manhattan. The unit fell approximately 30 stories, injuring eight pedestrians and two workers.
Workers Comp and/or Personal Injury Statutes May Apply
When workers are victims in crane accidents, a state’s worker’s compensation laws pay benefits for medical expenses and lost wages. A worker may qualify for other benefits, such as those paid for permanent injury or loss of function.
In some cases, either workers or innocent bystanders may seek other compensation under a state’s personal injury statutes. For a worker, negligent conduct by an employer is only covered by workers comp laws. However, in the Houston crane accident, a jury awarded workers significant damages because of the negligent conduct of a non-employer – the company responsible for the crane.
When non-workers are victims in crane accidents, they often seek compensation under the state’s personal injury statutes as well. Many victims seek monetary damages for certain medical expenses, pain, suffering and possible lost wages. When applicable, long-term rehabilitation and prescription drug costs are often addressed by such lawsuits.
If you or someone you know is a victim in a construction accident, it is possible to review the details from a legal perspective with an attorney focused on relevant areas of the law. Our firm offers such a consultation at no cost to you. We always fight hard to secure the maximum compensation available to our clients under all applicable laws. Please contact us at www.866attylaw.com. Our staff is available to answer your questions and to schedule a consultation with an attorney if you wish.