A man was killed in his car around 8:30 a.m. on Friday, February 5th, 2016, when a crane collapsed on top of the vehicle. At least three other people were seriously injured by falling debris. Witnesses to the collapse said the area “looked like a war zone” and that the vibration from the impact could be felt as far as 36 floors up in a nearby building.
The Dangerous Collapse
Reports have indicated that a construction crew was in the process of lowering the crane off of the top of a skyscraper due to winds which were blowing at 20 mph or more. During this process, the crew lost control of the heavy machinery and it fell at Worth and Church streets in Tribeca.
The crane, which is 565 feet tall, smashed into multiple buildings as it fell, sending heavy debris to the ground below. It then landed on the street, sidewalk, and several parked cars.
More than 100 firemen, policemen, and EMTs arrived on the scene. They quickly began to evacuate several buildings and shut down gas mains in the area. Alfonso Quiroz, a Con Edison spokesperson, has announced that the force of the impact was so great that it disrupted the underground infrastructure, resulting in gas leaks. Inspectors will also have to determine if the buildings the crane hit are structurally sound before allowing people to return.
Who Is Responsible?
A full investigation into the matter has not yet been performed by the police and building department officials to determine why the crane toppled over. Initial reports have indicated that the machine is owned by a company called Bay Crane, however, at the time of the fall, it was being used by another company, Galasso Trucking and Rigging.
It is possible that during the course of the investigation several parties will be found to be at-fault. Possible scenarios include:
- the operators lowering the crane could have made errors resulting in the collapse
- the materials or machines being used to lower the crane could have been defective and the manufacturer or designer or those products could be held liable
- the crane could have had a defect resulting in its collapse which could mean the manufacturer or designer of the crane could be held liable
- the crane could have an issue which was not caught on the necessary regular inspections, or it could not be up to date on its inspection, resulting in an issue that could have been prevented
Whatever is determined, it is likely that workers’ compensation claims will be filed for any employees hurt during the accident and the responsible party may potentially face personal injury lawsuits filed by those who were injured or the loved ones of the man who was killed.
Is This Type Of Accident Covered Under Workers’ Comp?
Yes. Any time that an employee is injured on the job, no matter who was at fault, they are eligible for workers’ compensation.
However, this doesn’t mean that obtaining that compensation is easy. As much as we want to believe that we are protected by the insurance, the fact is, they are a business, and their goal is to make money. It is common practice for companies to train their adjusters to do everything in their power to find ways to reduce the amount the company pays in a claim or deny the claim completely.
What Does Workers’ Comp Cover?
Workers’ comp provides two types of benefits:
- Medical Coverage – the cost of necessary medical care needed to treat the injuries or illness that occurred while working
- Indemnity – payment for lost wages, typically on a weekly basis
What If It Is Determined That A Third Party Was Responsible?
Workers’ compensation prevents you from filing a lawsuit against your employer, however, it does not prevent you from suing a third party whose negligence resulted in your accident. If you do end up collecting damages from the third party, your employer may be able to obtain workers’ comp reimbursement or they could possibly join your lawsuit.
What Should I Do If My Claim Is Denied?
If you haven’t already contacted an experienced workers’ compensation attorney you should do so immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case and let you know what your options are.