On June 30th, 2016, the New York Department of Buildings announced that they were issuing a temporary order that will force construction companies to have tighter supervision of crawler cranes.
Why Is The DOB Issuing This Order?
The DOB has been working to create stricter standards for cranes in New York ever since February of 2016 when a crane collapsed in Lower Manhattan, killing one pedestrian and injuring several others. The accident occurred when crews began to lower the machinery due to powerful wind gusts. Instead of the controlled descent that should have happened, the heavy crane began to topple over and crashed into the street.
Immediately after the accident, Mayor De Blasio announced a different set of temporary rules which required crawler cranes to be taken down if winds were supposed to reach speeds of 20 m.p.h. or higher. It also raised the fine for failing to take the proper safety precautions from $4,800 to $10,000. These changes, however, were only in effect for 90 days.
During those three months, many business owners and contractors complained that the new restrictions caused worksites to be unnecessarily shut down. The executive director of Allied Building Metal Industries called the new rules “onerous” and claimed that no one knew what actually caused the February crash so the safety standards should be reversed.
The latest order was created after a city task force presented their recommendations to the DOB a few weeks ago.
Are Crane Accidents Common?
Crane accidents happen more often than they should. The majority of workers who are injured or killed in these accidents are hurt when a crane:
- malfunctions and drops the load it is carrying
- tips over and crashes
- pushes them against another object and crushes them
- has exposed wiring and electrocutes them
- runs into another piece of machinery or a building
What Support Is Available For Injured Workers?
When someone is injured on the job they are typically able to file a workers’ compensation claim. This claim, if approved by the insurance company, may pay for medical expenses and a fraction of lost wages. But often, it isn’t enough to keep the worker and their loved ones financially safe if their injury is serious enough that they can’t return to work for an extended period of time.
In many cases, it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit, as well as a workers’ compensation claim. While this claim cannot be against the employer, as a workers’ comp claim prevents the employee from suing their employer, often another party’s negligence caused the accident and they can be held liable. Examples of defendants in personal injury lawsuits include the manufacturers of defective tools, contractors, and drivers who crash into construction vehicles.
How Can A Personal Injury Claim Help?
A personal injury claim can provide a victim with compensation for financial losses and nonmonetary losses that a workers’ comp claim can’t provide. This may include full compensation for lost wages, lost benefits, and pain and suffering.
If the worker was killed because of the injuries they sustained, their loved ones may also be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. This could potentially provide them with compensation for medical bills, lost benefits, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and more.
Do I Need A Lawyer To File A Claim?
No, you don’t need a lawyer to file either a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. However, the forms and laws surrounding these claims are complex and no one understands them better than a lawyer.
A lawyer can, in most situations, obtain you a better outcome than you would have been able to obtain on your own.