Over the past year, construction workers in New York have been involved in many different kinds of accidents but some of the most destructive have involved cranes. At the very beginning of 2016, the Department of Buildings and Mayor de Blasio announced that they would be working with a technical working group to review and make improvements to crane safety standards after a collapse took the life of passerby, seriously injured several others, and caused serious damage to buildings and the street. But the efforts to increase safety have been met with resistance and deadly crane accidents continue to take lives.
The Latest Crane Accident
The most recent accident involving a crane took place at the end of November on a construction site in Queens. A 47-year-old crane operator and a 43-year-old flag man were using the crane to move a 6,500 steel beam when tragedy struck. The beam came loose and fell four stories, directly hitting the cab containing the operator and the flag man. Both men were killed.
As they always do after a fatal accident, the Department of Buildings is investigating. Although they have not come to any official conclusions, initial reports indicate that the cable being used to lift the beam was not strong enough. A stop work order has been issued until the investigation is completed.
What Safety Changes Are Being Made?
When Mayor de Blasio first announced that a review of crane safety would be made, he also put several immediate adjustments to crane law into effect until the review was complete. This included safety measures that must be taken specifically with crawler cranes such as:
- All crawler cranes must stop working and be placed into safety mode if winds are forecast to exceed 20 mph or if gusts are 30 mph or more.
- When larger cranes are being used, the construction company must organize with the police if street closures are needed and must also place “traffic managers” to organize pedestrian traffic.
- Operators are now required to inform local business owners or residents in the area before moving a crane.
The full outcome of the review has yet to be announced, in part because the three simple changes that were made have already been met with serious resistance.
The Lawsuit Against The DOB
In a complaint filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court, a group of construction trade organizers and unions alleges that the rule regarding the use of cranes during high-speed winds is unfairly hurting local businesses.
“The DOB can point to no engineering or scientific study and no other municipal state or national regulatory scheme that has found that crawler crane operations somehow become unsafe at 30 mph and, by inference, are safe at 29 mph.” they claim.
In response, a DOB representative has indicated that it will fight the lawsuit. “The city’s crane rules are there to protect people’s lives. We look forward to reviewing this action and are confident we will prevail.”
The fact is that any steps that the DOB takes towards increasing the safety of workers in New York would be beneficial. Not only would it save employees from sustaining serious and life-threatening injuries, but it would also likely save the city money by preventing accidents that could result in personal injury lawsuits.
Who Would File A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Anyone who has been injured due to the negligence of another party has the right to pursue legal action. For example, one of the victims of the crane collapse in February, a 73-year-old man who was hit while sitting in his car, filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging that their failure to oversee the use of the crane made them “negligent and reckless”.
He sustained skull and spinal fractures which have left him in pain and have impacted his quality of life.
The purpose of filing a lawsuit is to obtain compensation for the losses that have been sustained by the plaintiff. This may include medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, lost wages, and even emotional turmoil. Compensation can be obtained through a settlement or damages awarded by a judge or jury.
What If I’ve Already Filed A Workers’ Compensation Claim?
You can still file a personal injury lawsuit even if you have filed a workers’ compensation claim. The lawsuit, however, cannot be against your employer. This typically isn’t an issue as in most cases, a third party’s negligence is what caused the accident. This may include the driver of a vehicle, a contractor, or even the manufacturer of a product.
What Should I Do If My Loved One Died In An Accident?
If your loved one was in an accident and sustained injuries which resulted in their death, you may be able to obtain the compensation your family needs through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Much like a personal injury lawsuit, a wrongful death lawsuit seeks to obtain compensation for those who were dependent on the deceased. This may include parents, spouses, and children. Compensation can cover the loss of wages, any medical expenses for treatments the deceased was given before they passed, funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium, and even the loss of possible inheritance.
You don’t have to face financial hardships while dealing with your loss. If you were injured or a loved one died in a crane or construction accident, contact us to learn more about how we can help you.
How Long Do I Have To Decide?
It’s important to remember that there are statutes of limitations in personal injury and wrongful death cases. This means that there is only a short period of time during which you can file. Once this time has passed, the opportunity to seek compensation will be lost.
The length of time available varies from case to case and depends on the type of accident the victim was involved in. The best way to determine the correct statute of limitations is to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
What Can I Expect From Your Law Firm?
Our firm was founded in 1933 and has been committed to helping people who have been in an accident recover the monetary compensation they need in order to move on with their lives. When you contact us, you can expect that we will do everything in our power to fight on your behalf. We believe that communication is the key to client happiness and we are always available to answer any questions that you may have.
During your first consultation, we will review the details regarding the accident and any records that you have, such as medical records, witness statements, and bills. Then we can identify all avenues that may be available to you and assist you with filling out forms, speaking with insurance companies, and negotiating settlements. Although the majority of complaints do not go to trial, we prepare every client from the beginning for that possibility so that they feel comfortable and confident knowing all bases are covered.