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New York City Heavy Machinery Accident Attorney

Obtaining Compensation for Heavy Machinery Accidents in New York

Heavy machinery abounds at New York construction sites, and not a day goes by when a worker isn’t using a piece of heavy machinery. Although this machinery is essential to modern construction, it is also incredibly dangerous. Every year, dozens of workers are killed by accidents involving heavy machinery, and thousands more suffer life-changing injuries.

The O’Connor Law Firm has represented many workers and members of the public injured by heavy pieces of equipment. We understand how New York law provides crucial rights to those hurt and can assist in negotiating a favorable settlement for your injuries. Contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation.

What to Do after a Heavy Machinery Accident

The steps a person takes following an accident will impact their ability to get well, along with their legal rights. We recommend the following:

  • If you are operating the piece of heavy equipment, turn it off immediately. This way no one else at the site will be possibly injured.
  • If you are working, tell your supervisor of your injury. You must report the injury within 30 days to retain rights to compensation.
  • Seek immediate medical care. Some injuries might not seem very serious at first. This is particularly true if you fell or were struck by a piece of heavy machinery. But over the next few days, you can experience swelling and extreme pain, so prompt care is essential.

Contact a New York construction accident attorney to review your case. Your legal options will depend on whether you were a worker or a member of the public.

Types of Heavy Machinery at Construction Sites

The O’Connor Law Firm can assist anyone harmed in an accident involving:

  • Cranes
  • Forklifts
  • Bulldozers
  • Road graders
  • Dump trucks
  • Cranes
  • Excavators
  • Grinders or sanders
  • Table saws
  • Machine presses
  • Welding equipment
  • Pneumatic tools
  • Drilling equipment
  • Other heavy machinery

This type of equipment is used most often in construction but is also critical to other industries, including manufacturing and warehouses. Members of the public who might never use a piece of heavy machinery can nonetheless be struck or injured in an accident outside a construction site. Most of us pass pieces of heavy machinery daily either walking or while driving, so collisions are not unheard of.

Accidents Involving Heavy Machinery

At the O’Connor Law Firm, we see some common accidents involving heavy equipment, such as:

  • Struck-by accidents—i.e., the piece of equipment strikes a worker or pedestrian
  • Rollovers or tip-overs, where unbalanced loads cause a forklift or other piece of machinery to roll over
  • Falling materials, such as material falling off a forklift or crane
  • Explosions
  • Falls, such as a driver being tossed from an unsteady crane or bulldozer
  • Collapsing equipment, such as the boom on a crane falling
  • Fires
  • Electrocutions

These accidents have many causes, but the primary two are:

  • Operator error. The worker using the machinery is careless or has simply never received the necessary training to use the equipment safely. Many job sites are lax with training and have begun hiring inexperienced workers due to shortages. Sadly, some workers show up to the job site intoxicated or high and cannot work safely.
  • Malfunctioning equipment. The equipment might malfunction because the owner has failed to properly maintain it or make necessary repairs. In other cases, the machinery is defective when bought, usually because of a design or manufacturing defect.

Serious Injuries & Heavy Machinery

Our clients tend to suffer more serious injuries in accidents involving heavy machinery than they do with other types of accidents. Our clients can struggle with:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – Even if wearing a hard hat, falling objects can cause a concussion or more serious TBI.
  • Fractures – Heavy machinery causes incredible trauma to the body, and high-impact accidents can break bones.
  • Crush injuries – Heavy materials can land and a limb and be difficult to move. Crush injuries often result in amputations or kidney failure.
  • Burns – Fire or electricity can cause burns. Electrical burns might damage internal organs and be difficult to see.
  • Amputation – A forceful struck-by accident can lead to limb loss.
  • Death.

Members of the public are especially vulnerable because they lack personal protection equipment like hardhats and might suffer even worse injuries in an accident.

Compensation for New York Heavy Machinery Accidents

The compensation our clients receive will depend on how they were injured. Generally, workers will be limited to workers’ compensation benefits. By contrast, members of the public can sue the contractor or business that owns the heavy machinery and employs workers who operated it negligently.

Workers’ compensation benefits are no-fault and provide medical care and lost wage benefits if workers cannot return to a job. One negative is that workers’ compensation rarely compensates workers fully for their losses, especially lost wages or pain and suffering. For example, lost wage benefits are typically capped at two-thirds of a workers’ average weekly wage.

If a design or manufacturing defect is to blame, however, the worker could sue the manufacturer. This is a products liability lawsuit under New York law. 

In other cases, New York Labor Law will hold general contractors or owners liable for injuries. Labor Law 240, for example, allows workers to sue if their injuries are gravity-related, such as falling equipment.  Likewise, Labor Law 241(6) allows workers to sue if engaged in construction, demolition, or excavation and a safety violation under the Industrial Code occurs.  Lastly, Labor Law 200 allows workers to sue if the contractor did not create a reasonably safe working environment or protect workers from hazards.

Members of the public who are injured can bring a lawsuit against the general contractor, property owner, or negligent subcontractor and seek full compensation for losses, including pain and suffering.

You Have a Right to Compensation

Some construction workers are afraid to file claims because they fear being frozen out of jobs in the construction industry. We understand the worry. Our clients need to work, and they realize that filing a workers’ compensation claim might anger a contractor. Nevertheless, you have a right to workers’ comp benefits if you are injured on the job. It is that simple. Workers also cannot be fired for exerting a legal right, which constitutes illegal retaliation.

Our Legal Team Makes the Process Easier

Seeking compensation following an accident is difficult, especially for those struggling to recover from painful injuries. Our legal team can help smooth the process for our clients.


We fill out paperwork, coordinate with insurers, and answer any requests for information from your employer. There are many deadlines an accident victim must meet, and our legal team stays on top of all of them.


Seeking compensation requires evidence. We can collect medical records, witness statements, and police reports. Our legal team might also visit the accident site to take photographs or have expert witnesses inspect defective pieces of machinery.


Personal injury disputes are often settled, but defendants rarely make fair settlement offers upfront. Our legal team will negotiate a settlement that protects our clients and fairly compensates them for their pain and financial losses. We understand how insurers operate and won’t leave money on the table by accepting a settlement offer too quickly.


If a case cannot settle, our clients can frequently seek justice in court by filing a lawsuit. The O’Connor Law Firm understands New York civil procedure and personal injury law. We can organize evidence to show that the defendant breached his duty of care to you and caused injury as a result.

Contact Our New York Heavy Machinery Accident Attorney Today

Accidents involving cranes and other pieces of heavy equipment leave our clients in considerable pain and uncertain about their futures. The O’Connor Law Firm stands ready to assist. No one should suffer due to the negligence or carelessness of construction companies or other businesses. We have over 20 years of experience with personal injury, construction accidents, and workers’ compensation claims. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our office today.


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