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NYC Crane Collapse: Construction Accident Lawyer Explains Liability Issues

7.27.2023 Brian O'Connor Category: Construction Accidents

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Understanding What Happened: Construction Accident Lawyer Explains Liability Issues with NYC Crane Collapse

Construction is one of the most dangerous careers, particularly in New York City and Long Island where many jobs require working from an elevated position. Indeed, our construction accident lawyer knows that approximately two-thirds (2/3s) of all construction fatalities and injuries come from falls, being struck by an object, being crushed, or from electrocution. These are known as the “fatal four,” which the operation of a crane creates a risk for each of these. With the recent NYC crane collapse that caught fire and the arm partially collapsed, striking a building, and resulted in 12 injuries, there are many questions left for investigators and for the victims and their families.

If you or a loved one were injured in any type of construction accident, especially a NYC crane collapse as either a worker or a pedestrian, call the O’Connor Law Firm to speak with our experienced construction accident lawyer in Staten Island and Brooklyn. We handle cases throughout New York City, including Manhattan where the accident occurred, Queens where the crane company is from, and throughout Long Island. To learn more about your rights to compensation under the law, call to schedule a FREE case consultation and review.

What Happened on the Recent NYC Crane Collapse

According to local news sources, the construction crane in Manhattan caught fire and partially collapsed, striking a skyscraper on the way down. It quickly became a five-alarm fire and over 200 firefighters and other emergency crews responded to the scene at 550 Tenth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen. This is a very dangerous type of fire, particularly given that it started at the top of the crane which was many stories above the ground and other buildings.

The preliminary investigation has revealed that the crane operator was lifting 16 tons of concrete when a fire started in the engine compartment which, in turn, heated the crane’s cable and weakened it to the point where it failed. It is further believed that a hydraulic fluid leak onto a hot plate near the engine of the crane is what caused the fire, although that is just the preliminary findings. At this time there have been no criminal charges and there is no suspected criminality.

Common Causes of a NYC Crane Collapse That Could be Due to Negligence

There are many potential causes to a NYC crane collapse. Although there is an initial finding from the investigation which started yesterday, that does not mean that there is a final determination or cause. And it does not mean that there was any negligence or criminality. In fact, it is too early to tell and it is just speculation at this point what happened or could have caused the total collapse and whether any party is liable for it.

However, there are certain causes of crane accidents in general which could be caused by negligence. These common causes could have contributed to the collapse yesterday, but they might not have. They are possible in any type of collapse, and it is important for workers and their families to be aware of in order to 1) keep themselves safe, and 2) to know when they might be entitled to compensation.

Some of these common causes include the following:

  • Overloading the crane
  • Inexperienced crane operator
  • Improperly maintained crane, including hydraulics and engines
  • Failing to routinely and properly clean the crane
  • Improper training and supervision
  • Negligent hiring or retention
  • Operating a crane during unsafe winds
  • Crane counterweight accidents
  • Crane cables snapping
  • Improper lashing or securing cargo to be lifted
  • Negligent operation
  • Overusing the crane without checking, repairing, inspecting or cleaning it
  • Lifting objects that are not properly lifted on a crane
  • Misusing the crane
  • Rushing
  • Operating the crane during inclement weather, and
  • Other errors when handling a crane.

Liability for NYC Crane Collapse and Crane Accidents

Victims who are injured in a NYC crane collapse or crane accident may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, lost future earnings, and for their conscious pain and suffering. Families of individuals who are injured may also be entitled to compensation for loss of consortium or loss of services. These are known as damages, and can be obtained pre-action in a settlement, after a lawsuit is initiated, or during an appeal.

As a worker, in order to establish liability you will need to demonstrate that a contractor, general manager, or owner was negligent in causing your injuries, failed to protect you from an injury caused by a gravity-related accident (i.e., fall or hit by a falling object), or that there was a violation of a labor law or industrial code regulation. These three grounds can be plead together, or just one of them. Sometimes there are violations of all three in a construction accident. This is particularly true of a NYC crane collapse.

Injured in a NYC Crane Collapse or Another Type of Construction Accident? Call Our Construction Accident Lawyer for Help

Like the NYC crane collapse that recently happened, there are many possible causes and issues relating to construction that could be due to the negligence of a general contractor, owner, or business. Many of the labor law cases involve investigation from an experienced construction accident lawyer, and often require the help of expert witnesses. Here at the O’Connor Law Firm, our experienced legal team understands the nuances of this area of law and can help prove a liability and damages case for victims and their families.

To learn more about how our construction accident lawyer in Staten Island and Brooklyn can help you and your family with your case in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island, or anywhere else in or around New York City, call today to schedule your FREE consultation and case evaluation by dialing (718) 948-3500 or by sending us an email through our “Contact Us” box available here