It seems like every few months in 2016, emergency responders have been called to the scene of a crane accident in New York where people – both workers and citizens who were unlucky enough to be passing by at the time – sustained life-threatening injuries. With only a month left in the year, many had hoped that the remainder of the year would see construction workers returning safely home at the end of the day, but on November 22th, 2016, disaster struck once again.
Two Families Destroyed By Loss
It was a day much like any other day in Queens. Two men, one crane operator and one flagman, were working to hoist a 6,500-pound steel I-beam on a construction site in Queens when suddenly, the beam dropped. In a matter of second, it fell 4 floors, landing directly on the cab of the crane. Neither man had enough time to move out of the way and both were killed instantly.
Both the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and the Department of Buildings have begun an investigation into the accident, however, the cause of the accident has yet to be determined.
Crane Regulations: A Constant Battle
It was just earlier this year, in February, that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio started making changes to crane regulations after a crane collapsed and killed a man. Initial changes regulated the use of certain types of cranes during high winds, increased fines for a failure to use safety equipment, and the requirement for an increase in signs / workers to alert pedestrians of cranes while in operation.
“There is no building that is worth a person’s life.” he stated.
These restrictions, specifically the rule that doesn’t allow crawler cranes to operate if winds are higher than 30 mph, have not been popular with construction company owners and contractors. In fact, in October, a group of construction company owners and union members filed a lawsuit against the DOB, alleging that their companies are being hurt because of the regulation, which they believe is unnecessary.
Sadly, it’s not uncommon for business owners to completely ignore safety regulations in an effort to save themselves time and money. The DOB, which is a surprisingly small team, works around the clock investigating job sites to ensure that workers are kept safe. But despite all of their hard work, the number of work accidents in New York has steadily risen over the past ten years. In relation to this, the state has also seen an increase in the number of workers’ compensation claims and construction accident lawsuits filed by either the victims themselves or the loved ones of those who sustained fatal injuries.
Why File A Construction Accident Lawsuit?
Typically, the injuries that are sustained in a construction accident are serious ones that require days or weeks of hospitalization, surgery, x-rays, medications, and physical therapy. Even with great health insurance, the out-of-pocket costs can add up, leaving the victim deep in debt during a period of time where they are likely not earning a paycheck.
Workers’ compensation might help to cover some of those losses but only if the claim is approved. Around 50% of all claims are denied, a shocking statistic considering this insurance is supposed to cover all employees injured on the job regardless of fault.
A lawsuit can help a victim get back on their feet by providing compensation for:
- medical expenses (both past and expected future)
- lost wages
- physical pain and suffering
- emotional trauma
At Lever Gottfried Ecker PLLC, we have dedicated our careers to helping the victims of construction accidents. We understand how difficult and stressful this time can be and are here to answer all of your questions.
How Long Does It Take To Get Compensation?
The time it takes to obtain the much-needed compensation varies from case to case. Most lawsuits take at least a few months. Once the facts of the case have been reviewed in an initial consultation, a better timeline estimate can be made.
What Should I Bring To The Consultation?
Any records that you have regarding the accident and your injuries can be helpful. This may include:
- medical records
- photographs of the injury or scene of the accident
- witness statements and contact information
- workers’ compensation claims
- pay stubs
- medical bills
Don’t worry if you aren’t able to obtain everything right away, we can assist you in getting the records that you need.