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Who’s to Blame? New York City Crane Accidents and Collapses

New York Best Construction Accident Attorney Jonathan C Reiter

Crane accidents in New York City are among the most catastrophic types of accidents that can occur on a construction site. Visit any large city, and you’re likely to see a crane or two. This is because cranes are essential for constructing tall buildings. Capable of lifting extremely heavy loads to upper floors, cranes make construction easier and faster.

However, cranes are also complex machines with a lot of moving parts. If they are damaged or assembled improperly, they can drop heavy equipment or construction materials hundreds of feet to the ground. In other cases, a crane collapses, causing serious injuries or fatalities.

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), there are about 125,000 cranes in operation in the United States today.  

Causes of Crane Accidents

Crane accidents and collapses can happen for any number of reasons. However, there are certain types of crane accidents that tend to happen more often than others. Common causes of crane accidents and collapses include:

  • The crane dropping materials to the ground
  • Cranes making contact with power lines
  • Overloaded cranes that collapse under too much weight
  • Cranes assembled improperly
  • Worker falling from cranes
  • Boom collapse
  • Rigging failures
  • Crushing by counterweights
  • Unqualified crane operator
  • Crane accidents caused by improper maintenance
  • Overturned cranes

According to OSHA, cranes making contact with power lines account for 45 percent of all crane accidents. Crane accidents can also happen when a construction company or site supervisor selects the wrong type of crane for the job. When companies attempt to save money by cutting corners on safety, horrific accidents can occur. However a crane accident or collapse occurs, these are catastrophic events that tend to cause life-changing injuries.

No matter how a crane accident happens, it is typically a serious event that results in devastating injuries and even fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a crane accident or collapse, you have important legal rights. Don’t hesitate to speak to a construction accident lawyer about the next steps in your case.  

Strong Winds Whip Up Crane Safety Debates

In 2017, a series of crane accidents renewed debate about crane safety and what can be done to prevent crane accidents and collapses. As NPR reports, three massive cranes in South Florida were battered by the strong winds of Hurricane Irma. In one accident, a crane’s arm was snapped off by the wind and left dangling by wires more than 40 stories in the air. The other two cranes broke up in the wind. The story states, “…these latest failures are raising new questions about whether [cranes are] safe in major storms. In all three cases, the long arms of the crane snapped loose. At Gran Paraiso, multi-ton counterweights crashed to the sidewalk below.”

Injuries Caused by Crane Accidents

Crane accidents almost always result in catastrophic injuries. When you consider the size of the typical construction crane, it’s easy to see how these massive machines can inflict devastating injuries. Common crane accident injuries include:

  • Crushing injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Injuries to the neck, back, and spine
  • Struck by a falling object
  • Electrocution when cranes come into contact with power lines

In the most devastating construction accident cases, a construction worker is killed due to a crane collapse or other type of crane accident. In these cases, the deceased worker’s family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim, which entitles them to receive compensation for the loss of their loved one. While money can never replace a beloved family member, the compensation can help ease the financial burden of medical bills, funeral costs, and other damages.

Is the Construction Company to Blame?

When a crane accident or collapse occurs, one of the first steps in a case is to determine who is responsible for the accident. Depending on the size and scale of the construction project, there may be multiple people or entities involved in the accident. In some cases, construction companies are from out of state or even outside the country.

In some cases, a construction company hires an inexperienced crane operator. Working a crane requires a great deal of training and skill. When construction companies fail to properly vet the operators they employ, they can be held accountable for accidents that result.  

This is why it’s important for a worker injured in a crane accident to work with an experienced construction accident lawyer. Too often, injured workers become overwhelmed by the medical costs and lost wages associated with their injury. In the face of serious pain and suffering, along with financial burdens, they fail to get the compensation they deserve. A knowledgeable construction accident lawyer can help you hold the proper parties accountable. No one should have to shoulder the burden of a construction company’s negligence.

Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.




Jonathan C. Reiter NYC Injury Lawyer

New York City Personal Injury Lawyer / Aviation Accident Attorney