You Can’t Always Blame the Machine

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous occupations around the globe, especially when the work being performed involves extreme heights. Even working on the ground with a crane operator carries specific dangerous situations, and states like New York have very strict construction scaffold laws because of the large component of construction projects in the New York metropolitan areas.

In addition, tower crane operators are also required to be licensed and all crane men must be trained in crane operation procedures and safety requirements. Accidents that occur as a result of scaffold or crane malfunction often do not end well, as wrongful death can easily occur with both construction processes.

Employee Injury and Human Error

Human error is regularly involved in crane and scaffold accidents. Ignoring safety precautions and not ensuring that construction points are properly connected are all too common. In addition, high electrical voltage is used regularly in many construction projects and all workers are subject to the possibility of injury in certain situations. Additionally, multiple subcontractors can create a workplace of lax communication when each one is in a rush for completion and focused primarily on their own contract terms.

This scenario may also result in different crafts receiving different safety training focus. This can pose a real problem on a huge construction site because employees for one contractor can be injured due to the negligence of a third-party contractor. Where there is human activity there is always a potential for human error.

Standard Personal Injuries

Work that is being performed in a close proximity to a street or walkway can be dangerous if the contractors do not block the work site from outside traffic. Of course, personal injuries can still occur to the general public or passersby in lax situations. These personal injuries are prosecuted in civil court by the standard process of proving an injury occurred, and that the injury was a direct result of the negligence or duty of care breach assigned to the accused respondent.

Punitive damages can also be awarded in egregious cases, especially when the contractor is non-compliant with state construction regulations and codes. When contractors are cited by the government, the contractor is then dealing with both the civil and criminal court processes in some cases. Always remember that a conviction for a safety violation can be valid material case evidence in a civil claim and can enhance any damage claims for the injured party.

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Multiple Negligent Entities

There is an extensive list of possible respondent litigants in many construction injuries. All levels of contracting agents can be held liable for an accident, along with construction managers, property owners, and suppliers of operational equipment and materials. Of course, all legal contractors will have insurance protection of some type, along with workers compensation protection.

These workers compensation insurance companies are also responsible for coverage for negligent contractors, so they have significant legal input on approving or denying any claim that involves the company. All injury victims can expect to see strong defense from a team of lawyers, especially involving overhead accidents.

It is important for anyone injured in an overhead accident to contact a personal injury or workers compensation attorney as soon as possible, as statute limitations are strict regarding these claims. In particular, the New York Scaffold Law designates that the contractor is automatically responsible in the event of an injury involving their equipment, regardless of human error from both workers and passing traffic, and the opportunity for multiple respondents means that an experienced and effective personal injury attorney can craft a high-value case for a maximum award. You cannot sue the machine or building, but you can sue the owner-operator.

Erin Reardon is a freelance writer in Atlanta, Georgia, who hopes you never experience a construction-related accident. According to the Perecman Firm at, those in industries such as construction are unfortunately always going to be at risk of injury because the cranes and other equipment they use are “inherently dangerous,” but knowing your options–should the unthinkable ever happen–is always valuable.

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