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Who are to blame in New York construction site accidents?

On January 9, 2013, the collapse of a 380-foot crane in Long Island City, Queens, caused concern among workers. It was only one in a series of construction accidents involving cranes in New York.

Records show that crane operators are not using cranes safely, and that owners fail to maintain the huge machines. Since 2010, a number of construction workers have been injured on construction sites. The lack of crane supervision caused a laborer to lose fingers. A worker's leg was crushed when a load of concrete from a crane fell on him. In another incident, a worker fell 32 feet when he was knocked over by crane load.

Over the years, New Yorkers have witnessed debris falling onto the streets and crane failures because the operators are lifting objects that exceed their machines' capacity. During Hurricane Sandy, a tower crane partly broke off and dangled over Manhattan streets for days. One worker was crushed after a crane dropped a large air conditioner and another died when an industrial chiller fell on him.

These incidents have a big impact on public safety. City crane inspectors have quit their jobs, leaving some of the operating cranes uninspected. Uninspected cranes are more likely to cause accidents because some contractors and operators cut corners to save time.

Workers injured in construction site accidents may receive compensation from their employers and third-party contractors. They may also file personal injury claims to receive compensation for their losses, such as lost wages and pain and suffering.

In the event of a death, as the result of negligence, the immediate family members may file a wrongful death suit against the negligent party. Benefits can be used for funeral and related expenses.

Source: Daily News, "Owners, operators at fault in scary spike in crane accidents," Greg B. Smith, Jan. 19, 2013.

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