Construction accident may prompt wrongful death claim

Are employees in certain industries more at risk of suffering brain injuries? Perhaps the most obvious example is professional football players, who routinely experience head trauma from tackles. Yet a recent crane collapse also illustrates how dangerous the construction industry can be.

On a recent Friday morning in Manhattan, a crane towering over 500 feet above pedestrians on the sidewalk below became unsteady in 20 mph winds. The boom tipped over and crashed down to the street below. On the descent, it damaged four buildings. Tragically, it also killed a 38-year-old male pedestrian and injured several others when it landed, in addition to smashing several cars parked along the street.

The pedestrian was not an employee of the construction company, so his surviving loved ones might be considering a wrongful death lawsuit. In Alabama, this type of claim serves as a way to hold wrongdoers accountable under the letter of the law. State law provides that a deceased’s estate may file the suit in a civil court, seeking punitive damages. If the plaintiff is found negligent, the damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit serve as a punishment. They will also be paid directly to the deceased’s heirs.

Was there negligence in this case? Notably, local law prohibits crane operations when wind gusts reach 30 mph or higher. Although the crane operator may have been within the letter of the law, the outcome suggests that more safety precautions may have been necessary. An investigation is ongoing. Regardless of that outcome, however, the victim’s surviving loved ones could benefit from a consultation with a personal injury and wrongful death law firm.

Source: Crain’s New York Business, “Crane collapse kills one, equipment owner linked to other accidents,” Joe Anuta, Feb. 5, 2016

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