A large construction crane collapsed on to a busy downtown Seattle street, killing four people. According to a USA Today news report, the tragic incident occurred Saturday afternoon when the construction crane, which was operating at a construction site on Google’s campus crashed onto Mercer Street. A Seattle Pacific University student who was in a car when the crane fell died from her injuries. Two other victims were ironworkers who had been inside the crane while another male victim was in a car.
All four victims had died from their injuries by the time firefighters arrived at the scene. The crane, which struck six cars as it crashed down, also left four other people injured. Officials say they don’t know what caused the collapse. Washington state labor investigators are trying to piece together what happened. They said it may be several months before they have answers. The agency formally opened an investigation into four companies including the general contractor and the crane operator. Officials said the tower crane was being disassembled when it fell. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected.
Focus on Crane Safety
This deadly crane collapse will hopefully bring a much-needed scrutiny regarding the safety of the dozens of cranes that dot Seattle’s skyscape. With companies such as Amazon and Google stepping up hiring, the city has more cranes and apartment buildings than any other in the United States. USA Today reports that as of January, there were about 60 construction cranes in the city. An observation station on nearby Lake Union showed winds kicked up with gusts of up to 23 mph that afternoon, just about the time the crane fell.
Google has said they are in communication with Vulcan, the real estate firm that is managing the site and working with authorities. In 2006, a crane collapsed in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue in 2006, damaging three neighboring buildings and killing a Microsoft attorney who was sitting in his living room. In that case, the state Department of Labor and Industries cited two companies for workplace safety violations following an investigation that found defective design for the crane’s base.
Common Causes of Crane Accidents
Collapsing cranes or other accidents involving cranes generally result in injuries or deaths for construction workers as well as innocent bystanders or passers by. Here are some of the main causes of crane accidents:
Collapse: If the crane is carrying a load that is heavier than what it is designed to carry, the crane may tip over or the boom may collapse. Cranes do have weight limits to prevent these types of accidents.
Lack of training: Crane workers must receive proper training in the use of cranes and complete required courses by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Workers should also be trained regarding safety procedures involving cranes.
Lack of maintenance: It is crucial that cranes be regularly maintained in order to prevent accidents caused by mechanical and electrical failures, etc.
Improper inspections: Construction companies or contractors that are rushing to complete projects may perform quick or sloppy crane inspections. Thorough inspections are very important when it comes to preventing crane accidents.
Compensation for Injured Workers
Workers who are injured in construction accidents may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits, which typically cover medical and drug expenses and a portion of lost wages. Families that have lost loved ones in a construction accident may be able to seek death benefits. In addition, workers and their families may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for substantial money damages against a number of parties, and therefore have two sources of compensation.
Third-party claims are filed against parties other than the employer or co-employees and may include general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, managing agents, construction companies, etc. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatment, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
Contacting a Crane Accident Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries in a crane accident or construction accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job – one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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