Working with heavy equipment and machinery is just part of the job for New York construction workers. But it is a dangerous part of the job. Construction equipment and machines can demolish structures, cut through concrete and other strong materials, flatten roads, and dig deep into the earth. It’s easy to imagine the devastating injuries they can cause if they are misused, malfunction, lack safety gear, or are used by or around workers without their safety gear.

These injuries start a series of losses–physical, financial, and psychological. When another party’s negligence causes damages, The Weinstein Law Group, PLLC can help. A New York construction accident lawyer will work to seek a substantial settlement to recover those losses and restore financial stability.

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Who may be liable for a heavy equipment/machinery injury?

The party whose negligence caused the accident leading to your injuries is the party that owes you compensation, and a heavy equipment and machinery accident lawyer in NYC will investigate your accident carefully to determine who that party is. Though every situation is different, most often, liable parties include:

  • Property owners
  • General contractors of subcontractors
  • Construction site supervisors
  • Equipment, machine, or part manufacturers

New York’s Labor Law 200 addresses a general duty for employers to protect the health and safety of their employees. Even though some employers may try to mitigate this duty by having employees sign waivers before a project, there is still a route for legal action if an employee is injured due to negligence or recklessness. The Weinstein Law Group, PLLC will put all its experience and resources into investigating your accident and gathering evidence to prove the liable party’s negligence.

What are some common injuries related to heavy equipment and machinery accidents?

Any type of construction accident can lead to serious injuries, but those involving heavy equipment and machinery almost always lead to devastating physical or cognitive injuries or both.

Physical and cognitive injuries

There is no exhaustive list of physical injuries heavy equipment can cause. However, some injuries are more typically seen than others.

  • Crushed bones
  • Amputations
  • Head, neck, and back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) resulting in loss of memory, inability to learn new information, and inability to make judgments or think critically

Even though filing a workers’ compensation claim  can provide compensation for medical expenses and lost wages due to the injury, it will not cover general damages like pain and suffering, future medical bills for long-standing injuries like TBIs or SCIs, or loss of consortium. Partnering with a heavy equipment and machinery accident lawyer in NYC puts victims in a better position to fight for the compensation they deserve.

What are some common causes of heavy equipment and machinery accidents?

There is no shortage of causes for accidents with heavy construction equipment and machinery. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies four common types of construction site accidents: falls, electrocution, struck-by, and caught-in. All can occur when using or working near heavy equipment and machinery. Workers may:

  • Become pinned against walls or other objects
  • Get stuck in the gears or components of a machine or dragged by a vehicle
  • Be “rolled over” or crushed, perhaps by a paver or compactor
  • Be struck by materials or equipment being moved by a crane or hoist
  • Be struck by the equipment itself, such as the arm or scoop of a bulldozer or the prongs of a forklift
  • Fall from a platform when working at high places
  • Be electrocuted while operating the machine or coming into contact with a power line or an ungrounded electrical current

Whatever the cause of your injuries, they will likely require extensive medical treatment and time away from work, increasing your expenses and decreasing your income. A heavy equipment and machinery accidents lawyer in NYC can help you get compensation for those losses and others.

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Most common pieces of heavy equipment/machinery involved in accidents

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over a recent five-year period, construction workers “saw their highest fatal injury count.” Construction laborers accounted for almost a third of all deaths in construction and extraction industries.

High-rise equipment

Since falls are one of the four main types of accidents causing injuries on construction sites, machinery that puts workers above ground level is commonly involved in these accidents. For a recent year of data collection, the BLS reports that workers in the construction and extraction industries accounted for 27.8% of all workplace falls and 31.2% of all construction workplace fatalities.

Equipment that “strikes”

OSHA reports that 75% of struck-by accidents “involve heavy equipment such as trucks or cranes.” Trucks with dumping and lifting devices, buckets, blades, and shovels can all strike nearby workers. These accidents can happen if truck operators lack proper training, nearby workers have not been instructed in site safety, or are not equipped with adequate safety gear. Other times, vehicles and equipment may malfunction.

Power tools can cause materials or objects to “fly” and also contribute to struck-by incidents. Additionally, objects can fall from cranes or hoists, striking those below. Anytime work is conducted on a scaffold or raised platform there is a risk of collapse. Those on the platform fall, and debris from the collapse can hit nearby workers.

Equipment related to caught-in accidents

Construction machines are made of complex components. Equipment may have gears, rollers, pulley systems, conveyor belts, wheels, and other large elements. It’s a grim reality that workers can get caught in or between these components and lose life or limb.

Machinery or equipment can tip over, trapping workers beneath it. When vehicles are involved, operators turning or backing them up may not see nearby workers, who then become trapped between the vehicle and a wall or other object.

Machines that dig can also cause caught-in accidents. Workers may fall into trenches or holes created by excavators or bulldozers or be crushed by structures undergoing demolition.

Equipment that electrocutes

Any equipment powered with electricity presents the potential for electrocution. This equipment and its power cords should never be modified or “rigged.” Power sources must be grounded to prevent currents from traveling through a worker’s body.

Even equipment that seems to hold no danger, such as an aluminum paint roller or metal ladder, can conduct electricity if it comes in contact with a power line. OSHA includes backhoes, raised dump truck beds, and concrete pumpers, among larger, heavier equipment that can contact power lines.

OSHA and New York regulations for heavy equipment/machinery

Compliance with OSHA standards for the use of heavy equipment and machinery is mandatory. These standards cover safety measures, grounding requirements, machinery placement, operator training, and other related issues.

New York recognizes the frequency and dangers of construction site falls and has specific labor laws in place to govern the proper use of scaffolds, hoists, lifts, and level-raising machinery.

The state also has extensive training requirements for those operating heavy equipment. An experienced heavy equipment and machinery accident lawyer in NYC will know all of New York State and New York City construction regulations.

Cost of hiring a heavy equipment/machinery accident lawyer

The Weinstein Law Group, PLLC team cannot take away your pain. Still, it can help improve your situation without adding any financial burden. We know that without income and with high medical bills, you are facing challenging financial circumstances. That’s why we take on all legal costs when we decide to take your case.

We are so confident in securing substantial settlements for our clients that we only require payment once that settlement is received. A percentage of the settlement covers your legal costs, and we will inform you of our payment methods during our initial meetings so there will be no surprises.

Why work with The Weinstein Law Group, PLLC

You’ve got plenty of choices when finding a lawyer in New York, but the best option is The Weinstein Law Group, PLLC. We stand out from other firms through our innovative approach to cases, extensive experience, legal knowledge, and how we treat our clients.  We will communicate throughout your case so you’ll never wonder how it’s progressing.

Don’t just take our word for it. See what our clients have to say.

Our NYC heavy equipment/machinery accident lawyer is here for you

After a severe construction accident, you will likely feel overwhelmed and alone. The Weinstein Law Group, PLLC, is here for you. We will take care of all legalities and fight for the compensation you need so you can focus on recovery and look toward a more hopeful future. Contact us today at (212) 741-3800 for a free consultation. A heavy equipment and machinery accident lawyer from our team in NYC is ready to fight for you.

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Steven M. Weinstein