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What You Need to Know About Crane Accidents in New York City

New York City is home to some of the world’s most impressive commercial and residential buildings — and one of the largest and busiest construction industries. Construction spending in New York City has been booming for the last five years, projected to average approximately $50 billion in annual spending between 2017 and 2019. Additionally, the construction sector employs roughly 140,000 people, most of whom live in the area.

Given these statistics, it’s fair to say that construction is vitally important to both the character and the economic future of New York City. Yet it’s even more important that construction workers and pedestrians be protected from injuries or deaths resulting from negligent behavior on construction sites. In many cases, these incidents involve improper use of a crane.

Crane Injuries in NYC

Cranes are essential equipment on construction sites, as they help workers accomplish key building tasks. They are also highly dangerous if used in a careless fashion. Because of their size and power, cranes can kill, maim or seriously injure workers or passing pedestrians in an instant when improperly operated or maintained.

There have been a number of high-profile crane accidents in New York City over the last decade, including a devastating incident that killed seven people and injured 24 in Manhattan, after an out-of-control crane crushed a brownstone and tenement facade.

That incident, along with several others preceding it, led to a variety of new safety measures for crane operations, including more inspections, a requirement that plans be filed before erecting or dismantling cranes and additional training for crane operators.

However, a follow up audit in 2014 by the city comptroller’s office showed that only 12-percent of these new safety regulations were being enforced. In the years since the audit, New York City has continued to experience deadly crane accidents, including a high-profile 2016 crane collapse in Tribeca that killed one person and injured three.

Other recent crane accidents include an incident on Madison Avenue that saw a crane drop a 13-ton air conditioner 28 stories to the street below, injuring 10 people including workers and pedestrians. It goes without saying that this incident could have been far worse, given the massive size of the falling air conditioner and the busy street below.

How Cranes Cause Injury

As with any extremely large piece of construction equipment, cranes can injure people in a variety of ways. Some of the most common forms of crane injury include:

  • Crashes related to swinging or falling cranes
  • Objects dropped from cranes
  • Cranes falling over or collapsing
  • Injuries related to miscommunication between workers
  • Injuries from crossover with electrical lines
  • Falls from cranes
  • Crushing injuries
  • Injuries related to the outrigger or hook lift device


While the use of cranes and the responsibility to maintain safe work conditions are both regulated at the federal and local level, crane injuries remain distressingly common in New York City.

If you or a loved one has been injured in such an accident, it’s imperative that you speak with an experienced law firm that practices in crane accident litigation.

What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Crane Accident

In crane accident cases, it’s essential to have assistance from an experienced legal advocate. Crane injuries are often physically, mentally and financially devastating. They may have lifelong consequences for the injured person and that person’s family. This means that it’s critically important to receive fair and just compensation for any injuries.

Given the complexity of crane accident cases, it’s important to retain a firm with a deep understanding of the law and the ability to aggressively prosecute your claims against all the legally responsible parties.

Call the Frankel Law Firm for a free consultation and fully explore your legal rights.

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