5 Injured in Boom Truck Crane Collapse at Inwood Job Site

Wednesday, January 10th, 2024

Five construction workers were injured in a frightening construction accident on Tuesday afternoon at an Inwood work site. According to news reports, three workers were seriously injured and two suffered mild injuries when the crane on a boom truck collapsed. Thankfully no life-threatening injuries were sustained. 

At approximately 2:25 p.m. on January 9, 2024, the NYPD and FDNY were called to a construction site at 3880 9th Avenue responding to reports of a crane collapse. Upon arrival at the scene, they learned that the accident involved a knuckle boom truck with a built-in crane. The boom truck was being used to move loads of plywood on the second floor of a 17-story building under construction when the boom collapsed.  

It’s currently unclear whether the initial effects of a strong storm that hit the city Tuesday evening factored into this incident.  Weather conditions have played a role in other noteworthy crane accidents in New York City.

City records indicate that the work site already had two open violations from an accident in December 2023 in which a worker was struck on their shoulder by an aluminum beam. An official inspected the incident and determined the accident resulted from the site’s general contractor’s failure to communicate necessary information to workers. 

Crane accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic damage; all workers, employers, and site contractors must take every precaution to ensure everyone’s safety. Paul Tyson, a worker at the site, spoke to reporters, stating, “The first thing you have to wonder is if [the boom] was overloaded. Once it got to that height with that weight, the boom just came apart.” 

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is continuing its investigation to determine what caused the boom to fall, and hopefully prevent similar tragedies in the future. Their investigation will certainly consider Mr. Tyson’s concern and try to determine whether the designated crane capacity was exceeded causing the boom to wilt under the considerable weight of the plywood it was moving. The DOB will also be considering whether any regulations were violated to impose penalties on the violating parties. 

For the injured workers and their families, there will be a difficult road ahead. Workers Compensation claims will likely be commenced to cover medical treatment and wages from lost time at work. The injured workers may contemplate a lawsuit against the entities responsible for safety at the construction site, generally the owner and general contractor.

In New York State, one important section of the Labor Law that provides a unique remedy for these injured workers is Labor Law Section 240(1), also often called ‘The Scaffold Law.’ Labor Law 240(1) to be clear is not a law exclusively for injured workers who were hurt while working on a scaffold.  Instead, it is a strict liability statute in New York State that was enacted to provide “extraordinary” protection to workers injured in the most common types of construction accidents: those caused by gravity-related risks. The gravity-related risks covered by the law typically include overhead hazards like falling objects that strike a worker laboring below. It also is designed to protect workers who fall from heights as a result of not being provided appropriate and functional safety equipment.

The Workers’ Compensation Law prevents a worker from suing his or her employer or co-employee, but a lawsuit can be brought against other parties, like the site owner, general contractor, certain subcontractors, crane/boom truck owner and/or manufacturer. Aside from Labor Law Section 240(1), claims could potentially be pursued in products liability if it is found that there was a problem with the boom truck’s design or manufacturing, or in negligence if the boom truck was used improperly or was maintained improperly.    

The construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy understand the significant impact an injury can have on a victim’s life. Our legal team works tirelessly to obtain results that allow our clients to move forward from their accidents. Our firm’s results include a $15,000,000 settlement in a wrongful death case for the surviving family of an HVAC technician who was fatally injured when he was crushed by a 28,450-pound chiller unit that fell when a hoist chain broke. 

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