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Defective Rope or Cable on Construction Sites

Construction is one of the most hazardous industries for workplace accidents. Most people think of scaffolding, ladders, and heavy machinery when they think of construction site accidents, and it’s true that these cause many injuries to workers. However, there are two other major yet less-known culprits that can cause catastrophic harm to construction workers: ropes and cables.

When an accident involves a defective rope or cable that snaps, frays, or otherwise fails to serve its purpose, the results can prove devastating. Construction workers in New York City can suffer life-altering injuries because of defective ropes. In other cases, a defective cable can tragically lead to an innocent person’s wrongful death and their surviving relatives are left to grieve. No one should ever have to suffer because of faulty ropes or cables, but it is a reality for far too many individuals.

How Defective Rope and Cables Can Lead to Accidents and Injuries

Ropes and cables have many uses in construction. On any given site, a rope or cable is sometimes the only thing preventing heavy materials – or even workers suspended in the air, in some cases – from crashing to the ground. As a result, they are common in most construction projects. Some of the most frequently used types of ropes and cables include:

  • Elevator cables
  • Hoist cables
  • Crane cables
  • Material lift cables
  • Fall restraint ropes
  • Ropes on various safety equipment
  • Electrical cables

Because projects frequently require ropes and cables for various uses, there are unfortunately many opportunities for them to cause injuries such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Bone fractures
  • Crushing incidents
  • Muscle damage
  • Amputation
  • Total or partial paralysis
  • Wrongful death

When a rope or cable is defective, it drastically compromises the safety of everyone on the work site. People working on the ground can suffer from traumatic brain injuries and other serious injuries from materials falling on them. Workers who fall after working while suspended in the air can suffer permanent physical damage that impacts their ability to hold down a job in the future. Even the most careful individuals could experience a frightening accident that they could not avoid.

Causes of Rope and Cable Accidents

Developers, construction companies, property owners, and employers have an obligation to keep their work sites safe from accidents of all varieties. One of the best ways to do this when it comes to rope and cable safety is to make sure that all cables and ropes are sturdy and rigged properly. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has regulations and standards that everyone must follow to keep the work environment as safe as possible. For example, OSHA requires that a competent person visually inspect wire ropes before each shift that they will be in use.

Unfortunately, many individuals and companies decide to cut corners, resulting in workplace hazards that can harm workers. Any number of factors can contribute to rope and cable injuries. Some of the most common culprits include:

  • Failure to inspect ropes and cables regularly
  • Using frayed or worn-out ropes instead of replacing them
  • Ropes stored incorrectly
  • Attaching too much weight to a cable
  • Kinking, fraying, or unraveling occurring
  • Workers do not receive proper training on how to use cables
  • The manufacturer produced faulty cables
  • The ropes or cables were not properly installed
  • A piece of machinery or a worker cuts a rope
  • A rope has been holding a load for too long, causing it to break

All these examples can be instances of negligence. Negligence occurs when an individual or business entity fails to take proper care, resulting in harm to another person or to property. Granted, some incidents involving ropes are unavoidable accidents. If another party failed to act appropriately in protecting construction workers’ safety, though, you may have an actionable case in which you can seek compensation for your damages.

Damages Resulting from Defective Rope and Snapped Cable Accidents

Ropes and cables play integral parts in construction projects. Because they are often used to pull heavy loads or to hoist workers and materials, the injuries that result when they snap or malfunction can be incredibly severe. Many victims find their lives changed irrevocably.

The medical bills from these injuries often pile up quickly, leading to financial strain or debt. Some people even file bankruptcy to manage their medical debts. Sadly, hospital bills are not the only damages caused by rope accidents. Some others include:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental conditions

Hope is not lost for survivors, though. If a co-worker’s, supervisor’s, or manufacturer’s negligence contributed to a rope-related accident, the accident victim or their loved ones may have the right to seek compensation. When it comes to a settlement or a court-issued award, the victim’s current and future expenses should be considered. For example, you should consider your current medical expenses as well as any medical treatment you might need in the future.

If you lost a loved one to a construction site accident, you also have the opportunity to hold the negligent party accountable for the recklessness that contributed to your loved one’s death. You can seek compensation for damages related to the passing of your loved one, such as:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of partner’s income
  • Loss of partner’s benefits
  • Funeral expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Punitive damages

No one should have to suffer because of defective ropes or cables. Every construction company or other responsible party has an obligation to make sure that the equipment used by construction workers is safe. Whether you or someone you love sustained an injury due to faulty ropes, you should know that you have rights when it comes to seeking compensation and holding the negligent party responsible for their actions.

$3.75 Million Case Study in Defective Rope Accident

At the time this accident occurred, our client was a 35-year-old electrician. He was working at his work site, a five-story building in the Bronx, and had been working there for several weeks. At one point, as our client was walking out of the building, a 30-foot-long steel beam was being lowered from above using rope. Unfortunately, the rope snapped, and the steel beam fell onto our client’s left leg. He suffered a serious crush injury to his left calf muscle, which in turn led to a variety of injuries, including three different types of fractures and traumatic arthritis. To fix the fractures, our client needed open reduction-internal fixation surgery. He had to use a cane to walk and was unable to bend his left knee.

Not only did he experience pain in his left leg, where the crush injury occurred, but he also started to experience pain in his lower right leg, because the muscles in his left calf had begun to atrophy and as a result his gait had changed. More than two years after his initial surgery, our client had to have another surgery to implant a bone stimulator. Additionally, doctors told him that in 15-20 years, he would need another surgery to perform an ankle fusion. All this pain and hardship for our client occurred because the rope holding the steel beam snapped. The supervisor of the work site admitted that there had been no safety meetings on the site. Partners Jeffrey Block and S. Joseph Donahue obtained a $3,750,000 settlement for the client.

The construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have resolved over 100 cases for those injured on construction sites. If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction or work accident due to another party’s negligence, you may be legally entitled to compensation, and our attorneys are ready to discuss your case. Call 212-736-5300 or fill out our online Contact Form to speak to an expert attorney today.


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