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Defective Rope or Cable on Construction Sites

defective cable on construction site

Most people think of scaffolding, ladders, and heavy machinery when they think of construction site accident injuries. However, two other major yet less-known culprits that can cause catastrophic harm to construction workers: ropes and cables.

Need to Know:

  • Ropes and cables can become defective when they are used improperly, left uninspected, manufactured poorly, or suddenly damaged
  • The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy won $3,750,000 for an electrician in a defective rope case
  • Frayed ropes and snapped cables can result in fatal injuries due to the weight that they often bear

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.

In This Article:

How Defective Ropes 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 inspects 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
  • Low-hanging utility power lines that pose a hazard to pedestrians
  • Failure to properly secure iron columns with ropes or cables

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 devastating. Many victims and their families find their lives changed irrevocably.

One of the first questions our attorneys ask injured workers is if they had the proper fall protection when they fell from a ladder or scaffold. Most of the time, the answer is “no”. Proper fall protection, including ropes and/or hoists can make the difference between a near fall and a fall with life-altering injuries to victims and their families.

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

Snapped cable and defective rope damages can include:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of health insurance
  • Loss of Employer Funding of Annuity
  • Loss in Retirement Pension Income
  • Loss in Social Security Retirement Income
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Other psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping.
  • Future healthcare costs

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:

  • Conscious pain and suffering
  • Pre-impact terror
  • Fear of impending death
  • Death 
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of partner’s income
  • Loss of partner’s benefits
  • Loss of parental guidance
  • Loss of parental support
  • 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.

The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP will thoroughly investigate any accident involving a rope or cable including looking at construction contracts, safety meetings, toolbox reports, witness statements, and hiring the proper experts to not only read hundreds of pages of materials but conduct on-site inspections to have all the necessary information to advocate for our clients.

$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. This occurred 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 of 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.

Legal Help for Defective Rope or Cable Accidents

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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