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$1 million settlement awarded in construction worker's death

An insurance company has awarded the parents of a New York man who died in an accident involving a crane a tax-free sum of $1 million. The contractor, Yonkers Contracting, was fined $68,000 and cited for 10 violations because of the incident. The crane crushed the 30-year old worker when he was part of a crew working on a Metropolitan Transit Authority construction project in Manhattan back in April 2012.

The settlement arrived 16 months after the man died in the accident and his parents filed the wrongful death suit; however, Yonkers Contracting has not yet admitted to any wrongdoing. According to reports, the accident happened when the crane operator began to move a large boom into place and the cable snapped. The boom collapsed onto a roof, causing heavy debris, including concrete, to fall on the 30-year-old worker. According to federal investigators, the cable was frayed and no match for the weight of the boom.

According to OSHA, Yonkers Contracting gave safety a back seat by not completing a series of mandatory inspections on its old equipment. Last fall, OSHA's area director released findings that stated that the worker would not have died if the company had followed the proper safety procedures. Yonkers Contracting disagreed with OSHA and claimed that trained personnel had adequately inspected the cable before each shift.

Construction injuries can be dangerous or fatal. It is important that workers understand that they may be able to receive compensation for injuries sustained while on the job, and death benefits may also be available for the families of workers who have died on the job. A skilled personal injury lawyer may be able to negotiate with insurance companies and other parties in an attempt to secure an equitable compensation package, and if a workers' compensation settlement is not the best option, an attorney could file a wrongful death claim instead to hold the negligent employer liable.

Source: New York Daily News, "Parents of construction worker killed in crane accident given $1 million settlement", Greg B Smith, August 20, 2013