Newsday is reporting that two New York City crane operators have been fined $50,000 and have had their licenses suspended after a September accident that killed a construction worker. The city stated that Christopher Van Duyne and James Van Duyne cut a guardrail on a platform attached to a tower crane that was being taken down at a midtown Manhattan construction site. The men were helping to dismantle the crane at the site of a residential tower. A worker at the site, Anthony Esposito, fell more than 40 stories from the platform and was killed. The city already announced a suspension of the license of another worker who said he was taking a break when the accident happened.
Although workers' compensation is the only avenue of recovery for many construction accident victims, for some it is not. The state of New York provides special protections to workers at elevated job sites. Codified under New York's Labor Law Section 240(1) and 241(6) - these statutes, commonly known as the "Scaffold Law", allow construction workers who are hurt in falling accidents, to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner or general contractor managing the work site. In most states, this is not allowed. Furthermore, these statutes impose strict liability. This means that workers injured in scaffold or ladder accidents do not need to establish the defendant was "at fault" or even that they knew about the dangerous condition. As long as it was the direct cause of the injuries, you can recover compensation.