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Michigan construction company worker killed in crane collapse

When an employee is injured on the job in Michigan, he or she is entitled to file a workers' compensation claim to cover medical treatment and lost wages. Employers in Michigan are required to carry workers' compensation insurance for this very purpose, and this compensation is available regardless of who was at fault. Worker's compensation law protects both the employee and the employer, because injured employees can collect workers' compensation benefits but they cannot sue their employers or co-workers after a workplace accident.

However, when a third party--someone other than the employer or a co-worker--contributed to a workplace injury, it is possible to file a personal injury claim against that party. For example, the widow of a man who was killed in a construction accident last summer has now sued a manufacturer of construction equipment, the company that rented the equipment and the company that owned the construction site.

The workplace accident took place in New York in August 2011 when a crane tipped over while lifting a load that it could not handle. The man operating the crane at the Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. site was killed in the accident.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the crane operator's employer, a construction company out of Michigan, with two violations related to the crane accident--one for allowing the crane to be used beyond its capacity and another for allowing the crane to be operated with poorly inflated tires and a deactivated safety device.

The late construction worker's wife has accused the crane's manufacturer with defective design, construction or maintenance and she has also charged that Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. provided poor oversight.

It appears that numerous mistakes, by various parties, may have led to this construction worker's death last year. The outcome of the civil case remains to be seen, but in the aftermath of worksite accidents it is important to hold negligent parties accountable in order to obtain compensation and prevent further accidents.

Source: democratandchronicle.com, "Investigation of fatal crane accident concludes, but mysteries remain," Steve Orr, Oct. 12, 2012

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