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Miami’s latest construction incident quickly blamed on alleged crane malfunction leaves many unanswered questions

At 830 Brickell Plaza, home of the future second tallest building in Miami (57 floors and 724 feet tall), a horrific incident occurred at the construction site. Reports relay that six construction workers were injured when a crane carrying a heavy load of rebar malfunctioned and crash to the ground. The steel bars were being transferred from a flatbed of an 18-wheel truck when the crane gave way. This resulted in several worked becoming trapped under the rubble, and at least two of them were impaled by the steel bars.

830-Brickell-Plaza-300x142For every construction site incident, OSHA is in charge of the official investigation and will have “final say” in determining the causes or contributing factors. In parallel, every single company working at the side will also launch their own private investigation, which undoubtedly will point to additional or different results. Such is the reality of construction cases when you have layer upon layer of different subcontractors.

Ultimately, we will all come to an understanding as to what happened and how it happened. Incredibly however, within hours of the incident, Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Pete Sanchez declared that “something malfunctioned and it came loose”. While we all understand this statement is hardly buttressed by any physical evidence, it is solely based on second- or third-hand knowledge, likely to have come from a company statement, either the general contractor, or the subcontractor who employs the crane operator. It is important to stress upon the reader that construction site incidents take years to fully investigate and that rushing to make an out-of-bounds statement, when the dust has not even settled, is irresponsible at best.

For the past 46 years, Leesfield & Partners has litigated numerous construction cases, including several involving injuries to workers caused by high-powered vehicle. In every single case, the operator of the vehicle was 100% at fault. Recently Attorney Thomas Scolaro settled a case on behalf of an injured worker who was crushed under the boom of a “malfunctioning crane” that crashed to the ground. The immediate explanation given on the day of the incident was that the crane had malfunctioned. How else could one explain the incident? How could a top-flight crane operator be remotely responsible for this? Our firm did not have a press conference or issue a hasty release, instead, we retained the best experts in the field, obtained all relevant documents from numerous corporations involved in the construction, which helped in uncovering the truth: The touted crane operator was negligent, should never have operated the crane in question, and to add insult to injury, took recreational drugs the same day the incident took place.  This case resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement for a catastrophically injured and very deserving client.

This simply goes to show that formulating a “cause of accident” while impaled workers are still fighting to save their limbs is highly reckless and founded in unchallenged and self-serving company statements.  Never accept a corporation’s version of the facts until and unless it is confirmed by a plaintiff’s law firm’s own experts’ investigation.

Leesfield & Partners will continue to monitor the incident of Brickell Plaza and will provide future updates on its ongoing construction cases taking place throughout the State.

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