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Pedestrians hurt by construction debris have rights

Houston is not New York but that doesn't mean we don't have our skyscrapers. That kind of construction carries a lot of risks with it. Contractors on the job are expected to take particular care to ensure that workplace accidents are avoided, but they still occur.

When they do, it's not just the workers who could be hurt. Innocent pedestrians below on public streets and sidewalks could be at risk as well. You would think that if they are walking, driving or biking as warning signs direct that they would be safe, but it's no guarantee of safety.

If a bystander becomes the victim of an unexpected construction site hazard, they should know they have a right to seek compensation. Anyone who finds himself or herself in such a situation would be well advised to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

This may be something on the minds of eight people in Manhattan right now. They are among 10 people who suffered a variety of injuries last month when a crane dropped a large air conditioning unit that was being hoisted to the top of a 30-story building.

According to news reports, the crane's cable snapped without warning. The unit, about the size of a semi trailer, hit the building as it plunged to the ground. Chunks of the building were torn off in the process and became part of the falling debris.

It was Sunday so there were fewer people around than usual and that proved to be fortunate. Still, two workers and eight bystanders were hurt. Miraculously, none of the injuries were serious. But as one Texas tourist who apparently saw what happened put it, "Wow, you can walk down the street and not know what hit you."

An investigation into the incident is underway to determine whether it was caused by faulty equipment or operator error.

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