Types of Crane Accidents
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Everyone has seen the large tower cranes that are used to lift heavy loads
several hundred feet into the air at high-rise construction sites, and
many of us are familiar with the smaller cranes used in less-complex building
projects. It is also known that crane-related accidents can cause serious,
or even catastrophic, injuries to workers at job sites where cranes are
in use. On this page, the
crane accident injury lawyer at the
Doan Law Firm will review the various types of crane-related accidents. He will then
review the legal proceedings that are available to crane-related accident
victims, and their families, that may help to ensure that accident victims
receive a fair settlement of their crane-related accident injury claim.
What are the most common types of crane accidents?
Locating up-to-date, information on crane-related accidents is difficult
for a number of reasons, none of which will concern us here. However,
a reading of sources such as news media accounts and online accident investigation
reports suggests that most crane-related accidents occur as a result of
one or more of the following events.
Complete or partial crane collapse
When they hear of a "crane collapse," most people will think
of a large tower crane that reaches 100's of feet into the air. However,
those working in the construction industry know that tower crane collapses,
although spectacular, are relatively rare and that most crane-related
accident injuries occur following a sudden failure of smaller cranes such
as truck-mounted cranes. No matter the crane's size, a collapse is
virtually always the result of negligence and the crane's owner may
be found liable for any injuries caused by the collapse.
Crane's load was greater than the maximum weight allowed
Every crane manufacturer conducts testing to determine how much weight
a crane can safely lift. If a crane accident occurs, and an investigation
determines that the weight being lifted was greater than the manufacturer's
maximum safe lifting weight, the crane's operator/owner could be found
liable for the consequences of the accident.
Crane's load was improperly secured prior to lift
Since modern tower cranes can hoist weights in excess of 15
tons, it is vitally important that such loads be properly secured and that
the workers performing this task have training and experience to correctly
secure these loads. Even if the lift is handled by a smaller crane it
is still important that every load be properly balanced and secured by
material that can tolerate the stresses during a lift.
Crane or crane's load damaged another structure causing that structure to fail
Anytime a crane is in use, a crane's load can accidentally strike another
structure. If the load's impact is strong enough, the damage will
often cause "catastrophic" failure of that structure and injury
to anyone in the immediate area. This type of accident is particular common
in oil refineries and chemical plants that are undergoing routine maintenance
or expansion of existing production facilities. These accidents can cause
explosions, fires, or the release of dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere.
In each of the accident causes listed above, it has been estimated that
80 to 90 percent are due to human error. In fact, some accident investigators
every crane accident involves human error at some point! If human error was
a factor in a crane or crane-related accident the worker, or anyone else,
injured in such an accident is usually able to file a personal injury
lawsuit alleging negligence by the crane's owner.
I was injured in a crane-related accident, how much compensation can I collect?
Since every accident case is unique, it is impossible to provide even an
estimate of the "dollar value" of a worker's injury claim.
Instead, we will look at how on-the-job injuries are handled by the Workman's
State Workman's Compensation
Workers who are injured on-the-job by a crane or crane-related accident
will usually be covered by a state Workman's Compensation program.
In general, Workman's Compensation will usually pay:
- any medical expenses directly to a worker's injury
- income support while the worker is unable to work (in most cases, around
60% of the worker's weekly wages
- any costs associated with retraining an injured worker (vocational rehabilitation)
- ongoing payment for injuries that have led to a worker's permanent
- compensation payments to the surviving family of a worker killed on the job
There are several advantages to the Workman's Compensation system.
In general, Workman's Compensation programs have a very short waiting
period before their income support/replacement benefit begins. Another
advantage is that the injured worker's medical bills are paid "from
day 1" and the injured worker is not required to meet a deductible
or to make out-of-pocket "co-pays." Although the injured worker
appears to be well-served by this system, there are several provisions
in each state's program that can severely limit the type and amount
of compensation that an injured worker can receive.
Most importantly, Workman's Compensation is considered to be a "faultless"
system. This means that an employer, and the injured worker, are assumed
to be not "at fault" if the employee is injured on the job.
However, to receive Workman's Compensation benefits, the injured employee
must sign a document stating that the worker
waives ("gives up") the right to file a civil lawsuit against the employer.
In doing so, the worker cannot receive payment for "pain and suffering"
caused by the injury and the employer is protected from having to pay
punitive damages, no matter how negligent the employer may have been in
creating an unsafe work environment.
There are some situations, however, where an injured worker can receive
Workman's Compensation benefits
and file a personal injury lawsuit. In law, these lawsuits are known as
third party lawsuits and are explained in the next section.
Third Party Lawsuits
In personal injury law, there are three "parties" that may be
involved in a lawsuit. The
first party is the person who filed the lawsuit (you, or your family). The
second party is your insurance company or your state's Workman's Compensation
third party is someone whose negligence caused or contributed to a crane or crane-related
accident even though they were not directly involved in the crane's
operation when the accident occurred.
Due to their high cost, most construction companies do not own tower cranes
or mobile, medium-lift cranes, but rent them from companies that provide
not only cranes but also crane operators and "ground crew" such
as loaders. If a crane accident injury occurs, the company that provided
the crane could be sued as a third party.
Contact a crane-related accident injury lawyer
As a worker who was injured in a crane-related accident, you already know
about the never-ending stream of paperwork that you have had to deal with
since your injury. From the information presented on this page you will
have learned that you may need the services of a crane-related accident
injury lawyer who is familiar with:
- the legal rights of injured workers in your state
- your state's Workman's Compensation laws and regulations
- the evidence needed to prove the liability of a "third party"
in accidental injuries
- how to thoroughly investigate the circumstances that led to an accident
- the processes necessary to ensure that an injured worker, or the worker's
family, receive all the compensation to which they are entitled
One such lawyer is the
crane-related accident injury lawyer
at the Doan Law Firm, a nationwide law practice with offices located in
major cities throughout the country.
contact the crane-related accident injury lawyer at the Doan Law Firm to arrange a review of your crane-related accident
injury case, your initial case review is always free of any charge and
does require that you hire our firm to represent you in court. If you
decide that our firm should manage your crane-related accident injury
lawsuit, we are willing to assume responsibility for all aspects of preparing
your lawsuit for trial on a contingency fee basis. This means that we
are willing to assume responsibility for all aspects of preparing your
lawsuit for trial in exchange for a previously agreed-upon percentage
of the final settlement that we will win for you.