Cranes are used in many industries in Texas, including construction, oil and gas, offshore and maritime, and railroads. Cranes are inherently dangerous due to their immense size and weight. Crane accidents, injuries and deaths are most frequent, however, when human error is involved. At The Doan Law Firm, our Houston crane accident attorneys can represent you as an injured worker or family member after a major crane accident. We are committed to pursuing justice for the careless or wrongful acts of others.
Houston Crane Accident Resources
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After a disaster such as a crane accident in Houston, you need a team of professionals on your side to investigate the cause of the accident, determine whether someone is legally responsible, connect you to top doctors in the city and guide you through the financial recovery process. You should not have to deal with a legal claim alone while also nursing serious injuries. Houston personal injury attorney Jimmy Doan has been representing injured accident victims in Texas for over 20 years. Our law firm has what it takes to help you with even the most complicated crane accident case.
Why Do Crane Accidents Happen in Texas?
Many crane accidents are preventable. They happen because one or more parties are negligent, or fail to use the appropriate amount of care. Even a minor act of carelessness can be deadly when dealing with a dangerous piece of heavy machinery such as a crane. Common causes of these disasters are:
Crane defects and malfunctions
Careless human errors
Poor crane assembly
Inadequate worker training and supervision
Improper crane maintenance
Overloading the crane
Crane collapses or overturns
Contact with overhead powerlines
Accidentally dropped load
Certain people at a workplace or construction site are responsible for crane safety. This includes the site manager, supervisor and those who are working directly with the crane. If any of these parties are careless in the maintenance or operation of the crane, it can lead to disaster.
The Role of Improper Maintenance & Crane Defects in Accidents
Even though most severe crane accidents occur due to individuals not following proper safety protocols or insufficient training, there may be times when the manufacturer of the crane or those responsible for maintaining the crane could be liable for an incident.
Defective products are not uncommon, even when it comes to large machinery like cranes. The crane itself is comprised of thousands and thousands of individual parts, any of which could be defective. Defective crane parts could lead to a critical malfunction that affects the safe operation of the crane. When examining the possibility of a defective crane, it will be necessary to look at the overall crane designer and manufacturer, as well as the manufacturer of specific parts believed to be responsible for the incident.
Any company or contractor responsible for regular inspection and maintenance of the crane must follow specific protocols for enhanced safety. If the crane is not adequately maintained, individual parts or multiple parts could become defective and cause a critical failure.
Negligence in Crane Accidents
The vast majority of crane accidents are avoidable when individuals are properly trained and when the cranes have been adequately maintained. Often, when an injury or death related to a crane incident occurs, it is because one or more individuals or entities were negligent. The negligent party could be the operator of the crane, the company responsible for crane maintenance, or another contractor, subcontractor, or other party related to the operation of the crane or the immediate area surrounding the crane operation.
Negligence in these situations is defined by four elements:
Duty. There must have been a duty of care established between the alleged negligent party and the injury victim. This duty will look different depending on the negligent party involved, but could include the duty to ensure the safe operation of the crane, the duty to inspect the crane regularly, or the duty to provide proper safety training and equipment.
Breach. After establishing that a duty of care was present, it must be shown that the alleged negligent party breached their duty of care to the injury victim in some way. This can include failing to inspect the crane, not providing adequate training, or negligently operating the equipment.
Causation. After establishing that a breach of duty occurred related to the crane incident, it must be shown that the breach directly caused the injuries the plaintiff sustained.
Damages. Lastly, it must be shown that the plaintiff sustained some sort of monetary loss as a result of the incident. This can include medical bills, pain and suffering damage, lost wages, and more.
Common Injuries in Houston Crane Accidents
Individuals could sustain a wide range of injuries caused by a crane incident in the Houston area. Unfortunately, due to the nature of crane operations, the injuries individuals sustain are often severe. Our team regularly helps clients who have sustained the following:
Traumatic brain injuries
Facial or head injuries
Spinal cord trauma
Other neck or back injury
Broken or dislocated bones
Severe lacerations or puncture wounds
This is not a comprehensive list of the types of injuries individuals can sustain as a result of a Houston crane accident. If you have any questions about whether or not you can recover compensation for your particular situation, we encourage you to reach out to our Houston industrial accident attorney for a free consultation as soon as possible.
Is a Crane Accident Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?
Most job-related injuries that occur in Houston and throughout Texas are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. When a person sustains an on-the-job injury, they will be eligible for complete coverage of medical bills and a major portion of their lost wages, regardless of who caused the injury. Individuals can recover this type of compensation even if they caused their own crane injury.
However, the state of Texas does not require every employer to carry workers’ compensation insurance. These individuals are called non-subscribers. If a crane injury occurs and the employer is a non-subscriber, individuals will have to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party in order to recover compensation. This is not a no-fault system, and the plaintiff will have to prove that the other party was negligent in order to recover compensation for their losses.
Even if an employee is covered through workers’ compensation insurance after a crane incident in Houston, they may still have to file a civil personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation. This is true if a third party aside from the employer or a coworker caused the injury. For example, if a company responsible for crane maintenance caused the injury, individuals can step outside of the workers’ compensation insurance system and file a personal injury lawsuit against the maintenance company.
Who Is Responsible for a Houston Crane Accident?
In Texas, the person or party most at fault for causing a crane accident is held liable, or financially responsible, for related damages. If an investigation shows that one or more parties reasonably could have prevented the crane accident with a normal level of care, that party may be responsible for your bills and expenses. Liable parties can include:
The owner of the crane
A site supervisor or foreman
The crane manufacturer
A contractor or subcontractor
The property owner
You may be able to hold multiple parties liable for a crane accident in Houston, depending on the circumstances. At The Doan Law Firm, we will provide a comprehensive investigation of the incident that injured you or killed a loved one to determine liability. Then, our construction site accident attorneys in Houston will help you gather evidence to prove your case.
What Are Your Options After a Crane Accident?
If you were injured in a crane accident while working as an employee – and your employer has the right type of insurance – you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you are not eligible for workers’ comp, consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. You may have the right to file a lawsuit against one or multiple parties if they were negligent and this caused the accident. You may also be eligible to make a financial recovery through both workers’ comp and a lawsuit. Our attorneys can help you determine which legal option is best for your particular situation.
What Compensation May Be Available After a Houston Crane Accident?
There may be various types of compensation available for a Houston crane accident victim if their claim is successful. If the individual is covered through workers’ compensation insurance, they should receive complete coverage of their medical bills and two-thirds of their average weekly wage for the duration of their injury until they are able to return to work.
In the event an individual has to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation, and their claim is successful, they may be able to recover additional types of compensation. Not only does this include complete coverage of their medical bills, but also total replacement of lost wages, property damage expenses, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering losses.
The total amount of compensation paid to a crane injury victim in Houston will vary depending on several factors. This can include the overall severity of the injury, the length of the recovery time, whether or not there was shared fault, whether or not workers’ compensation insurance is available, and the level of pain and suffering a person endures as a result of their injury.
Injured in a Crane Accident? Contact Our Houston Personal Injury Lawyers
For a serious crane accident, you need serious attorneys. Jimmy Doan is one of the most powerful lawyers in Houston. He and his team have achieved record-setting settlements and verdicts for catastrophic and fatal injury claims. If you or a loved one was recently involved in a traumatic crane accident in Houston or anywhere in Texas, contact us to schedule your free case consultation today. We have internal staff manning the phones 18 hours a day, so you will receive a call back within one hour. Call (800) 349-0000 or contact us online to begin your case.