Cranes are an essential part of construction job sites, shipyards, and port work all over the country. In construction sites alone there are over 125,000 in regular operation, many of which suffer from crane and ladder accidents. Every year people are severely injured and even killed in crane accidents. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a crane accident, you need to understand your rights. If you were hurt on the job you are entitled to compensation. No matter who is at fault for the accident. In some circumstances, you may even be eligible to make a claim for damages beyond those awarded under worker’s compensation insurance.
Types of Crane Accidents
Cranes are huge pieces of machinery with many different working parts. While most of the time cranes are operated safely, even the smallest mistake with a crane can endanger everyone on the job site.
Some common types of crane accidents include:
- Dropping loads
- Running into power lines
- Boom collapse
- Overturned crane
- Rigging failures
- Falling from crane
- Damage from the hook
- Crushed by counterweight
Most crane accidents are preventable by following established OSHA standards. However, in most crane accidents these standards are ignored or overlooked.
Some common causes of crane accidents include:
- Crane not setup properly
- Area around the crane not kept clear
- Pinch points left unguarded
- Crane is operated outside of manufacturer’s guidelines
- Wrong crane is chosen for the task
- Crane is on unstable foundation
- Outriggers not properly extended
Types of Injuries in Crane Accidents
Because of the size and complexity of cranes, any crane accident is likely to produce horrific injuries.
Injuries in crane accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Crush injuries
- Collapsed lungs
- Fractured bones
- Amputated limbs
- Torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles
- Electric shock
While many people are anxious to get back to work as soon as possible after an accident, it is important to understand that you will recover faster if you follow your doctor’s recommendations. You cannot be fired from your job for recovering from a workplace injury.
If you have a claim against a third-party, following your doctor’s instructions may make a big difference in the amount you are able to recover in damages.
Construction Crane Accidents
If your crane accident happened while you were on the job at a construction site, your initial recovery will be through a worker’s compensation policy. If your employer is out of compliance and does not have a worker’s compensation insurance policy, you can sue your employer directly for damages.
There may be a third-party that is at least partially at fault for the crane accident. This could be the manufacturer, another company that set up the crane, or a vendor who created an unsafe environment.
Shipyard or Port Crane Accidents
If you are working at a port or a shipyard and you are injured in a crane accident, your injuries may not be covered under a traditional worker’s compensation policy, but instead by the Longshore Act. This act is a federal law that gives longshoremen and dockworkers the ability to collect money for the time they miss work, no matter who is at fault for the accident, but also allow workers to sue their employer in certain situations, such as the employer was reckless.
Under the Longshore Act, injured workers can also bring claims against negligent third-parties.
Difference Between Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Worker’s Compensation Claims
Under the Longshore Act and worker’s compensation policies you cannot collect money for the pain and suffering of your injuries. You can collect money for lost wages, permanent disability, and the family of a killed worker may get death benefits.
Under worker’s compensation law workers cannot sue their employer, even if the employer is at fault for the accident, so long as the employer as worker’s compensation insurance in most cases.
Personal injury claims typically not brought against the employer. Instead, they are brought against another entity that was partially responsible for the crane accident. Under personal injury law, you can recover money for scarring, pain and suffering, as well as economic damages.
What Type of Lawyer Do You Need?
Because of the special issues involved in crane accidents, you need more than a regular worker’s compensation lawyer or personal injury lawyer. You need a lawyer who deals specifically with crane accidents. Crane accident lawyers can helpfully evaluate your case and make sure you get all the compensation you are legally entitled to.
Finding the right lawyer to represent you after a crane accident can be difficult. Let us help. We can connect you with a lawyer experienced in dealing with crane accident cases. Your bills are piling up and you need to get the compensation you are legally entitled to. Call today so we can help you find a knowledgeable crane accident lawyer to evaluate your case. Time may be running out.