Crane accidents generate big news headlines – and for good reason. The potential injuries and loss of life, damage to the site and surrounding buildings, and damage to equipment (not to mention construction delays) can be astronomical. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) estimates that 44 people are killed each year in crane-related accidents, with an average of 25% of fatal crane injuries occurring at construction sites, 24% at factories and another 8% at road construction sites.
If you or someone you know were injured in a crane accident, an experienced construction accident attorney can help you evaluate your legal options for recovering damages from employers, landowners, equipment manufacturers and others who may be responsible. If someone you know died from a crane accident, their family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim to recover damages resulting from the individual’s death.
In this article, we have provided answers to some common questions about crane accidents, crane accident injuries and crane accident lawsuits.
What are the most common causes of crane accidents?
- Improper assembly or disassembly
- Vertical deformation, e.g., the ground underneath the crane shifted
- Wind and inclement weather
What is the most dangerous thing about cranes?
Cranes, like other heavy construction equipment, pose threats not only to the people operating them but also to anyone on the site and in the area around the site. Only qualified, trained personnel should be operating the crane, and experts (such as geotechnical engineers) should be consulted before installing the crane to ensure soil and ground conditions can accommodate safe installation of equipment.
How does a tower crane stay balanced, especially when lifting a load?
There are several elements that come together to keep a tower crane balanced when it is being installed and while lifting a load. The first is the concrete pad on which the crane is installed. The dimensions and thickness of the pad varies based on the model of tower crane and the condition of the ground on which it is installed. Anchor bolts secure the crane to the concrete pad and, if necessary, the crane is secured to the building as it is being raised to provide more stability. Tower cranes also use massive 20-ton concrete counterweights to balance out the weight being lifted. Finally, the crane uses two limit switches to ensure the operator does not overload the crane: the maximum load switch (to ensure the maximum of 40,000 pounds is not exceeded) and the load moment switch (which monitors the weight as it moves out on the crane jib or “arm”).
What are the risks of working on tower cranes?
The sheer size of construction cranes makes them dangerous to erect and operate with the biggest risks being:
- Collisions with other buildings, objects, other workers, and pedestrians on, near, or around the site
- Falling loads
- Electrocutions from touching power lines
- Tip overs and collapses
- Falls and injuries operators sustain while climbing up and down from the crane
Who is liable for a crane accident?
Construction sites involve multiple parties. For construction workers, direct employer’s liability is covered by its workers’ compensation policy, which it is required to carry. You may not sue your employer directly although other third parties—everyone from the site’s landowner to equipment manufacturers—may be liable for your injuries. An experienced construction accident attorney can review your case to determine whether others might be at fault for your injuries.
Private citizens injured by a crane accident at a construction site (e.g., a collapse) should speak with a construction attorney regarding their ability to bring a premises liability claim against the landowner and others involved in the project.
What kind of damages are there in a crane accident lawsuit?
The potential recoverable damages following a construction site injury may include:
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy expenses
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of function
- Permanent disability
- Wrongful death
How much is a crane accident lawsuit worth?
It is difficult to calculate the value of a lawsuit. An experienced crane accident attorney can review your case to determine the merits of your case and whether others might be at fault for your injuries.
How can PCVA help if you have been injured in a crane accident?
PCVA’s experienced attorneys can help you understand your options for pursuing compensation and damages from your employer, landowners, equipment manufacturers and others who may be responsible for your crane accident injury. If you would like to speak with a PCVA lawyer, complete our intake form or call us at (253) 948-3199 or (206) 536-2850.
How much do you charge?
Our work is done on a contingency basis. This means that if your case reaches a favorable settlement or verdict, we collect a portion of the amount.