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Smith & Baltaxe, LLP

Crane Construction Accidents: Knowing Your Legal Options

By Byron Smith on June 10, 2018

Working on powerlines in a cherry pickerWith the Bay Area’s economy consistently booming, there’s an increased demand for new buildings, whether they be for today’s innovators, tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, or people simply seeking housing. With more construction in the San Francisco, CA area, that means a risk of more construction accidents. For those injured at construction sites, the lawyers of Smith & Baltaxe, LLP are here to help.

Crane accidents at construction sites can be especially dangerous and even deadly. Let’s take a moment to consider these sorts of incidents and whether or not a lawsuit should be filed after a crane accident.

Statistics on Crane Injuries

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) recorded a total of 220 chance accident fatalities between the years of 2011-2015. Of these incidents, 42 percent occurred in the construction industry; 22 percent of the works killed were operating the crane, and another 22 percent were engaged in various construction, assembly, and dismantling activities.

Of these 220 fatalities in this 5-year period, 10 fatalities were in the state of California.

Reasons for Crane Accidents

Crane accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. Cranes may accidentally strike an object it wasn’t supposed to, resulting in the collapse of the object and/or the crane itself. There is also the risk of an object suspended by a construction crane coming loose and falling on someone beneath it.

Outside of these common reasons for crane accidents, there could be issues with the person operating the crane in an unsafe manner or having limited training with the equipment. There is also a possibility that the crane is dangerous or faulty in some way, perhaps the result of a design defect or poor maintenance.

Catastrophic Injuries to Workers Involved

People involved in crane accidents often suffer debilitating injuries that lead to lifelong disabilities. When objects fall from a crane or heavy debris is dislodged, these items can cause major brain injuries, head trauma, and serious harm. Broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and other kinds of catastrophic harm can occur as well depending on the nature of the incident.

Potential for Fatal Injuries

As you can imagine, the dangerous nature of crane accidents means that the injuries sustained can prove fatal. With an average of 44 crane accident fatalities each year, all safety measures must be taken to help reduce this number and keep workers, contractors, and bystanders/civilians in the area of a construction crane safe.

Who Is Liable for Crane Accidents?

Sometimes a crane accident is tragically without fault. Bad circumstances or working conditions lead to tragic outcomes that are without blame. Yet there are also a number of times when construction sites are unsafe. Proper guidelines may not be followed, or workers may not be trained to perform their duties on the job. In such cases, the construction company or the third party responsible for the crane may be held liable.

We noted possible defects with the crane itself. In these instances, the manufacturer of the crane may bear some responsibility for the incident. The same may be true for anyone who serviced the crane last if their negligence led to unsafe equipment being used at a work site.

Contact Our Team of Attorneys

For more information about your legal rights and options after a crane accident, be sure to contact a skilled catastrophic personal injury lawyer. The team at Smith & Baltaxe, LLP is here to help you in your time of legal need.

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