Crane Accidents and Injuries on Construction Sites

Philadelphia Attorneys Explain Liability for Crane Failure

Cranes are a common component of many construction sites; workers use them to unload freight, lift construction materials for tall buildings and move heavy components into place. However, these powerful machines can become deadly if not properly maintained or operated in the correct manner. Mechanical defects or other negligence can cause a crane to drop its cargo, placing all those below it at risk. The most dangerous crane accidents occur when the entire structure of the crane falls. This kind of accident endangers not only the construction workers on the site but also anyone in the vicinity of the collapse. When a crane fails, the result is usually widespread injury and wrongful death. However, victims and their families may be entitled to compensation from multiple parties, including the construction company, site owner and/or crane manufacturer.

If a crane accident harmed you or caused a loved one’s death, whether as a construction worker of bystander, it is important that you protect your legal rights. At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., our construction accident lawyers have extensive experience helping people who have been injured in crane collapses and other construction site accidents across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and nationwide. We are committed to helping our clients obtain compensation for their medical bills, wage loss and other hardships.

What are Common Causes of Crane Accidents?

Crane accidents can occur for many reasons, typically due to negligence by the operator, maintenance company, contractor and/or manufacturer. Some of the most common causes of construction site accidents involving cranes include:

  • Overloading. Although they are sizable, powerful machines, cranes are only designed to lift a certain weight. If a load exceeds this weight limit, then the crane will likely tip off balance and fall.
  • Outrigger failure. Outriggers extend out from the sides of the crane and anchor it to the ground. Improper outrigger positioning or defects in the equipment can cause a crane collapse.
  • Collar failure. Collars and wedges fix tower cranes to other structures, helping to stabilize it. When these fail, due to defects or incorrect installation, the crane may fall and the anchoring structure may also collapse.
  • Failure of boom. The boom is the horizontal arm extending from the top of the crane. Typically, overloading causes failure of this arm, although product defects may contribute to this kind of accident.
  • Failure of cable. If the cable of a crane fails, then the materials it is carrying will fall. This may cause potentially devastating injuries to those below.
  • Contact with power lines. Cranes often operate in close proximity to power lines and other buildings. Operator negligence or poor balancing can result in contact with live power lines.
  • Operator inattention or lack of training. Crane operators require extensive training due to the sheer size and power of these machines. If operator error causes a crane accident or collapse, then the company he or she works for is usually liable for the injuries and damages.
  • Falls from the crane. When workers are inside a crane, they require safety equipment to prevent falls. However, construction company negligence can result in lack of these harnesses and gear.

What Injuries Can Result from Crane Accidents?

Crane accidents often cause widespread damage and extensive injuries to those involved. Sometimes, these affect only construction site workers, such as if a worker is struck with a moving load or counterweight. In these cases, you may be able to recover through a workers compensation claim and/or third party lawsuit against the negligent crane company.

However, the largest tower cranes can stretch the length of several city blocks when horizontal. Therefore, bystanders and people in nearby buildings may also sustain injuries, especially if the crane collapses.

The size and weight of a typical crane means that the injuries that result from this type of construction site accident usually include:

Victims and their families can typically collect compensation from the company that owned and/or employed the operator of the crane. If these are different companies, then you may be able to name them both in your claim. Additionally, other companies on the construction site may be liable, if their negligence contributed to the accident. The companies that manufactured the crane or parts of the crane can also be liable, if product defects in any of these components contributed to the accident.

Hurt in a Crane Accident? Contact Our Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers

If you were injured in a crane collapse or other construction site accident, then you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Even if you are receiving workers compensation, you may be eligible for additional compensation if your injury was the result of a negligent third party (not your employer or a coworker). If you sustained an injury as a bystander, then you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against the construction site and crane owners and/or operators. Our construction accident lawyers will work with you to gain a personal understanding of your situation and to help you explore all of the options available to you.

Contact our law firm today to speak with a knowledgeable attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or Cherry Hill, New Jersey. We offer free initial consultations and handle cases on a contingency fee basis; you will not have to pay us unless we get results for you.