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Crane Accidents

Construction Site CraneCrane accidents in Los Angeles are a real danger as construction continues booming in and around the downtown area, suburbs, and neighboring counties of Southern California. As area construction accident lawyers, we at Ellis Law are dedicated to getting crane accident victims and their families their much deserved compensation. Crane accidents are particularly dangerous to human life.  Injuries to victims who survive are often extremely serious.

We represent those who have been injured in this manner, including workers on the site as well as those unfortunate passers-by who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Crane accident statistics

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration estimates that there are about 125,000 cranes in operation in the construction industry in the United States every day. There are an additional 80,000 to 100,000 involved in the maritime shipping industry. Because cranes are so large, and the weights they carry are so immense, even the slightest operator error or improperly maintained bolt can result in a catastrophic accident.

Between 1992 and 2006, 610 construction worker deaths were attributed to crane accidents, about 42 per year.  Nearly two-thirds of all crane-related accidents are caused by tower style cranes. Other styles responsible for injuries include mobile cranes, gantries and loader cranes.

In 2008, 58 deaths were still attributed to crane accidents.  That same year:

  • Crane collapses accounted for 28 deaths and 73 injuries
  • Overhead power line contact accounted for 10 deaths and 8 injuries
  • Crane loads struck and killed 6 people and injured 10 more
  • Crane arm and body contact caused 6 deaths and 7 injuries
  • 8 other deaths and 28 injuries were also due directly to crane activities

While there have been no published statistics in the past 5 years, the dangers of cranes  accidents are still quite real. Reports  of incidences regularly appear in news headlines, and yet their impact reminds us how vulnerable we all are to these sorts of random and “freak accidents.”

Who is liable in a crane accident?

Accidents caused by the failure of cranes on a construction site, implicate several potentially liable parties. The majority of all crane-related injuries are caused because of operator error. This places the liability directly on the company that employed the operator as well as any companies charged with training the individual. Fault could be found with the individual, poor supervision, failure to enforce proper safety procedures or any combination of these. They could also come directly from poorly securing the load, not properly clearing the lift site and failing to adequately account for wind.

In addition to all of these potential operator errors, mechanical problems can also cause injury. Eleven percent of all crane accidents are attributed to mechanical failure. Poor maintenance practices can lead to crane collapses and buckling.  In cases such as this, the outcome may have been avoided had property safety precautions been implemented.

Crane injuries are of particular concern to workers on site.  For them, worker’s compensation is available to cover certain costs. However, compensation is limited under California law, prompting workers to file lawsuits against other potentially liable entities.

Ellis Law’s team of construction accident lawyers is equally prepared to bring the worker’s compensation claim on behalf of the workman as we are to file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the innocent bystander. Each case presents its own challenges of liability and damage assessment. However, the laws do tend to favor the victims in these cases as negligence can usually be ascribed to some entity connected with the building, maintenance, or operation of the crane.

In addition to seeking damages from the construction company, a victim may also seek recovery against:

  • Property owner
  • Property management company
  • General contractor
  • Sub-contractors
  • Architect
  • Equipment manufacturer

Any of these parties may ultimately be found liable for wrongful death, medical bills, lost wages, lost or diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering, and permanent disability. A pattern of negligent action or reckless action may also form the basis for the recovery of punitive damages.

Talk to a Los Angeles construction accident attorney

Litigation of construction matters present a variety of complex issues. If you were injured in a crane accident in Los Angeles, or if you lost a family member due negligence at a California construction site, it is critical that you work with a law firm with considerable experience in this highly complicated area.  Ellis Law is that firm. For over twenty years, we have fought against these powerful companies in and out of court to recover millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our personal injury clients.

Our resources include experts with specialized knowledge in construction site management, engineers familiar with crane operation and similar equipment, and other professionals who understand the issues specific to these types of accidents.  Our team is ready to get to work on your case today, and we will not stop until we’ve resolved it.

Please call Ellis Law today at 1-800-INJURED . We offer complimentary legal consultations to anyone considering legal action after a serious construction site accident.

  1. U.S. Department of Labor; Crane, Derrick, and Hoist Safety https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/cranehoistsafety/index.html
  2.  LA Times, Subway Worker Killed in Crane Accident, http://articles.latimes.com/1997/oct/09/news/mn-40861
  3. NY Times, 7 Injured After Crane Collapse in Queens, http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/several-injured-after-crane-collapse-in-queens/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0