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Cranes are frequently used in a number of heavy industries. Whether you work construction in Houston or in the offshore industry on the Gulf Coast, you may work on or in close proximity to a crane.

If this is the case, you know what large and imposing machines cranes can be. You might also have discovered the catastrophic consequences of a crane accident.

At Patrick Daniel Law, we have seen firsthand how crane accidents can permanently alter people’s lives. We are committed to pursuing maximum compensation on behalf of those who have suffered crane-related injuries and lost loved ones as a result of the following:

Houston crane accident lawyer Patrick Daniel and his team are Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless. We can build a strong claim on your behalf and pursue the compensation you and your family deserve.

Please call (713) 999-6666 today for a FREE case evaluation. Our crane accident attorney serves clients in Houston, throughout Texas, and nationwide.

Know the Risks of Working on Cranes | Patrick Daniel Law

What Are the Biggest Dangers of Working with Cranes?

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas leads the nation in worker deaths in accidents involving cranes. Over a 6-year period, 50 workers perished in crane accidents in the Lone Star State – more than 200% higher than the state with the next highest rate of crane-related fatalities.

Research shows that the following dangers represent the highest risk of death for those working on or around cranes:

  • Struck by object or equipment: More than half of the workplace fatalities linked to cranes involved objects or equipment falling from a crane and striking a worker down below.
  • Falls to lower level: Cranes can extend hundreds of feet into the air. It should come as no surprise, then, that a significant percentage of workers (14%) who fall from a crane do not survive the drop.
  • Transportation incidents: A “transportation incident” refers to a work-related fatality stemming from the movement of vehicles, machinery, and equipment. Workers killed in transportation incidents account for 13% of fatalities involving cranes.

The construction industry accounts for nearly half of the worker deaths in crane accidents. Workers who are most at danger of being killed in a crane accident are crane operators, followed by workers who build and dismantle cranes.


The Number One Cause of Crane Accidents

The vast majority of crane accidents are caused by human error. However, exactly how this error leads to the accident – and who is responsible – can vary significantly.

The most common causes of crane accidents are:

1. Carelessness in Handling Tools or Equipment

Being struck by an object is the number one cause of crane-related fatalities. A single mistake – such as dropping a tool or setting the crane in motion and causing an object to fall – can prove deadly for those on the ground.

2. Overloading the Crane

Cranes are designed to carry and move massive loads. However, every crane has a weight limit. If the load exceeds the crane’s capacity, a number of accidents may occur:

  • Crane collapses
  • Overturn accidents
  • Boom collapses and other mechanical failures

Similar incidents may occur if the load is not properly secured before being lifted by the crane. Multiple workers may be seriously injured or killed in the event of a collapse or if the crane tips over.

3. Contact with Overhead Power Lines

Care must be taken on any job site to avoid power lines. Operators and other workers can suffer fatal electrocution if the boom or another part of the crane comes into contact with overhead wires.

4. Errors During Assembly of the Crane

In order to function properly and safely, cranes must be assembled according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Errors during the assembly process (such as not aligning the crane, missing crucial components, and mixing and matching parts from different machines) increase the risk of catastrophic failure.

5. Inadequate Training and Supervision of Crane Operators

Workers need to be trained to operate cranes. If proper training is not provided and/or the operator is unsupervised, accidents are much more likely to occur.

Lack of training is a danger to the operator, who may hit a power line or a nearby structure or exceed the crane’s operational capabilities and weight limits. Inexperience on the part of the operator is also a risk for other workers, who may fall or get struck by part of the crane while it is in operation.

6. Crane Defects and Failures

Mechanical errors account for a relatively small number of crane accidents. That said, failures do happen as a result of issues such as wear and tear and defective components.

Cranes are complex machines. A crane accident may occur if the following parts are not functional and well-maintained:

  • The boom (the arm of the crane)
  • The center pin
  • The hoist
  • The pulley system
  • Wires and ropes
  • Hydraulic systems
  • Electrical components
  • Brakes
Damages for Crane Accident Injuries | Patrick Daniel Law

Who Is Responsible for Crane Accidents?

It is important to distinguish between fault and legal liability. Although an individual worker (usually the crane operator) may be at fault for the accident, liability for a crane accident (i.e., the party or parties you could sue) generally lies elsewhere.

Potential liable parties in a crane accident claim may include:

  • The owner of the crane
  • A contractor or subcontractor who:
    • Negligently assembled the crane
    • Failed to train employees on how to operate the crane properly
    • Did not perform necessary maintenance and repairs on the crane
    • Failed to inspect the crane
  • The owner of the premises where the crane was being operated
  • A work supervisor, foreman, or project supervisor
  • Companies involved in the design and manufacturing of the crane and/or its components

Liability for a crane accident is often complicated. Patrick Daniel Law will thoroughly investigate to determine who is responsible and what your legal options are in the wake of the accident.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to bring claims against multiple parties. Though doing so may enable you to recover full compensation for your injuries and damages, it is important to work with a knowledgeable crane accident lawyer.

Companies and their insurance carriers love to play the blame game when an accident occurs. Defendants and their insurers will do everything possible to avoid paying victims what’s fair. Without an attorney, your rights and interests will likely be lost in the storm of accusations and finger pointing.

Houston crane accident lawyer Patrick Daniel knows the tricks construction companies, maritime businesses, and other outfits use to shirk responsibility. Together with our team, he will strive to hold the at-fault parties accountable by negotiating a favorable settlement on your behalf or, if necessary, taking your case to court.

The Most Common Injuries in Crane Accidents

Cranes vary in terms of their size, weight, and the loads they can carry. What doesn’t typically change, however, is the likelihood that you will suffer serious and catastrophic injuries if you are involved in a crane accident.

Some of the most common injuries we see at Patrick Daniel Law in crane accident claims include:

All of these injuries can result in severe pain and limited mobility and function. They also carry a strong psychological component.

Workers who are injured in crane accidents often feel anxious and depressed in the wake of such a traumatic experience. This feeling is often exacerbated by the difficulties of going from an able-bodied individual to someone who may be unable to work or participate in life the way they did before.

Patrick Daniel Law can pursue compensation for the financial losses associated with the crane accident as well as the adverse physical, emotional, and mental impact. If your loved one was killed in a crane accident, our firm can seek recovery of your family’s damages through a wrongful death claim.

A claim can be brought against the manufacturer if a crane defect leads to the accident. It is also crucial to consider the role that inadequate maintenance and inspections may have played in why the crane failed.

What Compensation Can I Get for a Crane Accident?

Success in complex litigation is one of the elements that sets Patrick Daniel Law apart. In these cases, identifying all possible options for recovery is a prerequisite for achieving optimal results.

The compensation you may be able to recover in the aftermath of a crane accident will depend on a host of factors. These include (a) the circumstances of your employment and (b) where the accident occurred, as well as the available insurance coverage.

Workers’ Compensation for Crane Accidents

If your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, you may be limited to filing a claim for workers’ comp benefits. Workers compensation covers the following regardless of how the accident occurred or who was at fault:

  • Medical benefits
  • Income benefits
  • Death benefits
  • Burial benefits

However, as we see in many work injury cases, workers’ compensation might not be an option. Workers in Texas are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to no-fault benefits. Unlike other states, Texas does not require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance.

If this is the case and you are hurt on the job, you may need to sue in order to get the compensation you deserve. You will need to prove that your employer and/or a coworker’s negligence led to the crane accident. This is often far more challenging than filing a claim for workers’ comp.

Third-Party Crane Accident Claims

The assembly and operations of cranes often involves many different parties. If a party other than your employer (such as a contractor, subcontractor, maintenance crew, etc.) was negligent, and this negligence led to the crane accident, you may be able to recover compensation through a third-party claim.

Unlike workers’ comp, there are no limitations on the type and amount of damages you may be entitled to in a third-party claim. However, you will still need to present evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the defendant(s).

Patrick Daniel Law investigates to determine what went wrong and who is responsible for the crane accident. We collect relevant evidence and consult experts to build your claim against all negligent third parties.

Maritime Crane Accidents

Cranes are commonly used in the offshore and maritime industries. These machines do a lot of heavy lifting on ships, oil rigs, and more.

If you are injured while operating a crane on a seafaring vessel, your main legal recourse is the Merchant Marine Act (also known as the Jones Act). Under the Jones Act, maritime workers are entitled to “maintenance and cure” (i.e., the cost of living and medical expenses). Additional compensation may be recoverable if you can prove that your employer’s negligence made the vessel and/or the equipment unsafe (or “unseaworthy,” in maritime law terms).

Cranes are also frequently used at work sites adjacent to the water, such as ports, harbors, and shipyards. If you are injured in a crane accident while loading, unloading, or building a ship (or, in some cases, working on a permanent offshore oil rig), you would be entitled to compensation through the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).

The LHWCA covers the cost of medical services and supplies and disability payments for qualified workers. If a worker is killed, surviving family members are entitled to compensation for reasonable funeral expenses and a percentage of the worker’s average wage.

Railroad Crane Accidents

Railroads make extensive use of cranes in handling freight and performing maintenance on tracks. If you work on the railroad (whether on the tracks or in the yard) and you are injured in a crane accident, you will likely need to file a claim under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA).

Unlike with other workers’ compensation programs, you must present evidence that your employer’s negligence led to the accident to recover in a FELA claim. The potential compensation is also more extensive than what can usually be recovered through workers’ comp; you may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering and loss of earning capacity, as well as all of your medical expenses and lost wages.

FELA claims are complicated, and proving fault on the part of a large and powerful entity like a railroad can be extremely challenging. Attorney Patrick Daniel understands the complexities of FELA and has the knowledge, resources, and experience to build a strong claim on your behalf.

Most common causes of crane accidents. | Patrick Daniel Law

Frequently Asked Questions

Crane accidents, while not exceedingly common, can have severe consequences due to their complex and heavy machinery. The construction industry, which extensively employs cranes, experiences the lion’s share of these incidents. However, the rarity of such accidents doesn’t diminish their potential impact on lives and well-being.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are an average of 42 fatal injuries involving cranes per year. Unfortunately, by far, the majority of these incidents occurred in Texas. There were 50 lives lost in Texas between 2011 and 2017 due to crane accidents, leaving devastated families behind.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) acknowledges the hazards linked to cranes and has laid out specific guidelines in 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC for their safe operation. Yet, accidents continue to happen. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to be injured or lose a loved one in a crane accident, a Houston crane accident lawyer can provide crucial legal assistance to help you navigate the aftermath.

Despite being rare, crane accidents can have catastrophic impacts, sometimes resulting in tragic fatalities. According to the BLS, 293 workers were killed in crane accidents between 2011 and 2017. This does not specify whether they were the crane operator, nor does it take into account the injuries and deaths of laypeople. However, we do know that 22% of workers were operating the crane at the time of their death, while 23% were “engaged in construction, assembling, and dismantling activities.”

In addition:

  • A little more than 50% of all fatal crane injuries involved being struck by an object or equipment
  • Transportation incidents made up around 13% of fatal crane incidents
  • Falls to a lower level made up about 14% of crane-related deaths

In the unfortunate event of a fatal crane accident, a crane accident attorney can provide guidance to the family of the deceased, helping them understand their rights, potential compensation options, and any legal actions that can be taken against responsible parties.

Yes, cranes have unfortunately fallen over many times. Crane accidents occur due to various factors. These incidents often result in significant damage, injuries, and even fatalities. The construction industry has experienced some high-profile cases of crane accidents.

For instance, the “totally avoidable” collapse of a tower crane in Seattle in 2019 resulted in multiple fatalities and injuries. In that case, the injured and the families of those killed were awarded over $150 million.

Another incident involved a construction crane toppling over onto a Dallas apartment building in 2019, causing injuries to 5 and the death of one woman. The victims and the family of the poor woman killed were awarded $860 million.

More recently, a tower crane collapsed in Manhattan after a fire broke out in the crane’s cab. The fire was reportedly caused by a hydraulic fluid leak. Part of the crane fell 45 stories to the street below and somehow only caused minor injuries to 12 people. However, the owners of the crane also owned cranes involved in two disastrous accidents in 2008. The history of issues is concerning and could indicate a bigger problem.

Such accidents highlight the importance of adhering to safety guidelines and regulations, as well as the necessity of legal assistance in the aftermath. A Houston crane accident attorney can investigate the causes of a crane accident, determine liability, and help ensure that victims receive the compensation they deserve.

Cranes can fall over due to various factors, often resulting from a combination of human error, mechanical failure, and adverse weather conditions. Factors that can contribute to a crane falling over include:

  • Improper assembly
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Exceeding load capacity
  • Unstable ground

Moreover, sudden changes in wind speed or direction can also lead to a crane toppling over.

The intricacies of crane accidents necessitate the experience of a Houston crane accident attorney to determine causation and liability and to secure appropriate compensation if you’ve been injured or a family member has been lost.

The life expectancy of a crane can vary significantly based on factors such as usage, maintenance, and technological advancements. Generally, well-maintained cranes can remain operational for 20 to 25 years or more. Regular inspections, repairs, and adherence to recommended maintenance schedules can extend a crane’s lifespan.

OSHA’s guidelines extend to maintenance practices, helping to ensure cranes are kept in safe working condition. However, some companies may think they can cut corners on regular maintenance to save a buck, callously leaving their workers vulnerable to disastrous consequences. Even if proper care is taken, certain components might require replacement or upgrades over time.

A Houston crane accident lawyer can provide valuable assistance if you’ve been injured or a loved one has been lost in a crane accident. They can evaluate the incident, determine if safety regulations were violated, and help you seek compensation for your injuries. Strategic legal assistance can be critical in securing justice and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve for your terrible losses.

If you’ve suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a crane accident, seeking the assistance of a Houston crane accident attorney is essential. Our knowledge and experience ensure you receive the best possible legal guidance during this difficult time. We possess a deep understanding of industry regulations and accident reconstruction, and we will see to it that your case is meticulously built.

Our team investigates the accident, determines causation and liability, and gathers evidence. We negotiate with insurance companies to secure fair compensation and, if needed, pursue legal action to protect your rights.

We work on a contingency basis. You pay only when we secure compensation for you, making legal assistance accessible without upfront costs. Reach out to Patrick Daniel Law for a FREE consultation. We’ll evaluate your case, explain your options, and guide you on the best course of action.

Read More: What To Do After a Construction Accident

A crane accident lawyer can be your strongest advocate, ensuring your rights are upheld and you receive the compensation you deserve for your devastating losses. We proudly represent clients in Houston, greater Texas, and nationwide.

Contact a Houston Crane Accident Lawyer Today

Attorney Patrick Daniel has practiced law on the Gulf Coast for more than 15 years. He knows the workers and industries in this region, as well as the dangers on the job.

If you have been injured or lost a member of your family in a crane accident, you need to know your legal rights and options immediately. Patrick Daniel Law has extensive experience with these cases, and we can determine what claim(s) you may be able to file and what compensation you may be able to recover.

Each member of our team is Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless in the handling of your case. We believe that the best outcomes are achieved through careful preparation, creative legal strategies, and relentless advocacy on behalf of our clients.

Please call Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 today for a FREE case evaluation. Our crane accident attorney serves clients throughout Houston, all of Texas, nationwide, and even internationally in select situations.

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