According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), cranes are responsible for more serious accidents than any other piece of heavy construction equipment.
Unfortunately, crane-related injuries are not exclusive to construction workers. Cranes are often present in crowded urban environments, meaning an accident can affect not only workers but pedestrians or others in the vicinity of the construction site.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a crane accident in Chicago, Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help you bring the circumstances of your injury into focus and determine your best options for pursuing the financial compensation you deserve.
Steps to take after a crane accident
1. Seek medical attention
Go to the emergency room or urgent care before doing anything else. Even if you don’t think you’ve been hurt that badly, that could be due to adrenaline and other “fight or flight” hormones racing through your body. If you can’t call 911, have a co-worker do it for you.
2. Report the incident
Next, you’ll need to report the accident to your supervisor. This will be mandatory if you’re going to later file a workers’ compensation claim. Take note of the person you report the incident to, as well as the date of this conversation. This will be important if you choose to take legal action later.
3. Speak with a Chicago crane accident attorney
Construction sites can be fast-moving, unpredictable places. Before evidence disappears or is destroyed, and before your employer or the insurance company can act against you, it’s in your best interest to call a Chicago crane accident lawyer and learn your legal options.
Meeting with an attorney right away gives you the best chance of preserving evidence and making a strong case in your favor.
Types of crane accidents
These are three of the most common kinds of accidents involving cranes.
Issues with the boom
If a boom is extended too far, it can fail due to a heavy load. A boom collapse can occur if there is too much weight that places excessive pressure on the crane’s mechanical components.
When a crane is overloaded or on uneven ground, it can tip over.
A crane can lose its load due to negligence. This typically occurs when the load is unbalanced, or not secured properly.
Causes of crane accidents
Crane accidents can occur due to several different reasons. One of the most common is a lack of training. Not only do companies need to thoroughly train their crane operators, they also have to provide detailed safety training to anyone working near the machine.
Another potential cause is improper assembly. Cranes are very complex pieces of equipment, and should only be assembled, modified, and disassembled by highly trained professionals working under close supervision.
Common crane accident injuries
Severe injuries resulting from a crane accident include the following:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – A TBI can occur due to the victim being hit in the head by part of the crane, or injured due to a falling load.
- Spinal cord injury – If a worker is crushed between the crane and another machine, they could suffer extensive spinal cord damage. This type of injury can also happen if a victim falls from the cab.
- Electrocution – A crane that comes in contact with a wire or other type of power source can electrocute anyone in the machine.
Wrongful death in crane accidents
There are some tragic instances when a crane accident is so severe that the victim dies. If this occurs due to the negligence of a contractor or other third party, the family members should speak with a Chicago wrongful death attorney with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates. They may be able to take legal action against those who were responsible for the accident.
Understanding workers’ compensation
In most instances, an injured employee will have to go through Illinois’ workers’ compensation program. This program is designed to pay for medical treatment and to help make up for part of the worker’s pay. But you should still contact a Chicago crane accident attorney so they can investigate the accident. As noted above, if a third party was to blame for your injury, you may qualify to file a lawsuit.
Crane safety regulations and prevention
The basis for any personal injury claim is that harm has resulted from careless or negligent actions by another. If insufficient attention is paid to the extensive safety regulations for cranes, the potential for an accident is greatly increased. Here are some of the issues associated with the safe use of cranes.
Many issues need to be considered if a crane is to be brought onto a worksite, from the conditions of the ground in the area where it is to be placed to the placement of barriers to keep workers out of the area of the crane’s swing radius and attention to the proximity of overhead power lines.
OSHA notes that the majority of crane accidents are the result of improper crane setup. The following safety measures must be taken to ensure proper setup:
- A crane and its controls need to be inspected by a qualified professional before the crane is used
- The crane used must be appropriate for the job, able to bear the anticipated load, etc.
- The crane’s load capacity cannot be exceeded
- Operators must be trained and qualified and must follow all signals and instructions
- Loads cannot be transported over workers
This is not a full checklist. It does, however, underscore the extent of the safety and operational issues that are required when cranes are on a construction site.
Make sure you meet the deadline to file a claim
The deadline for filing a personal injury claim against a third party in Illinois is two years from the date of the accident. You have three years from that date to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Possible damages to claim
Your “damages” are the financial losses resulting from the accident. They include the following:
Economic damages are the tangible expenses that you incurred as a direct result of the incident. These include things like medical bills, including ambulance rides and visits to the ER as well as lost wages.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are difficult to prove because they’re subjective. They include mental distress, pain and suffering, and more. You’ll need the help of a skilled Chicago work injury attorney to prove your non-economic damages.
Parties who may be liable for your claim
There could be several parties that contributed to the accident. The only way you can obtain money from your employer, in most instances, will be through a workers’ comp lawsuit. But if any of the following played a role in causing your injury, you might be able to take action through a personal injury lawsuit.
Company that owns and operates the crane
Your employer may have hired an outside company to operate the equipment. If that company failed to maintain the crane or failed to provide proper training, it could be held liable.
If the operator is a contractor and committed negligence, you could sue them for your damages.
The crane may have failed due to a defect. If that’s the case, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the company that made the equipment.
How our Chicago crane accident attorneys can prove liability
When you choose a Chicago crane accident attorney with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, you’ll be working with a skilled professional with extensive experience in investigating workplace accidents. We’ll determine how the accident occurred, and then pursue compensation on your behalf.
We have several methods of doing this. For example, we can obtain performance records of the crane to see if it had issues in the past. We can also get maintenance records to see if a contractor failed to properly service the equipment. If the operator was distracted by talking or texting, we can obtain their phone records.
Length of time you can expect your claim to settle
There is no set-in-stone amount of time it will take for you to obtain compensation. However, in most instances, the stronger your case, the faster you will get your money. That’s one of the reasons you’ll need to speak with a Chicago crane accident attorney immediately so they can begin their investigation.
Cost of hiring a crane accident lawyer in Chicago
You won’t have to pay a dime unless Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates wins your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay. This arrangement is known as a “contingency fee,” and it takes financial pressure off of you so you can focus on your physical recovery.
Why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible
You not only need to get medical help to protect your health but also to protect your case. If you don’t see a doctor, the insurance company could deny your claim because you won’t have enough proof of the severity of your injury.
Why hire Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates
The legal team at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is committed to protecting your rights and to doing all that we can to help seek the level of compensation you deserve.
We helped Illinois families achieve more than $1 billion in settlements over our years in practice. Take a look at our case results to see for yourself.
It won’t cost you a penny to have us assess your case and your options. If you decide to move forward, you won’t be asked to pay until we win your case, at which point you’ll pay a fee that was agreed upon in our first meeting.
Our Chicago crane accident attorney is ready to help
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our personal injury lawyers are advocates for the injured. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a crane accident, connect with our Chicago crane accident attorneys at once.
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