Construction Crane Accidents
Charlotte Crane Accident Attorneys
Representing those injured in construction site accidents throughout North Carolina
Cranes are a common sight in the construction industry. These machines lift and lower heavy loads many stories into the air. The operation of cranes requires skill, training, and careful attention. The machine itself must be in excellent working condition and carefully balanced to ensure that it does not tip or swing dangerously during the lift.
When an operator error or equipment failure happens, a crane accident can cause serious injury or death, not only to workers on the construction site, but also to visitors or passersby who have the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you or a close family member has been injured in a crane accident, don’t wait to seek legal help. The Charlotte injury lawyers of Warren & Kallianos offer decades of combined experience representing people who have been hurt in construction site accidents. We have obtained significant verdicts and settlements for our clients, including a $1.12 million jury verdict for a client who suffered crush injuries when a crane that was being dismantled collapsed on top of him, resulting in severe fractures and permanent injuries.
How Crane Do Accidents Occur?
According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most crane accidents occur in one of four ways:
Contact with Power Lines
When any part of a crane touches a power line, the entire crane may conduct hundreds or thousands of volts, at high amperage, in an instant — causing dangerous or deadly electrocution to anyone touching the crane or standing too close to it. Contact with power lines may occur when the crane is set up improperly, when a crane operator or other individual misjudges the distance between the crane and the power lines, or when a mechanical failure due to a hidden defect in the crane itself causes a malfunction.
A load that is too heavy, is overextended, or that swings can cause a crane to overturn. Although crane operators can often take steps to reduce the risk of an overturn, these accidents can also be caused by improper loading of the crane or by a defect in the crane’s base or other parts that results in an overturn. An overturned crane may injure not only the operator, but anyone who happens to be in the path of the crane or the load as it falls.
Falls cause serious injuries in crane accidents in one of two ways. A person may fall from some part of the crane itself, suffering an injury; or a load may fall from the crane, crushing everything and everyone beneath it as it plummets to the ground. An improperly secured load or a load secured with a chain or strap that contains a defect may easily fall, causing serious harm — and greatly increasing the risk that the crane itself may overturn or break. In some cases, part of the crane itself detaches and falls, causing harm.
Although they look large and heavy, cranes do delicate work. Hoisting loads, placing them on platforms or floors way up high, and lowering loads from those heights take precise care with the controls. It also requires the crane to work as expected to ensure that the operator can hoist and place loads correctly. When a hidden defect or botched maintenance results in a mechanical failure, serious injuries can happen — and the operator may be unable to prevent them until it is too late.
Common Injuries in Crane Accidents
Crane accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, and they frequently result in death. OSHA estimates that 8 percent of all construction site accident injuries in one recent year involved cranes. Some of the more common catastrophic injuries and causes of death in crane accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Together, the brain and spinal cord regulate all the body’s functions and communicate with the organs, limbs, and tissues. A severe injury to the brain or spinal cord may result in paralysis or other severe disabilities. Traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury may result from a fall, occur when a crane tips over, or be caused by an electrical or other burn.
- Crush injuries. A load dropping from a height, part of the crane detaching and falling, or becoming trapped between the crane and another object can cause severe damage to the bones, organs, and tissues, known as a “crush injury.” Those who survive an initial crush injury still face a greatly increased risk of infection and the risk of “crush injury syndrome,” a condition in which the body can no longer maintain enough fluid volume to sustain life.
- Amputations. When a limb is severely crushed or burned, amputation may become the only option to save the life of the injured person. A limb may also be amputated by the force of the accident itself, especially if it involves a fall, a load dropped from a height, or a crane overturning.
- Bone fractures. Just as falls, entrapment accidents, or dropped loads can cause crush injuries, they can also cause one or more bones to break. Broken bones may require multiple surgeries in order to correct, an extensive healing time, and weeks or months in rehabilitation to strengthen the muscles and regain balance and motor control. Some victims never fully recover.
- Electrical burns. Electrocution resulting from a crane touching a power line can cause severe electrical burns. Electrical burns are among the most expensive burn injuries to treat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because a strong electrical current also disrupts the body’s own electrical impulses, electrocution can also cause damage to the heart, brain, and other organs. And, like all burn injury patients, those who suffer electrical burns must endure significant pain, may require skin grafts, and face a greatly increased risk of infection as the burns heal.
How Do I Assert My Rights to a Safe Workplace?
First, make sure your supervisor is aware of the danger. If your supervisor does not, or will not, address the problem, you can contact the nearest office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to report the problem if you work for a federal agency, the military, the railroad, maritime or shipyard, or on an Indian reservation.
For private industry workers, North Carolina is an OSHA state plan state and workplace safety is governed by the North Carolina Department of Labor (NC DOL). OSHA reports may be made anonymously, and your employer is barred by law from taking adverse action against you for reporting a safety violation. If you reported a safety violation and were terminated, demoted, or had another negative action taken against you as a result, speak to a Charlotte construction accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Why You Should Hire Warren & Kallianos
Our top priorities are providing excellent service and pursuing positive results for our clients. When you trust us with your crane accident case, we will get to work immediately and keep you in the loop about how we are progressing toward compensation.
Our qualified legal team can:
- Thoroughly investigate exactly what happened to cause the crane accident and determine all potentially responsible parties.
- Aggressively negotiate with insurance carriers and other third parties (such as a manufacturer of a defective crane part).
- Consult with medical and financial experts who can provide information about the seriousness of your injuries and the financial impact they will have on you and your family’s future.
- Take care of all the paperwork and manage all deadlines related to your claim.
- Be prepared to take your crane accident case to a hearing or court if that’s what is needed for you to receive full and fair compensation.
Whether our crane accident attorneys are arguing for you at a hearing, in court or at the negotiating table, our focus is always on what’s best for you and your family. Attorneys Jeff Warren and Chris Kallianos pool their knowledge and maximize their abilities to help injured clients by focusing solely on personal injury law. Our Charlotte construction accident lawyers have put our decades of legal experience to work for dozens of clients injured in serious accidents on construction sites, including crane collapse accidents and other accidents.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Qualified Charlotte Crane Accident Lawyers
Warren & Kallianos helps protect construction workers and their families. If you want to know how we can help your injury case be successful, please call 704-377-7777 or contact us now to schedule a free and confidential consultation on your case. We fight for injured workers throughout North Carolina.