Injured? Get help here!
Call Us 24/7 call
(850) 433-6581

Construction-related injuries can be devastating due to the heavy machinery and equipment often used on the premises. Many construction jobs require a crane to move heavy materials around. A Miramar Beach crane accident lawyer could provide legal counsel to help you recover compensation when you are injured in this type of construction accident.

Is an Employer Vicariously Liable?

The type of personal injury claim that an attorney advises you to pursue after a Miramar Beach crane accident will depend on the factors that caused the incident. If the accident was caused by the negligent operation of a crane, you may have a claim against the crane operator’s employer. If the accident occurred as a result of a construction employee’s negligent operation of the crane, you could bring a lawsuit against the employer under the state’s doctrine of strict liability for employers, or respondeat superior.

Strict liability claims against employers first require you to prove the negligent party was an employee. This analysis is normally straightforward unless the court views the worker as an independent contractor. The strict liability policy for employers under state law does not apply to independent contractors, only employees. Next, the court will ask whether the employee caused the injury while performing work within the scope of their job function. If the party operating the crane is an independent contractor, recovery against an employer is unlikely.

However, in such a scenario, you could instead have a claim for negligence against the third party operating the crane during the accident. For negligence claims, you must establish that the defendant had a duty of care. Generally, individuals operating dangerous equipment have a duty to use reasonable care that does not endanger the public.

Vicarious Liability Under the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine

In addition to an employer, the court could potentially find the crane’s owner vicariously liable for accidents in Miramar Beach under the state’s dangerous instrumentality law.

The doctrine provides that the owner of a dangerous tool or instrument is vicariously liable for injuries caused after they give permission to someone else to use the equipment. The doctrine is most commonly applied to scenarios where a car owner permits another person to drive their vehicle, and the third-party driver causes an accident.

However, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that construction equipment is considered a dangerous instrumentality in Newton v. Caterpillar Financial Services Corp., et al., Case No. SC17-67 (Fla. Sept. 27, 2018). The court ruled that the company that owned and leased a front-end loader to a construction contractor was vicariously liable for injuries caused by the equipment.

The dangerous instrumentality doctrine could provide another path to recover compensation in a situation where a crane was negligently operated by an independent contractor with no employer.

Wrongful Death Recovery for Surviving Family Members

If injuries from a Miramar Beach crane accident cause the death of an individual, they do not lose their ability to bring a lawsuit. The state’s wrongful death statute under Fla. Stat. § 768.19 allows the victim’s surviving family and dependents to pursue compensation.

According to Fla. Stat. § 768.20, the personal representative of the deceased party must initiate the lawsuit on behalf of the surviving family, which can include spouses, children, siblings, and parents.

The personal representative must commence the wrongful death action within two years of the deceased’s passing, according to Fla. Stat. § 95.11(4)(e).

Consult With a Miramar Beach Crane Accident Attorney Today

You should contact a Miramar Beach crane accident lawyer at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon immediately if you sustained injuries from such equipment. Our experienced lawyers could advise on the strongest legal theories that will allow you to seek compensation for your damages.

Since the state has a two-year statute of limitations for negligence claims, delays in filing your lawsuit could ultimately prevent you from recovering financially. Call now to avoid losing out on your legal rights.