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Cranes are indispensable pieces of heavy machinery that are practically required at any large construction site. They are also one of the most dangerous pieces of machinery on modern construction sites. There are thousands of severe injuries and hundreds of deaths each year from crane accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured in one of these construction incidents, you may be entitled to compensation.

Most crane accidents are workplace injuries, which occur on construction sites. As a result, workers’ compensation coverage may apply to those injuries. Contractors, bystanders, and other people who are not covered by workers’ comp may also be injured. Those people can file personal injury claims for their injuries. Additionally, even if employees are eligible for workers’ compensation, they may be able to file suit against a wrongdoer for crane injuries. A Pensacola crane accident lawyer at our firm could review the facts of your injury and explore potential avenues of recovery.

Cranes Are Dangerous

With their awkward size and design, cranes are vulnerable to hazards. It is generally not a design flaw—they need that shape to perform their functions. However, it does make them prone to tipping. Safely using a crane means it must be on a solid, level surface with all loads adequately secured. The operator also needs to check to ensure that there are no obstructions that could block the safe operation of the crane.

Some common causes of crane accidents include:

  • Dropping a load
  • Mechanical failure
  • Overloading the crane
  • Hitting an electrical line
  • Not training the crane operators
  • Not using the correct type of crane
  • Failing to properly set up the crane
  • Exceeding the crane’s operational limits

As with any other piece of heavy machinery, operator error contributes to a number of accidents, including intoxicated, distracted, or drowsy operators.

The cause of the accident is important when establishing liability. If an operator’s negligence caused the accident, they may be held personally liable for the inflicted injuries. More importantly, through a doctrine known as respondeat superior, their employer may be financially responsible for your injuries. Another party that could be responsible for injuries is the manufacturers of the equipment. If it is proven a defect led to the sustained injury, the manufacturer may be liable.

Sometimes, an accident has multiple causes, meaning different people can be responsible for the injury. Under Florida’s modified comparative negligence rules, you can recover for your injuries as long as you were no more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, even if none of the other parties had the majority of the responsibility. A Pensacola crane accident attorney could review the circumstances of your accident to determine all potential liable parties.

Workers’ Compensation and Crane Injuries

Florida is a workers’ compensation state, which requires most employers with more than four employees to carry workers’ comp insurance. If you were an employee at the time of your injury, you probably have a workers’ comp claim. Even if you were an independent contractor, you may have a claim. The test for who qualifies as an employee does not depend on your designation, but on the amount of control you have over how you complete your job.

The upside of workers’ comp is that you do not have to demonstrate negligence to prevail in your claim. If the claim occurred while you were working, you should be able to recover compensation. There are some exceptions—for example, if you were intoxicated at the time of the accident, it may bar your recovery.

However, just because an insurer initially denies a workers’ comp claim does not mean you are ineligible. Remember, insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying people. A well-practiced crane accident lawyer in Pensacola could help you pursue your claim and represent you in trials and appeals.

Even if workers’ comp covers your injuries, you may be entitled to additional compensation. Workers’ comp limits your rights to recover from your employer. However, you can still recover from manufacturers or other wrongdoers as long as you do not share an employer.

Consult a Crane Accident Attorney in Pensacola

The aftermath of a crane accident can be harrowing. You may have extensive injuries while also dealing with the emotional trauma the incident caused. In addition, the time away from work can create a tremendous financial strain on you and your family. It can be tempting to accept a low settlement offer because of financial desperation. Do not let insurance companies pressure you. Get the help of a Pensacola crane accident lawyer at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon. Schedule a consultation to learn more.