Cranes are a common example of heavy machinery that is found at a jobsite. They are often forgotten or disregarded since they tower over a jobsite, but they can pose a real hazard to workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries most recent survey, there were 79 deaths because of hoists, cranes, derricks, and related accessories.
Given the size of cranes, there have been fatalities involving pedestrians as well because the general public is often around these cranes since cranes are often in large and dense urban areas. Cities like Seattle, Bellingham, Kirkland, and Olympia have seen record numbers of cranes in their downtown urban cores and even beyond, into outer suburbs as well. This record growth has also spurred, unfortunately, an increase in the number of people who are hurt from crane accidents.Washington State Crane Accident Laws
Crane accidents are common for a number of reasons and they can happen for a number of reasons and in a number of situation. The main reason for crane accidents results from:
- Boom collapses
- Dropped loads
- Cranes that have been overturned,
- Rigging failures
This is largely because many cranes are not maintained properly or inspected on a consistent basis. Those are the most common reasons, but there are many others as well, and a lot of these reasons fall on the crane operator. Many crane operators simply do not have the proper qualifications and training to be operating a crane in the first place.
Alarmingly, OSHA’s crane standards have not been updated since 1971. The owners and operators of cranes have a duty not to harm the public with their cranes and they must abide by that duty. If they breach this duty and someone is harmed, then by law they are responsible for the injured party’s damages, which can include, but are not limited to, medical bills, wages that are lost from work, and money for what is called pain and suffering.
If you have been injured on the job, you have one of two options in order to secure a recovery for your injuries. First, you may to be able to turn to L&I.
L&I stands for Labor and Industries and they are a division of Washington State. They will pay you a portion of your time loss and, if you are eligible, you can receive a financial settlement for your injuries, which is called a permanent partial disability award (PPD award). This amount is based on the percentage of your disability.
The particular thing about a L&I case is that you don’t have to prove that anyone was at fault. L&I does not care who was at fault. You can receive benefits from L&I regardless of who was at fault. Even you could be at fault. All that matters is that you were on the job when you got hurt. While the settlement you will receive L&I may not be much money, it can at least be something for you.
The second option you have is what is called a third party settlement. A third party settlement is only available when a party other than your employer caused your accident. So if there was another company, such as a general contractor, that was partly or entirely responsible for how the accident was created, then you can sue the general contractor just like you could sue someone who struck you with their car.
If you have to sue the general contractor, or a subcontractor, then you have to prove that they were somehow negligent and caused your injuries. This is very different from L&I obviously, where, again, you don’t have to prove fault. With a third party case, the burden of proof is on you. This means you may have to hire a certain kind of expert to prove your version of events are in fact correct. These cases may not be easy to win, but the financial reward may be much greater than with a L&I case.
If this second option is available to you, there is no reason why you can’t have both a L&I case and a third party case. The reason this is the case is that you are not suing your employer, which is not allowed when L&I is involved. Instead, you’re suing a company other than your employer, which is allowed. However, L&I will likely ask that you repay a portion of your legal settlement that is reserved for medical bills back to L&I.
While the party that injured you, whether it be a general or subcontractor, may have violated any number of laws, it is important to identify at least one. In addition, you may be able to just point to the fact that the defendant either knew or should have known there was a problem with their worksite in terms of it not being safe.
If you have suffered an electric shock on the job and suffered serious injuries, feel free to speak to The Jackman Law Firm for a free consultation.Common Crane Accident Injuries
If you have been injured on the job or at a construction site, you may have suffered a number of serious injuries. Among them are:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee injuries
After injuring yourself in a construction accident, it is doubtful the injury will just heal on its own. Rather, you will have to see a doctor or specialist, such as a chiropractor, osteopath, primary doctor, or surgeon in order to get back to health. Delaying to get medical care is not advisable. Please seek immediately medical care in order to treat your injuries.How The Jackman Law Firm Can Help
If you have been injured at a jobsite or construction site, you may have a claim against the company to recoup compensation for your injuries. The Jackman Law Firm has the expertise to effectively represent you with the insurance company for the construction company, in arbitration and if necessary in court to secure your rights for compensation and relief. After your injury, you are understandably upset and likely unsure of your options and which way to with your case. You are likely receiving a lot of phone calls from insurance companies, you’re going to the doctor or the chiropractor, and you may be missing work.
If this is the case, do not go through this process alone. We can help you every step of the way. We can work with the insurance companies so they do not contact you. We can help you secure all of the compensation you are owed for your injury under Washington State Law. The Jackman Law Firm can help you recover the following:
- Money for pain and suffering
- Money for lost wages
- Money for out of pocket expenses
- Money for medical bills
We have the resources, experience, and successful track record to win your case. There may be instances when you find yourself having to defend yourself from untrue accusations from the insurance company for the party that injured you. They may claim that you are somehow either entirely at fault or partly at fault for your injuries.
For instance, if you suffered a neck injury because of a crane accident, the insurance company for the crane company may argue that you should have watched where you were going. If this is the case, the Jackman Law Firm can help you by sending a subpoena for documents from the company, interviewing key witnesses, and speaking to the police to see if we can do everything possible to prove your case in your favor. Feel free to call for a free consultation.