Construction accidents, especially those involving cranes, cause some of the most serious or fatal injuries in our state. If you or a loved one suffered injury in a crane accident, you may be eligible to recover compensation through a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party claim. For help navigating the workers’ comp and personal injury systems, call a Fort Lauderdale crane accident and injury lawyer.
The attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. have over 150 years of experience representing injured victims and getting them the compensation they deserve.
While all cranes have one singular purpose — move heavy objects — there are quite a few different types:
As with many types of construction accidents, crane accidents are generally the result of equipment malfunction or misuse.
While crane accidents may not be the most common type of construction accident, they can be one of the deadliest. If a crane malfunctions or if a crane operator makes a mistake, thousands of pounds of materials — or the crane itself — could come crashing down on workers and bystanders.
Many crane accidents result in catastrophic injuries to the workers onsite. Unbalanced cranes can tip over and fall, putting those on and around the crane in danger. Due to the weight of an object and its elevation, falling objects can lead to severe injuries including broken bones, crushing injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and death.
If you survive a crane accident, you may be out of work for months and have tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and no way to pay for them. If your loved one died in a crane accident, you might be wondering how you will possibly go on without your loved one’s presence and paycheck.
You might feel that all hope is lost, but you have options to recover compensation.
Most workers injured in a construction site accident are eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your medical bills and part of your paycheck. (If the victim died in the accident, surviving family members are eligible to recover compensation.)
However, receiving workers’ compensation benefits means that you are unable to sue your employer. This is especially frustrating if you know that his or her negligence played a part in your injury. Fortunately, if there is another liable party, you may be able to file a claim to recover compensation.
Workers’ compensation benefits help keep you on your feet but sometimes they are not enough. If another party (e.g., manufacturer, another subcontractor, property manager, etc.) was liable for your injury, you may be able to file a third-party claim.
To do so, unlike with a workers’ compensation claim, you must be able to prove that the third party was negligent.
To do so, you need to establish the following:
Duty: The third party must have owed you a duty of care.
For example, construction site owners may have a duty to provide construction workers with a reasonably safe work environment. Sub-contractors may have a legal duty to warn workers of any dangerous conditions on the property and create a safe construction site. Manufacturers have a duty to create and sell safe products.
Breach of Duty: The third party must have breached that duty in some way. For example, the manufacturer sold a crane with bolts that come loose when the crane arms move. A subcontractor was distracted and let go of the crane controls, causing the crane to drop its load and injure you.
Causation: The accident must be the actual cause of your injury. For example, if you sustained a head injury in a car accident three months before the crane accident, you cannot claim the accident caused your head injury. Essentially, you need to prove that your injuries would not have happened but for the third party’s negligence.
Damages: You must also prove that you suffered actual damages, such as medical bills.
If you are able to prove the above criteria, you may be eligible for compensation. As with all personal injury lawsuits in the State of Florida, you must file within your claim within four years of your accident. If you do not file within this time, you may be unable to recover any compensation.
Note: While receiving workers’ compensation benefits does not prohibit you from filing a third-party claim, you must remember that your employer or its insurer may require you to use part of your settlement to pay back any of the benefits you received.
Operating a crane on the job can be dangerous and cause serious injury if not properly utilized and maintained. Filing for workers’ compensation or building a personal injury case against negligent third parties after your crane accident can be overwhelming. In addition to recovering from your injuries, you will have a lot to worry about with regards to your claim or lawsuit.
Fortunately, the attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. specialize in construction accidents and can help you assess your damages and injuries. We will help you value your medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
We will also help research construction zone operational codes and crane safety regulations to see if any parties violated codes. For more information on how Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. can assist you with your construction injury claim, call 954-524-2820 to schedule a free consultation.