Crane Accident Claims

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Crane Accident Claims

If you have been injured by a crane while at work and it was caused by someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to make a compensation claim. Our solicitors have years of experience in handling crane accident claims and will offer practical, direct and straightforward legal advice to ensure you get the best results.

Our accidents at work solicitors have the knowledge and experience required to help you secure the maximum amount of compensation if you have sustained an injury caused by a crane or accident at work that was not your fault. We will handle your case with the utmost care and sensitivity, meaning you can focus on your recovery.

Speak to us today by calling 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and let us know a suitable time to contact you.

What Our Clients Say

How JMW Can Help You Claim

We have years of experience in helping individuals who have been involved in crane accidents obtain compensation, which means we are well-placed to assist you at this time. Our solicitors put client care and a high quality of service at the heart of all our work. We are determined to secure for you the maximum compensation amount that you rightfully deserve after sustaining an injury due to the negligence of another party.

Although the use of cranes is regulated, and the individuals operating them are subject to specialist training before being allowed to operate them, serious injuries can still happen.

Our solicitors have handled crane accident compensation cases involving:

  • Mechanical faults on the crane
  • Taking a load too heavy for the crane to lift
  • Miscommunication leading to a collision
  • Crane and loads destabilising after contact with other surfaces
  • Objects falling from the crane
  • Adverse weather destabilising the crane
  • Human error

No matter how your injury was sustained, if someone else’s negligence caused your accident, you are entitled to claim compensation.

Compensation sustained for your injuries can cover any loss of earnings you have experienced, as well as unexpected medical costs and other expenses incurred as a result of your injuries. This can provide a vital lifeline for individuals to receive the support they may not otherwise have been able to access.

Your Employer's Responsibility

Your employer is legally required to follow strict guidelines set by the Health and Safety Executive when it comes to the use of cranes. Risk assessments must be carried out to ensure that a crane is safe to use, slings must be checked and regular maintenance checks should be conducted.

It is also an employer’s responsibility to designate a health and safety executive to ensure that all operating staff are trained and competent when handling a crane, while all those working in the vicinity are told of the dangers of cranes.

If HSE procedures have not been followed and an accident occurs, you can make a compensation claim.

What Are the Common Causes of Crane Accidents?

Crane accidents, while infrequent, can lead to serious consequences due to the immense size and weight of the loads they handle. Identifying the common causes of these accidents is essential for improving safety measures in sectors that rely heavily on crane operations.

Mechanical Failures

One of the leading causes of crane accidents is mechanical failure. This encompasses a variety of issues including structural defects and malfunctioning components such as hoists, cables or brakes.

Regular maintenance and thorough inspections are key to identifying potential mechanical problems. Despite stringent checks, wear and tear, particularly in demanding work environments, can result in unexpected failures.

Given the complexity and size of cranes, a failure in even a single component can lead to catastrophic events like collapses or the dropping of heavy loads.

Human Error

Human error is a significant factor in crane accidents. This can be due to a range of issues, from the operator’s miscalculation of load weight to improper rigging or overestimating the crane's capacity.

The importance of specialised training for crane operators cannot be overstated, as the operation of these machines requires skill and experience.

Communication breakdowns on site, particularly between the crane operator and ground staff, are also a common cause of accidents. The role of site managers and other workers in adhering to safety protocols is crucial in preventing these errors.

Environmental Factors

Adverse weather conditions such as high winds, torrential rain or lightning significantly impact crane operations. Cranes are particularly vulnerable to wind, which can cause swaying or even toppling, especially when lifting heavy loads.

Operating in congested or inadequately planned sites can lead to collisions with other structures or equipment. The absence of a well-considered operational plan that accounts for environmental and spatial constraints elevates the risk of accidents.

FAQs about Crane Accident Claims

Who can file a crane accident claim?

The eligibility to file a crane accident claim largely depends on the nature of the crane accident, severity of the accident and the relationship of the individuals involved to the incident. Generally, several parties may have the right to pursue a claim in the event of a crane accident.

Firstly, crane operators or workers who are injured in a crane accident are typically the primary claimants. These individuals can file a claim if the accident was due to reasons such as equipment failure, inadequate training or unsafe working conditions. 

Additionally, bystanders or third parties who are injured as a result of a crane accident can also file a claim. This could include individuals on or near a construction site, such as visitors, nearby residents or pedestrians. In such cases, these individuals can pursue a personal injury claim against the crane operator, the construction company or any other party whose negligence contributed to the accident.

How soon should I file a crane accident claim?

Personal injury claims, including those arising from crane accidents, generally must be filed within three years of the date of the accident or the date when the claimant first became aware of their injury (known as the ‘date of knowledge’). For workers’ compensation claims for fatal injuries, while there isn't a statutory time limit as such, it is advisable to report the injury to the employer as soon as possible and the claim should typically be made soon after the accident.

  • Importance of prompt action: filing a claim promptly after a crane accident is important for several reasons. It ensures that evidence is fresh and more readily available. Over time, evidence can be lost and witnesses' recollections may become less clear. Acting swiftly helps in preserving this evidence. Early action allows for the timely gathering of medical evidence, which is key in substantiating the claim, especially in personal injury cases.
  • Seeking legal advice early: consulting a solicitor early can provide significant advantages. They can offer guidance on the claims process, help in gathering and preserving evidence, and provide advice on the likely value of the claim. A solicitor can also navigate the complex legal aspects of the claim, ensuring that it is filed correctly and within the legal time limits.
  • Dealing with financial and medical issues: for those injured in a crane accident, early filing can help address immediate financial and medical concerns. Compensation from a claim can cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and lost earnings, especially if the injury has impacted the claimant’s ability to work.
What damages can be claimed in a crane accident case?

In a crane accident case, various types of damages can be claimed, depending on the specifics of the incident and the extent of the injuries or losses suffered. These damages are typically categorised as follows:

  • Medical expenses: this includes costs for immediate medical treatment following the accident, as well as ongoing medical expenses such as surgeries, medication, physical therapy, and any other medical care required due to the injuries sustained in the crane accident.
  • Lost wages and earning capacity: if the injury from the crane accident has led to time off work, the claimant can seek compensation for lost wages. Additionally, if the injury impacts the claimant's ability to work in the future, compensation for lost future earning capacity can also be claimed.
  • Pain and suffering: this covers the physical pain and emotional distress suffered as a result of the accident. It includes compensation for any long-term physical discomfort or mental anguish, such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Property damage: if the crane accident resulted in property damage, such as vehicles or buildings, the cost of repairing or replacing these items can be included in the claim.
  • Loss of quality of life: in cases where the injuries are severe and lead to long-term or permanent disability, impacting the claimant’s ability to enjoy life as before, compensation can be sought for this loss of quality of life.
  • Wrongful death: in the unfortunate event that a crane accident results in a fatality, the deceased’s family members can file a wrongful death claim. This can include compensation for funeral and burial expenses and loss of financial support.

Each crane accident case is unique, and the types of damages claimed will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident and the resulting impact on the claimant's life.

How is liability determined in a crane accident claim?

Determining liability in a crane accident claim involves a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident itself. This process seeks to identify which parties were responsible for the incident and how their actions or inactions contributed to the accident. Key factors in this determination include:

  • Negligence assessment: the primary factor in determining liability is establishing whether any party was negligent. Negligence involves a failure to act with the level of care that someone with good judgement would have exercised under the same circumstances. In crane accidents, this could include actions like failing to maintain the crane properly, not providing adequate training to operators, or not adhering to safety protocols.
  • Multiple-party involvement: often, liability in crane accidents may not be straightforward, as multiple parties could be involved. This can include the crane operator, the employer, the company that owns or leases the crane, manufacturers of the crane or its components, and contractors or subcontractors involved in the operation. Each party’s role and responsibility in the accident are scrutinised.
  • Investigation and evidence gathering: various pieces of evidence, such as accident reports, witness statements, maintenance records, and, where available, video footage of the incident, are gathered and reviewed. Expert opinions, often from engineers or accident reconstruction specialists, also play a role in determining what went wrong and who is at fault.
  • Regulatory compliance: if a breach of statutory duties or safety regulations contributed to the accident, the party responsible for this breach might be held liable. This includes violations of workplace safety standards set by regulatory bodies.
  • Contributory negligence: in some cases, the injured party may also be partly responsible for the accident. This concept, known as contributory negligence, can impact the liability assessment and the compensation awarded. The extent to which the injured party's actions contributed to the accident is carefully evaluated.

Determining liability in crane accident claims is often complex, involving legal, medical records, and regulatory aspects. Therefore, it’s usually advisable for those affected to seek legal assistance.

Is there a difference between on-site and off-site crane accidents?

There is a difference between on-site and off-site crane accidents, primarily in terms of the context of the accident, the parties involved, and the legal implications. Here are some key distinctions:

Location and Context

  • On-site accidents: these occur within a construction site or a designated work area where the crane is being used. On-site accidents typically involve construction workers, site supervisors and other on-site personnel. The nature of these accidents often relates to construction activities, like lifting heavy materials or assembling large structures.
  • Off-site accidents: off-site crane accidents happen outside the immediate area of construction or industrial use, such as on public roads or in neighbouring properties. These incidents can involve a broader range of individuals, including pedestrians, drivers and residents.

Parties Involved and Liability

  • On-site accidents: liability often involves employers, contractors or companies responsible for the crane operation. Workplace safety regulations and employment laws often play significant roles in these cases.
  • Off-site accidents: these may involve different or additional parties, such as local authorities responsible for public safety, third-party companies, or even manufacturers if equipment failure is a factor. These cases can be more complex due to the involvement of public spaces and non-employees.

Legal Implications and Claims

  • On-site accidents: claims for on-site accidents often fall under workplace safety and workers’ compensation laws. 
  • Off-site accidents: these incidents may primarily lead to personal injury claims from the general public or other non-employees affected by the accident. The legal process can involve different regulations, such as public liability laws.

Investigative and Safety Considerations

  • On-site accidents: investigations into on-site accidents often focus on occupational health and safety protocols, training, and site-specific risk assessments.
  • Off-site accidents: off-site accident investigations might involve additional aspects like traffic laws, crane transport and setup procedures, and interactions with the public environment.
How long does the crane accident claims process take?

The duration of crane accident claims process does not have a definitive timeframe, as each case is unique and influenced by a variety of factors. This variability is due to several aspects of the claims process:

  • Complexity of the case: cases involving severe injuries, multiple parties or disputed liability tend to take longer due to the need for extensive evidence gathering, detailed investigations and, possibly, lengthy negotiations.
  • Severity of injuries: claims where the injuries are more serious may require a longer period to fully understand the extent of the injuries, the long-term impact on the individual’s health and life, and the appropriate compensation required.
  • Negotiation with insurance companies: the process of negotiating with insurance companies can be time-consuming. If there is a dispute over the value of the claim or the liability, this can lead to prolonged negotiations or even court proceedings.
  • Legal proceedings: if a claim cannot be settled through negotiation and proceeds to court, the timeline can be extended further. Court proceedings are often lengthy, especially if the case is complex or involves multiple parties.
  • Response times of involved parties: the efficiency and response times of all parties involved, including insurance companies, legal representatives, and other stakeholders, also influence the duration of the claims process.
  • Settlement discussions: the willingness of parties to engage in settlement discussions and reach a resolution can either shorten or lengthen the process. In some cases, parties may reach an agreement quickly, while in others, it might take multiple rounds of negotiation.

Talk to Us

If you have sustained an injury while working with a crane, contact JMW Solicitors for a free, no-obligation chat. Call us on 0345 872 6666 or send us your details using our online enquiry form and a member of our personal and crane injury claim team will be in touch to help you claim compensation.

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