If you’ve been injured in a California crane accident, you’re probably worried about how you’re going to pay for the medical bills you incurred for treating your injuries. If your injuries kept you off work, you might also wonder how you’ll put food on the table. An experienced construction accident attorney can help.

At Casper Meadows Schwartz & Cook, our Walnut Creek crane accident lawyers have worked on hundreds of construction accident cases since opening our doors in 1979. Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation where we can discuss your case. Let us pursue the compensation you deserve while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Causes of Crane Accidents

Cranes are among the largest pieces of machinery found on construction sites. Moving heavy loads high above the ground can be disastrous when something goes wrong, and many factors can contribute to a crane accident. Common causes of crane accidents include:

  • Human Error: Crane operators may be inexperienced, poorly trained, tired, or simply not paying attention. There may also be miscommunication between the operator and other workers on-site. Any of these factors can result in an accident.
  • Overloading: Every crane has specific weight limits to promote safe use. If someone loads a crane beyond its capacity, the crane could tip over or collapse, or the cables could snap, dropping the load.
  • Improper Maintenance – As with all machinery, maintenance is critical to keeping cranes in working condition. Improper maintenance may lead to a wide variety of mechanical failures that could result in injury.
  • Improper Assembly – Many large, stationary cranes require on-site assembly. An improperly assembled crane may have problems with stability and be unable to handle the anticipated load capacity.
  • Defective Parts – Cranes are complex machines with many parts. A manufacturing defect in any of those parts could lead to an accident or a catastrophic system failure.

Seeking Compensation for Crane Accident Injuries

In California, if someone other than your employer or a co-worker caused your injury, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:

  • Medical Expenses – Severe injuries often involve hospital stays, surgeries, rehabilitation, and ongoing care.
  • Lost Wages and Decreased Earning Capacity – Your injury may cause you to miss work or have limitations placed on the work you can do.
  • Pain and Suffering – In some cases, you may be eligible for compensation for physical pain and emotional suffering related to your injury.

Who Is Responsible?

If someone other than your employer or a co-worker caused the accident that harmed you, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit against that party’s insurer.

Can I Sue the Construction Company?

The construction company operating the crane may sometimes be liable for your injuries. Within the California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI), two main sections deal with this:

  • CACI 3700: Vicarious Responsibility: An employer may be liable for harm caused by the wrongful actions of employees.
  • CACI 426: Negligent Hiring: An employer may be liable if they negligently hire, supervise, or retain an employee they know could be a risk to others.

Additionally, you may be able to prove that the construction company was negligent in other ways. For example, they may not have adequately maintained the crane that injured you. Or, they may not have enforced safety protocols and ensured effective training.

Can I Sue the Crane Manufacturer?

If a defect caused the crane accident, you may be able to sue the manufacturer. This could be the manufacturer of the entire crane, the manufacturer of the part that failed, or, in some cases, the company that sold the crane.

Three kinds of product defects can lead to the manufacturer being liable:

  • Design Defects: A design defect occurs when the design of the crane is flawed. This has nothing to do with production; the error is in the design itself.
  • Manufacturing Defects: A manufacturing defect may occur when something goes wrong in the manufacturing process. For example, if a crane is made from a bad batch of steel, it might not be able to withstand the forces it is intended to handle.
  • Failure to Warn: A warning label or instruction defect can also lead to serious injury. If controls aren’t properly labeled or instructions aren’t clear, the manufacturer may be liable if something goes wrong.

Can I Sue the Property Owner?

Sometimes, the property owner may be at fault. This can be the case if known hazards or unsafe conditions on the property led to the crane accident.

To determine that a property owner is liable, you must be able to prove the four components of premises liability:

  • The defendant owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property.
  • The defendant’s use or maintenance of the property resulted in a hazardous condition on the property.
  • You were injured because of the hazardous conditions on the property.
  • Your injury resulted in losses you endured.

Can I Sue My Employer?

Often, those injured in crane accidents are employees of the construction company operating the crane. If this is your case, you will likely file a workers’ compensation claim instead of a personal injury claim.

In California, all construction companies must have workers’ compensation insurance. When you file a workers’ compensation claim, this is where your benefits come from. Workers’ compensation benefits often cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages.

Contact Our Walnut Creek Crane Accident Attorneys

Recovering from a crane accident injury is stressful enough. The last thing you need is to try to deal with an insurance claim or lawsuit to recover compensation for your medical costs and lost wages at the same time.

That’s where the crane accident lawyers of Casper, Meadows, Schwartz, & Cook come in. Our team will investigate your accident, determine fault and liability, negotiate with insurance companies, and take your case to trial if necessary so you can focus on your recovery.

Contact us today for a free consultation where you can learn more about what we can do for you.