Cranes and boom lifts are usually the largest equipment on a Baltimore construction site. They are also capable of causing catastrophic accidents and devastating injuries if improperly operated or maintained. Construction site employers and contractors have a duty to ensure workers are properly trained in operating heavy equipment such as cranes. Additionally, all equipment should be kept in a safe working condition. Failing to meet these requirements could constitute negligence if an accident occurs.
If you sustained a severe injury or if a loved one was killed due to a crane accident because of negligent operation or maintenance, you might have a legal claim for compensation against the responsible party or parties. Our experienced Baltimore construction boom lift and crane accident attorneys are dedicated to providing injured victims professional, aggressive representation. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
Crane and Boom Lift Accidents at Baltimore Construction Sites
Cranes and boom lifts operate on nearly every construction site in Baltimore. These towering pieces of machinery lift heavy materials to the upper levels of unfinished buildings, often hundreds of feet in the air. At their full height, some cranes can reach 500 feet, becoming potential hazards to construction workers and pedestrians on the ground.
The significant dangers that cranes present are well known, and many safety regulations and protocols have been established to ensure their safe operation. If the crane operators fail to follow these safety requirements, catastrophic accidents could occur.
There are several potential causes for crane and lift boom accidents. Depending on the factors surrounding the accident, different parties could be held liable for any injuries sustained. Our experienced Baltimore attorneys will thoroughly examine the conditions that led to your injury.
When an operator extends a crane boom beyond the manufacturer’s specification to lift a heavy load, it could negatively affect the crane’s capacity to function safely. Overwhelming pressure is placed on the crane’s structural components, hydraulic systems, and mechanical machinery. When the tension exceeds a certain point, the crane boom will collapse, potentially severely injuring or killing the operator and other workers at the site.
Falling from a Boom Lift
While workers on boom lifts are surrounded by guardrails, in some unfortunate situations they are ejected from the basket. Workers are supposed to be attached to the lift boom with a lanyard. This is additional protection for when the lift moves, sometimes causing the basket to bounce. This lanyard is supposed to be short of length to restrain and is not meant to stop a fall – which could cause the boom lift to topple due to the displaced weight.
Accidentally Hitting Power Lines
One of the most common accidents involving cranes and boom lifts is contacting overhead power lines. OSHA recommends operating a crane at least 20 feet from power lines. However, this recommendation is often ignored to save time or cut costs. An unsuspecting employee in a boom lift could easily be electrocuted if the lift comes into contact with power lines. Additionally, a crane operator, as well as workers near the incident, can be electrocuted when the crane or a part of the crane accidentally strikes a live power line.
Cranes and Boom Lifts Tipping Over
Attempting to carry a load beyond the specified capacity of a crane, or operating the crane on uneven or unstable ground, can cause the crane to tip over, potentially severely injuring or killing any workers around the machinery. Furthermore, if the weight on a boom lift is displaced, or if the weight in the basket exceeds the lift’s capacity, it could fall over.
Improperly Assembling or Disassembling the Crane of Boom Lift
Cranes and boom lifts have specifications for both assembly and disassembly. Often time constraints, miscommunication, or simple neglect result in the procedures not being appropriately followed. When this occurs, the likelihood of a malfunction or accident increases.
Crane and boom lift accidents can occur when workers lack the proper training to operate the equipment. An employer may not allow or require a worker to operate a crane unless they have completed training and passed a written examination. When a worker lacks the proper knowledge and training to operate a crane safely, tragic accidents are likely.
Defective Crane and Boom Lift Equipment
Crane and boom lift accidents can occur when every safety procedure is followed and the operator is fully trained. A crane is a complex piece of construction equipment that could have a defective mechanism or a design flaw that makes it unknowingly dangerous. If a crane fails to function correctly, injuring the operator or other workers, due to a manufacturing defect or design flaw, our knowledgeable Baltimore attorneys might pursue a products liability claim against the manufacturer.
Injuries Caused by Baltimore Crane and Boom Lift Accidents
Due to their size and the nature of the work, when accidents involving cranes and boom lifts occur, the injuries are often catastrophic. Several factors can affect the severity of an injury. Dropped loads from significant heights, rigging failures, cranes tipping over, or contacting power lines could cause different types of injuries ranging from spinal cord damage, crushed body parts, electrocution, severe brain damage, or death.
Liability for Baltimore Crane and Boom Lift Accidents
In Baltimore, an injured worker is prohibited from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer unless they can prove willful and deliberately negligent conduct caused their injury. Workers’ compensation does not require any finding of wrongdoing or misconduct against any other party. While workers’ comp will cover all medical expenses, a claim for lost wages is capped, and there is no compensation awarded for pain and suffering. Our Baltimore attorneys will assist you in navigating the procedure to file a compensation claim.
If the crane or boom lift malfunctioned due to a design or manufacturing defect, then a lawsuit could be filed against the manufacturer. Our attorneys will examine the crane and have mechanical experts testify to the defects in the product. While it might seem challenging, suing a third-party in this instance could result in a significantly higher compensation award than a workers’ compensation claim.
Call Our Baltimore Construction Boom + Lift + Cranes Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
When an accident at a construction site involves a crane or boom lift, serious injuries or death are likely. Our experienced Baltimore construction boom + lift + crane accident attorneys understand the devastation injuries from crane accidents can cause and are devoted to helping individuals obtain the compensation they deserve. Call the Baltimore personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.