Crane Accident Liability: Here’s What You Should Know

Many work-related accidents involve cranes, and several parties may be liable for the injuries and other damages resulting from them. In addition to the operator of the equipment, the responsibility could fall on the property owner or the construction company. 

The Prevalence of Crane Accidents in the U.S.

Crane accidents take place at construction sites every year. According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 42 crane-related deaths occurred each year from 2011 to 2017. Additionally, the National Institute of Occupational Safety called for the need to reduce the rate of deaths and injuries resulting from crane accidents.

Many construction sites rely on cranes to perform various tasks, including lifting heavy building materials and assisting with the construction of large buildings. When cranes are improperly maintained and operated, they could contribute to serious injuries and deaths.

Who Is at Fault in a Crane Accident?

Depending on the nature of the accident and the cause, one or more parties could be liable for damages resulting from a crane accident. These parties include the operator and rigger, along with the construction company or property owner. Penalties for causing a crane accident could include fines to operators or riggers for insufficient training, along with other potential legal and financial repercussions. 

Potential Causes of Crane Accidents

Crane accidents could result from a number of possible causes, which factor into determining liability. These causes include:

Human Error

Inadequate training or mistakes are the most common causes of these types of accidents.

Crane Boom Rotation

Outriggers may not be fully extended on the crane, which could result in an accident if the operator attempts to swing the boom as the crane loses stability.

Exceeded Capacity

Crane accidents could also take place if the operator attempts to lift an object that’s too heavy for the crane to handle, causing instability and potentially resulting in the crane tipping over.

Objects Hitting Others

If an onlooker or worker is hit by an object that a crane is carrying, this could result in an injury accident. For instance, the object may fall from the crane due to insufficient connection, or an operator may move the crane and boom without ensuring there’s enough clearance.

Many circumstances could lead to work-related accidents involving cranes, which is why it can be challenging to determine liability. Depending on the accident, multiple parties may share liability.