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Construction Accidents

Crane Accidents

large cranes with two construction workersWhether operator error, poor maintenance, deviation from safety protocol, or adverse weather conditions, it is important that we discover the true causes of crane accidents in Maine to prevent future hazards, hold guilty parties accountable, and provide just compensation to victims.

In March, a boom truck overturned in Damariscotta, Maine, due to incorrect outrigger setup. A giant crane supplied by Arthur D. Henry Crane Services of Thomaston was preparing to lift an HVAC unit into a store when the whole setup toppled over in the parking lot. Thankfully, no one was injured in the mishap, but this incident underscores the potential that cranes have to cause serious tragedy. Imagine if the parking lot had been full of shoppers at the time!

The Maine Workers’ Compensation Act was designed to provide swift financial recompense to injured employees. But what if the amount of money offered is not enough to cover medical bills and lost productivity? What if your daily life is hindered by depression and emotional upset because of what happened? Furthermore, what about passersby and innocent bystanders who were injured in crane accidents?

There are many situations where the basic law does not meet the needs of the injured. A construction accident lawsuit can provide additional relief for the injured or family members of the deceased.

The personal injury attorneys of Hardy, Wolf & Downing has been securing compensation for construction accident victims in Lewiston, Portland, and elsewhere in Maine since 1976. We offer free consultations and case assessments at 1-800-INJURED to help you decide what to do next, following a crane accident injury or death.

Crane Accidents in Maine

A July 2008 fact sheet prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2006:

  • There were 72 crane-related fatalities.
  • 30 fatalities were caused by falling objects and 9 were due to the crane striking the victims.
  • Overhead cranes were nearly always responsible for the fatal accidents.
  • Electricians, welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers were most likely to be killed.

In addition to fatalities, there were over 1,000 crane accidents reported in one year’s time, according to a 1992 review of accident files conducted by the Occupational Safety Hazard Administration. However, they found that the “underreporting of crane-related injuries and fatalities, due to misclassification and a host of other factors, masks the true magnitude of the problem.”

Not only are workers seriously injured or killed, but innocent bystanders and passersby are also victims of crane-related construction accidents. Hardy, Wolf & Downing construction accident lawyers will ensure that the causes of senseless crane incidents are discovered so the same safety violations will not put more lives in jeopardy.

What Causes Crane Accidents?

Crane accidents may seem like “freak incidents” at first. No one seems to know exactly what happened. Upon further inspection, though, most crane accidents can be traced back to operator error, poor equipment maintenance, or negligent safety law violations. These construction accidents are largely preventable.

Many crane-related construction accidents involve:

  • Workers falling from extreme heights
  • Crane collapse and crush injuries
  • Being struck by falling objects held by the crane
  • Electrocution while operating or passing near a crane that has hit power lines
  • Motor vehicle accidents during transportation of cranes
  • Tip-overs or scaffolding collapses
  • The intrusion of cranes onto public sidewalks

What Type of Injuries are Typically Seen in Crane Accident Lawsuits?

Maine construction accident lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing have seen that the sheer height and weight of cranes usually translate to serious injury or wrongful death.

Crane accident injuries may include:

  • Broken bones
  • Amputations
  • Electrocution
  • Wrongful death
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Back and spinal cord injuries, including paralysis

What compensation can victims of crane accidents receive?

Hardy, Wolf & Downing can help victims file a construction accident lawsuit to compensate for:

  • Past, present and future medical bills
  • Lost income and lost potential earning capacity
  • Emotional and mental duress
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship
  • Wrongful death

While every case is unique, our construction accident lawyers find that these cases rarely make it to court. Usually, we can negotiate an out-of-court settlement, with damages ranging from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands. Best of all, you only pay for our legal services if we win your case, so there is no risk in calling 1-800-INJURED to speak with a qualified attorney.

Recent Maine crane accidents

Crane incidents have appeared in several recent news stories:

  • In January 2014, a 76-year-old woman was struck by a transport truck hauling a crane on Route 9 in Chelsea, Maine. The woman’s injuries were not reported, but her vehicle was struck on the passenger-side door and it took rescuers a half hour to pry the woman from the wreck. While the woman pulled out in front of the transport truck, in this case, we have seen incidents where crane hauler error was also a factor.
  • The boom of a crane collapsed into Chute River in August 2011. While no one was injured in the incident, it was reported that operator error caused the tip-over. “When getting out of the cab, the operator apparently hit a lever that engaged the main hoist line. It ultimately flipped the boom over the cab of the crane, which remained in place on its treads,” said the Portland Press Herald.
  • In 2001, a crane fell into the Kennebec River. One person drowned in the incident. An OSHA inspection later revealed that the crane had not been secured to the barge, as required by OSHA standards. Weeks Marine was fined $360,000 for failure to repair or replace malfunctioning equipment, failure to ensure safe crane operation, and failure to have a boat at the site for emergencies.
  • A 2004 tip-over of a crane at a hotel construction site in Freeport, Maine led to $114,700 in fines for OSHA violations. Crane operator J.D. Irving Ltd. and Irving Equipment Inc and general contractor TRB Development Group Inc. were found guilty of overloading the crane, not operating the crane within manufacturer’s specifications, and not inspecting the equipment to ensure it was in safe operating condition. It was also discovered that the crane’s swing radius was not barricaded to prevent employees from being crushed or struck during its operation.

How to Find a Maine Crane Accident Lawyer

When you are looking for a Maine personal injury attorney to represent your construction accident claim, you want representation that is:

  • More bite than bark, so you are taken seriously by the defendants
  • Experienced, so your case can benefit from the firm’s reputation and connections within the justice system
  • Sympathetic, so you don’t feel as though your case has been dismissed or you have been disrespected.

Mainers have trusted Hardy, Wolf & Downing with their personal injury lawsuits since 1976. We bring a combined experience of over 35 years and are always willing to go the extra mile to win the compensation accident victims deserve. We provide assistance before, during and after a case is handled, with unparalleled communication throughout the entire legal process. Call 1-800-INJURED today.

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