Cranes are widely used throughout Ireland in the construction and shipping industries to cope with loads beyond physical human capabilities. Because of the immense loads which are entrusted to these heavy duty industrial machines, crane accidents can often cause fatalities and the most severe personal injuries.
Before crane accidents compensation can be claimed, it has to be shown that you have indeed suffered an injury – a near-miss is not sufficient grounds for a crane accidents claim – and that your injury was due to the negligence or lack of care of your employer.
Types of Crane Accidents
There are many different types of crane accidents which occur for a variety of reasons. Faulty equipment, high winds, contact with overhead power lines and miscommunication are all factors which can lead to crane accidents and it is vital that a comprehensive safety risk assessment is performed before any lifting operation is started.
The majority of crane accidents occur at ground level, with workers suffering injury from impact with swinging or falling loads, or trapping limbs when trying to steady and secure a load. This is one of the reasons that safety training is given such a high priority in the Safe Pass scheme and special regulations are included in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act.
Treating Injuries from Crane Accidents
Because of the serious nature of most crane accidents, it is assumed that an ambulance would be summoned as soon as a worker has sustained an injury. However, some employees may tend to shrug off minor knocks as a consequence of working in a high-risk industry and fail to seek appropriate medical attention.
The consequences of failing to get a medical examination can lead to life-long health issues if the employee has sustained concussion or been involved in crane accidents where the pain from an impact has masked a more serious internal injury. Furthermore, notes made by your doctor will be required to support any crane accidents compensation claim you make.
Liability for Crane Accidents
Establishing liability for crane accidents can be complicated when making a crane accidents claim for compensation. Whereas it may be straightforward to demonstrate that machinery has not been maintained in good working order, it is much more difficult to prove that crane accidents caused by human error are attributable to a lack of training or supervision.
Employers are obligated to provide a safe working environment for their employees. This includes all aspects of operating a crane from risk assessment to care of the equipment and ensuring that everybody involved at ground level is capable of fulfilling the task to which they have been assigned. Where an employer fails in his responsibilities, he is liable for any injuries resulting from crane accidents.
Compensation for Crane Accidents
A crane accidents claim for compensation is submitted to the Injuries Board Ireland in the same way as any other personal injury claim for compensation. However, one very important aspect of your claim is the special damages you are entitled to throughout a potentially lengthy period of rehabilitation from your injuries.
The Injuries Board Ireland was established to process claims – rather than ensure that victims of crane accidents are adequately compensated. So it is in your best interests to use the services of an experienced personal injury claims solicitor when making a crane accidents compensation claim – even when your doctor assesses your injuries as relatively minor and you are ready to return to work.
Legal Advice for Crane Accidents
One of the main reasons for using an experienced personal injury claims solicitor when claiming crane accidents compensation is that it reduces the potential for an awkward workplace confrontation on your return. There may also be liability issues if your employer denies his responsibility for your injuries or complications may arise with your cranes accidents compensation claim due to your employment status.
Due to the potential for crane accidents compensation claims to result in substantial settlements, you may also find that you are approached by your employer´s insurance company with an offer of early settlement. These offers are frequently much less than you would expect to receive in the Injuries Board Ireland´s assessment of your crane accidents claim. A solicitor should be introduced into negotiations to ensure that an appropriate amount of crane accidents compensation is agreed upon.
Crane Accidents Summary
- Crane accidents happen more frequently at ground level than they do if you are positioned in the cab of the crane
- Injuries from crane accidents are usually severe: however, you should seek immediate medical attention irrespective of how badly you have been hurt
- Proving liability for crane accidents can complicate a crane accidents compensation claim and you should not rely on the Injuries Board Ireland to deliver an adequate assessment
- Your employment status may also affect your entitlement to crane accidents compensation and you should seek expert legal advice if you are unsure about this
- A solicitor will also be able to intervene on your behalf if an insurance company attempts to make an inappropriate crane accidents compensation offer
Copyright © 2011-2012 Eoin P. Campbell
About the Author
Eoin P. Campbell is an honours law graduate (LL.B) and qualified solicitor whose primary professional experience is in the area of litigation and in particular personal injury claims. Eoin P. Campbell is currently lecturing in law at two universities in Lyon, France.