Cranes are large machines used for lifting, lowering and moving heavy objects. They are typically employed on building sites but also in manufacturing, shipping and other industries to handle materials that are too heavy or bulky to lift manually.
When poorly maintained or mishandled, cranes can be very dangerous and cause a wide range of severe or even fatal injuries. Employers are legally obliged to take all reasonably practical steps to reduce or eliminate the risk of crane accidents. If they fail to do so, they could be liable for compensation in a crane accident claim.
If you have been injured by a crane and want to start a claim, call 0800 678 1410 today to speak to an experienced solicitor. They will answer all your questions and guide you through the steps of the claims process. You can also enter your details into our online claim form to request a call back.
Employer duty of care to prevent a crane accident at work
Employers are legally obligated to follow all health and safety guidelines dictated by legislation to protect workers from harm as much as possible. Anywhere a crane is used, specific laws are in place to protect workers and members of the public from injury. These include:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a general duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare of employees and others who may be affected by their work activities;
- The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) requires that lifting equipment undergoes a thorough examination by a qualified individual at regular intervals and that records of inspections are kept;
- The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 focus on ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals involved in construction work and those who may be affected by construction activities;
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) sets out the requirements for the safe use of work equipment, including inspection, maintenance, and the provision of information and training;
- The Work at Height Regulations 2005 aims to prevent falls and reduce the risk of injury from working at height by establishing safe systems of work and using fall prevention measures;
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to carry out risk assessments related to the use of cranes and put in place measures to manage and control any identified risks.
If your employer has breached their duty of care towards you, you may be able to make a crane accident claim. An experienced solicitor will be able to help you prove liability and secure the maximum compensation for a crane accident you are entitled to.
Am I eligible to make a crane accident claim?
If you were injured as a result of a crane accident, the easiest way to determine if you are eligible for compensation is through a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will ask you a few questions about your situation to determine whether:
- Another party owed you a legal duty of care
- They breached their duty by acting negligently
- Their actions or inactions led to a crane accident
- You suffered an injury and other losses as a result in the last three years
Your solicitor will be able to prove a duty of care by referring to the abovementioned legislation. Once liability is established, they will help you gather evidence to support your claim and contact the other side to negotiate compensation. It is worth noting that you can claim whether you were injured at work or as a member of the public.
What evidence do I need to claim compensation?
Once your solicitor establishes you have a valid crane accident claim, they will help you gather all the necessary evidence to secure the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries. The types of proof that you could use to support your case include:
- Photographs or a video taken at the accident scene can help show how the accident occurred;
- Pictures of any visible injuries can also be used to support your claim;
- Detailed medical notes regarding your injuries, treatments and recovery prospects;
- Names and contact details of witnesses who could provide a statement about how the accident occurred;
- A copy of an accident report book entry that you filed with your employer or supervisor, which should contain details about the incident;
- Inspection and maintenance logs for the crane and your training records;
- Witness statements from experts in crane operation, engineering or workplace safety;
- If a CCTV camera recorded the accident, you can request a copy of the footage;
- You should also keep evidence of financial losses and expenses, such as receipts and invoices.
Common types of crane accidents
If you suffered an injury caused by a crane accident, you might be entitled to compensation. Common causes of crane accidents include but are not limited to:
- Overturning, especially if the crane is not set up on stable ground or if the load capacity is exceeded;
- Mechanical failures in the crane’s components, such as hoists, cables, or brakes;
- Load drops can occur if the items are not adequately secured or there is an issue with the lifting mechanism;
- Contact with overhead power lines may result in electrocution and burn injuries;
- Boom failures or collapses due to overloading, equipment failure, or improper assembly;
- Tip-overs can occur due to an imbalanced load or unstable ground conditions;
- Crane collapses due to inadequate assembly, overloading or poor maintenance;
- Swinging loads, hooks or booms in high winds, which may strike workers or passers-by;
- Falls can be due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) or safety features such as guardrails.
In most cases, such accidents result from negligence and could entitle you to claim crane injury compensation.
Negligence leading to a crane injury claim
If employers fail to protect employees from workplace accidents, they may be liable for compensation for any resulting injuries. Common examples of oversights that may lead to a crane injury compensation claim include:
- Failure to conduct adequate risk assessments to identify potential hazards that may cause injuries to employees;
- Failure to provide proper training to crane operators and workers on safe crane operation and protocols;
- Incorrect assembly and disassembly of the crane by its engineers;
- Unsafe practices and failure to ensure adequate supervision of crane operations;
- Not following the safety protocols and guidelines on construction sites;
- A lack of regular maintenance checks, inspections and repairs on cranes;
- Mechanical failures or malfunctions;
- Allowing cranes to lift loads beyond their specified weight capacity;
- Poor communication between the crane operator and workers on the ground;
- Operating cranes in adverse weather conditions without proper precautions;
- Failure to provide adequate warning signs and barriers around crane operation areas to alert workers to potential hazards;
- Not providing workers with appropriate personal protective equipment, such as helmets, harnesses or safety vests;
- Failure to check for and clear the area around the crane of obstacles can also lead to accidents.
If your accident was caused by these or other types of negligence, a personal injury lawyer could help you make a claim for compensation.
Common injuries caused by crane accidents
Crane accidents can cause a wide range of injuries ranging from minor to severe, such as:
- Fractures and dislocations due to falls from height or crane collapses;
- Amputations due to crush injuries or entanglement with machinery;
- Head and brain injuries, such as lacerations, concussions and traumatic brain injuries due to impact trauma, falling debris or crane components;
- Back and spinal cord injuries from falls or impacts, which could potentially cause paralysis or long-term impairment;
- Crush injuries from getting caught between crane components or materials;
- Electric shocks, if you work near power lines and other sources of electricity;
- Fatal accidents due to falls from a height or severe impact trauma.
If you were involved in a crane accident due to someone else’s negligence, a solicitor could help you get the compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering and financial losses.
Frequently asked questions
We have answered some of the most common questions about claiming crane accident compensation below. If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a legal adviser by using our online claim form or calling free on 0800 678 1410.
Can I claim if a loved one passed away due to a crane accident?
If you lost a loved one in an accident involving a crane due to someone else’s fault, you might be entitled to compensation. If you classify as the deceased’s dependant, you could claim the following under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976:
- The financial benefits you expected from them, such as lost income, pensions and investments
- The loss of services they provided in the household, like childcare and property maintenance
- Reasonable funeral expenses, such as the headstone and embalming of the body
- A bereavement award of £15,120 for the grief and suffering caused by the wrongful death
Could I lose my job if I make a personal injury claim against my employer?
If you had an accident due to your employer’s negligence, you have the legal right to start an accident at work claim against them. That should not affect your work relationship or put your job in danger. Furthermore, all employers must hold liability insurance to cover employee injuries. If you make a successful claim, your employer will not be left out of pocket, as their insurer will cover your compensation award.
If you suffer any retaliation or are sacked following your crane injury claim, a solicitor can help you take further action under unfair dismissal laws. An employment tribunal will decide whether you were lawfully discharged and take any necessary corrective measures.
How long do I have to start a crane accident compensation claim?
The time limit to make a claim for crane injury compensation is usually three years after the date of your accident. Under the Limitation Act 1980, your case becomes statute-barred if you miss this deadline. There are, however, some exceptions that may apply to your case:
- If someone under 18 was injured in a crane accident, the three-year time limit begins on their 18th birthday. Before that, a suitable adult could claim for them at any time by applying to become their litigation friend.
- There is no time limit for a litigation friend to make a crane accident compensation claim on behalf of someone who lacks mental capacity. That could be due to a brain injury or another condition, such as dementia or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- If you lost a loved one following a crane accident, you could claim compensation within three years after they passed away.
How much compensation could I get for a crane accident?
The amount of compensation you deserve will depend on your circumstances. In every crane accident claim, you can recover two types of damages:
- General damages are awarded for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by the accident. These include physical and mental distress, reduced quality of life, inability to pursue a hobby, loss of companionship and other subjective losses. You can refer to our compensation calculator to see how much you could receive for general damages based on your injuries.
- Special damages are awarded for financial losses and expenses related to your work accident. These could include medical bills, prescriptions, lost wages, travel expenses and care costs during recovery. They are calculated based on documents such as receipts, invoices and payslips.
Will I receive a No Win No Fee claims service?
Yes, if you were involved in an accident caused by someone else’s fault and have a valid claim for compensation, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee service. That means you do not have to pay any upfront fees for legal representation. Furthermore, you will not pay a single penny if your case fails.
You will also have After the Event (ATE) insurance against legal expenses as part of your no win no fee claim. The ATE will cover all your costs and disbursements if you lose the claim, including the defendant’s, so you will not be left out of pocket.