If you live in Spokane, you’ve seen all the construction sites around the city including those towering cranes. These are essential when building high-rise and multi-story buildings, but they can also be dangerous.
In fact, in Seattle in April of 2019, a construction crane fell near downtown killing four and injuring several others. Investigators eventually blamed the accident on poor maintenance—specifically a missing pin that would have prevented the collapse.
Closer to home, a crane fell at the Washington State University campus in August of 2019 doing a significant amount of damage, but thankfully it did not result in injury or death.
Accidents like these can happen anytime a crane is being used. A crane accident can happen for many reasons. A collapse is the most dramatic, but other times a load can slip and crash down or the operator makes a mistake and hits something nearby.
What happens if you are hurt in a construction crane accident? Who do you sue? In many cases, a construction site is on a privately-owned piece of property but is open to the public. When this happens, the law looks at the permission of the injured person to be on the property. If the site is still open—or partially open—then members of the public are “invited” by the owners to come on the property for the purpose related to its business.
On these sites, the owner has a duty to make the public area safe so that people can enter and exit without being injured. This is true during any open hours and for the entire area open to the public. This duty extends to the construction areas as well. Reasonable safety measures must be employed, and the area needs to be reasonably free of debris and other objects that pose a hazard.
If the victim is a worker, then the state’s worker’s compensation system will pay for some of the injuries and damages. However, if the fault of the accident was with a third party like the manufacturer or leasing company for the crane, then the worker can also sue the third party for damages. If this happens, any settlement or award from a third party might have to be used to pay back the worker’s compensation benefits paid by the Washington Department of Labor and Industry.
Defenses to Premise Liability
When a court determines whether the owner lived up to its duty of safety after someone has been injured, the law requires that they are held to a standard of reasonable care. To evaluate this, the standard is whether the owner did what a reasonable landowner would do in the same or similar circumstances.
For example, if some sawdust blew into the eyes of a customer and it caused an injury, the law will look at whether the owner took reasonable safety measures. If there were vacuum systems employed to suck up the sawdust and there was netting covering some of the areas full of dust and dirt, the jury might decide that what they did was reasonable and the owner wouldn’t be liable.
If the court finds that the construction site owner didn’t do what a reasonable owner would do to keep the crane and the construction site safe, then the law can compensate the injured person for their financial losses. Some of these common losses that can be awarded are:
- Medical Bills
- Rehab Treatment/Equipment
- Lost Time from Work
- Future Lost Time from Work
- Permanent Disability/Disfigurement
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Consortium (Intimacy, affection etc.)
Contact a Construction Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in one of the many construction zones in and around Spokane, you owe it to yourself to talk to an attorney who can tell you if you have a case that could get you compensation for your injuries. At Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., we offer a free consultation and we collect no money until you get an award or settlement.
We also have years of experience dealing with construction site injuries and working with insurance companies. We know all the tricks and tactics they use to keep you from getting fair compensation. Call us today and get someone on your side. You can call us at (509) 926 4900, or send us a message by clicking here.