A construction worker died when a crane tipped over and sent him plunging into the water in Key Largo. The Monroe County Sheriff reported that the crane was on a barge. When the crane tipped over and fell off the barge into the water, it took the 29-year-old worker along with it.
This accident is a sobering reminder that construction work can be deadly. Why do crane tipover accidents happen, and what options are available for injured workers or surviving family members?
How crane tipovers happen
Cranes have weight limits to avoid tipovers. They’re counter-balanced and have outrigging systems to prevent accidents, but if they’re overloaded, tipovers can still occur. Similarly, careless crane assembly, contact with electrical wires, improper operation or mechanical failures can lead to the crane falling over.
Workers’ compensation and third-party lawsuits
In this accident above, it’s unclear what caused the crane to fall over and off the barge into the water. Generally, however, the worker’s surviving family should be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so the survivors will not have to prove someone else was responsible for the accident. They simply must prove that the accident happened on the job.
In some cases, the surviving family or an injured worker may also be able to file a personal injury claim against a negligent third party. While workers’ compensation generally bars injured workers from suing their employers except in rare cases, if a third party was responsible for the accident—such as a subcontractor or the manufacturer of defective equipment—the worker or their surviving family may be able to recover additional compensation beyond what workers’ compensation offers. However, this is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. You should talk to a workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney to discover which options are available.
If you or a loved one were injured on the job, talk to the skilled Sarasota, FL personal injury lawyers at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh to learn more about your options.