Florida Crane Accident Lawyer

A great deal of liability in the area of crane accident litigation stems from failure by employers to properly maintain equipment or train their employees.  Electrocution through contacting power lines, crane assembly and disassembly accidents, loading errors, dropped loads and upsets and overturns lend themselves to negligence or civil tort actions.

At the same time, defects in cranes themselves can and do give rise to product liability claims.  Cranes buckle, experience failures with their rigging, collapse, experience metal fatigue and other mechanical breakdowns that lead to damages, injuries and sometimes death.  A thorough understanding of level, fulcrum, pulley and energy management concepts is essential when isolating whether a failure was due to design, engineering or manufacturing defects.  At Podhurst Orseck, our counsel have worked these cases and have the scientific and legal understanding necessary to determine when a case has merit, and, if so, how to move forward on its merits.

Our Florida product liability attorneys recognize that different cranes have different design capabilities and functions.   Crane products liability matters require special attention to three basic concepts: 1) capacity 2) stability and; 3) design and application structural integrity, or, more simply “loading.”  We also know that cranes are as varied as the applications they fill and design considerations change with each application. Cranes types commonly found in products liability matters:

  • Level luffing cranes
  • Truck-mounted cranes
  • Hammerhead (cantilever) cranes
  • Carry deck cranes
  • Overhead (bridge) cranes
  • Bulk handling (bucket) cranes
  • Rough terrain cranes
  • Crawler cranes
  • Floating and shipboard cranes
  • Offshore cranes
  • Aerial cranes  (See also Podhurst Orseck’s coverage of aviation related matters.)
  • Tower cranes
  • Telescopic cranes
  • Gantry cranes
  • Jib cranes
  • Stacker cranes (Also known as “Automated Storage and Retrieval System” or “ASRS” cranes)

Even when operated by properly trained professionals, cranes can structurally fail.  Despite standards required by the Occupational, Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with respect to cranes, a crane can still be unreasonably unsafe for its intended use.  Sometimes OSHA standards are not met or simply ignored by manufacturers.

Other times these failures are preventable by the implementation of safety features which may have been knowingly or negligently excluded in design by the manufacturer.  This occurs when, due to manufacturing costs associated with these considerations, a manufacturer opts not to implement them.  A classic example in crane litigation includes outrigger interlocks.  Outrigger interlocks preclude crane operations when outrigger-equipped cranes do not have solid or sufficient purchase with the underlying terrain.   The safety value of these interlocks has become accepted and widely embraced in the industry.  Still, some crane manufacturers do not implement them in their design.

A long list of safety considerations often come in to play during the course of a crane product liability case.  Emergency cutoff controls, operational limit switches, boom hoist limiting devices, boom stops, emergency load lowering functions and a staggering array of technical design and manufacturing safety innovations must all be thoroughly examined.  In the case of structural failure, a solid understanding of metallurgical and capacitance principles are essential for the litigation of a crane product liability case.   At Podhurst Orseck, our Florida product liability attorneys have knowledge and experience to represent you in these matters.