crane accidents

Liability for Crane Accidents on a Construction Site

Construction is rated every year among the most dangerous occupations in the US. This year, construction-related trades occupy three of the top 10 spots on the list. There are a lot of potential hazards on a construction site, and even when all of the required safety protocols are followed, many things can still go wrong.

One of the primary reasons that construction work is so hazardous is because of the heavy equipment and machinery that is commonly used on the job site. And one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment is the crane. Cranes are used to lift and lower heavy materials, and they are an integral piece of machinery that is employed in nearly every major construction project.

Each year, dozens of crane-related deaths occur on construction job sites, and hundreds more workers suffer severe and debilitating injuries due to crane accidents. Workers who operate cranes and work nearby them can end up injured because of the impact of being hit by the crane’s boom, falling a significant distance after being struck, and similar types of accidents.

Some of the most common crane accident injuries that occur on construction sites include:

  • Concussions and more serious types of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
  • Fractures/broken bones.
  • Neck and back injuries.
  • Spinal cord injuries/paralysis.
  • Severe scarring and disfigurement.
  • Crush injuries.
  • Amputations/loss of limbs.
  • Electrical injuries.
  • Wrongful death.

What Causes Crane Accidents on Construction Sites?

Cranes are massive pieces of equipment that must be maintained, installed, and operated properly at all times. Here are some of the reasons why crane accidents may occur:

  • Mechanical failures due to faulty or poorly maintained equipment or parts.
  • Boom collapses.
  • Collisions with power lines.
  • Overloading the crane or filling it with materials that are too heavy.
  • Failure to sufficiently secure the crane and prevent it from toppling.
  • Failure to secure or remove the crane during high winds.
  • Failure to secure the chains and the ropes so they do not swing loose.
  • Installing the crane on uneven ground and/or failure to properly level it.
  • Other forms of operator negligence.

Who is Responsible for a Crane Accident on a Construction Site?

When a crane accident occurs, it is usually due to negligence during the installation process or negligent operation of the machine. The company that supplies the crane has a responsibility to minimize the risks involved by regularly inspecting and maintaining the machine to ensure that it is good working condition, ensuring that it is properly installed at the construction site, and adequately training crane operators to follow government regulations and best safety practices.

Unfortunately, some crane suppliers fail in their duty to ensure safe operations. For example, in an effort to complete jobs more quickly so they can turn their equipment around and lease it out to more customers, they may cut corners during the crane installation process, and they might use inexperienced operators who are not as well versed as they should be on how to safely use the machine.

When a construction worker suffers an injury on the job site, they will usually look first to their employer’s workers’ compensation policy to get their medical bills and lost wages reimbursed. But in the case of a crane accident, there is a good chance that the worker can file a personal injury lawsuit against a party other than their employer.

For example, if the accident turns out to be caused by negligence on the part of the crane supplier or one of their operators, then the injured worker can file a claim against that supplier (as long as they are not employed by them). This would allow the worker to recover damages for intangible losses such as pain-and-suffering, psychological trauma, and loss of enjoyment.

There may also be cases in which a product manufacturer is at fault for the crane accident. For example, if there is a faulty design in the machine that causes it to tip over, then those who are injured may be able to file a product liability claim against the designer. Or if the accident is caused by a defective part that results in the machinery malfunctioning, then they might be able to file a claim against the part manufacturer or distributor.

Every case is different, and there are always unique circumstances and factors that contribute to a construction site accident. For this reason, an extensive investigation would be necessary to determine the cause of the crane accident and which party (or parties) could be held liable.

With a case like this, be sure to work with attorneys who have in-depth experience successfully pursuing workplace accident personal injury claims. These types of claims tend to be far more complicated than something like a standard auto accident, and you need attorneys in your corner who understand the complexities and nuances that they are likely to encounter, and who know what to look for in order to ensure that those who are responsible are held fully accountable.

Contact an Experienced West Virginia Construction Site Accident Attorney

If you or someone close to you got hurt in a crane accident or suffered any other type of injury on a construction site in West Virginia, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is here to help. Message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 for a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team.

 

third party caused car accident

Determining Liability when a Third Party Causes a Car Accident

There are millions of auto accidents in the United States each year, and most of them are the result of some type of negligence. In fact, a Stanford University analysis concluded that at least 90% of all motor vehicle crashes are caused at least in part by human error. But human error can mean a number of different things.

In addition to driver negligence, there are several third parties that could be responsible for a car crash. And understanding which parties may be at fault and what is necessary to hold them accountable opens up additional legal avenues from which an accident injury victim can recover compensation.

Claims against third parties are typically more complicated and difficult to pursue than a standard vehicle crash, however. For this reason, it is very important to work with an attorney who knows what to look for in these types of cases and has the proven ability to ensure that all responsible parties are held fully accountable.

If you have been injured in an auto accident in West Virginia, you can trust the attorneys at Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. to aggressively pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. Call us today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment.

Third Parties that May Be Responsible for a Car Accident

Employers

If an individual who is driving a company vehicle causes a vehicle crash, the company could be held liable for the accident if the employee was performing work duties during business hours. This liability may extend to an employee who is driving a personal vehicle if the employee is acting within the course and scope of his/her employment.

It is important to note that even if a company claims that the driver is an independent contractor and not an employee, there are cases in which a driver is misclassified and actually meets the legal definition of an employee. This type of situation has been known to happen frequently in the trucking industry, where the lines between an independent contractor and employee are often blurred.

Rideshare Companies

Ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft maintain that their drivers are independent contractors, and most states have agreed with this classification for now. But someone who is injured because of a rideshare driver’s negligence can still file a claim against the rideshare company’s insurance policy under certain circumstances. For example, ridesharing companies maintain $1 million of liability coverage for when one of their drivers is transporting a passenger. However, there is a lot less coverage available when an Uber or Lyft driver has their app turned on but does not have a passenger in their vehicle.

Auto Repair/Maintenance Providers

A vehicle repair shop could potentially be held liable for an auto accident if the car malfunctions after being recently serviced at their shop. For example, negligent maintenance could be the cause of a crash if the mechanic installed incorrect parts, damaged the vehicle during the course of their repair, or failed to identify a repair that was needed.

Product Makers

When a design or manufacturing defect causes an auto accident, the manufacturer, distributor, and other parties within the faulty product’s supply chain could be held responsible. Examples of product defects that could result in a vehicle accident include brake failures, tire blowouts, and computer malfunctions that cause sudden vehicle shutdowns.

Car Owners

If a person entrusts their vehicle to someone else who is inexperienced, intoxicated, or is known to be a dangerous or unfit driver, the car owner could be held liable under the legal theory known as “negligent entrustment”. Liability could also extend to parents and grandparents who allow their child or grandchild to drive their car even though the child does not have enough experience or is known to be reckless or incompetent.

Liquor Establishments/Providers

West Virginia courts have held that a bar, liquor store, or similar establishment can be held liable for personal injuries caused by someone who is physically incapacitated by drinking. In a case like this, it would need to be established that the person the establishment served alcohol to was “visibly intoxicated.” Video footage and eyewitness testimony can be very helpful in proving this claim.

Third-Party Liability Accident Claims in West Virginia

As we talked about earlier, holding a third party liable for a personal injury is far more difficult than establishing negligence on the part of someone who was directly involved. An extensive investigation is necessary to uncover all of the important facts and pieces of evidence in order to determine the root cause (of the injury) and all contributing factors.

West Virginia’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the injury (in most cases), but the sooner you get an experienced attorney involved, the better your chances of recovering the full and fair compensation you deserve. At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., our attorneys are ready to go to work for you! Get in touch with us today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

insurance statement

Are you Required to Provide a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?

After being in an accident that results in a personal injury, you might find yourself dealing with the responsible party’s insurance company. It usually starts with a phone call from an adjuster soon after the accident to ask how you were doing. They will be very friendly, courteous, and empathetic, and they will do everything they can to gain your trust. This is the adjuster’s job, and most of them are very good at it.

One thing an insurance company representative might ask of you is to provide a recorded statement about the accident. They will tell you that this is your opportunity to give your version of events, and they might imply that you need to provide this statement in order for them to process the claim.

So, are you required to give the other party’s insurance company a recorded statement after getting injured in an accident?

The short answer to this question is “no”.

You are under no obligation to talk to the insurance company for the other party. Now, this is not the same as dealing with your own insurer. Under the terms and conditions of your insurance policy, you are required to cooperate with them after an accident or you could be denied coverage. But when it comes to someone else’s insurer, there are no such obligations.

So, the next logical question is – should you provide a recorded statement to the insurance company for the other party? Again, the answer is “no”, or at least not until after you have spoken with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Why Does the Insurance Company Want a Recorded Statement?

In deciding whether or not to give a recorded statement to an insurance company, it is important to understand why they want you to go on the record. Actually, they have no good reason. The insurer already has access to the police report, statements of witnesses (if there are any), and any other official information about the event.

If the insurance company wants to know something from you, they can just as easily ask you the questions informally and write down your answers without recording the conversation. The only reason that the insurer wants a recorded statement is so they can use it against you later on.

Keep in mind that this is the insurance company for the defendant in a personal injury claim for which you are the plaintiff. So, no matter how friendly and courteous they are, their interests run contrary to yours. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible for the injuries and other losses you have sustained, and one of the tactics they use to accomplish this is to look for inconsistencies in your statements.

Even if you thought you could trust the insurance company not to take your statement out of context or otherwise use it unfairly against you, it would still be a bad idea to go on the record so early after the accident. At this point, you are probably at least a bit disoriented by everything that has happened, and you would likely not be in the best state of mind to give them this kind of statement. This is especially true if you are taking painkillers or some other type of medication to deal with your injuries.

Speaking of which, another reason that it is a bad idea to give a recorded statement early on is because you probably do not know the full extent of your injuries. For example, when they talk to you, you might just have a little bit of nagging neck and lower back pain. But later on, the pain might get worse and tests might show that your injuries are more serious than you first thought.

What Should I Do if I am Asked to Give a Recorded Statement?

If the insurance company for the other party asks you to go on the record, politely decline and let them know that you want to speak to an attorney first. No matter how much they try to imply differently, you are not obligated to give them the statement, and you have the right to have an attorney handle the statement on your behalf.

Contact an Experienced West Virginia Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one suffered an injury that was someone else’s fault, you need strong legal counsel by your side to push back against the common tactics that insurance companies will use to undermine your claim. If your injury occurred in West Virginia, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is here to help. For a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys, message us online or call us today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979.

 

Can Returning to Work Too Soon Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim?

Getting injured in an accident can take a major financial toll on victims and their families. Medical bills can pile up quickly and being out of work for an extended period of time makes matters even worse. Missing a lot of work is not only difficult financially; it can also be hard for an injured person by disrupting their normal routine.

Under these circumstances, it is understandable that someone who has suffered a personal injury would want to get back on the job as soon as possible. But what if it is too soon?

What if you are still experiencing pain and other symptoms from your injuries? What if your doctor has not cleared you to go back to work yet? Can this hurt your personal injury claim?

The short answer to that question is, “yes.” If you are involved in a legal claim because another party caused your injury, returning to work too soon could hurt the value of your claim. And not only that, doing this could also be very detrimental to your health and well-being.

If you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is here to help. Call us today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 for a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team.

Returning to Work After a Personal Injury

It is always best not to go back to work until you have clearance from your physician or another medical professional. You might feel like you are ready to return, but if your doctor says it is not time yet, then you should follow their directive. Along these same lines, if your doctor clears you for limited work with restrictions on your duties, make sure to abide by these recommendations as well.

If you decide to return to work after a personal injury without medical clearance, the insurance company might claim that your injury is not really as severe as you say it is. After all, how bad could it really be if you are going back to work so soon?

Keep in mind that although an insurance company adjuster might be friendly and courteous and act like they are on your side, their primary loyalty is to their employer, and their primary goal is to pay out as little as possible for your claim. They might dispute the severity of your injury no matter what you do, so why give them any additional reasons to do so?

Another thing that could happen if you go back to work sooner than you are able is that you could re-aggravate your injuries. This is one of the worst possible outcomes as it could set your recovery back for several weeks or even months. If this occurs and your condition becomes more severe as a result, the insurance company might try to deny coverage for any doctor visits and other medical treatment you received because of it.

Limit Your Activities When You are Out of Work

It is important to stress that you should be following your doctor’s orders not only with regards to when to return to work, but also the activities you participate in when you are not working. Your recovery is your top priority, so if your doctor tells you not to do any strenuous physical activity for a certain period of time, take their advice seriously and follow it.

You should also be sure to limit your social media activity until your claim has been settled. Posts of you having a good time with family and friends, for example, could be used by the insurance company to say that your injuries are not really all that serious. Comments made online about the accident could hurt your case as well. This is why it is best to refrain from posting anything online until your case is concluded.

Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance with Your Personal Injury

If you or someone close to has suffered a personal injury in West Virginia, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is ready to go to work for you. Message us online or call us today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

accident in a company vehicle

What Happens if you are Involved in a Crash with a Company Vehicle?

If you get into an auto accident while driving a company vehicle, the case can be far more complicated than accidents that happen in a personal car. One of the first issues will be determining who is at fault and who is responsible to pay for the injuries and other losses that are sustained.

In most accidents that happen with a company vehicle, the employer’s liability coverage would kick in if the employee is responsible for an accident that happens while they are working. But if the accident occurred when they were not working (e.g., while driving to or from work), then the employer’s coverage would not apply. The same holds true if the employee was committing a crime (e.g., driving drunk on the job) or using the vehicle for personal or recreational activities outside of work.

If you are injured in a company vehicle while on the job, you should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp covers medical bills and a percentage of lost earnings when you are out of work. Unfortunately, this program does not provide coverage for noneconomic losses that you may have suffered, such as pain-and-suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.

However, if the driver of the other vehicle was at fault for the auto accident, then you can file a personal injury claim against their insurance company. This would allow you to recover both economic and noneconomic damages.

West Virginia Modified Comparative Negligence Laws

There are some instances when more than one driver is at fault for an auto accident. For example, let’s say you rear-ended the car in front of you because they were slow to move after the red light turned green. This might initially appear to be your fault, but later it is learned that the other driver was sending a text at the time when the light changed.

Because the other driver was texting while driving (a traffic violation), it is ultimately determined that they are more responsible for the accident than you were. In such cases, state comparative fault laws would apply.

West Virginia uses a modified form of comparative negligence for personal injury cases. In the Mountain State, if you are less than 50% at fault for the underlying accident or event, then you can still recover damages. However, your damage award would be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault you share.

So, in the previous example, if you sustained a total of $100,000 in damages and you are determined to be 20% at fault for the accident, your compensation would be reduced by $20,000 down to a total of $80,000.

When a Third Party is Responsible for a Car Accident in a Company Vehicle

Most auto accidents are the result of human error, but sometimes, the responsibility lies with a party that is not directly involved in the accident. This type of scenario happens commonly with commercial accidents in which an outside party plays a role. Examples include:

  • Improperly Loaded Vehicles: When a company vehicle is used to ship products, the cargo/shipping company that loaded the vehicle could be at fault if the vehicle was unevenly loaded or loaded beyond its weight limits. This problem is most common with large tractor-trailers.
  • Negligent Maintenance: If an accident happens because of mechanical failure, it could be the fault of the party responsible for maintaining the company vehicle.
  • Faulty Products: Mechanical breakdown could also be caused by a dangerous or defective vehicle part, such as a brand-new tire that blows out after a minimal amount of use or a new steering system that malfunctions.
  • Poorly Maintained Roadways: Some auto accidents are caused by poor road conditions, such as potholes or cracks in the road surface, damaged or hidden road signs, and missing or inadequate guardrails. In cases like these, the party in charge of maintaining the roadways could be at fault. If this is a government entity, there are special rules that need to be followed if you plan to pursue a claim against them.

Injured in an Auto Accident in West Virginia? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance

If you or a loved one suffered injury while driving a company vehicle, this could become a very complex case. For this reason, it makes sense to get an experienced personal injury attorney involved as early as possible, so your legal rights and interests are fully protected.

If your accident occurred in West Virginia, contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for skilled legal guidance. We will meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and explore every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation. To get started, call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or send us an online message to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to serving you!