Cranes are designed to carry extremely heavy loads. So, when things go wrong with them, they can be responsible for catastrophic accidents.
An average of 67 claims is lodged each year in Queensland for mobile plant-related injuries. Since 2012, there have been 650 incidents where workers have been crushed, pinned or trapped by this type of machinery.
Incidents involving cranes have featured in Queensland news headlines, with two Gold Coast crane companies before the Courts for two separate workplace accidents as at 25 March 2019.
Since 2012, there have been over 650 incidents where workers have been crushed, pinned or trapped by this type of machinery.
You may be able to claim workers compensation for a crane-related injury if it resulted from someone else’s negligence or carelessness.
If you are injured at work, you may be able to claim compensation from your employer.
Employers must provide proper and adequate means for employees to carry out their work. This includes:
For example, there are Queensland Codes of Practice setting out safety and procedural standards, such as:
As well as legislative and regulatory requirements around various types of workplaces and work practices.
If you are injured because your employer neglects to provide safe systems of work, equipment or a safe environment, you may be able to claim for personal injury compensation. This may include injuries incurred over a long period of time, late onset injuries, and aggravations of pre-existing injuries. Smith’s Lawyers are Queensland personal injury experts and run all claims on a risk-free basis.
Example: Nathan is an experienced worker, operating cranes for over 25 years. Working on a construction site, he moves 2.5 tonnes of concrete. He’s on the radio to the dogger, who tries to warn him to wait to land the load until workers are clear of the landing area. The radio reception is bad, and the only words Nathan hears are ‘all clear’. Nathan unloads the concrete and 3 workers are crushed, one losing his life, the other two with life-altering injuries.
Nathan is OK physically, but he is severely psychologically traumatised from the accident. Both Nathan and the workers / families of the deceased worker would be able to claim for compensation. Unless it could demonstrate otherwise, the workplace is likely able to be sued for negligence in failing to provide a safe system of communications.
General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced as well as any permanent loss of enjoyment of life as a result of your injuries. They are calculated by reference to the ISV Scale which rates the seriousness of any injury between 1 and 100 and accords a monetary value range to that rating. For example an injury causing quadriplegia has a rating of 75 to 100 and a monetary range of $232,600 to $349,400 whereas amputation of a finger is rated 5 to 20 with a monetary range of $6,950 to $36,250.
To diagnose and treat your injuries you may need to consult your general practitioner, consult a specialist, obtain x-rays or MRIs, take pain medications and wear special braces apparatus. The expenses you incur to obtain medical treatment including costs of consultations, diagnostic scans, travel costs, medication and medical equipment may be claimed as compensation. You can also claim for medical costs you will incur in the future as a result of your injury.
Hospital and surgical costs
Serious injuries may require surgery or other treatment requiring a hospital stay. Surgical or hospital costs paid by you can be claimed as compensation as long as the surgery was necessary to treat your condition.
Rehabilitation following an injury may involve physiotherapy, home and vehicle modifications and ergonomic aids. Your reasonable costs of rehabilitation can be claimed back as compensation.
Loss of income and future earning capacity
If you suffer from a serious injury you may need time off work for several weeks or months. You can claim compensation for this lost income.
If your injury prevents you from working in the future to the same extent as you did prior to the injury you may also be able to claim loss of future income earning capacity. This is usually estimated as a lump sum figure based on the age of the person, their usual occupation and other skills.
Loss of Super
Compensation can be claimed for superannuation that would have been paid on lost income.
Care and Assistance
Serious injuries may prevent you from being able to perform tasks such as personal care, cleaning, laundry, mowing your lawns, caring for the garden or other domestic chores. If you formerly performed these duties but are now unable to as a result of an injury, you can claim compensation for care and assistance provided to you by friends, relatives or paid contractors.
In Queensland there is a minimum threshold for this type of compensation.
Interest can generally be claimed on compensation for any ‘out of pocket’ expenses that are incurred before your claim is resolved.
In general terms, the amount of compensation is gauged by comparing what your life was like before the injury and what it is like now as a result of the injury. Therefore, someone whose injury has had a greater impact on their life will be entitled to more compensation than someone whose injury has had only minimal impact. The amount of compensation payable for an injury will vary greatly from case to case, depending on a variety of variables such as:
For most personal injury claims, a legal action must be commenced within 3 years of the date of the injury. If you miss this deadline, your claim will be statute barred and you will lose all rights to claim compensation.
However, depending on where your injury occurred and who you are suing, specific pre-court procedures may apply which have their own time limits which are much sooner. If you miss these time limits you may lose your right to pursue your claim if you cannot provide sufficient reasons to the court as to why you delayed and why you should be allowed to proceed with your claim.
If your injuries were sustained at work
Statutory worker’s compensation claims in Queensland must be filed within 6 months from the date of the accident or the date you become aware of your injury. If you intend to then sue your employer for negligence (otherwise known as a common law claim) you must request an assessment of permanent impairment from the workers’ compensation insurer within 2.5 years of the injury.
If you are under 18 years of age
For minors, the obligation to serve the other party with a Notice of Claim begins when the child turns 18, however a parent or guardian may do this on behalf of the minor before they turn 18.
Depending on the nature of your injury and the circumstances which caused it, compensation may or may not be available. You should always seek expert legal help to see if you are able to make a claim.
There is a variety of things that can go wrong in operating large, complex machinery like this, with massive loads and multiple workers involved in procedures and operations.
The things that can go wrong often involve unsafe operator conditions such as:
Machine defaults can also be at play, such as:
Factors like this can contribute to serious accidents, including:
Resulting in a range of injuries – many of which can be extremely serious and even fatal.
When things go wrong with cranes, the resultant injuries can be extremely serious. Most commonly, these are:
It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
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