The construction industry can be dangerous for workers, drivers, and pedestrians. When construction workers fail to properly and safely load cargo into their vehicles or heavy machinery, innocent victims can be severely injured in a loading accident.
If you’ve been injured in a construction loading accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, and other damages. The Syracuse-area personal injury attorneys at CDH Law PLLC have a proven track record of successfully obtaining compensation for victims of loading accidents.
Common Causes of Construction Loading Accidents
When construction vehicles aren’t safely loaded and unloaded, victims can suffer serious injuries. Heavy materials can fall off of construction vehicles, causing car accidents. In other cases, materials fall from cranes or scaffolding onto victims below.
Most construction loading accidents are caused by negligence. When employers do not provide construction workers with proper training, safety equipment, and tools, employees are at risk of being seriously injured. Some of the most common causes of construction loading accidents include the following:
- Stacking cargo too high
- Uneven distribution of cargo onto the construction vehicle
- Improper securing of the load
- Fault restraints, including steel straps, harnesses, and tie-downs
Construction Workers Can Become Injured in a Loading Accident
Dangerously loaded cargo can cause packed or stacked items to shift suddenly. When lifting, cargo shifting causes unexpected stress on one part of a construction worker’s body, he or she can suffer painful, lifelong injuries. Items that don’t have adequate handholds are particularly dangerous to lift. In loading accidents, workers can suffer back, shoulder, neck, wrist, elbow, knee, foot, and ankle injuries.
Unsafe handholds can position the load away from the worker’s body, requiring lower bending for him or her to lift the load. As a result, the risk of the worker dropping the load increases. Employers should also ensure construction workers share heavy loads and utilize enough employees to help lift heavy objects.
Speed Over Safety When Loading Construction Equipment
Construction site owners may insist on using employees to move loads by hand that are too heavy or unwieldy to do so safely. Heavy loads should be moved mechanically to prevent injuries. When contractors demand construction workers move heavy loads individually, they should be allowed enough time to do so safely.
Additionally, the work environment can increase the risk of employees suffering lifting injuries. When employees are responsible for manually loading or unloading cargo when the worksite is too hot (causing fatigue), too cold (affecting dexterity), or poorly lit (causing trip and fall accidents). When contractors allow negligent working conditions and workers become injured as a result, they may have a valid personal injury claim against the employer.
Dropped Loads from Cranes
A leading cause of construction accidents involves workers being struck by objects, including dropped loads from cranes or construction vehicles. Many of these incidents involve heavy equipment. Severe or even fatal injuries can occur when the cargo becomes loose and falls from a significant height, picking up speed as it falls toward victims below.
Most injuries caused by unsecured cargo occur due to wire rope breaking when overloaded. When construction workers overload a crane with too much weight or fail to use precautions such as overload guards, cargo can become loose. The following safety precautions can prevent dropped loads from cranes:
- Regularly inspect chains, wire ropes, and hooks for any damage
- Check crane controls to ensure their proper operation
- Know the load’s weight and ensure it doesn’t exceed the crane’s rated capacity
- Fully extend outriggers
- Check rigging before use
- Don’t wrap chains or hoist ropes around the load
- Watch for overhead lines and maintain a safe clearance of at least 10 feet from energized electrical lines
- Inspect all personal protective equipment (PPE) before use
- Secure all objects when working at any height
Cargo-Related Truck Accidents
If you have been injured in an accident with a construction vehicle caused by dangerously loaded cargo, you may have the right to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Cargo-related truck accidents are especially dangerous because they involve massive, heavy commercial trucks. They can cause a massive truck to jackknife or roll over and may cause the cargo to spill. Unfortunately, most cargo-related truck accidents are preventable and happen because of negligence.
Cargo Spills on Construction Sites
When a construction vehicle is loaded with liquids or concrete, the contents can spill onto a highway or road if they aren’t loaded properly. Liquid spills can be particularly dangerous when they involve hazardous chemicals or other substances. When concrete or liquid spills onto the highway could cause other drivers to swerve to avoid colliding with the materials. These accidents can quickly become multi-vehicle collisions or result in dangerous chemical fires.
Who Is Liable for a Construction Loading Accident?
Ultimately, the construction company responsible for the cargo has a legal obligation to use reasonable care to prevent injuries to others when loading and unloading cargo. When the load falls off the truck or other construction vehicle, the victim can pursue economic and non-economic damages for his or her injuries.
Damages can include current and future medical expenses, property damage, loss of income, disability, and disfigurement. Victims can also pursue compensation for the pain and suffering their injuries have caused them. The attorneys at CDH Law PLLC have the skills and resources to investigate your accident thoroughly. We frequently work with accident construction experts to gather evidence and determine the party or parties at fault.
After determining the at-fault parties, we will pursue the most available compensation. We will handle every aspect of your claim, including negotiating with insurance adjusters so you can focus on your recovery.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney
If you become injured in a construction loading accident, it’s crucial you understand your legal rights. Victims of personal injury accidents have the right to pursue compensation for damages caused by the at-fault party or parties.
The attorneys at CDH Law PLLC can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. During a complimentary case evaluation, we will learn more about your case, answer your questions, and help you understand whether you have a valid claim for compensation. Contact CDH Law PLLC to schedule a case evaluation.