More Than a Dozen Austin Construction Workers Hospitalized in Crane Accident
On Wednesday, September 16th, two cranes over an Austin construction site collided. At least 22 workers were reported as injured as reports were finalized in the following hours. 16 of those workers were taken to the hospital with serious injuries but none have been reported to be life-threatening. One worker was trapped in one of the tangled cranes for more than an hour but eventually escaped without injury.
Investigators still need to determine what caused the cranes to collide above the construction site. Safety inspectors concluded that the cranes were still in working condition and stable, suffering little damage in the collision. Interestingly, the majority of the injuries appear to have been suffered by construction workers who were rushing to get out from under the cranes.
(You can learn more about this recent accident by clicking here and viewing a full article from KXAN NBC.)
Compensation After a Crane Accident
How dangerous was the crane accident above Austin in mid-September? Although the incident itself seems minor in that both cranes were stable and did not collapse, the situation must have been dire in the workers’ minds. Texas is the worst state in the country in terms of annual fatal crane-related construction accidents, so the workers might have been aware of this harrowing statistic when they fearfully scrambled to a safe distance.
Despite the workers’ injuries being reportedly self-inflicted due to a hasty evacuation, workers’ compensation benefits should still be provided to eligible workers. However, Texas is the only state that makes workers’ compensation participation elective and not mandatory. It is possible that none of the workers are covered by a workers’ comp policy provided through the construction firm or another employer.
Workers who were injured in the crane accident but who do not have workers’ compensation benefits might be forced to bring a construction accident injury claim against the parties who own and control the jobsite. The large number of injuries reported as people tried to get away from the cranes is telling of a disorganized and possibly unsafe workplace. If it is determined that the accident happened due to an avoidable crane operator error, then the lawsuits could be focused on whatever company cut the operators’ paychecks. Perhaps no adequate background check was made to ensure that the crane operators were qualified for the job?
At-Fault Construction Accident Claims
Given that many construction workers in Texas do not have workers’ compensation coverage, they will need to use an at-fault approach to any injury claims they do want to file in pursuit of damages for medical bills, lost wages, and more. An at-fault claim means proving who is liable for the damages through convincing evidence and arguments. The injured workers should start by connecting with a local construction accident attorney and by getting their hands on any evidence of jobsite negligence that they can find. Jobsite safety inspections and accident reports from the past year or so are two good sources of evidence of negligence on behalf of construction firms and companies.
If you need help putting together a construction accident claim in Austin, then Howry, Breen & Herman, LLP should be your first choice of legal representation and guidance. Our firm has been representing injured workers since 1995. We know the intricacies of Texas employment and liability laws, so you don’t have to. Call (512) 430-4844 to learn more about our services.