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As San Luis Obispo continues to grow, cranes have become a somewhat permanent fixture in the skyline. Under optimal conditions, everyone who operates or is otherwise working around these cranes has the training and experience to do so. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Even when the most well-trained crane operator is on site, accidents may still happen. When they do, they can be catastrophic.

It’s not only construction workers who are at risk. Passersby and other people unaware of the danger are often the victim of crane accidents. For victims of crane accidents, Ernst Law Group is here to help. We have over 30 years of experience assisting victims of construction accidents, including those involving cranes. Call us today at (805) 541-0300 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

What Causes Crane Accidents?

More often than not, operators themselves are not the ones hurt or killed in crane accidents. When they are the victim, it is often due to overhead powerline electrocutions. In fact, this results more deaths than any other single cause. However, the other causes combined that do not include the crane operator far outweigh electrocution.

Over a 14-year span , deaths were caused by:

  • Overhead powerline electrocutions (157 deaths)
  • Struck by crane loads (132 deaths)
  • Crane collapses (89 deaths)
  • Struck by crane booms/jibs (78 deaths)
  • Falls (56 deaths)
  • Struck by cranes/crane parts (47 deaths)
  • Caught in/between (30 deaths)
  • Other causes (43 deaths)

Of course, not every injury results in a fatality — but more than half do end in death. In fact, crane accidents cause more fatalities than any other incident on the construction site. Even when accidents aren’t fatal, they may result in lost limbs, severe disfigurement, paralysis and other significant injuries.

What to Do After a Crane Accident in San Luis Obispo

Whether you are a construction worker or a bystander, if you are injured in a crane accident, the most important thing to do is call for emergency services. If you see someone else get injured, and they can’t call for themselves, call 911 for them. Also notify the site foreman or supervisor of the incident. If possible, take photos of the site and gather other related evidence.

For injured construction workers, the most direct — and often only — route to recovering damages is through workers’ compensation. California is a no-fault workers’ compensation state, meaning injured parties do not need to prove fault in order to claim damages. You simply must report your injuries and file your claim within 30 days. However, that comes with a stipulation: If workers’ compensation does not cover your bills, it is often impossible to sue for greater damages.

The exception is if there was a third party responsible for your injury. For example, say you were injured because a crane collapsed. Upon further investigation, it is discovered the collapse happened due to a manufacturer’s defect. In this instance, you can sue the manufacturer for compensation within two years of the accident. However, if no third party can be held liable for your injury, you most likely cannot recover further damages than what is provided by workers’ compensation.


If you are not a construction worker, but are injured in a crane accident, you do have a greater opportunity to recover compensation. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to hold the construction company and/or, in rare cases, the crane operator themselves for your injuries. In these cases, you have two years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit.

If your loved one was killed in a crane accident, no amount of money can truly ease the pain of the loss. However, a wrongful death lawsuit can help cover funeral costs, final medical bills and other expenses, as well as compensate you for pain and suffering, loss of consortium and other emotional pain. California law states you have two years from the time of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Because construction accidents have so many red tape when it comes to recovering damages, it is important to speak with an attorney who has experience representing clients in these specific types of cases. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a crane accident in San Luis Obispo, contact the attorneys at Ernst Law Group online or by calling (805) 541-0300 today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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How Can Ernst Law Group Help?

Ernst Law Group custom tailors our representation to you. Our San Luis Obispo personal injury attorneys have been named Super Lawyers and Top Trial Attorneys by numerous organizations including the highest possible rating for ethics and skill. We have developed our negotiation and litigation expertise by successfully taking on the tough cases and fighting against the biggest corporations and insurance companies. We will put our decades of collective expertise to work when representing you in court if you’ve been harmed or a loved one lost his life due to negligence.


Schedule your free consultation by calling 805-541-0300 or contact us online to learn about the legal services we can offer you.

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