Crane Operator Injured in Fall on Building Site Negligence Claim Results in Large Payout

Our client worked in the construction industry for many years. In the twilight of his career, he worked as a crane operator operating from an elevated cab atop a tower crane and also operating cranes by remote control.

A few years ago he was sent by his employer to a construction company to operate their crane by remote control. This meant that he operated the tower crane remotely atop the building he was working on or from ground level. He worked a six-day week and loved his job. On this day, the boss instructed him to operate the crane in order to lift various units from the ground level for installation on various levels throughout the new construction. He was provided with a dogman and various other workers to assist in the maneuvering of the units and the unslinging of the loads once they had been landed.

On this occasion, he was landing the units onto another level of the new apartment building. Once the load had been correctly slung and he was given the signal, he operated the crane by remote control lifting the load to the level he was on and maneuvering the load to a position on the deck. Unfortunately, the level he was working on had no handrails, catch scaffolding or other safety barriers.

He maneuvered the load and landed it safely on the deck. He then proceeded to remove part of the sling off the hook. One of the slings remained caught by the eye webbing of the pallet. He told those helping him to do nothing whilst he tried to free the eye. The load was quite high and he couldn’t see over it. He had to work close to the edge of the building. As he bent down to free the sling, a co-worker pushed on the load which pushed the load towards our client knocking him off balance and causing him to fall to the concrete balcony some three and a half metres below.

As a result of the fall, he suffered a serious injury to his leg and shoulder. An ambulance took him to the hospital for treatment. There followed several months of hospitals and operations followed by months and months of physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and rehabilitation. During this time, he was diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis requiring treatment with large doses of blood thinners. He has now been left with constant aching in his leg and foot. He is never pain-free. When he gets out of bed in the morning, he has to be very careful as it takes several minutes to get his leg mobile so he can weight bear. Because of his injuries he cannot stand for too long. He can’t walk more than 100 metres. He can’t run, he can’t climb and he can’t walk on uneven ground. In short, his days of working on building sites are over.

The pain he experiences keeps him awake at night and because of his leg and shoulder, he is no longer able to enjoy a game of lawn bowls.

Following his accident, his Union (being the CFMEU) requested our litigation team visit their member in the hospital. We attended him at a private hospital on the Central Coast, took detailed instructions on the facts and circumstances of the accident and provided advice and guidance in respect to his rights to workers compensation, medical treatment and to work injury damages and negligence claims.

Eventually, Simon Meigan, Partner and Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury here at Taylor & Scott, was able to bring a negligence case against the builder who breached their duty of care to our client by not providing protective barriers to prevent falls on the construction site. We are very pleased to report that a substantial settlement was achieved ensuring our client’s financial security.

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