Any job that requires the use of a bucket truck is risky. Bucket trucks – also known as aerial lifts or cherry pickers – raise workers anywhere from 15 to 150 feet in the air to perform important tasks in industries such as construction, utilities and tree cutting. Safety protocols must be followed to prevent disasters on such highly elevated surfaces. But sadly, many people are injured or killed in bucket truck accidents every year.
Most bucket truck accidents are preventable. If an employer fails to inspect its equipment or a part of the machinery is defective and someone is hurt while working on an aerial lift, it may be possible to file a lawsuit for compensation. That’s where we can help.
At Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., we believe that every employee is entitled to a workplace free from all foreseeable hazards. You shouldn’t go to work one morning and leave with a serious injury and uncertain future – or never return home.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a bucket truck accident, our skilled Florence truck accident attorneys can investigate your claim and identify all possible sources of compensation. Then we can build a strong legal case to combat insurance companies that refuse to provide a full and fair settlement for your injuries.
Find out more about your legal options by contacting our bucket accident attorneys for a free consultation.
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Bucket Truck Accident Attorneys: What is a Bucket Truck?
Bucket trucks are vehicles with a long arm and a bucket attached to the end. The arm (called a boom) and bucket are designed to hoist a person and any necessary equipment into the air to perform work that cannot be done on the ground.
While most people are familiar with trucks such as 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, fire trucks, delivery, buses, and commercial trucks, most people have also passed by workers using bucket trucks or similar types of aerial lifts to work on telephone poles, power lines, window cleaning and construction or landscaping projects. Although they are most often used in the workplace, bucket trucks are also available to buy or rent for personal use.
Other names for bucket trucks include boom lifts, basket cranes, aerial platforms or elevated work platforms.
How Bucket Truck Accidents Happen
Working with a bucket truck has inherent dangers. The nature of work performed up high puts people in close proximity to electric wires, heavy branches and other hazards that can result in life-altering injuries if something goes wrong.
Common reasons for bucket truck accidents include:
- Being hit by falling objects or sudden movement from below can cause workers to be ejected from the bucket, resulting in serious injuries.
- Despite being insulated to prevent electrical injuries, bucket trucks and cherry pickers that come into accidental contact with power lines can cause fatal injuries for workers.
- Tip-over accidents. Most of the time, a worker will need to carry special equipment in the bucket to perform their jobs. If the load is not secured properly, the aerial platform can tip over suddenly.
- Structural failures. If the boom collapses or bucket cable snaps in midair, the worker and anyone below could suffer severe trauma as the pieces fall to the ground.
- Getting caught in live wires or in between equipment can cause damage ranging from electrocution to crush injuries.
- Defective design. If a part of the cherry picker malfunctions due to a faulty part or design, a person could have a claim against the maker, manufacturer or distributor of the product.
- Improper maintenance. Employers are required to inspect their vehicles and perform regular maintenance checkups to keep them in good working order. Failure to do so can have tragic consequences.
- Lack of training. Drivers of bucket trucks do not need specialized licenses aside from a commercial driver’s license to drive the truck for work, but they are required to have extra training on how to use the lift.
- Weather conditions. Workers are often called out to perform repairs in rain, wind, ice and snow. Extra precautions must be taken to protect them in dangerous weather, especially lightning.
- Other factors. Tree trimmers and utility workers are typically parked on the side of the road as they work. If a bucket truck is struck by a passing vehicle, both the worker and other motorists could be hurt.
Common Injuries from a Bucket Truck Accident
A bucket truck accident can have terrible consequences. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) collects reports of boom truck accidents every year. Examples of injuries include:
- An employee was fatally electrocuted by accidentally touching a high-voltage line.
- A worker died after being caught between a sign and the bucket truck.
- An employee suffered broken ribs after a piston snapped on a bucket truck.
- A worker’s fingers had to be amputated after suffering an electric shock.
- A worker ejected from the bucket sustained broken ribs, a broken collar bone, a punctured lung and lacerations after his truck was hit by a passing automobile carrier.
Other injuries frequently associated with bucket truck accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Electrical burns
- Internal injuries
- Broken bones
Who Can Be Held Responsible in a Bucket Truck Accident?
Like many injury cases, determining who is liable for a bucket truck accident will require a thorough investigation. Several parties could be held responsible, such as:
- Employers are required to provide safe workplaces and equipment to protect their workers. If they fail in their duty, it’s possible that you have a claim for negligence. An experienced bucket accident lawyer will need to evaluate your options, which may be impacted if the company provides workers’ compensation benefits to its workers.
- A bucket and boom must be safe and stable. If the parts are dangerous by design or due to manufacturing flaws, an injured person may have a legal claim against the product manufacturers.
- Negligent bucket truck operators may be liable if their actions harm others.
- Premises owners. A dangerous condition on the property where a bucket truck accident happens could result in a negligence claim against the property owners.
You should talk to a bucket truck accident attorney as soon as possible if you have been injured. While some accidents are unavoidable, many arise from someone else’s carelessness.
Get Help Now from a Florence, Alabama Bucket Truck Accident Attorney
At Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., we work hard to ensure that people injured in accidents involving bucket trucks, cherry pickers and other aerial lifts are fully and fairly compensated for their injuries. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.