Bucket Truck Accidents
An estimated 250,000 workers use aerial lifts such as cherry pickers, boom trucks, and bucket trucks each year, putting them at risk for falls, electrocution, and a list of other possible serious injuries on the job.
The majority of these workers are in the construction, painting, tree cutting, or utility industries. To prevent accidents while working on aerial lift equipment, it is important that employers are vigilant in ensuring that all safety precautions are being implemented and our construction accident lawyers can help ensure that happens!
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC appreciates the dangers a bucket truck poses to a worker and those working around him.
Our bucket truck accident lawyers and construction site accident attorneys are committing to hold responsible parties fully accountable for injuries resulting from the improper use, design, or maintenance of these machines.
Contact our Illinois personal injury lawyers today for legal advice and a free consultation from our law firm. We can discuss ways for you and your loved ones to get the financial compensation you deserve after a cherry picker accident including those involving tree trimmers, billboards, and basket cranes.
Common Types of Chicago Bucket Truck Accidents
There are always fall risks when working at elevated levels. Anyone working on a cherry picker or bucket truck has the risk of falling, but there are many other hazards as well. Since these devices are often attached to utility trucks, they are mobile and have the risk of moving or being hit by other moving vehicles and are often in many different locations.
Some common causes of bucket truck injuries and fatalities include:
- Falling from the lift. From boom-supported lifts like cherry pickers and bucket trucks, 50% of falls are due to being ejected from the lift. This can be caused by the impact of hitting or being hit by other vehicles or objects, sudden jerking motions, or falling objects.
- Electrocution. Many injuries and fatalities working on aerial lifts are due to coming in contact with power lines. This can be from workers that maintain the power lines or construction lifts that inadvertently hit power lines.
- Tip-over. If improper weights are in lifts, the truck is moved or the vehicle is not stable while using a lift, there can be tip-over accidents from great heights. These incidents can lead to fractures, internal crushing, and fatalities.
Disturbing Accident Rates with Bucket Trucks
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011 there were 39 fatalities directly blamed on elevating devices such as cherry pickers and aerial lifts that were not truck mounted.
Another 66 fatalities were directly attributed to truck-mounted lifts. Another 34 fatalities listed these types of equipment as the secondary cause of death in workers. In addition, there are also fatalities from electrocution while using an elevating device, but these are not included in these numbers.
There are several industries that are at high risk for fatal accidents and injuries due to unsafe work practices and defective equipment. According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health, electricians are at the highest risk. Construction workers, electrical and power installers, painters, utility workers, and carpenters follow them as other high-risk professions that have large injury and fatality rates from aerial lifts.
Safe Work Practices to Prevent Illinois Bucket Truck Injuries
Aerial lifts have similar risks as cranes and other elevated work equipment but have the additional element of also being mobile. This makes using all safety precautions even more crucial as there are outside influences these workers may have to contend with. Precautions that should be used are:
- Equipment inspection. All equipment on the lifts should be inspected before use to make sure it is working correctly to prevent jerking and mechanical failure. This includes the extendable pole and electric motor on the lift.
- Worksite safety. Cherry pickers and bucket trucks need to be parked on a level, stable surface, and have emergency brake set; never move the truck with anyone in the lift. Be aware of wind elements that can cause dangerous lift conditions.
- Stable loads. All weight requirements should be adhered to as well as not using the lift for uneven loads.
- Safe loads. Within the weight parameters set forth by the product manufacturer
- Wear safety equipment. The use of harnesses, hard hats, and other safety equipment should always be maintained.
Aerial lifts are needed to perform many jobs and are quicker and safer than using ladders and other lifting devices. However, there are many risks both from the job itself and outside factors. Any industry using these devices needs to take the proper safety precautions to ensure their workers are being protected.
Bucket Truck & Scissor Lift Accident FAQs
Many Chicago construction workers ask us questions following bucket truck accidents. We have assembled their frequently asked questions along with answers to help you.
Can a Bucket Truck tip Over?
Yes, Chicago bucket trucks can tip over and causes serious injury or even death. Normally, factors that increase the risk of tipping include overexertion, lack of supervision, improper weight bearing, and faulty foundation
How High can a Chicago Bucket Truck Safely go?
Most bucket trucks in Chicago can lift between thirty and forty feet into the air, enough for typical construction, electric, and telecommunications work.
Do I Need a CDL to Operate a Bucket Truck in Chicago?
Chicago truck drivers or large truck companies employing people to operate a bucket truck must make sure they have a CDL if the vehicle is more than 26,000 pounds. If it less than 26,000 pounds, Chicago bucket truck drivers do not need a CDL.
What is the Difference Between a Boom Truck and a Bucket Truck?
Boom trucks are mounted and can handle more weight than bucket trucks in Illinois but cannot go as high as a bucket truck.
How Many Americans die Each Year in Aerial Lift Accidents?
According to published reports, several dozen people die each year from aerial lift and bucket truck accidents. Many more are injured annually in Chicago and across the United States.
Sample Aerial Lift Settlements & Verdicts
$1,850,000 Settlement; Cook County, Illinois; 2007.
Here, a bucket truck operated by ComEd backed up and hit a man in his early forties. The construction accident left him with a herniated disc at the L5-S1 location as well as root impingement at the C6-C7 location. These required spinal fusion surgery. All told, the man incurred almost $150,000 in medical bills and lost nearly $250,000 in lost wages due to the event. He brought an action against ComEd for negligence and recovered $1.85 million of financial compensation for his medical expenses, personal injuries, and other damages.
$400,000 Settlement; Cook County, Illinois; 2000.
In this cherry picker accident, a 35-year-old man fell and fractured his elbow after the connecting rod attached to the boom broke. He fell nearly twenty feet. His medical expenses alone were around $70,000 and he had almost the same amount in lost wages because of the incident. He sued the manufacturing company who sold the equipment and recovered $400,000 in compensation.
$950,000 Settlement; Cook County, Illinois; 2015.
A man in his middle-fifties was injured when his bucket truck failed and sent him flying to the ground nearly 45 feet. He herniated his disc, broke multiple bones, and tore several ligaments. All of these injuries required surgery and long-term care to the tune of almost $600,000 in medical bills. Apparently, the bucket truck equipment was almost fifty years old, was not properly set up, and had not been adequately inspected. For these reasons and others, the man sued for negligence but due to the clear fault and missteps, he was able to secure $950,000 in damages promptly.
$200,000 Verdict; Chicago, Illinois; 1998.
The construction worker in this Chicago cherry picker accident was fifty. He was over fifteen feet height in the bucket truck when a trucker collided with his vehicle and sent him flying to the ground. He injured his spine and neck and fractured several bones in his body costing him $25,000 in medical expenses and over $600,000 in lost income. The trucker refused to settle. He pressed his case to trial that there was no flagger and that the plaintiff exaggerated his injuries or that they predated this accident. The plaintiff prevailed in court though and the jury awarded him $200,000.
Illinois Aerial Lift Accident Attorneys Committed to Your Case
Very few attorneys have extensive experience litigating accidents involving bucket trucks (cherry picker) accidents. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC we have successfully prosecuted aerial lift accidents for injured people involving: defective products, negligent operation, and inadequate maintenance. In most cases, we have successfully recovered damages for our clients, based upon:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Funeral costs
- Compensation for pain and disability
Contact our office today for a free case evaluation to discuss your legal rights with our uniquely experienced construction worker injury attorneys. Call our law offices anytime at (888) 424-5757.
Further Reading for General Information Purposes