Federal Court of Appeals Rejects Indiana Man’s Claim Against Equipment Company After Crane Accident

The United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a lower court’s decision against an Indiana man who lost his foot in a crane accident. The court agreed with the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendant in the case, which involved a plaintiff who was injured when a crane he had leased from the defendant allegedly malfunctioned and drove itself over his foot and leg. The courts ruled that the plaintiff failed to raise a material issue of fact to demonstrate the required element of causation in the man’s negligence claim. Based on the ruling, the victim of the accident will be unable to recover compensation for his injuries.

crane-3-1506047A Crane Owned by the Defendant Ran Over the Plaintiff’s Foot

The accident that led to the filing of Carson v. All Erection & Crane Rental Corporation occurred on September 20, 2012, as the plaintiff was working with another contractor to use a crane rented from the defendant to install wind turbines. According to the Seventh Circuit’s decision, the other contractor was behind the controls of the crane, when the plaintiff started to guide him across a road from in front of the crane. When the plaintiff signaled the other contractor to stop the crane, it stopped momentarily, but it lurched forward shortly afterwards and caused the plaintiff to fall in the vehicle’s path. The crane’s treads then crushed his right foot, which had to be amputated.

Post-Accident Inspection Finds Malfunctioning Electrical Components

After the accident, an employee of the defendant inspected the crane and discovered that there was an intermittent problem with the electronics that controlled the crane’s movement. The inspection revealed that the “travel detent” system, which is similar to cruise control in a passenger vehicle, would intermittently engage and cause the crane to drive forward on its own without any action by the operator. Based on the discovery of the defect and his serious injuries, the plaintiff filed a negligence lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that their failure to properly inspect the crane before delivering it to the plaintiff caused his injuries.

The Plaintiff Fails to Demonstrate Causation

In response to the plaintiff’s allegations, the defendant claimed that the problem was so intermittent and random that it could not have been discovered through a reasonable inspection. Considering the format and contents of the plaintiff’s complaint as well as the defendant’s response, the district court found that no reasonable jury could conclude that the defendant’s alleged failure to perform an adequate inspection of the crane was what resulted in the plaintiff’s injury, and the Seventh Circuit agreed.

Essentially, the courts ruled that the defendant could not have performed any inspection that would have revealed the problem and prevented the plaintiff’s injuries. This result will prevent the plaintiff from receiving compensation for his injuries, in spite of the fact that the defendant rented a defective crane to the plaintiff, and the defect resulted in the plaintiff losing a foot.

Are you a Victim of Negligence?

If you or a loved one has been involved in a construction accident or another instance of negligence resulting in personal injury or death, contacting a qualified Indiana accident attorney can increase your chance of recovery. The Indianapolis lawyers at Parr, Richey, Obremskey, Frandsen & Patterson have years of experience getting fair compensation for our clients. Our skilled attorneys are familiar with all applicable theories of liability in state and federal courts and will fight in every way possible to get our clients the compensation they deserve. At Parr, Richey, Obremskey, Frandsen & Patterson, we represent clients throughout the Midwest in most medical malpractice, accident, and personal injury actions. Call us today at 888-765-7411 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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