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.
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.