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As construction projects increase, risks from mobile cranes rise

America's construction injury is booming. The rate of construction in the U.S. is at an all-time high. That's great news for people in the industry, but it's important to remember that more projects also means more injuries, even if every project were run with safety as a top priority. All kinds of accidents increase when construction projects do.

Let's focus on accidents involving mobile cranes. These are different from the high tower cranes you see around skyscraper projects, but the humbler mobile cranes that drive onto projects around the state. From the perspective of accident prevention, tower cranes are different because they get dismantled before being moved.

Mobile cranes make up the majority of all construction cranes, according to ProSight Specialty Insurance. What might surprise you is the most dangerous time for mobile crane accidents, according to the insurer. It's not during a tricky operation on a construction site.

"Over the road losses are by far the largest loss within the crane industry," said a spokesperson.

That's right; cranes get into a lot of traffic accidents, perhaps because people don't understand the challenges of driving one.

Mobile cranes have twelve to sixteen wheels and they're very heavy. They take about twice the amount of time and distance to stop as a fully loaded 18-wheeler.

Other drivers' lack of understanding about the weight and lack of maneuverability of these trucks may be responsible for some of the most common types of traffic accidents involving mobile cranes. For example, the No. 1 cause of over-the-road losses involving mobile cranes is the rear-end collision.

Another common accident type with mobile cranes is a "pinching" accident. This occurs when the crane makes a wide right turn and then another driver, not realizing the need for such a turn, tries to squeeze past. This can get the other vehicle stuck between the crane truck and the sidewalk.

Of course, accidents on construction sites can involve mobile cranes, too. Moving large equipment on a job site requires planning and focus, and large trucks can run over, back over, or sideswipe pedestrian workers on the site.

Many construction workers may not realize that workers' compensation covers them when they're driving for a job. Crane operators and truck drivers who are injured in off-site traffic accidents should be aware that they could be covered.

Likewise, if you're a construction worker who was injured by a crane operator, you should be covered by workers' compensation. Plus, you might have a third-party personal injury claim beyond workers' comp. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and options.

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