Dallas Law Firm Blog

Crane Falls onto the Dallas Museum of Art

On April 3, 2015, a crane truck tipped over and hit the roof of the Dallas Museum of Art at about 9:30 a.m. The crane was just a few feet away from hitting the famous sculpture, Ave, a red steel sculpture that sits in the front of the museum. That sculpture was actually created by a crane, so it is somewhat ironic that the sculpture was nearly destroyed by a crane. Ave has been in place since the 1970s. The crane was being used to set up for the Art Ball, which took place on April 11.

Witnesses saw the crane truck fly into the air and the crane itself smashed into the roof the building. The crane could be seen standing on its edge after it tipped. The crane’s arm actually seemed to balance the crane in its tipped position. There were no serious injuries reported, but the crane operator was taken to the Baylor University Medical Center by ambulance. He did hit his head against the window when the crane actually tipped.

The company that owns the crane has declined to comment on the incident. The occurrence is still under investigation to determine the actual cause of the accident. If, however, the accident was caused by a problem with the crane, then the crane manufacturer could be liable for the damage to the building and the crane operator’s injuries. Although the operator’s injuries do not seem to be serious, he could have devastating injuries that may not be apparent right away like head injuries or internal breathing.

Industrial Equipment Defects and Maintenance

Employers are required to properly maintain their equipment. This helps prevent injuries and significantly decreases the probability of property damage. However, when employers fail to meet this obligation, then they could be liable for equipment that that does not perform properly. This responsibility extends beyond employers in some situations as well. Anyone who maintains the equipment could be liable for damage caused by poorly maintained equipment.

Manufacturers have a similar responsibility. They must design and build equipment that functions properly and in a way that reduces the possibility of injuries or property damage. That means that manufacturers must use quality control methods that decrease the likelihood that defected products will be sold into the market place. They must also use a design that will not make the equipment unreasonably dangerous. Failure to meet either of these obligations could make the manufacturer of the equipment liable for injuries or other damages.

In the case of the crane accident, it is unclear what caused the crane to tip. However, it did not seem that the crane was loading anything at the time of the accident. That could mean that the crane was unbalanced because of a maintenance problem, quality control problem, or design defect. If the crane was older and has been in use for some time, it is much more likely to be a maintenance problem than a manufacturing problem.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an industrial equipment accident, you could eligible to receive compensation. Contact an experienced construction accident attorney to discuss your legal options.