Austin Bucket Truck Accident Lawyer

Cherry picker, bucket truck, boom truck, aerial work platform – these are all names given to the type of utility trucks that line workers and tree-trimmers use on the job.

These trucks feature a hydraulic arm or boom, which lifts workers in a bucket to reach areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. A lot can go wrong in the operation of these vehicles, and the slightest mistake can result in serious or fatal injuries.

If you’ve suffered an injury while working in a bucket truck, or lost a loved one in a bucket truck accident, you could be entitled to compensation. Call The Evans Law Firm today to ask for a free case consultation: (855) 414-1012.

Mistakes on the Job

In most bucket trucks, controls for the boom and bucket are located in the truck cab. That means the driver must be alert to any hazards that could harm the worker in the bucket, and both workers need to communicate clearly with each other.

People who operate bucket trucks and work on or near power lines undergo training for their jobs. Still, even people who are licensed and experienced sometimes make mistakes. When rushing to finish a job, taking shortcuts can have deadly consequences.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers these tips for bucket truck workers:

  • Set brakes and use wheel chocks on an incline, to keep the truck from rolling.
  • Use outriggers (for support) when needed.
  • Always assume power lines are energized, even if they appear not to be.
  • Ensure bucket workers are not working between the rails of the basket and overhead obstacles (like beams or roof eaves), as crushing/entrapment may occur.
  • Know the bucket’s load limit, and account for the weight of all equipment and supplies to ensure the bucket isn’t overloaded.
  • Never move trucks while workers are in the basket (unless the truck is designed to function in that manner)

Recent Accidents

The International Powered Access Federation tracks accidents involving aerial work platforms. Of the fatal accidents it recorded from 2013 through 2016, the most common cause of death was falling from height, followed by electrocution and entrapment.

Bucket trucks must be on stable ground, as the boom arm changes the truck’s center of gravity and can cause the truck to tip over on uneven or soft surfaces. The Dallas OSHA office found that an accident in 2015 that seriously injured a worker occurred because the truck was parked on soft, unstable ground – the truck tipped over, and the worker was ejected from the basket.

In October 2016, a line worker in McKinney, Texas, died when the bucket he was in, or an item in the bucket, made contact with a power line. According to OSHA, the truck was in motion when the worker told the driver to stop. The accident happened immediately after the truck stopped. After an investigation, OSHA fined the employer for five serious safety violations.

The South Houston OSHA office fined a company in Pasadena, Texas, for a serious safety violation following a fatal accident in 2015. A man was working on an aerial lift which was on an uneven surface – it rolled off the edge of the surface and ejected the worker, throwing him to the ground and killing him.

Occasionally, the cause of bucket truck accidents is not operator error or employer negligence, but equipment failure. A serious accident in Minnesota, in which a lineman suffered broken bones, occurred when the boom arm detached from the bucket truck and he fell to the ground.

Help for Injured Workers

In Texas, many people employed as lineman, painters, construction workers, or tree trimmers are independent contractors who don’t have access to health insurance through an employer. And even people who are full-time employees may not be covered by workers’ compensation benefits, as state law doesn’t require employers to participate in workers’ comp.

Austin Lawyer Consult

When a bucket truck accident seriously injures or kills a worker, the financial impact on the family can be extreme. But with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, families may be able to get the compensation they need to cover their medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses.

At The Evans Law Firm, we handle all personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing up front – our fee comes from any settlement you may receive. If you need help, contact us online or call us at (855) 414-1012 to request your free, no-obligation case consultation.