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Crane Collapse in Dallas Causes Death and Serious Injury

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Several weeks ago, I wrote to warn you about cranes and the dangers that they pose.  You can read the blog entry here. Yesterday, during some severe weather in Dallas, the inevitable happened. A crane crashed into condos at Deep Ellum Apartments. A 29-year-old woman was killed, and at least five other people were injured when the crane violently crashed into the 486-unit complex.

A crane collapse is always terrifying, and the resulting damage can be devastating. In this collapse, entire families have been devastated, and even those fortunate enough to not have been hurt have had their lives upended. Bigge Crane and Rigging Co., the company responsible for the crane, has indicated that it will cooperate with investigating authorities to discover just what caused the crane to collapse during the storm.

Cooperation, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. I predict that there will be a lot of investigation and litigation before we know what should and should not have happened in the lead-up to this tragedy. Why did this happen? Would following existing safety rules have prevented the collapse? How could this have been avoided? What will we learn, if anything, to make crane operation safer in the future?

When I was a young lawyer, I learned something that I have found to be absolutely true: All safety rules are written in the blood of innocent victims.  When a company does not follow a safety rule for their industry and a predictable accident occurs, there should be no room for excuses. Someone somewhere has already paid the price with their health or life. Those lessons should not need to be repeated.

While this particular collapse is going to take some time to sort out, I predict that if tried and true safety rules had been followed, the collapse would not have occurred. Cranes and bad weather have co-existed for a very long time. Very seldom is a new safety rule necessary to prevent chaos like this.

I want to reach out to all who were affected by this tragedy and tell you that our hearts go out to you. We mourn your losses and will do what is necessary to make sure that the lessons learned due to this bloodshed are not in vain.