When Defective Equipment Causes a Workplace Accident

Defective equipment is frequently a source of workplace injuries. This can have a tragic effect on both the employee and their family. For many, losing time at work is financially devastating. That is why it is important for the injured worker to have the legal insight a personal injury lawyer can provide. 

Work Place Injury Insurance

Normally, workplace injuries and illnesses are covered under workers’ compensation. This is a state-mandated type of insurance that allows the worker to file a claim without fear of reprisal. The claim does not need to involve negligence by the employer or business. 

Rather, workers’ are eligible to receive coverage for medical care, lost wages, rehabilitation and disability. If the worker dies as a result of their injuries, the family receives death benefits. 

Injuries Caused by Defective Products

Some injuries are caused by defective products. The products range from auto defects to defective machinery and faulty containment of toxic chemicals. In such cases, the company did nothing to cause the problem. Instead, the manufacturer of the product is liable for producing a defective product that leads to a workplace injury.

Is This a Workers’ Comp or a Personal Injury Case?

Job-related injuries due to equipment defects vary. For instance, a delivery truck with defective brakes or tires can cause a serious traffic accident. Many different types of defective machinery used on construction sites result in worker injuries.  These differ from other types of workplace accidents.

Defective Equipment at a Construction Site

Examples of construction site defective equipment are:

  • Crane defects: Accidents involving cranes are common at a construction site. Frequently, the injuries are due to a defective part. Such defects can take an experienced crane operator by surprise and cause significant bodily injury.
  • Forklift defects: This type of equipment is seen on almost every mid-sized to large construction site since it is a way to move heavy objects. A defect in the design or manufacture of the forklift can result in serious injuries or death.
  • Scaffolds: These temporary structures allow workers to move freely during construction at an elevated height. Defects in the scaffold can lead to a fall, which results in head and spinal cord injury as well as broken bones.

Filing a Third-Party Product Liability Claim

In most workers’ comp cases, a personal injury claim is not filed. If the worker files a workers’ comp claim, they agree to not file a claim against their employer. However, if a third party causes a negligence-based accident due to faulty equipment they provided, the  injured party can file a product liability claim. 

For instance, if a manufacturer sells the construction company defective scaffolding and it collapses, injuring several workers, it is possible to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. The worker can reclaim:

  • Lost wages: Current wages, as well as bonuses the injured party loses due to the accident injuries, are compensated. If the injured party is disabled and unable to work, the future wages he or she would have earned until retirement are added. 
  • Medical care: This includes travel to the hospital, medical expenses in the emergency room, surgical costs, doctor fees in and out of the hospital, laboratory tests, cardiac evaluation and MRIs and X-rays. Medication is also covered as is the travel cost to and from medical care facilities after discharge from the hospital. 
  • Cost of rehabilitation: Treatment at rehabilitation facilities is covered as are medical devices. If medical assistance devices, modification to the home for easy access and nursing home care is needed, that too is recoverable.
  • Pain and suffering: The injured party’s emotional, physical and psychological pain and suffering are factored into the product liability lawsuit. Pain and suffering are not collectible in a workers’ compensation claim. 

Call the Olinde Law Firm for Help in New Orleans

If you’ve been injured by a defective product on the job, call the Olinde Law Firm. We will help you by investigating the accident and determining if a defective product was involved. Just call (800) 587-1889 to schedule a free case review.

Photo attribution: https://pixabay.com/photos/construction-worker-safety-2578410/