Construction sites are hazardous enough without the threat of malfunctioning equipment. Unfortunately, many workers are injured and killed each year due to defective tools of the trade. If you or someone you love was hurt by faulty machinery, you may be owed substantial compensation through a third-party injury claim.
Malfunctioning Construction Equipment May Lead to Third-Party Claims
After a serious injury at work, employees have the right to collect workers’ compensation benefits in lieu of suing an employer. However, employees are not prohibited from filing lawsuits against other negligent parties. This is particularly helpful to construction workers, as numerous construction equipment accidents can be traced back to a person or company other than the employer.
There are many ways workers could suffer injuries from defective equipment, including:
- Lack of shut-off valves. The heavy machinery present on a construction site poses a significant risk of fatal injury. As many entanglement injuries can be prevented by simply cutting the power, all machines should be equipped with emergency shut-off switches, buttons, or automatic trip fuses.
- Inadequate guarding. All machines with blades, pinch points, drill bits, conveyors, compressors, or other risk of amputation or entanglement should have proper shields and guards to prevent workers from unsafe contact. Guards should also be installed to control materials moving through machinery and prevent debris or particles from flying into the air.
- Defective power tools. Workers may suffer severe lacerations from defective saws, drills, nail guns, and other handheld power tools.
- Manufacturing defects. Some pieces of equipment that were properly designed suffer defects after they have gone from conception to finished product. Machinery may be considered defective if the device or tool does not function as advertised or intended, was constructed with substandard materials that compromise strength or expose workers to toxic chemicals, or contains impracticalities of use that lead to injury.
- Electrical defects. Poor wiring or failing to insulate power cords can result in electrical shocks, fires, burn injuries, or electrocution. A faulty wire may cause an unexpected startup, resulting in crush injuries to coworkers attempting equipment maintenance.
- Defective auto parts. Automakers or vehicle parts manufacturers may be liable for crash injuries caused by malfunctioning brakes, lights, steering, tires, or other safety failures.
Getting Full Payment for a Construction Site Injury
If a third party played a role in your injury, it is vital that you contact a construction injury lawyer to learn your options. A third-party lawsuit can provide substantial compensation for an injured worker, especially if your injuries are likely to prevent you from returning to work. In addition to lost income and disability compensation, a third-party claim can provide payment for pain and suffering—something that is not available through workers’ compensation benefits.
Our legal team can help you overcome the stumbling blocks in a third party claim, including:
- Breach of duty. All equipment used in the construction industry must be adequate for the job and be marked with proper safety features and warnings. The company that makes and distributes construction equipment may have breached its duty of care if its products were not properly designed, badly assembled, or otherwise unfit for use. We can determine if a device was unreasonably dangerous and pursue a third-party product liability claim against the manufacturer.
- Unsafe workplace. New York state labor laws allow construction workers to hold site owners and general contractors liable for injuries caused by an unsafe workplace. If a supervisor on the site failed to inspect equipment or identify potential defective items, they may be named in the injury lawsuit.
- Lost evidence. Contractors and site owners may perform immediate cleanup and remediation after an injury, making it difficult to show what the accident site looked like on the day of the incident. We can collect testimony from co-workers, results of inspections and OSHA investigations, and other evidence to get to the root cause of your injury.
Our attorneys will work to get you the compensation you are owed, and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or learn more about your rights in our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.