Workplaces use a number of different types of machinery and equipment. Industries such as construction and manufacturing use large and complex pieces of machinery and equipment that enhance productivity for companies. At the same time, when such machinery or equipment are defective or malfunction while in operation, the consequences can be devastating for workers.
Accidents involving defective or malfunctioning machines could lead to serious injuries such as crush injuries, broken bones, amputations or even death. If you have been injured by defective machinery on the job, in addition to filing for workers' compensation benefits with your employer, you may also be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective machinery seeking compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. An experienced Greenberg & Ruby, LLP work injury attorney adept at handling third party lawsuits can help you better understand your work injury legal rights and options.
Defective Machinery Claim Laws
Product liability laws hold the manufacturers, distributors and retailers of dangerous or defective products accountable for any injuries or damages caused by the defective product. Depending on the circumstances of the defect, a product liability lawsuit may be filed against one or more of the entities along the product's supply chain including the designer, manufacturer, wholesaler, marketer or retailer. Whether or not you can sue your employer or any other party to maximize your compensation should be of the utmost importance to you (your compensation needs to last a lifetime).
There are three elements in a product liability lawsuit against manufacturers of defective machinery:
Negligence: This requires the plaintiff to prove that the manufacturer of the product had a duty to customers and users and that it breached its duty, which caused the plaintiff to be injured. Manufacturers owe a duty to users of its products as well as bystanders who are likely to be injured. They also have a duty to manufacture products in such a way that it will safeguard against injuries likely to result of reasonable or foreseeable misuse of the product. For example, saws used in construction and other industries must have guards to prevent fingertip or limb amputations.
Strict liability: Strict liability holds the manufacturer of the product responsible to anyone injured by the use of the dangerous product. California law requires that in order to prove strict liability, the plaintiff must show that the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous, that the defect caused injuries as well as monetary damages for victims.
Breach of warranty: Every product comes with an implied warranty that it is safe for its intended use. A faulty product that causes injuries is not safe for its intended use and therefore, constitutes a breach of warranty. Typical examples of strict product liability cases in workplaces involve products like forklifts, defective power tools, appliances, etc.
What is a Third Party Defective Machinery Lawsuit?
When you are injured on the job, your first step would be to file a workers' compensation claim with your employer. This is, of course, an important step you should take so you can receive compensation for your medical expenses and at least a portion of the income you lost as a result of not being able to work after the accident. However, it is important to remember that workers' compensation will not cover losses such as pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, permanent injuries, disfigurement, loss of consortium, etc.
In order to receive compensation for these types of losses, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party whose negligence caused your accident and injuries. When a worker is injured on the job by a piece of machinery or equipment, he or she may be able to file a third party lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective machinery seeking compensation for injuries, damages and losses. Such lawsuits can be filed in addition to receiving workers' compensation benefits.
An experienced work injury lawyer will be able to evaluate the circumstances of your accident, explain the work injury claim process, and determine whether you have a third party lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective machinery or equipment.
Defective Machinery Lawsuit Evidence
Defective machinery injuries can occur in three different ways, including:
- Manufacturing defect: The piece of equipment that injured you may have been manufactured in a way that varies from its original design and results in increased danger to the operator or others.
- Design defect: The machinery may have been designed in such a way that it makes the piece of equipment inherently dangerous for use.
- Failure to warn: When products pose certain dangers, manufacturers have the duty to warn users so they can take the necessary precautions to prevent injury. When they fail to warn about these dangers, manufacturers could be held liable for any injuries, damages and losses caused.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured by a piece of defective machinery or equipment, you may need to take several steps to ensure that your rights are protected. One of the most important steps to take is to make sure that the equipment or machinery that caused your accident is preserved in its current condition, unaltered.
Our attorneys will not only help you preserve valuable evidence, but also help you document your injuries, the treatment you received and other losses you may potentially suffer. It is important in these cases that you do not accept a quick work injury settlement or rush to sign an agreement without consulting your lawyer. Once you sign an agreement, you may not be able to claim any further compensation for losses suffered.
Victims injured by defective machinery or equipment can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, cost of rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, disfigurement, pain and suffering and emotional distress. If you've lost the ability to return to work, you may also seek compensation for loss of earning capacity. Families that have lost loved ones to defective machinery or equipment can also file a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship.
The defective machinery attorneys at Greenberg & Ruby LLP are here to help you secure maximum compensation for your losses. Call them at (323) 782-0535 for a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.