Welding is a process of fabrication by which two or more parts are fused together by means of heat, pressure or both. Welding is usually used on metals and thermoplastics. Welding is commonly used in the auto industry, shipbuilding, fabricating railcars and in construction. Welders are critical to a nation's infrastructure, and at the same time, welders are part of a profession that could be extremely dangerous.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 500,000 workers perform welding, brazing and cutting each year in the United States. The risk of fatal injuries in this industry is more than four deaths per thousand workers.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a welding accident, it is important to know that you have rights. While you may be entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits, you may also be able to file a work injury lawsuit against a party other than your employer who caused your accident and resulting injuries. An experienced Los Angeles welding accident lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options.
Filing a Welding Accident Lawsuit
If you have been injured in a welding incident, you can file for workers' compensation benefits through your employer. However, in addition to receiving these benefits, which typically cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, you may also be able to file a third-party lawsuit against an individual or entity (other than your employer) who may have caused the accident and your injuries.
Examples of third parties in a worksite include construction companies, general contractors, subcontractors, property owners, manufacturers of defective machinery or equipment and other workers/independent contractors at the site. Depending on who or what caused your welding accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. An experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer can help analyze all aspects of your case and help determine fault and liability in your case.
Who Can Be Sued After a Welding Accident?
Here are some of the parties who could potentially face a welding accident lawsuit:
Contractors and companies: There are usually a number of contractors and companies that are in charge of various jobs at a worksite. These may be companies or individual entities. In such cases, workers from different companies will work in the same physical area to complete a project. When a welder suffers injuries because of the negligence or carelessness of a worker from another company or an independent contractor because of their failure to follow safety regulations, the victim has the right to file a welding accident lawsuit against the at-fault person or entity.
Property owners: If a dangerous condition on the property has injured you, then, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner and/or manager. In such cases, plaintiffs must prove that the property in question allowed a hazardous condition to exist and that their injuries and damages were caused by the property owner's failure to fix that dangerous condition.
Defective products: If a defective piece of equipment or machinery has caused your injuries, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the machine or a defective part. Product liability cases can take a significant amount time to investigate and prove.
Governmental agencies: If a governmental entity or agency caused your welding accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the said entity as well. However, under California Government Code, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident or death.
If you suspect that your welding accident was caused by a defective product, it would be in your best interest to seek the counsel of a lawyer to help you pursue a claim against the manufacturer. If your welding injuries were caused by defective safety equipment, which failed to protect you on the job, you can also file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the safety equipment or device.
Welding Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Tragically, welding accidents also have the potential to result in deaths. While families of deceased workers are entitled to workers' compensation death benefits, this type of compensation is often not enough to compensate a family for the loss of a primary wage earner or breadwinner. In such cases, families will be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party that caused their loved one's death.
Examples of family members who can file these types of welding accident lawsuits include a spouse, life partner, children, parents or anyone who was financially dependent on the deceased victim. Wrongful death lawsuits typically seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and benefits, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship.
What Damages Can You Claim in a Welding Lawsuit?
There are a number of damages that can be claimed in a welding accident lawsuit filed against a third party including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future income and loss of earning capacity
- Rehabilitation costs
- Permanent injuries and disabilities
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Contacting an Experienced Welding Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured, it is important that you get prompt medical attention, treatment and care. File an incident report with your employer and/or supervisor and obtain a copy of this report for your records. It is also important that all evidence at the accident site is preserved. Workers' comp may not help you secure monetary compensation for losses such as pain and suffering and loss of earning capacity, if you have been permanently injured and disabled, and are unable to return to work.
It would be in your best interest to seek the counsel of an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer who will remain on your side and fight for your rights every step of the way. The experienced Los Angeles welding accident lawyers at Greenberg and Ruby have a long and successful track record of fighting for the rights of injured workers and their families. Call us at (323) 782-0535 to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case assessment.