Workers never intend to get to caught in a drill press or pinch point on a conveyor belt. But all too often industrial workers are catastrophically injured or killed on the job because they were not adequately protected against workplace hazards.
Workers’ compensation laws provide for medical care, but the payouts provided by most state laws pale in comparison to the amount needed to compensate victims or their families for the mounting medical bills, mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of value of life, or the full amount of a worker’s lost wages.
“That’s why it is imperative to investigate other avenues of recovery in the event of a work-related injury or death,” said Wyatt Montgomery, an on-the-job injury attorney in Beasley Allen’s Mobile office. “One common cause of catastrophic industrial accidents occurs when workers are in hazardous conditions, such as working in close proximity to a machine that has not been guarded. A third-party product liability claim against the manufacturer of the machine that caused the worker’s injury is not bound by the restrictions of workers compensation laws.”
Machine hazards are typically present at or near the moving parts of the machine. These hazard zones are usually at the point of operation; where the machine cuts, bends, presses or otherwise moves materials; or at the power take-off or power transmission device. Workers should never be put in a position where they can put any part of their body into a machine’s hazard zone. As a precaution, these areas must be protected by machine guards.
When a hazard zone on a machine has been identified by the National Safety Council, engineers are charged with redesigning the machine to eliminate the hazard. If that’s not possible, it must be guarded. If the hazard cannot be guarded, manufacturers must warn the user of the hazard and possibly develop training policies for using the machine.
When these fail to protect workers, a third-party products liability claim related to an on-the-job injury should be investigated. There are practical strategies a lawyer must consider when preparing to pursue such a case, which is why it’s important to have an experienced industrial accident lawyer on your side to help you recover the most for your client.
“Many insurers and their lawyers understand that if your client is successful in pursuing a third-party products liability claim against the machine manufacturer, their chances of recovering more of their subrogation interest may increase exponentially,” Montgomery said. “This can often lead to cooperation from the employer before a lawsuit is filed.”
On-the-Job Injury Attorney
Nearly 3 million U.S. workers are injured on the job every year, not including government employees. An additional 5,300 workers leave for work each year, tragically never to return to their home and family. These staggering figures are unacceptable. They demonstrate how far we have to go in creating safer work environments for everyone.
At Beasley Allen, our industrial accident lawyers believe in holding employers accountable for any safety oversight or violation that results in a worker’s debilitating on-the-job injury or death. The manufacturers of industrial machines and equipment are also often to blame for worker injuries and fatalities due to a product defect. By holding employers and manufacturers accountable for safety failures, we help make our workplaces safer for everyone.
Our nationally recognized on-the-job injury attorneys have successfully litigated thousands of work-related injury and death claims, including product liability cases. If you or a family member have been injured on the job, call us to discuss your case. We have the resources to represent clients across the country while never losing sight of the individual.
Let us put our resources to work for you. If you are an attorney, we can competently and conscientiously assist you in handling any group of cases, no matter how large.