Liability for Injuries Caused by Heavy Machinery Accidents
Posted on behalf of Gordon & Partners on Oct 30, 2019 in Workers' Compensation
Construction workers and other professionals must often work with heavy machinery to build, demolish, restore or assemble things. Unfortunately, this equipment is very dangerous and if accidents occur, they can cause permanent injuries or death.
If you or a family member sustained a serious injury from a heavy machinery accident, the West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorneys at Gordon & Partners can determine if you may be able to pursue a claim for financial compensation. Contact us today to discuss your potential claim during a free, no-obligation consultation.
Possible Liable Parties
It is important to note that liability is not an issue in a workers’ compensation claim. If a worker is doing his or her job and suffers an injury in a heavy machinery accident, he or she should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. It does not matter who is at fault for the accident.
However, if the employer was intentionally negligent and this caused the accident, the worker may be able to file a claim against the employer.
There are also third parties that could have liability for a heavy machinery accident. In these kinds of claims, it would be necessary to prove negligence occurred. Examples of third parties could include:
On construction sites, the general contractor is responsible for providing a safe work environment.
Owner of the Project Site
The owner of the project site may not be the employer. The owner might be responsible for maintaining a safe work site.
If the heavy machinery is defective, the manufacturer who produced it may be held liable for your injuries.
Why Heavy Machinery Accidents Happen
There are many reasons why these accidents occur. Workers may mishandle the equipment or lack necessary training to properly handle it. Sometimes the machinery is defective or has not been properly maintained. In other situations, workplaces may emphasize output and violate safety rules in the interest of profits.
Types of Heavy Machinery Accidents
These accidents may happen at construction sites, in warehouses, in agricultural settings, while working at a factory or on highways.
Some of the most common types of heavy machinery that injure workers include:
- Cranes – These are used in construction and in warehouses and manufacturing plants. When these machines collapse, they can easily kill or seriously injure workers.
- Forklifts – Forklifts that malfunction may cause a load to come down unexpectedly and crush workers who are nearby. Malfunctioning forklifts can also roll over and hurt or kill the forklift operator.
- Bulldozers – Bulldozers are a common sight on construction projects where heavy loads must be moved from one location to another or the ground must be leveled out. However, defective electrical systems in these devices can injure workers in and out of the vehicle.
- Hoists – Hoists are used to lift heavy loads, but a defect in the pulley can result in suddenly dropping a load onto the workers below.
- Loaders – Front-end loaders require a variety of safety procedures to prevent worker injuries. Skid loaders must be built to prevent rollovers and harm to those in the vehicles.
Injuries Caused by Heavy Machinery
Heavy machinery accidents can trap, crush or strike workers or others at the job site. Common injuries from these accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries
- Internal injuries
Reducing the Risk of Heavy Machinery Accidents
Most heavy machinery accidents are preventable when workers and employers follow proper safety guidelines, including:
- Always wear appropriate safety gear, including harnesses, gloves and steel-toed boots
- Wear reflective clothing if you are in an area that is difficult for others to see
- Avoid working at night when workers may be fatigued or lack sufficient lighting
- Conduct regular maintenance and inspections on heavy machinery
- Only use heavy equipment for the job for which it is designed
- Take regular breaks to avoid fatigued driving accidents
- Take part in regular safety meetings to discuss safety guidelines
Call Today to Discuss Your Accident with a Qualified Lawyer
The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Gordon & Partners can discuss your accident in a free, no-obligation consultation. We can determine if you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and if a third party may be liable for your injuries.