As you may know, whenever you are seriously injured at work, you can apply for workers compensation and get compensation for your injury. This is available no matter who was at fault for the accident, even if the accident was your fault. Workers can be confident that they will receive a portion of their wages and compensation for their medical bills while they recover.
In exchange for this protection, workers do not have the ability to sue their employers for personal injury. State statutes remove liability from employers, and this prevents workers from benefiting both from workers comp and a personal injury suit at the same time. Though you are not allowed to seek compensation from your employer after an injury, there are a few cases when you can hold a third party responsible. Most often, this third party is a machine manufacturer whose defective machine contributed to your injury. If you were injured by a machine at work, you are entitled to compensation. You should contact a personal injury attorney, such as one of our associates at Bighorn Law, and see what options are available to you.
Product Liability for Defective Machines
Although you may never have heard of bringing a product liability suit against a machine manufacturer, this is actually a very common type of lawsuit. According to Forbes, up to 40 percent of product liability settlement dollars go towards workplace machine injuries. Manufacturers of these machines have a responsibility to make these machines safe for workers, and if you can prove that a machine was defective, you can receive compensation.
Foreseeable Misuse of Machinery
Courts place a high duty on manufacturers to make sure their machines are as safe as possible. To prove a machine was defective, you don’t need to have evidence of an extreme event like an explosion. Simply striking you in the face or crushing your fingers could be enough to seek damages. If a machine was designed in a way that it was easy to misuse, this could also be seen as a defect. This is called foreseeable misuse.
For example, imagine a machine has a guard rail to keep workers from entering a dangerous area. The guard rail is easy to remove, and workers commonly remove it, so that they can enter the machine and fix jams in the line. If a worker becomes injured when they are fixing a jam, they can still sue the manufacturer for product liability.
Even though the manufacturer placed a guard rail, they are expected to foresee that type of misuse and design in anticipation of it. For example, a manufacturer should design the machine, so that it is inoperable while the guard rail is removed. If they don’t have these additional safeguards in place, they may still be liable.
If you’ve been injured by a machine at work, contact us right away. We can help you with the workers compensation process, as well as take a look at your potential product liability claim.