A construction accident caused by defective construction equipment can lead to two different legal claims: a workers’ compensation claim and a product liability claim. The former views the accident as a product of your employment, while the latter views the accident as the product of a manufacturer’s negligence. A New York construction defect lawyer can help you file a product liability claim or appeal a workers’ comp denial.
Give Buttafuoco & Associates a call today: 1-800-NOW-HURT.
Types of Defective Construction Equipment Accidents
Any equipment used on a construction site may be defective if improperly designed or assembled. Many equipment accidents occur with machinery used in construction such as excavators and jackhammers. A defective table saw can lead to a claim if the design does not include hand guards for preventing injury.
Another type of equipment accident arising from a defect is when safety equipment fails. A defective safety harness, for instance, could allow a worker to fall and sustain serious injury. If a jury found the worker’s injury would not have occurred if he were wearing a properly made harness, it may find that the harness was defective and caused the worker’s fall injury.
As you can see, defective equipment can cause either direct or indirect injury by allowing a fall to occur or by causing a crushing accident.
Potential Injuries from Defective Construction Equipment
The injuries sustained depend on the type of defective equipment. For example:
- Defective saws can cause fractures, lacerations, traumatic amputations, and nerve damage.
- Defective scaffolding can cause falls or crushing injuries.
- Defective wires can cause shocks, burns, falls, and death.
- Defective nail guns can cause puncture wounds, infection, nerve damage, and even death.
Establishing a Product Liability Claim
An accident involving construction equipment is not necessarily due to a defect. If a worker uses the equipment improperly, injury can occur even if the design of the equipment is safe.
For a defective construction equipment claim to be valid, you must have proof that a design or manufacturing flaw directly caused your injury while you were using the equipment as intended.
Establishing these types of claims may require expert witnesses such as product designers and safety experts to provide testimony supporting your claim. Furthermore, you might need the design schematics of the equipment to identify the defect. Make sure you preserve the defective equipment to use as evidence against the manufacturer.
Can I file a claim against my employer?
In most cases, you will be unable to file a claim against your employer. This is because, under workers’ compensation laws, your employer is immune to liability as long as he provides you with workers’ compensation coverage.
However, if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may be eligible to file a claim against him. An attorney will be able to determine if you are eligible to file a claim or lawsuit against your employer.
Seeking Compensation after an Injury from Defective Construction Equipment
Because the accident occurred in the course of your employment, you will first seek a workers’ compensation claim for damages related to your work injury. Workers’ compensation will only cover medical care directly related to the injury as well as pay a portion of your wages during recovery.
If you file a product liability claim, you may be eligible to recover compensation for:
- Medical care
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Any costs associated with your injury (e.g., transportation to and from appointments, home or vehicle renovations, etc.)
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
To hold the equipment manufacturer liable for your injury, you must file a separate injury claim against the company. This claim will likely require the knowledge and resources of a New York construction accident attorney.
If you and your lawyer are able to establish negligence, your employer’s insurer will likely offer you a settlement. Run the settlement by an attorney to ensure it accounts for all your damages. If you accept a settlement and later incur costs, you cannot go back and ask for more money.
Talk to an attorney at Buttafuoco & Associates about your right to workers’ compensation benefits and your potential for filing a product liability claim. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT or fill out our online contact form for a free case review.