Power Tool Injuries
Power tools and industrial machinery can be dangerous. But when these devices injure a person, questions arise as to whether the device was defective or if inadequate warnings were given for use of the device. If the answer is yes to either of those questions, the injured party may be able to recover compensation for the injury. At the Law Offices of John E. Hill, P.C., our attorneys represent parties injured by power tools and industrial machinery. We thoroughly investigate the facts of your case, and aggressively pursue all avenues of recovery, so you can obtain the maximum compensation possible.When Is a Power Tool or Industrial Machine Defective?
An industrial device is defective if it is unreasonably unsafe for its intended use. Often the defect is in the design, or in the failure to warn users of inherent dangers. Examples of defects include:
- Lack of safety guards to prevent contact between the worker and dangerous moving parts of the machine
- Machines that can operate fully when safety guards are removed
- Lack of a kill switch to shut down the machine in an emergency
- Lack of warning labels explaining potential dangers during operation
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that one of the most frequently violated safety standards involves machine guarding, barriers that protect workers from “ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks.” Lack of adequate guards is a problem in various devices, including:
- Table saws
- Belt sanders
- Conveyor belts
For example, when a worker was tragically crushed by the mechanical arm of a palletizer designed by Mollers, the machine was found to be defective because it lacked a safety guard.
Another question that can arise when an injury occurs on a factory floor is whether the placement of workstations were unsafe. If one workstation is too close to another to allow safe operation of a machine, the factory floor is defective by design, and the industrial architect who produced the layout could be liable for the injuries.Recovering for Work-Related Power Tool and Machinery Injuries
Reliable statistics on work-related accidents involving power tools and machinery are hard to come by, as these types of accidents are underreported. Although the number of incidents nationally seems to be slowly declining, risks remain high for workers in construction and manufacturing. But, when a worker is hurt by a power tool or industrial machine, what is the remedy? Depending on the facts, there are a few options:
- Workers’ compensation — A job-related injury qualifies a worker for a full range of benefits, even if the worker was negligent in causing his own injury.
- Third-party negligence lawsuit — If someone who is not the injured worker’s employer or coworker was careless in operating a tool or piece of machinery, the injured party can sue for personal injury under a theory of negligence.
- Products liability lawsuit — If the tool or machine was unreasonably unsafe, the worker can sue the manufacturer and supplier of the device for producing or supplying a defective product.
Of these three, workers’ compensation is the easiest claim to file, but workers’ comp does not fully compensate a worker for losses. With a third-party negligence or products liability lawsuit, however, the worker could recover personal injury damages, which include compensation for economic losses as well as for pain and suffering.Can Consumers Recover for Power Tool Injuries at Home?
Every year, more than 120,000 Americans are injured by power tools at home and at work, and studies show these numbers are rising dramatically. Power tool injuries in the home most often cause harm to:
- Lower arms
These injuries are most often:
- Contusions or abrasions
- Penetration by a foreign body
Consumers who injure themselves with a power tool in the home have the burden of proving the tool was defective in its design, manufacture, or lack of warning labels. They do not necessarily have to show they were using the machine properly; it is sometimes enough to show they used the machine in a way the manufacturer should have foreseen a consumer using it.Speak to Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today About Your Case
Recovering full compensation for a power tool or industrial machinery accident is not easy, because of the many elements a plaintiff must prove. But an experienced and knowledgeable injury attorney at the Law Offices of John E. Hill, P.C. can evaluate your case for free. Call us today at (510) 588-1000, or contact our firm online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Oakland, we represent clients throughout Northern California. Hablamos español.