Work-Related Accidents

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I Lost My Hand in A Work-Related Accident. Is My Work Liable or is The Equipment Manufacturer?

Employers are obligated to do everything they reasonably can to keep their workers safe. This obligation is taken so seriously that workplace safety regulations are enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration which is a federal body. OSHA also has rules to govern machinery and equipment used in workplaces.

With all the rules and regulations in place, most employers do what they are supposed to. However, accidents occur in workplaces across the country every day. A worker suffers an

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injury every seven seconds, meaning that 12, 600 workers are injured daily. Ultimately, there are more than 2.8 million work-related injuries and fatalities each year. Some are freak accidents which no one could have seen coming. However, others are due to negligence or deliberate actions.

If you suffered an injury at work, you may be ready to go after your employer. However, you need to seek advice from an attorney. Your first avenue for compensation is likely to be your state’s workers’ compensation system. However, depending on the nature of the accident, you may be able to hold the employer or a third party liable.

Employers who ignore employees’ safety concerns or fail to follow maintenance schedules can be held responsible if someone gets injured. If the equipment isn’t properly maintained or repaired when necessary, it can lead to serious injuries. In some cases, workers’ compensation benefits aren’t enough to cover a worker’s losses. This may mean you can file a lawsuit against your employer or another entity, like an equipment manufacturer. In this article, we’ll look at some of the things you’ll need to consider if you lost your hand because of a work-related injury. 

Determining Who Is Responsible for an On-the-Job Accident

Factories, mines, and construction sites are known to be particularly dangerous workplaces. However, workplace accidents can happen in any setting. Power saws, meat slicers, forklifts, and conveyor belts can all cause life-changing injuries. 

These tools and machines can become dangerous because of:

  • Product defects
  • Lack of employee training
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Broken or missing parts
  • Incorrect instruction manuals

If you get injured because of one of these issues, you deserve to be compensated. When you can’t work and earn an income for an extended period of time, it will be a struggle for you and your household. However, it’s not always easy to determine who is liable when a workplace injury occurs. You will need to work with an experienced lawyer to ensure you go after the most appropriate entity. In some cases, you may be able to hold more than one party responsible.

Suing Your Employer

The majority of workplace injuries are remedied through the workers’ compensation system. This allows workers to get a range of benefits without filing a personal injury lawsuit or proving that the employer was negligent. In some cases, employees can claim compensation even if they were partly at fault for their injuries. The trade-off is that filing for workers’ compensation bars the victim from taking legal action. Furthermore, workers’ comp benefits don’t equate to a full salary. Fortunately, there are circumstances in which you can sue your employer for more substantial compensation. The rules vary by state, so you’ll need to get the information relevant for your state.

If staff weren’t properly trained or the equipment in question wasn’t properly maintained, you could have grounds for suing your employer. You will have to make a strong case against your employer to win your case. It’s more than likely that you will have to prove they were grossly negligent, or they showed a wanton disregard for your safety. This means you have to show they did something outrageous or failed to act even though they knew workers could be injured. This may be difficult to prove. If you work for a large organization, they will have high-powered attorneys on their side. You will need to hire a skilled attorney to build an air-tight case. Workplace injury lawsuits are often based on violations of OSHA violations.

Suing A Third Party

If the equipment or tool that caused your injuries was defective, your employer may not have known. In such a case you may have a valid claim against the manufacturer of the machinery. You may be able to file a product liability lawsuit if the product had a manufacturing defect or a design flaw or if it came with improper labeling, inadequate safety warnings or insufficient instructions. You may also be able to go after the company that installed the equipment or a property owner who is responsible for the machinery.

The burden of proof in a product liability claim is lower than that in an employer negligence claim. With the help of your attorney, you will only need to prove that the equipment was defective and that the defect led directly to your injuries. You won’t need to show that the manufacturer was negligent in any way. These types of lawsuits often rely heavily on testimony from technical experts.

Why You Need to Hire A Competent Attorney

Both product liability and employer negligence claims can be successful. However, you will need to share all the details of your accident with your attorney so they can identify the correct defendant. If you lost your hand, your life will change significantly so you need to do everything you can to get the compensation you deserve. While you may be able to deal with a minor workers’ comp claim on your own, a lawsuit is different. Whether you seek compensation from your employer or a third party, you can be sure they will be looking out for their own interests. You need to ensure you give yourself the best possible chance of getting the monetary benefits you deserve. As soon as possible after you get injured, you need to reach out to an attorney so they can begin looking into your case. You have nothing to lose by finding out how much your claim is worth and getting a legal opinion.

This content is informational only and is not legal advice. Please seek the advice of an attorney about your case.

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5 Cited Research Articles

  1. International Labor Organization. (2015). Construction: a hazardous work.–en/index.htm
  1. National Safety Council. Workplace Injuries.
  1. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. General Requirements for All Machines.
  1. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employer-Reported Workplace Injury and Illness, 2018.
  1. S. Department of Labor. Workers’ Compensation.

On This Page
  • Determining Who Is Responsible for an On-the-Job Accident
  • Suing Your Employer
  • Suing A Third Party
  • Why You Need to Hire A Competent Attorney

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