Was Your Construction Site Accident Caused by Defective Equipment?
By Farrar, Hennesy & Tanner, LLC, Georgia
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If you have been involved in a construction site accident, do you know the reason why the accident occurred? It could have been faulty equipment.
Many construction site workers assume that the accident was their fault. Perhaps they made a mistake or didnít double check a safety feature. Often, a foreman or construction company CEO may try to convince that employee that a fatal error on their part caused the accident.
However, it is always important to check whether or not defective equipment could be at the root of the problem. It can greatly influence the amount of compensation that you receive for your medical bills and lost wages.
How Can I Be Sure that Defective Equipment Caused the Accident?
There are numerous situations in which construction site equipment may be the cause of a construction site accident. In many cases, the equipment was originally designed or manufactured with serious flaws. In other cases, the equipment may not have been properly maintained or repaired.
Examples of equipment that can be especially dangerous on construction sites include:
- Forklifts, rollers, tractors, dump trucks, and other heavy machinery
- Construction tools
- Band saws and cutting tools
- Conveyor belts
- Scaffolding and ladders
- Balers, lawn mowers, and other landscaping and lawn equipment
Though the aforementioned equipment are the basic components of any construction site, there are many other types of equipment that may be used and have been defective on the job.
Why Is It Important to Know Exactly What Caused the Accident?
You may not think that itís important to know why you were hurt on the job. You know you are seriously injured, and you deserve compensation from someone. But the key here is which someone? It makes a big difference legally whether or not the cause of the defective equipment was the manufacturing company who did not properly fabricate the equipment, the repair company who did not properly repair the equipment, or someone else.
It all comes to a head during litigation. If you are in an accident that causes serious harm such as a brain injury, internal injury, broken bones, lacerations, burns, or even disfigurement or disability, you deserve compensation. Chances are, you will be out of the job, out of wages, and stuck with enormous medical bills.
With that being said, there are ways to obtain compensation for these injuries. You must pinpoint liability first, and then you can seek that compensation from the at-fault party.
What Can You Do if Defective Equipment Caused Your Accident?
If defective equipment caused your accident, you have a number of choices. First, youíll want to seek help from a professional product liability attorney. Product liability attorneys specialize in seeking compensation for serious injuries caused by defective products and equipment. When it comes to construction work or any type of employment, however, seeking compensation for injuries becomes slightly more difficult.
Thatís because the United States has workerís compensation laws. These laws require that all employers have workerís compensation insurance, which pays for medical bills and lost wages in the event that an employee is injured on the job. This is good for construction workers (and all other types of employees in nearly all industries) because it protects them no matter what.
On the other hand, it also limits the amount of compensation that employees will receive. Often, serious injuries caused by construction site accidents can be extremely severe, even causing disfigurement or permanent disabilities. If this is the case, your bills, lost wages and quality of life will far exceed what workerís compensation will be able to offer you.
Another thing to note about workerís compensation insurance is that because you will be receiving workerís compensation, you will be unable to sue your employer. Whether or not your employer was at fault, you will be receiving workerís compensation, so the option to sue is off the table. On the other hand, if your accident was caused by a third party, you can sue that third party and seek compensation.
This is the situation that is presented when defective equipment is the source of a construction site accident. Most probably, the manufacturer of the equipment, a repair company, or another third party is liable, and suing them is an option you may have available to you.
Suing a Third Party
If the cause of your construction site accident was faulty or defective equipment, it is your right to make a third party claim against the responsible party. Youíd be surprised to learn how many construction site accidents are caused by the negligence of third parties. Finding out who was at the root of your accident is essential so that you can get the compensation you deserve.
If you think that this may be an avenue you would like to pursue, it is essential that you gather as much information and evidence from the accident as possible. This includes pictures and reports from the day of the accident as well as medical reports from your injuries, police accident reports, and eyewitness testimonies.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you have been injured while working on a construction site, youíll also want to talk to a product liability lawyer as soon as possible. Whether or not the accident was caused by faulty or defective equipment, it is simply a wise idea to have a lawyer at your side. And for making third party claims, it is essential.
That said, knowing exactly what actions to take in the event of a situation like this can be extremely difficult. You will be getting advice from your employer, representatives from the workers compensation insurance company, and others on your jobsite. Only a highly skilled product liability lawyer will be working 100% in your interest and helping you obtain the optimal amount of compensation for the serious injuries that you have endured.
Moreover, in many cases, lawyers work on a contingency basis for cases like these. This means that they will meet with you for a free consultation about your case. You can explain what happened to you on the construction site and the circumstances that surrounded the accident, and they will give you initial advice on whether or not you should move forward with a third party claim.
But itís important to remember that there are statutes of limitations when it comes to making construction site accident product liability claims, so if you need to speak with someone to get legal advice, donít wait.
AUTHOR: Farrar, Hennesy & Tanner, LLC
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.