Faulty equipment includes electrical equipment or mechanical equipment that may be unsafe to use because it is defective. Typically, this refers to equipment that is used in a workplace for completing projects or manufacturing projects, for example, a construction project.
Faulty equipment is responsible for numerous workplace injuries every year. Faulty equipment in the workplace can be faulty for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to:
- Improper maintenance;
- Errors in responding to warnings;
- Incorrect instruction manuals;
- Old or broken parts;
- Manufacturing defects;
- Design defects.
One example of a faulty equipment violation is a conveyor belt that was not properly lubricated. This may cause the apparatus to jame or catch fire, which can result in loss of products that are damaged as well as injuries.
What Are Some Injuries That Faulty Equipment Can Cause?
Accidents that involve faulty equipment may cause a wide variety of injuries and can be caused by a wide variety of equipment, including:
- Electrical accidents: Electrical accidents are common in workplaces. They are caused when an individual is exposed to high-voltage electrical outlets;
- Examples of injuries from electrical accidents include electrical shocks and burns;
- When an individual has contact with electricity, it causes an electric current to run through the individual’s body, delivering an electric shock;
- A strong electrical shock can lead to heart or respiratory failure and death;
- Electrical burns can also result from electrical shocks. They may be internal or external;
- When a worker uses a faulty extension cord or works in an environment where there are exposed power lines, there is a high risk of electrical accidents, which may result in minor and major injuries;
- Bladed tools: Bladed tools are an obvious source of workplace injuries. Accidents involving bladed tools may result in serious lacerations, puncture wounds, and even amputation or dismemberment;
- Examples of bladed tools include:
- Meat slicers;
- Chain saws;
- Pneumatic nail guns;
- Air-powered knives that are used in the meatpacking industry;
- Other sharp tools;
- Work vehicles: Vehicles are a common source of accidents in workplaces because they are on the roads. Vehicles include Bobcats, dump trucks, forklifts, and many other types of vehicles that are present in a variety of workplaces;
- Forklifts cause a very high number of accidents in workplaces each year. In almost half of those accidents, the forklift overturns and crushes an individual;
- Turning too fast with a heavy load on a forklift or driving a forklift with a load that is elevated are common causes of forklifts overturning;
- Industrial equipment: All kinds of industrial equipment, including power presses, conveyor belts, and manufacturing supply equipment, can malfunction due to defects and cause serious injuries;
- Power tools: Hearing loss may result from the use of power tools that generate noise above the 70- to 75-decibel level;
- Other injuries may include hypertension, irritability, and the inability to concentrate;
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries are also risks; and
- Ladders and scaffolding: Failures of ladders and scaffolding may cause catastrophic falls. Failure to use safety equipment, such as a harness that breaks the fall, can be another source of issues and injuries.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of the many different injuries that may result from accidents involving faulty machinery. The majority of workplaces have procedures in place to help them identify machinery that may be close to becoming dangerous.
There are also typical procedures in place for dealing with injuries. Even with policies in place, injuries may still occur due to negligence, mishaps, or other circumstances.
How Do I Get Compensation for Faulty Equipment Injury at Work?
There are steps an individual can take to obtain compensation for their faulty equipment injury that occurred at work. The first step is to determine the actual cause of the injury, whether it was the equipment or an action related to that equipment.
If a defect in a piece of equipment caused the injury, the question then is whether the equipment was faulty when it arrived from the factory. It must be determined whether it arrived faulty or became faulty because it was not properly maintained or it was damaged in the workplace.
The specific circumstances of the injury must be examined to determine if negligence was a factor. How the injured individual can recover compensation may depend on whether negligence was a factor on the part of the manufacturer or the employer.
There are three main ways a victim of a workplace accident can recover compensation for their injury that was caused by faulty equipment:
- Workers’ compensation;
- A personal injury lawsuit;
- A third-party claim.
An injured worker can use the workers’ compensation system in their state to obtain compensation for their injuries. Every state has a system through which an injured worker may recover compensation for their lost wages and medical bills.
The state workers’ compensation systems are no-fault systems. This means that a claim will be paid for the worker’s injury regardless of who was at fault or even if no one was at fault.
If, however, negligence was clearly the cause of the accident and resulting injury, then filing a personal injury lawsuit in a court of law may be the better method to collect compensation for a workplace injury. A faulty equipment lawsuit may be advantageous if the worker or the worker’s family needs to seek damages for pain and suffering or emotional distress in addition to seeking compensation for lost wages and the cost of the worker’s medical treatment.
These are categories of damages that are only available under negligence laws in a civil court.
An injured worker’s third choice for obtaining compensation is a third-party claim. This is a claim that is made against a party that is not the worker’s employer and is, therefore, referred to as a third party.
In a faulty equipment claim, the manufacturer would be a third party. A lawsuit against the manufacturer of the faulty equipment seeking compensation would be considered a third-party claim.
The injured worker would file this type of claim if the manufacturer was at fault for the defect that caused their injuries. This defect may have occurred during the design or the production phase of the manufacturing process.
In this type of case, an individual who was injured in an accident that was caused by a defect in the faulty equipment could file a strict product liability lawsuit in civil court against the manufacturer. Each of these three types of claims may bring results for an injured worker.
However, it is important for injured workers to consult with an experienced attorney who can help them analyze their accident and its cause and advise them on the best path to take to obtain compensation. It may be necessary to consult experts in mechanical or industrial engineering to determine exactly what happened in any given accident and whether negligence or a product defect may have been involved.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help With Faulty Equipment Issues?
If you have suffered an injury at your workplace due to faulty equipment, it is important to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer. Your lawyer can review your case, enlist the help of qualified experts who may be needed to determine what has happened and advise you on the best legal path forward.
No matter which legal action you choose to take, your attorney will assist you throughout the process. These cases can be difficult and complex, involve expert witnesses, and be vigorously defended by the employer or manufacturer, many of whom have attorneys on staff for that specific purpose.
Your best chance at protecting your rights and obtaining compensation for your injury is to have a lawyer on your side.