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Dangerous Machinery in the Workplace Accident Claim

Dangerous Machinery in the Workplace Accident Claim

Workplace accidents are a fairly common occurrence and are some of the most common personal injury cases filed each year by employees seeking workers’ comp.

While it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure a safe working environment and provide adequate training and safety gear to employees operating the machinery, there is also a responsibility that falls on the employee requiring that they act in accordance with their safety training.

There is also a duty of care that the machinery manufacturer gives to their customer providing machinery that is not defective. There are a number of situations where the party at fault can become confusing and they are as follows. 

Product Liability Claims

Many work-related injuries are a result of operating equipment and machinery so one avenue that many people involved in personal injuries at work take is filing against the company that is responsible for the design, installation, maintenance, and safe use of the machinery. Claims based on the theory that a machine or product is dangerous and causes injury are product liability claims. Such a claim has to follow at least one of the following three liabilities:

Negligence

A negligence claim makes the manufacturer responsible for knowing that there is a fault in the product and taking measures to identify or correct the problem to produce a safe product and that as a result of them failing to do so, a worker was injured through the use of the product.

Strict Liability

Under strict liability, a product manufacturer is held liable for injuries that result from the use of a product deemed unreasonably dangerous. Depending on state law, the company that sells or distributes the product may share liability with the manufacturer.

Breach of Warranty

A warranty claim is based upon an implied warranty of maintenance and alleges that a product was not safe for use as intended. 

 

State law, the statute of limitations, and specifics of how the injury occurred all factor into a liability claim which is why it’s so important to have the counsel of a lawyer when bringing such a case.

Dangerous Product Design

Liability may fall upon the manufacturer of the equipment or machinery for ensuring that its design is not only suitable for use but also accommodates the probability that the equipment will be misused or used without the proper safety gear. Employees will often take shortcuts thinking that they are familiar enough with the product to bypass these safety measures. When a problem that is reasonably foreseeable is not detected in the product design and manufacturing process or is detected but neglected, the manufacturer may be liable for injuries that occur as a result.

When appropriate, the manufacturer should build safeguards into the equipment so that it cannot be operated without the applicable safety equipment and guards in place. The design should also take relevant safety codes into account which reduces the chance of a product being dangerous. While this is a required measure to take, simply doing this is not a sufficient measure in eliminating the possibility of a product liability claim. 

Manufacturing Defects

This occurs when the product is properly designed but a mistake is made during the manufacturing process the renders the product dangerous for use. 

Duty to Warn

A manufacturer has a duty to warn the people who will be using its products of the potential dangers associated with its use. Even in situations where the risk is obvious, such as with a simple tool like a ladder, a failure to provide sufficient instruction and warning may result in liability. 

For some machinery, product warning labels are adequate while more complicated machinery and equipment need further warning than labels which may result in confusion about how to safely operate the equipment. 

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How to Receive Compensation for a Construction Accident

How to Receive Compensation for a Construction Accident

When it comes to working on a construction site, workplace accidents are practically inevitable. 

Even small scale construction sites host an array of hazards. Construction involves the use of potentially dangerous power tools and often there are many contractors and subcontractors performing different tasks on the same site. There may be heavy equipment, machinery, and building materials involved in the process. 

Taking all of this into consideration, you should never underestimate the risk of serious injury on a construction site. As a construction worker, you may wonder how you may be compensated after involvement in a construction accident.

Workers’ Compensation

Most accidents that occur on a construction site are caused by the worker’s own error or by the negligence of the employer or a co-worker. Due to this fact, most injured construction workers will be able to resort to workers’ compensation benefits to cover lost wages, medical care, and necessary rehabilitation. 

However, if you’ve been involved in an accident where a third party is partially or fully responsible for your injury, it may be possible to bring on a lawsuit in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Personal Injury Claims

Most injuries that occur on construction sites are caused by the mistakes or carelessness of either the injured party, a coworker, or the employer, falling under the theory of negligence.  However, under the exclusive remedy rule, it is typically impossible to bring a negligence act against your own employer or coworker. 

When multiple contractors or subcontractors are involved or operating at the same construction site, your injury may be caused by a third party. In this situation, it may be possible to pursue a personal injury action against that individual and that individual’s employer.

Product Liability Claims

A product liability claim is filed as a result of an allegation that the plaintiff’s injury was caused by a product that was unsafe, typically by way of a design defect, production defect, inadequate warning labels and instructions, or foreseeable misuse. In this case, the third party (someone outside of that employment) is responsible for the design, installation, maintenance, and appropriate warning labels associated with operating that machinery. Therefore, that person is negligent in carrying out their duties and you may be able to pursue a product liability action against that third-party in relation to the injuries you suffered. 

Exceptions in Construction Accidents

Construction site accidents can also come in the form of long-time exposure to workplace or environmental toxins. For example, shipyard workers have found decades later that they suffered from asbestos-related illnesses. Welders are potentially exposed to manganese in welding rods, causing manganism.  Similarly, use or exposure to lead paint can cause lead poisoning. 

Construction injury cases can pose a bit of difficulty in determining the role of the employer and in some cases can make it harder to determine that an injury is actually work-related. 

No matter what situation they find themselves in, injured construction workers will generally benefit from at least a consultation with a qualified workers compensation lawyer like Montagna Law. A lawyer will be able to review your case for workers’ compensation and also for potential recompense from third-party defendants if applicable.


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Understanding Worker’s Compensation

Understanding Worker’s Compensation

Put in the simplest terms, worker’s compensation is when an employee is injured in a work-related accident or becomes ill due to conditions on the job and can receive treatment and partial wages. Most states (with a few select but important exceptions) require employers to purchase an insurance plan that covers their statutory obligations to employees who are injured or become ill due to workplace conditions. Virginia is one of those states There are both pros and cons to filing for worker’s comp so understanding everything that goes into it will help you make the best decision for yourself. 

How does worker’s compensation work?

Worker’s comp is different from other types of insurance – car, for example – in that it doesn’t matter so much who is at fault. What is significantly more important than who is at fault is whether or not the accident or illness occurred at work. If you have sustained an injury, illness, or disability due to work-related circumstances, you may qualify for workers’ comp. 

When you get injured while working, you will typically report it to your supervisor. By law, you have the right to medical care. 

How does one qualify for worker’s comp?

Besides being an employee, you will likely need to qualify for the following criteria as well:

  • You work for an employer who provides workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Your injury, illness, or disability is work-related.
  • Make sure to check your state’s regulations and deadlines for filing a worker’s comp claim and submit your claim before that time is up.

The potential cons of accepting your employer’s worker’s comp insurance

Many employees who are injured on the job accept the worker’s comp insurance without realizing that by doing so, they are giving up their ability to sue their employer. Worker’s comp was created in part to provide lost wages and medical care to injured employees but it was also meant to protect employers from being sued. It’s important to seek out the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer at Montagna Law who has experience with worker’s comp claims to ensure you are being treated fairly by your employer’s insurance policy. 

Generally, employers will do their best to make sure you get healthy again and to prevent future injuries but this may not always be the case. Each situation and injury is unique. The best way to know if this is your best option is to contact a lawyer at Montagna Law. This is especially important if you have sustained a life-threatening injury or if you have a permanent disability.

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Workers Compensation Benefits During COVID-19

Workers Compensation Benefits During COVID-19

Due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many employees have found themselves without employment as many employers have been forced to furlough employees or reduce work hours. If you sustained a work injury and returned to work under restrictions to accommodate your injury and are not able to perform your job as you were prior to your injury, you may be entitled to additional workers’ compensation benefits. Contact us at (757) 622-8100 if you feel you may be eligible for COVID-related workers compensation benefits. Here are three examples in which this may be applicable.

Situation #1: Temporary Total Disability Benefits

If you are working under restrictions for your employer and were laid off due to Coronavirus, you may be entitled to your full temporary total disability benefits while you wait to have your job reinstated or while your employer looks to find other employment options for you.

Situation #2: Temporary Partial Disability Benefits

If you are working under restrictions but your employer is no longer allowing you to work overtime or has reduced your hours, you may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. This will supplement your wages to be equivalent to the amount you were earning prior to your injury. 

Situation #3: Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

Even if you are still able to continue working, if you’ve suffered a permanent injury to your eyes, ears, arms, or legs, you may be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits. These are payments that your employer is required to pay for the loss of the use of the extremity and you are paid even if you are earning your normal wages. 

Many employers will claim that you cannot recover benefits for hearing loss but this is inaccurate. You can pursue benefits now for noise-induced hearing loss and if after you’ve retired, you sustain additional hearing loss, you can pursue a supplemental claim at that time. 

 

If you would like additional information on any of the above benefits or need assistance in pursuing these benefits, contact us at (757) 622-8100.


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