Heavy Machinery and Construction Site Accident Lawsuits
The heavy machinery commonly used on construction sites and industrial jobs is often dangerous. When accidents occur involving machinery, physical injuries are usually catastrophic and life-threatening.
Some victims are unable to return to work or are permanently disabled. If the accident was caused by defective equipment or the negligence of others, then you can pursue an injury lawsuit to recover financial compensation.
Construction is a dangerous occupation in the United States, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates high numbers of construction workers injured every year on the job.
Many of the injuries are directly related to the use of heavy machinery, such as bulldozers, backhoes, cranes, dump trucks, steamrollers, bulldozers, backhoes, forklifts, and excavators.
If you work in construction, manufacturing, agriculture, or related types of industries, chances are you're working with heavy machinery—and there is an inherent risk of injury as a result.
Even though California leads the nation in workplace safety protocols, injuries and fatalities still occur regularly on the job, many of them due to mishaps with heavy machinery.
Since the vast majority of heavy equipment accidents happen on the job or at job sites, worker's compensation insurance should cover the costs of treatment and at least partial coverage of lost wages.
However, there are situations where another party was negligent in causing your injury. This means you could be eligible to file an injury claim for additional compensation.
Our California personal injury lawyers will take a closer look below.
Common Industries Where Heavy Machinery Accidents Occur
Heavy machinery accidents can happen in any industry where machinery is used, but some of the most common include:
- forestry, and
Workers typically use heavy equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers, forklifts, and cranes in these industries.
These machines are powerful and can cause serious injuries or death if they malfunction, are not adequately maintained, or are not used properly.
Most Common Types of Accidents Involving Heavy Machinery
Mishaps with heavy machines can occur in many different ways. However, the most common accidents that result in injury around heavy machines include:
- Being struck by the machinery—whether by a rollover or being hit by a machinery part in motion;
- Being run over by a heavy vehicle in motion (e.g., crane, bulldozer, dump truck);
- Electrocution from coming into contact with energized equipment;
- Getting caught in the equipment (e.g., limbs caught between moving parts, clothing caught in motors or gears, etc.)
In some cases, the user handling the machinery was an error or mistake because of improper training or carelessness. Further, there were mechanical defects or failure of safety devices in the machinery.
What Injuries Are Caused by Heavy Machinery?
Victims of heavy machinery accidents often face long-term repercussions as they could be suffering from severe burns or disfigurement.
Some victims could suffer from loss of limbs or even paralyzed. Some heavy machinery accidents are fatal, with devastating consequences for the victim's family. The medical expenses are enormous as many victims will require surgery and rehabilitation.
Heavy machinery accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, which may be severe and cause permanent damage. These include, but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)—including concussions, skull fractures, hematoma, etc.
- Injuries to the back, neck, and spine (which may cause chronic pain at best and paralysis at worst),
- Broken bones,
- Amputations (e.g., severed limbs due to crushing or sharp blades),
- Crush injuries—fractured bones, crushed organs, etc.
- Internal injuries—the impact of a machine may cause internal hemorrhaging that is not immediately apparent
How Does Worker's Comp Benefits Work for Heavy Machinery Accidents?
When heavy machinery accidents occur on the job or at a job site, your losses are covered by worker's compensation in most cases.
Worker's compensation benefits are designed to provide financial help to workers who suffer from work-related injuries. It generally covers treatment expenses, but it does not entirely replace missed income.
Employers are required to carry worker's comp insurance, and in most cases, it works as it should—but there are times when issues arise.
Sometimes, payments are delayed for one reason or another, and in other cases, worker's comp may try to deny your claim or reduce your benefits, citing a technicality.
If your worker's compensation insurance doesn't pay out as it should, you may want the assistance of a skilled lawyer who understands how to safeguard your compensation rights.
Third-Party Liability for Heavy Machinery Injuries
In some cases, the party responsible for your injuries is not your employer, and worker's compensation may or may not kick in as a result.
In such cases, a third party may be liable, and you may need to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit to recover damages or to recover additional compensation that worker's comp doesn't cover.
Examples of third parties who may be at fault in your injury accident may include:
- The manufacturer of the heavy machinery (or manufacturer of certain parts that failed),
- A third-party agency responsible for maintaining the machinery,
- The owner of the property where the accident occurred (if you were working on a job site),
- A third-party contractor who subcontracted your employer.
When Can You Sue an Employer?
In most cases, employers are protected from lawsuits by carrying worker's compensation insurance--so as long as the insurance is paying as described, the employer is immune to personal injury suits.
However, there may be exceptions, including if the employer failed to carry enough worker's comp insurance (or none at all) or if the employer was grossly negligent or egregious by providing an unsafe work environment.
An experienced worker's compensation attorney can advise you if you have recourse for additional lawsuits in a heavy machinery accident.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If your loved one passed away in a heavy machinery accident and you depended on the person for income, you may be eligible for worker's compensation death benefits which will partially cover the loss.
However, suppose a third party was at fault. In that case, if the employer was grossly negligent, or you are somehow disqualified from worker's comp death benefits, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person responsible.
In a wrongful death suit, you may be able to claim damages to cover the amount of income your loved one would likely have earned up to retirement age.
You may also be able to claim additional damages such as loss of companionship or loss of consortium.
How Can Our Personal Injury Lawyers Help You?
If you or a family member suffered a severe or catastrophic injury in a heavy machinery accident, we could help you recover the compensation you are entitled to receive.
We can investigate the accident to determine why it occurred and identify all the responsible parties held liable due to negligence.
We will also review all potential sources of compensation, including insurance coverage issues. We can calculate the value of loss and damages.
We will need to determine your losses, such as medical expenses, loss of income or job, pain and suffering, etc.
Injury Justice Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County and serves victims of negligence throughout Southern California. You pay nothing unless we win your case.
We offer a free case consultation by calling (818) 781-1570 or filling out our contact form.