August 3, 2020
Defective and Dangerous Equipment on Construction Sites: Who Is to Blame?
By Jonathan Damashek
Getting hurt in a construction accident is frightening and frustrating. Suddenly, you find yourself in pain, going to and from doctor’s appointments, and wondering when you’ll be able to get back to work. On top of it all, you have new expenses and less income. The financial reality of this situation makes it important to talk with an attorney about what caused the work-related accident and who might be liable.
If you were injured on a construction site because of defective equipment, you might have a product liability case in addition to a worker’s compensation claim. What does this mean? In addition to getting your medical bills and some lost wages covered by workers’ comp, you can also pursue pain and suffering and other compensation from the manufacturer of the defective piece of equipment.
A third-party liability claim, in addition to your workers’ comp, can help you financially recover fully from the accident. To learn more about defective construction equipment cases, contact Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. at (212) 490-5700 or through the online form to schedule your free consultation.
Types of Defects in Construction Equipment
Construction workers use many types of equipment on the job: power tools, large machines, vehicles like forklifts and backhoes, and safety gear. All of this equipment should be safe to use on the job. But the unfortunate truth is that too many laborers are injured because of defective equipment.
Where do defects come from? A piece of equipment can be defective for many reasons. The piece of equipment might be designed poorly and not as safe as it should be. It is known as a design defect, and it impacts all pieces of equipment that the company manufactures.
Another possibility is that the equipment wasn’t made correctly. Something could go wrong during the manufacturing, assembling, and packaging process. It is known as a manufacturing defect, and it usually affects a percentage of units manufactured or all units manufactured during a certain time.
A third type of defect is when a piece of equipment doesn’t come with the proper instructions or warnings. A lot of tools and machinery that construction workers use come with inherent hazards. For workers to use the equipment as safely as possible, they need instructions. Or they benefit from warnings regarding possible hazards. A lack of necessary information for equipment is known as a warning defect.
A fourth issue is wear and tear. Construction equipment goes through a lot. It’s meant to be durable, but time and use can lead to defects., like loose or missing parts or frayed wiring.
Liability for Defective Equipment: Manufacturers and Retailers
When a piece of equipment is defective and causes a serious accident, talk with an experienced NY construction accident lawyer. In many cases, the manufacturer of the equipment is liable for a design, manufacturing, or warning defect. In addition to pursuing workers’ compensation benefits, you can demand compensation from a manufacturer through a product liability lawsuit.
The company that sold or rented the equipment to your employer might be liable. When you partner with us at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., you can be confident that we’ll review all possibly liable parties. We’ll research the supply chain associated with that piece of equipment. We’ll determine who was responsible for ensuring it was safe to use as intended.
Is Your Employer Liable?
Equipment can become faulty and dangerous when it’s poorly maintained or used past its life. Maintenance and repairs are your employer’s responsibility. If all or some of the equipment isn’t routinely inspected, stored properly, cleaned, and repaired when necessary, the general contractor may be responsible for injuries that equipment causes.
But you probably can’t sue your employer. Why? Because of NY workers’ compensation law. If workers’ comp insurance covers you, then this is typically your exclusive remedy. You can’t sue your employer for their negligence if you can get workers’ compensation benefits.
There are a few exceptions. If your employer failed to keep you covered by workers’ compensation insurance, then you can sue. If you’re hurt in a defective and dangerous equipment accident at work, and you discover you don’t have workers’ compensation insurance, call a lawyer immediately.
Another exception is if you believe your employer’s intentional conduct injured you. This exception usually involves assault and battery, false imprisonment, or intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Talk with a NYC Construction Accident Lawyer
When your workplace injuries are because of defective and dangerous equipment at a construction site, give us a call. We want to hear about your experience. Then, we can investigate the type of defect that harmed you and advise you about a product liability claim. Depending on what we find, you might be able to hold a business responsible based on strict liability, negligence, or breach of warranty.