Many industries use a variety of different machines to get the job done. From power tools to heavy equipment, caution is crucial for operating any type of machine.
Unfortunately, workers often suffer a wide range of injuries in spite of taking every precaution when using machines. Workers’ comp benefits are typically available for these accidents, although you may be entitled to additional compensation.
If you have been injured in a machinery accident in the workplace, the attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can help. Keep reading to learn what you should do after being hurt on the job, or contact us for a free consultation.
Steps to Take After a Machinery Accident
The aftermath of any workplace accident is intense. Despite the chaos and confusion you may be experiencing, there are a few important steps you should take if you have been injured by a machine on the job:
1. Seek Medical Attention
Your health and well-being should be your first priority. Have a coworker or supervisor call 911, or arrange for transportation to the nearest emergency room.
Although employers and their insurers have the right under New Jersey workers’ compensation law to select which healthcare providers an injured worker can see, this restriction does not apply in emergency situations. Similarly, your health insurance cannot charge you more for seeking emergency care at an out-of-network ER or hospital.
Getting proper medical care can make the difference between a full recovery and long-term impairment. It is also important for laying the foundation of your workers’ compensation claim.
2. Report the Accident to Your Employer
The next step of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits is to notify your employer of the accident. This can be done in writing or by speaking to someone in authority (such as a supervisor, foreperson, etc.). You can also file a request at this time to receive medical treatment for your injuries; your employer and/or the insurance company should direct you to approved doctors and other providers.
Ideally, your employer will promptly notify its insurance company of the accident. The insurer should then investigate and submit a report to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Workers’ Compensation. If your employer fails to report the accident, you have the option to contact the insurance company directly or file a claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation yourself.
Trying to handle a workers’ compensation claim on your own can be overwhelming. It is generally in your best interest to consult an attorney who can assist you with the claims process.
3. Collect Evidence from Your Workplace
Although it is important not to go back to work too quickly, returning to your workplace shortly after the accident can be beneficial for documenting what caused your injuries. You should speak to any coworkers who saw the accident, as well as take photos of the machinery and other workplace conditions.
Photos, witness statements, and other evidence can support your workers’ compensation claim. Depending on the circumstances, this information can also help you pursue additional claims against one or more negligent third parties.
4. Speak to an Attorney
When you have been hurt on the job, you may be entitled to medical benefits and disability benefits that temporarily or permanently compensate you for a portion of your lost income. Unfortunately, injured workers commonly face difficulties getting the benefits they deserve after a workplace injury.
Contacting an attorney shortly after a machinery accident can have a number of advantages. These include:
- Assistance filing your claim: If your employer will not take action, a lawyer can help you file a claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
- Investigating the accident: Experienced lawyers and their staff can collect evidence on your behalf concerning the injuries you have sustained, potential defects and maintenance issues that made the machinery unsafe, etc. This evidence can help counter disputes that may arise with your employer and/or the insurance company, as well as support your claim for benefits.
- Appealing the denial of your workers’ comp claim: In the event of an unfavorable decision, your attorney can file a petition to appeal and represent you in informal and formal hearings.
Qualified legal guidance can make a significant difference in your ability to recover the benefits you deserve after a workplace accident. An experienced lawyer can also advise you of your potential right to sue in cases involving defective or malfunctioning machinery.
For a free legal consultation, call (201) 585-9111
Can I Sue for a Machinery Accident in the Workplace?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. As a result, you are generally barred from filing a personal injury claim against your employer if you get hurt on the job.
However, if the negligence of another party contributed to your injuries, you may have additional legal options. In machinery accident cases, this generally means filing a claim against the manufacturer of the machine.
Industrial and construction machines may be subject to a number of defects. Common examples include:
- Defective design
- Defective assembly or installation of the machine
- Defective machine guards
- Vehicle defects
- Faulty wiring and electrical systems
- Fuel geysering
- Punch press malfunctions
- Missing or inaccurate safety instructions
Multiple parties may be liable in defective product claims involving machines, including the manufacturer, the shipper, the wholesaler, etc. Employers and third-party maintenance providers may also be liable if they fail to inspect and repair machines in the workplace.
Get Legal Help After a Workplace Machinery Accident
Claims involving machinery accidents in the workplace can be complicated. Whether you file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and/or pursue a case against the manufacturer of a faulty machine, it is important to have a lawyer who is committed to advocating on your behalf.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi has been representing injured workers since 1974. Our attorneys have extensive experience navigating the workers’ compensation claims process, as well as fighting for the rights of those injured by the negligence of individuals, corporations, and other parties.
For a free case review, please call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 today. Our attorneys serve clients in workplace machinery accident claims throughout New Jersey and New York.