Workplace injuries are an unfortunate part of life for nearly 3 million workers every year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 4,600 workers were killed on the job in 2012, averaging out to 89 deaths per week and more than 12 deaths per day.
Heavy machinery accidents are particularly troubling because of the sheer size and power of the equipment. Cranes, bulldozers, excavators, and other pieces of heavy equipment require special care and attention to operate, and failure to follow certain safety regulations can result in a tragic accident.
Since 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has succeeded in cutting workplace fatalities by more than 65 percent (as U.S. employment nearly doubled). There were approximately 38 worker deaths per day in 1970, compared to 12 per day in 2012. But unfortunately, there is still more work to be done.
Until all employees can enjoy a safe and healthy workplace, employers should be held to the highest possible standard. If you suffered a serious injury due to a heavy machinery accident,, contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today. The attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have eight decades’ worth of experience in personal injury law, both in and out of court—and a track record of success to prove it. Call (201) 585-9111 or fill out an online form to schedule your free and confidential consultation.
Causes of Heavy Machinery Accidents
Heavy machinery accidents are most common in the construction industry, which deals day in and day out with heavy machinery like cranes, trucks, backhoes, graders, excavators, forklifts, trenchers, cherrypickers, pipelayers, track skidders, and dump trucks.
Heavy machinery accidents can have a number of causes, including:
- Operator negligence: If the person operating the heavy machine does so carelessly and it leads to an injury, he or she could be found liable for injuries caused. This could include driving too fast, making unexpected maneuvers, or operating while distracted.
- OSHA violations: The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has established certain safety standards and regulations that employers must follow in order to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. Failure to maintain these standards can result in a personal injury lawsuit, as well as possible government sanctions. This could include failure to provide safety equipment, failure to properly train employees to operate heavy machinery, and failure to provide for employees’ safety in other ways.
- Defective equipment: Under the concept of products liability, any or all parties in the chain of manufacturing for a particular product can be held liable if that product is defective and someone is injured as a result. Liable parties could include the manufacturer, distributor, supplier, or even the retailer who sold the piece of equipment. If the accident was caused by a defective piece of machinery (i.e. defective brakes or faulty steering wheel), you could have a products liability suit against a party in the supply chain.
- Improper safety warnings or instructions: Under the same type of products liability law, manufacturers and designers are required to provide warning labels and instructions for safe use of the machinery. If a company fails to provide adequate instructions for safe use and someone is hurt on the job as a result, it could open up the company to liability.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program that provides wage replacement, medical treatment, and compensation for permanent disability to employees who suffer work-related injuries. If a worker suffers a fatal injury on the job, workers’ compensation also provides death benefits to his or her dependents.
As a “no-fault program,” workers’ compensation ensures benefits will be paid to injured employees regardless of who was at fault in the incident. In exchange for benefits guaranteed by workers’ compensation, the injured employee forfeits the right to bring a civil suit against the employer for pain and suffering or other damages (except in cases of intentional acts). However, workers can file a personal injury suit against a third party—often in addition to a workers’ compensation claim—if the third party’s negligence contributed to the injury; a personal injury suit allows injured workers to recover damages not available through the worker’s compensation program and hold third parties accountable for creating unsafe work conditions.
Considering the nature of workers’ compensation, it is often in your best interest to get an experienced attorney involved from the get-go. While you are not required to have an attorney help you through the workers’ compensation process, it is certainly within your right to do so—and it can certainly benefit you in the long run. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you figure out whether or not you have grounds for a personal injury case and/or help ensure you receive fair compensation through the workers’ compensation program. Filing a personal injury case allows you to collect money for damages not covered by workers’ compensation program. Workers’ compensation provides for pre-approved medical expenses, disability, and roughly two-thirds of the employee’s average wages, but a third-party personal injury lawsuit allows you to collect damages for all lost wages, employer contributions to retirement plans, and future anticipated medical care.
Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are proud to represent the injured in Palisades Park and throughout New Jersey. Since opening our doors in 1974, we have been committed to the highest standards of excellence in personal injury litigation. Our million-dollar and multi-million-dollar settlements have earned us inclusion in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, of which fewer than 1 percent of U.S. lawyers are members. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi was named to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law Firms list of 2013, and Michael Maggiano and Christopher DiGirolamo have received the highest possible ratings as car accident attorneys by the AVVO Lawyer Ratings service.
With more than 80 years’ worth of combined trial experience, we are prepared to investigate your claim and fight to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one has been injured in Palisades Park due to someone else’s negligence, contact us to discuss your legal options. Call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.