Injuries in the workplace come from any number of potential dangers. Every industry has its own potential risks, and but one cause of injury that remains one of the highest across all industries is injury from equipment malfunctions. Especially when it comes to operating heavy machinery and power tools, equipment accidents can cause serious injuries, loss of limb, or death. Accidents involving malfunctioning safety gear can also cause serious injuries.
If you were the victim of an accident caused by malfunctioning machinery, tools, or other equipment, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today. Our Fayetteville attorney for injuries caused by equipment accidents and malfunctions may be able to take your case and help you file a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit to seek payments for your medical care, lost wages, and other damages. For a free legal consultation on your potential case, call our law offices today at (479) 316-0438.
Suing or Filing for Workers’ Comp. for Equipment Malfunction Injuries
In many workplace injury cases, you have to file your claim through workers’ compensation. In Arkansas, workers’ compensation is known as an “exclusive remedy,” which means that it is the only option to receive compensation for injuries. Under this process, you would file your claim with your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance policy to get compensation for your lost wages and medical bills to cover the injury. However, in some cases, you may still be able to sue for compensation.
Typically, workers’ compensation covers lost wages at a rate of 66 2/3% of your normal wages, plus the full cost of any medical expenses related to the injury. In cases where you can sue in a court of law instead of using workers’ compensation, you may be able to claim 100% of lost wages as well as additional damages for pain and suffering. However, to get those damages in court, you must first be allowed to sue, then you must prove the defendant was at fault. Workers’ compensation does not require you to prove fault, which can make claims through workers’ comp. simpler. In many cases, your employer might not be at fault at all, and you would be better off claiming damages through workers’ comp.
Injuries caused by equipment malfunction are some of the most common workplace injury cases that can be filed as a lawsuit instead of workers’ comp. In many cases where the injuries are caused by malfunctioning or dangerous machinery, power tools, or safety gear, the manufacturer of that equipment is at fault for the injuries. Typically, Arkansas law permits you to sue a third party for injuries instead of filing with workers’ compensation even if your employer would typically cover the injuries through workers’ comp. This could potentially open the option of claiming higher damages, but it would also require proving the equipment manufacturer was at fault.
When you have a choice of whether to sue or file a workers’ comp. claim, it is vital to discuss your case with an experienced workplace injury lawyer. Some cases are difficult to prove, and it may be far more efficient to file your claim with workers’ comp. than it would be to sue.
Common Causes of Equipment Accidents at Work
Typically, it is your employer’s duty to supply you with work-related equipment that you need at your job. OSHA regulations and state safety regulations typically require your employer to ensure proper training and safety protocols with heavy machinery, power tools, and other equipment. These rules may also require them to ensure that equipment is in working order, especially with equipment that has a serious risk of injury like heavy machinery.
One of the highest causes of injury, statistically, comes from having part of your body caught in or between other objects, primarily machinery. Injury victims who get their limbs, sleeves, pant legs, or long hair caught in a machine can easily face serious crushing injuries or amputation that can require time off work. Other injuries could occur if equipment rolls or falls on top of workers.
Some equipment is particularly dangerous. Production machinery is typically used close-up for long periods of time, and these various machines pose a serious danger to machinists and other workers. Many power tools and machines also have a great risk of injury. For example, lathes, saws, and other cutting tools and tools with fast-moving parts carry a substantial risk of injury if operated improperly. Moreover, forklifts, construction vehicles, cranes, and even dump trucks and garbage trucks also carry a significant risk of injury due to the heavy machinery and moving parts that could trap or injure a worker.
Other injuries can occur from malfunctioning or inadequate safety gear. Employers are supposed to equip workers with adequate safety gear to help protect them from injuries. The worker may be responsible for buying their own steel-toed boots or coveralls, but employers should provide things like goggles, facemasks, respirators, and other safety gear necessary to perform certain job tasks. Even something as simple as a broken ladder or scaffolding could cause serious injury or death. If this gear is broken or does not provide a high enough level of safety to protect the user, the injured worker may be able to file an injury claim for the results.
Call Our Fayetteville Machinery and Equipment Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you were injured because of an equipment malfunction involving construction equipment, heavy machinery, power tools, or other equipment at your job site, call our Fayetteville, Arkansas workplace injury attorneys. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, can help you sue an equipment manufacturer or file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. For a free legal consultation on your case, call our Fayetteville equipment injury lawyer today at (479) 316-0438.