What Types of Defective Machinery Can Cause Catastrophic Injuries?
December 1, 2023
When work machinery or equipment contains a hazardous or unsafe condition or is defective it can lead to catastrophic injuries that change lives forever. Virtually any type of production or processing machinery that contain moving and/or rotating parts, pinch points and in-running pinch points are just some examples of dangerous machinery many Pennsylvania workers use every day.
Manufacturers of industrial machinery and equipment are legally responsible to ensure that there are not any risks of injury with their products that that could have been eliminated or minimized to prevent a known harm with the expected uses of their equipment or machinery. When a company’s failure to comply with the law’s mandate to manufacture and sell a safe product causes a devastating injury, you need experienced legal guidance. If you or a loved one suffered a life-altering injury due to defective or unsafe machinery, our Philadelphia products liability lawyers can help.
Pennsylvania employees face a range of potential on-the-job injuries. A significant risk that certain workers confront regularly is sustaining a severe injury due to defective machinery.
Machinery and equipment refers to the machines, components, tools, and other products workers use while performing the duties of their jobs. While any type of defective machinery can be dangerous, some types cause the most severe and fatal injuries each year across the country. Types of machinery that are the most hazardous when defective include:
- Metalworking equipment
- Woodworking equipment
- Food processing machinery
- Wheel loaders
- Trawl winches
- Foundry machines
- Welding machines
- Conveyors and material handling machinery
- Power presses and press brakes
- Power tools
How Do Defective Machinery Injuries Occur?
Approximately 3 million workers are injured on the job each year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Close to 5,000 of these injuries are fatal, leaving workers’ family members with tremendous financial and emotional losses. Machine entanglement is responsible for approximately 34,000 injuries in the country each year. The manufacturing industry makes up the highest percentage of machine entanglement injuries at 12 percent.
There are numerous ways that defective and unsafe machinery can cause disabling injuries including:
- Explosions and fires from flammable gases, chemicals, or improper venting.
- Electrocutions from faulty wiring or improperly insulated lines.
- Falls from great heights due to defective man lifts, scaffolding, or ladders.
- Lack of proper and adequate safety guards on sharp equipment or machinery.
- Heavy items falling from machinery or equipment.
- Entanglement of hair, jewelry, or clothing in rotating parts of machines.
- Caught in or crushed by heavy machinery or equipment.
- Struck against a moving or stationary part of equipment or machinery.
- Accidents involving work vehicles with defective parts.
- Inadequate warnings and instructions from manufacturers and distributors.
What Are Common Injuries Suffered in Defective Machinery Accidents?
Defective machinery accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries. Some common injuries suffered in these accidents include:
- Crush injuries
- Vision or hearing loss
- Broken bones and fractures
- Hand injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck and back injuries
What Types of Workers Are at Risk of Defective Machinery Accidents?
Every employee is at risk of experiencing an injury or illness at work. However, some industries are notoriously more dangerous than others. This is mainly due to the nature of the work being performed and the kinds of equipment regularly used. Powerful work machinery can be deadly when defective, resulting in specific fields seeing a higher rate of fatalities on the job.
Workers in the following industries are the most at risk of defective machinery accidents:
- Agriculture and forestry
- Fishing and hunting
- Factory work
- Shipyard work
Who Is Liable for an Injury Caused by Defective Machinery?
A vital part of any injury claim is identifying potentially liable parties. In some cases of defective machinery injuries, the hazard originated from the machine’s manufacturer. This can exist due to a hazardous or unsafe condition created in the machine’s design. In other cases, the defective condition can be caused by a manufacturing defect specifically using inferior or improperly made parts or components. Also claims can occur because of a malfunction of the equipment that occurs because of a poor design. Even properly designed machines can be defective if they are not provided with proper and adequate warning and instructions for the safe operation and use of the equipment. An experienced lawyer can identify and file claims, including third-party claims in addition to Workers’ Compensation, against all liable parties.
Possible Compensation for an Injury Caused by Defective Machinery
It is essential to work with an attorney who will investigate the details of the accident, review your medical records, consult with experts, identify liable parties, and review available insurance in your case. A skilled lawyer can vigorously pursue all avenues.
Compensation you may be able to recover includes:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
- Physical and other therapies
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of life’s enjoyment
- Wrongful death
We Handle Complex Defective and Unsafe Machinery Cases
If you or a loved one was severely harmed due to defective machinery, it is crucial to retain experienced legal counsel. Our lawyers have a long-standing history of recovering substantial financial awards for clients injured by defective machinery:
- $5 million recovery for scalp degloving injury: Our client was a 29-year-old factory worker and married mother of three children who suffered catastrophic injuries due to an inadequately guarded machine. When she crawled the machine to remove a jam, a rotating shaft caught her hair and pulled off most of her scalp. If it were not for her heroic medical providers, our client could have bled to death due to her massive injuries. Unfortunately, her doctors could not reattach the large portions of her scalp lost when her hair became entangled in the machine. Our client required dozens of surgeries and countless medical treatments and still struggles with intractable headaches, phantom pain, post-traumatic stress, and severe anxiety and depression. Our legal team created a record showing that the parent company’s safety inspector and safety committee never identified the inadequacy of the guarding on their client’s machine. We were able to obtain a $5 million settlement for our client.
- $2.25 million settlement for maintenance worker in crane accident: Our client was a maintenance worker who suffered catastrophic injuries when he fell 25 feet from a defective crane to the ground. As a result of the fall, he suffered a TBI, a burst fracture of a vertebrae, a shattered femur, a puncture wound to his bicep, and other injuries. We showed that the crane was defectively designed and assembled since it did not have a proper crossover walkway by which service personnel could safely cross between service platforms. We settled the case after mediation for $2.25 million.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Obtain Justice for Injured Workers
Our Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP are committed to protecting the rights and best interests of our clients. We know the physical, emotional, and financial strain catastrophic injuries have on workers and their families. If you or a loved one suffered a defective machinery injury, call 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.