Construction Equipment Malfunctions and Workers’ Compensation

Working on a construction site comes with many hazards, and accidents have the potential to do serious damage. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that one-fifth of worker deaths occur in construction accidents each year. In such a hazardous environment, workers expect that their equipment will operate properly and safely. When heavy machinery malfunctions, construction workers can suffer serious injury or death.

Heavy-duty construction equipment such as cranes, forklifts, scaffolding, excavation equipment, trucks, and welding equipment can malfunction for a variety of reasons, some of which are the fault of the manufacturer and some of which are the fault of the operator or maintainer. Power tools can also malfunction due to a defect or failure to follow safety procedures, causing burns, electrocutions, or other accidents. The most common causes of malfunctioning construction equipment are:

  • Improper operation or operator error
  • Failure to properly maintain equipment
  • Defective equipment
  • Use of equipment beyond its designed purpose

Two of the most devastating construction accidents include crane collapse and scaffolding collapse. Scaffolding and cranes are typically several stories high and can crush workers with several tons of metal. If death doesn’t occur, victims may experience devastating injuries including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, lacerations, broken bones, or internal organ damage. Beyond the physical bodily harm caused by the accident, victims may experience financial devastation and psychological trauma affecting their relationships and ability to work.

Employees injured in a machinery malfunction may be entitled to workers’ compensation. According to Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, victims can pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and psychological trauma. They may also be entitled to file product liability claims if the manufacturer is at fault for selling defective equipment. However, claims involving equipment malfunctions can be complicated. Legal teams must investigate the machinery, gather physical evidence, research occupational safety regulations, and analyze common practices.

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