Although many work machines are safe and have been used within industry for years or even decades, some work machines pose a serious danger to employees and can cause workers to sustain severe injuries even when the worker is using the machine as instructed. When a person is injured by a work machine, he will not be able to sue his employer – worker’s compensation laws and claims prevent this type of lawsuit.
But, he may be able to hold the manufacturer of the faulty machine legally liable for his injuries and losses.
Causes of Work Machine Injuries
Work machine injuries can be caused by:
- Defectively designed machine parts (or the dangerous design of the machine as a whole)
- Improper maintenance of a machine (either due to failure to maintain the machine or to not properly fixing the machine when it is broken)
- Lack of proper instructions regarding how to use the machine
- Failure to warn the public about the risks or dangers associated with using the machine
Some examples of work machines that have been reported to cause injuries include (but are not limited to):
- Tractors, forklifts, cranes, etc.
- Industrial kitchen or cooking equipment
- Power tools
- Printing presses
Types of Work Machine Injuries
Work machine injuries can include (but are not limited to):
- Broken bones and internal injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Brain injuries
- Loss of hearing or eyesight
- Loss of limb
How Soon After My Work Machine Injury Should I File for Compensation?
Depending on where you live, a workplace injury will need to be reported to your employer within one to two months. Some states require a workers’ compensation claim to be filed within a certain period as well, though others allow for two to three years to file.
As with personal injury claims, it is always a good idea to take swift action following a workplace injury. You may have some time to file a claim, but waiting can complicate the process and may result in complete denial of benefits. If you have been injured at work, it is important to call us right away to learn about your options and your rights.
What Type of Medical Expenses Will I See After My Work Machine Injury?
Multiple injuries can be caused by heavy machinery on a worksite. These include:
- Broken, crushed, or pulverized bones
- Deep cuts and lacerations
- Electrical and fire burns
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injury
The types of medical expenses a person will face following a workplace injury will be dependent entirely on the type and extent of the injury and may include both emergency and ongoing medical services, therapeutic and rehabilitation services, adaptive technologies such as a wheelchair, and more.
How Much in Damages Can You Pursue for Your Injuries?
Workers’ compensation covers all of the medical expenses related to a workplace injury. Under this type of compensation, you are not able to seek additional compensation for your injuries.
If your injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim instead of pursuing workers’ comp. There are no damage caps on personal injury claims in the state of Illinois or Missouri (with the exception of medical malpractice claims in MO), meaning you can pursue as much in damages as the court is willing to award. This is different for every case.
The best way to learn what you may be entitled to seek is through a one-on-one consultation at our Illinois or St. Louis office.
What Type of Evidence Can Be Used for My Work Machine Injury?
Evidence that may be used in a workplace injury claim includes:
- Photos or videos of the event
- Accident reports
- Witness testimony
- Medical records
- Personal accounts
A third-party investigation may be required to gather sufficient evidence during a personal injury claim.
Should You Contact an Attorney Before Speaking With Insurance Companies?
It is always a good idea to discuss your workplace accident with an attorney before you accept an offer from an insurance company. When it comes to workplace accidents, having a lawyer who deals with both workers’ compensation and personal injury law can help you determine which option is best in your case. Talking to an attorney also helps to ensure you are not accepting less than you are due. Once you accept an insurance offer, you will be legally barred from seeking additional compensation.
Learn more about workers' compensation claims in our blog
If you have been injured in the workplace by a defective tool or machinery, consult the personal injury attorneys at Brown & Brown, LLP for free to build a case against the manufacturer. Dial the 3s in St. Louis (314-333-3333 / 573-333-3333), dial the 8s in Illinois and nearby Southern Illinois (618-888-8888).