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What if defective machinery causes a workplace injury?

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2024 | Product Liability

There are countless different ways for people to get hurt at work. Someone might slip on another worker’s spilled coffee and break a bone. A worker could drop a tool or spill chemicals, injuring themselves or others nearby. People can also end up developing a work-acquired medical condition due to pathogen exposure or years of performing the same work tasks.

Usually, anyone hurt on the job can pursue workers’ compensation benefits. Coverage for workplace medical conditions can help replace some of an individual’s lost wages and pay for their medical treatment. Workers do not need to prove fault to qualify. They generally only need to show that their medical challenges stem from their employment.

However, sometimes the fault for a workplace injury is very clear. For example, an employee can potentially connect their symptoms to a piece of defective equipment that malfunctioned during their shift. What happens when defective machinery or equipment contributes to a workplace injury?

An outside business could be liable

Companies that produce equipment and machinery, particularly those that manufacture commercial equipment, should make safety a top priority. Careful quality control procedures and thorough product development are both necessary to ensure the safety of machinery used in commercial environments.

When a manufacturer does not control the quality of its products or properly test them for possible issues, injured parties may have grounds to take legal action. State law in Alabama permits those harmed by defective products to take legal action against manufacturers.

A product defect lawsuit against the company that manufactured a defective piece of machinery could augment what someone receives from workers’ compensation. The wage replacement benefits available, for example, often leave a big gap in someone’s budget. Those who successfully pursue a product defect lawsuit could recoup the difference between what workers’ compensation offers and the true impact of their workplace injuries.

Given that workers’ compensation laws largely prevent employees from taking legal action against the companies that employ them, holding a manufacturer accountable for dangerous products might be the best option for someone injured by a defective piece of commercial equipment. To that end, properly documenting the underlying cause of a workplace injury may help someone pursue the right path toward compensation after getting hurt on the job.