How to receive compensation for a work injury caused by defective or malfunctioning tools and equipment
Tools and equipment are vital to boosting efficiency and productivity in many of today’s workplaces. But sometimes, defective products may cause occupational accidents and injuries, despite proper handling and adequate worker training. In these cases, product manufacturers and retailers may be found liable, thus creating an intersection between workers’ compensation and product liability law.
The average worker may not always be able to easily determine whether a defective product caused their injury. Therefore, injured workers should always contact a workers’ compensation lawyer who is knowledgeable in dealing with these complex cases.
Injured workers who are professionally represented following a workplace injury typically receive more compensation for their lost wages, medical expenses and injuries than those who proceed without seeking legal advice.
What to do if you’re hurt on the job by a defective product
If you are hurt while on the job, you should first seek medical attention and notify your employer of your injury. Notifying them, preferably in writing, will grant you certain protections when filing your workers’ compensation claim. The next step is to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Most states (including Georgia) generally prohibit injured workers from filing a civil lawsuit against an employer if the employer offers workers’ compensation. However, if an employee is injured by a defective product at work, then the injured worker may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer in addition to workers’ compensation.
Who is liable in a defective product case?
Injured workers who prevail in defective product cases are typically able to receive compensation from a third-party product manufacturer, supplier, distributor or retailer. Manufacturers and other parties in the supply chain have a legal duty to make and deliver products that are safe for their intended use.
A court may find that a manufacturer, retailer or distributor failed to meet the duty to deliver a safe product if they:
- Failed to adequately test or inspect a product before sending it to the marketplace
- Created the defect in the product
- Overlooked the defect in the product
- Overlooked a defect or danger the product potentially posed
- Failed to provide adequate warning of a risk associated with the product
- Failed to correctly manufacture or install the product
Within the context of a workplace, there are several potential scenarios in which an injured worker may need to file a defective product claim under Georgia’s workers’ compensation law. Examples of work-related equipment, tools and products that are commonly at the center of defective product cases include:
- Construction equipment
- Landscaping tools
- Welding tools
- Protective clothing
- Equipment safety features
Types of compensation in defective product cases
A liable third party may be required to pay the injured worker for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering the worker experiences as a result of an injury caused by a defective product. Injuries may range from minor cuts and bruises to broken bones, nerve damage, amputation, central nervous system injuries, illness, back pain and even death.
The amount of compensation an injured worker may receive depends on the nature and extent of their injuries. An experienced injury attorney can help injured workers properly document their injuries. This way you’ll receive the just compensation you’re due.
Do you have a work-related product liability claim?
Unlike workers’ compensation, product liability cases require the plaintiff to prove that the manufacturer is at fault. Product defects aren’t always easily detected. Therefore, the average worker requires the assistance of an attorney to investigate their case and help prove liability.
Our Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers at Gerber & Holder provide guidance to ensure you all liable parties are held accountable for your compensation. We will gather the most important facts of your case, skillfully represent you in settlement negotiations and, if necessary, present your case before a judge.
First, we want to hear from you! Whether you have recently filed a workers’ compensation claim, or if you were recently injured and you are looking for legal advice before filing your claim, we are here to help.