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Injured by a faulty tool? Who’s responsible?

As a construction worker or laborer of any kind, you more than likely will be using equipment, tools and machinery in order to complete your job properly. If the proper safety measures and gear are not in use, or there is a defect with a tool, a worker can sustain serious injuries.

What types of injuries can be caused by faulty tools, machines or equipment?

Types of injuries that can be sustained from faulty tool malfunctions include loss of limbs or fingers, burns (including electrical burns), electrical shock, damage to the eyes, partial or full loss of vision, broken bones and fractures (including hairline and compound fractures) crushing injuries, internal injuries, bruising, bleeding and much more. Injuries that happen on the job can lead to loss of income and wages and create expensive, ongoing medical bills for the injured party and his or her family.

What constitutes a tool or machinery as faulty?

Electrically powered tools especially pose many different types of injury risks if they are improperly used, or have manufacturing defects. Using these tools can lead to dangerous shocks and/or burns. Problems with wiring or insulation inside of a tool can make it a safety hazard. Power tools are also very dangerous based on what they perform- including cutting and grinding. These tools are supposed to have guards on them to prevent having any physical contact with the dangerous part of the tool, however, sometimes these guards are removed or they are faulty. This can also lead to severe injury. Even manual tools, like a hammer, ax or chisel can cause injury if there is a defect, such as a handle flying off and the head of the tool hitting the user and leading to bodily harm.

There are rules in place by OSHA that requires employers of construction workers and laborers make sure that tools and equipment that are being used by their employees are safe. There are also a number of safety provisions in place to keep employees safe when they are performing their tasks at work. Workers that use power tools, manual tools and machinery are supposed to have safety and hazard gear, including hard hats, goggles and safety gloves provided by their employer. These tools must also be regularly maintained and inspected to assure their safety for ongoing use.

Safety training is a requirement that employers must provide to their employees to ensure that they know how to use a tool properly, safely and have a clear understanding as to which tools are to be used for each task. If an employer has failed to provide the proper safety equipment and training- or have tools maintained and the result is an employee being injured- the employer is at fault. In a case where all safety measures have been followed and the proper safety equipment was utilized, but an injury was sustained due to a defect, you most likely have a product liability lawsuit on your hands.

What type of evidence is necessary for a product liability claim?

Product liability claims can be a lengthy process that will require a sufficient amount of evidence. You can expect push back from the attorneys of the retailer or manufacturer to show a burden of proof that their product is what caused your injury. The burden of proof falls on the injured, to show that the tool(s) in question was being used properly- and that the user was following the proper safety measures- but that a defect in manufacturing, design or construction ultimately led to the injury.

When defective tools or equipment injures a construction worker or laborer, it can be a complex legal process. Contact an experienced construction accident attorney at the Law Offices of Tolmage, Peskin, Harris, Falick. Our attorneys can investigate what caused your injury, explain your legal options and next steps.


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