When a construction worker is injured on the job, their injury may have been caused by defective equipment. Manufacturers are liable for the damages if the injury victim (plaintiff) can prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous because of a defect.
Defect types include:
- Design defects (inherent design flaws)
- Manufacturing defects (poor construction or lack of quality control)
- Failure to adequately warn
- Failure to provide adequate instructions to avoid harm
The plaintiff will also have to prove that they used the product according to all manufacturer’s recommendations and that they did not substantially contribute to their own injury.
In cases where the product wasn’t properly implemented or was defective because of poor maintenance, a third-party company responsible for equipment training, storage, rental, or maintenance could hold liability for any damages caused.
Manufacturers don’t take the threat of lawsuits lightly, so make sure you are represented by experienced New York construction accident lawyers when you explore potential third-party liability claims. The Weinstein Law Group has over 20 years of experience helping injured workers like you, and we aren’t afraid to go up against big companies when litigating your claim.
Call us today at 212.741.3800 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-risk consultation to discuss your potential case.
Widow Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against 3M for Defective “Lifeline” Fall Protection System
An example of a case against an equipment manufacturer was filed just this year in the Seattle area.
The plaintiff was the widowed spouse of a worker who was killed on a job site overseen by the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit). She alleges that the 3M company, manufacturer of the DBI SALA Nano-Lok Self-Retracting Lifeline product, failed to protect her deceased husband as was represented in the company’s promotional and training materials.
According to the filing, the decedent used the equipment correctly, yet the line was severed on a beveled concrete edge when he fell from the platform where he was working. Rather than safely slowing and arresting the decedent’s fall, he plunged 35 feet and later died from his injuries in the hospital.
The primary basis for the complaint was that the 3M company completely failed to mention that the product could fail when used near a beveled edge. The company is defending against their alleged failures by saying that the decedent was not properly trained, that Sound Transit failed to provide a safe job site, and that the decedent and his supervisors contributed fault by “failing to select the correct equipment” that could have prevented his fall.
This case illustrates the considerations that go into filing a claim against a large manufacturer like 3M. While the plaintiff has a strong basis for her complaint, alleging that the company failed to represent their product accurately and failed to warn about sharp edge hazards, the company is still prepared to fight the claim on any basis possible.
With this example in mind, consider the role a proven, experienced construction accident attorney can play in helping you prepare a strong case. They will also help you fight against defendants who will use any excuse to avoid liability.
Basis for Claims Against Construction Equipment Manufacturer Liability
Damages from injuries (or deaths) related to defective construction site equipment can be claimed under defective products laws. They may also be filed under the basis of negligence if a third-party failed to properly train, furnish, store, or maintain the equipment in question.
Construction equipment that can be involved in such a claim include:
- Heavy machinery
- Power tools
- Safety systems, such as fall harnesses
- Scaffolds and other structural materials
- Electrical components and equipment
- Motor vehicles
- Cleaning equipment
- Hazardous chemicals
- Equipment that can expose the user to burns, electrocutions, or hazardous chemicals
There are three main types of product defects considered in a defective products claim:
- Design defects involve products that are inherently dangerous because of their design and their ability to provide their intended use. If a product would cause an injury when used as intended, regardless of how well it was made, then it has a defective design.
- Manufacturing defects involve hazards introduced because of the nature of the product creation process. This may involve substandard materials, poor construction by contracted manufacturing facilities, or a failure to properly quality check products before leaving the factory.
- Marketing defects typically involve promises made about the product that cannot be kept, such as a fall harness that fails to provide the represented level of safety.
Additionally, product manufacturers – especially those involved in dangerous industries like construction – have a duty to warn users about common hazards and usage mistakes. If an individual should undergo specialized training to use the product, then the product should be accompanied by a warning indicating this requirement.
Product warnings can also encompass hazardous conditions that can occur from usage, such as the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning if a gas-powered device is used in a poorly ventilated area.
Third-Party Liability for Equipment-Related Injuries
In some cases, a third party may be fully or partially responsible for the injuries. This is especially true in the following situations:
- The equipment became defective during the process of distributing, transporting, or storing it.
- The equipment was not properly maintained before it was rented, resold, or returned to a company that had contracted out its care and maintenance.
- A company specializing in training and workplace safety failed to provide the needed instruction and information for safe usage.
- The job site property owner, job owner, or general contractor failed to provide a safe working environment (see New York’s scaffold law).
- A subcontractor or other third party present at the job site was negligent, creating a dangerous situation.
These third parties may be exclusively liable for the injury, or they may share liability with an equipment manufacturer or any number of possible third parties.
Hurt by construction equipment on a job? Get in touch with New York construction accident lawyers with experience.
The Weinstein Law Group is ready to take on your case. We thoroughly examine your injury-causing incident and research the most relevant laws and past cases to reveal the optimal legal strategy for pursuing compensation. You will seek recovery for your hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses through a claim filed against the insurance company covering the third party. If we are unable to retrieve compensation through a claim, we are willing to file a lawsuit on your behalf and fight for compensation through the legal system.
Learn more about your legal rights, options for seeking compensation, and the next best steps you can take during your free, no-obligation consultation. Schedule your appointment now by calling 212.741.3800 or contacting us online.