State and federal laws protect construction workers and require employers to maintain safe working conditions. However, construction accidents also can affect individuals who live or work near job sites.
In some cases, faulty construction equipment is to blame for accidents that harm individuals. If you’ve been hurt by malfunctioning construction equipment — whether on a public roadway, a sidewalk, at a construction site, or even during work in your own neighborhood — you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and associated expenses.
What are some of the ways you can be injured by defective construction equipment, and how can you file a claim for damages?
Product Liability and Construction Equipment
An injury caused by malfunctioning equipment — rather than the negligent use of the equipment — falls under product liability law regulating defective and dangerous products. Defective products hurt thousands of Americans every year, and in many cases, manufacturers and sellers are held liable for the injuries.
Under product liability law, products must meet the quality expectations of a normal consumer. Products that are dangerous or defective typically are not characterized by the courts as meeting that guideline.
Manufacturers often are held responsible when defective products injure someone, but others in the supply chain can bear responsibility as well. Participants in any part of the supply chain — including wholesalers and retailers — can be held legally liable for faulty equipment that causes injuries.
No federal product liability law exists, but individuals who have been harmed by faulty construction equipment can sue under California’s product liability statutes.
Basis for a Product Liability Claim
Claims against manufacturers and sellers of faulty construction equipment typically focus on one of several possible problems with the equipment. Equipment can be deemed faulty because of old or broken components, defects in how the product was designed or made, mistakes regarding warnings about the products, incorrect maintenance procedures, and incorrect instructions for use of the product.
When a piece of construction equipment fails due to poor maintenance or incorrect maintenance procedures, the user of the equipment — such as a construction contractor — can be held responsible under product liability laws.
If you decide to pursue a product liability claim against a manufacturer, seller or user of equipment, your attorney will need to demonstrate that the product that caused your injury was defective and dangerous.
Injuries from Defective Construction Equipment
Defective construction equipment can cause serious physical harm to nearby people. Someone who is crushed, trapped or struck by defective construction equipment may suffer crushing injuries, traumatic brain injury and other grave physical consequences.
How can equipment at a construction site injure you? Many types of construction equipment can cause abrasions or burns to your body. In addition, parts can fall on you, and you can be trapped between a piece of equipment, like a forklift, and a building or other fixed obstacle. Toxic injuries like exposure to chemicals also can occur.
As a result of your injuries suffered due to faulty construction equipment, you may be subject to extensive costs including medical bills and time lost from work.
Who Is Responsible if You’re Injured?
Any piece of construction equipment has been sold, no matter where it ultimately is used. In the past, the law required that an injured person have a contractual relationship directly with a product supplier in order to recover damages.
However, the law has evolved to allow you to sue if you have been injured, even if you did not purchase the product in question. Liability for faulty construction equipment can rest with any party that participates in the process of making or selling the item. Responsible parties can include the original manufacturer or a parts manufacturer, wholesalers, and retailers, including stores that sell the equipment.
If you’ve been injured by faulty construction equipment, a defective product lawsuit may assist you in recovering compensation. For a free initial consultation, please contact The Law Office of Daniel J. O’Neill.