Heavy equipment accidents are one of the leading causes of serious injuries and deaths in the workplace and on construction sites in America. Often, the sheer size of the equipment itself increases the likelihood of a serious accident. While tragedies involving heavy equipment often involve allegations that the operator was not properly trained, that the equipment wasn’t adequately maintained, or that unsafe job site practices were involved, the possibility of a product defect playing a role must be explored.

When the term “heavy equipment” is used, it refers to a wide variety of heavy machinery including forklifts, backhoes, skid-steer loaders, bobcats, bulldozers, scissor lifts, cranes, pallet jacks or any other mobile equipment. For instance, forklifts account for thousands of serious injuries and dozens of deaths each year in American workplaces. Government inspectors report that each year 100 workers are killed and 20,000 seriously injured in forklift-related accidents alone.

When heavy equipment is involved in an accident, the design of the equipment and foreseeability of the accident itself must be considered together to determine if the application of safe engineering principles could have prevented it. Often, these cases involve claims stemming from the failure of manufacturers to incorporate designs such as safety interlocks, guards, mirrors, cages or other protective features to protect not only those operating the equipment but also those who are near it. The unintentional or undesired movement of heavy equipment when in proximity to other workers creates a severe safety risk and must be addressed by manufacturers.

Even when a person is covered by workers compensation, frequently the circumstances of the accident give rise to a claim against a third-party other than the employer. Any significant workplace injury should be investigated to determine if a product defect or inadequate warning about the hazards associated with the use of a product contributed to the accident. Victims of heavy equipment product defects are often entitled to seek compensation from the manufacturers and distributors of these products, even if they have or may receive workers compensation benefits.

As Heavy Equipment Defect attorneys we can help
If you suspect a defect involving a piece of heavy equipment or inadequate instructions or warnings associated with the safe use of such equipment contributed to an accident, contact us for a free evaluation of your case. As heavy equipment lawyers we have extensive experience in litigating worksite accidents, and stand ready to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear.

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