Many industries require their workers to use heavy equipment and machinery every day as part of their regular job duties. Cranes, loaders, backhoes, compactors, forklifts, mixers, plows, haul trucks, and more are all used in warehouses, manufacturing plants, construction sites, metalworking plants, and in oil and gas extraction and on processing sites. This equipment helps workers complete tasks that would be otherwise impossible due to heavy load, heights, high heat, and other dangerous conditions. When properly maintained and operated by trained personnel, heavy equipment can be incredibly safe. If the equipment malfunctions or is used by a worker that has not been adequately or appropriately trained, there can be devastating consequences. Heavy equipment can seriously injure workers and in the most extreme cases, can be deadly. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, heavy equipment accidents cause over 800 fatalities and approximately 18,000 other injuries annually in the United States. These statistics show just how dangerous working with heavy equipment can be.
Common Heavy Equipment Injuries
When using heavy equipment at work, the smallest mistake or oversight can cause a devastating accident. The way the accident occurs determines how severe the resulting injuries will be. Some examples of workplace accidents involving heavy equipment include:
- Being pinned under a piece of heavy equipment.
- Falling off a piece of heavy equipment.
- Being struck by a piece of heavy equipment or falling debris.
- Heavy equipment roll-over accidents.
- Crushing accidents.
- Slipping or falling into unguarded equipment.
- Being run over or backed over by vehicle.
- Being caught between two pieces of equipment.
These types of accidents are responsible for some of the most horrific workplace injuries, some of which can leave a worker permanently disabled or killed. The most common heavy equipment injuries include:
- Deep cuts and lacerations
- Crushed or broken bones
- Crushed limbs and digits
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Internal organ damage
- Internal hemorrhaging
- Nerve damage
- Limb amputation
- Electrical burns
- Wrongful Death
Each injury depends on the type of heavy equipment the worker was operating on or working near at the time of the incident and the severity can range from a simple cut on the finger to broken legs to wrongful death. Even when a worker has ensured their use of heavy equipment is safe, the equipment itself can be faulty or malfunction leading to tragic consequences. Employers are also required to provide a safe work environment for all workers. If an employer fails to properly train their workers on how to use heavy equipment or has failed to maintain the equipment to keep it in good working condition, the employer is placing their workers in harms way. Heavy equipment accidents leave victims with expensive medical bills, lost wages, and serious emotional trauma. Post traumatic stress disorder after a heavy equipment accident is incredibly common and can leave a victim afraid to return to work.
What Should I do if I am Hurt in a Heavy Equipment Accident?
The first thing you must do when injured on the job is seek immediate medical attention. The accident must also be reported to your employer as soon as safely possible. If your employer is at least partly responsible and subscribes to Texas workers’ compensation insurance, all necessary paperwork must be filled out to start a workers’ compensation claim that will provide benefits to cover a portion of your expenses for damages that resulted from the accident. After starting this process, you will want to consult with an experienced workplace accident attorney to discuss possible avenues for further compensation. Workers’ compensation may only pay you a small amount that can barely cover your expenses. Texas employers are also not required to subscribe to workers’ compensation insurance, meaning that your employer could be what is known as a nonsubscriber. If so, they may either subscribe to a private policy with different benefits or not have coverage at all, allowing for you to sue them directly in court.
In addition, one or more additional parties besides your employer may be held legally responsible for your injuries and other damages and your lawyer will be able to investigate and determine all of the parties who might be liable. If your injury was caused by a piece of heavy equipment that was defective or malfunctioned, you may be able to file a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of that piece of equipment. They have a duty of care to make sure their products are safe for use in the workplace. All negligent parties must be held accountable for their actions or in-action, including employers and co-workers.
Houston Heavy Machinery Accident Attorneys
An injury caused by heavy equipment can easily cause severe and life-altering damage. These incidents can lead to significant financial burdens for medical care and other long-term financial needs. It can be difficult to determine what amount of compensation will fully cover the costs associated with an injury, but the Houston heavy equipment accident attorneys at Adame Garza LLP have years of experience analyzing their clients’ circumstances to determine what will work best in these situations. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a workplace accident, we can help you focus on recovering while making sure those who harmed you are held accountable.