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Heavy Machinery Accident Can Happen Anytime
Heavy machinery is a part of any California construction site. While there is some inherent risk to using heavy machinery, most accidents can be prevented when safety standards are met on the work site. Unfortunately, negligence and human error are usually behind most heavy machinery accidents and fatalities. This is when it becomes necessary to hire a heavy equipment accident attorney.
Across the United States, more than 100,000 heavy machinery injuries occur every year due to improper use of machinery. These accidents are sometimes minor but they can also have life-changing consequences for victims who may be unable to return to work. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a heavy machinery accident in California, a Los Angeles construction injury attorney can help you explore your legal options and seek the compensation you need to cover your damages.
Heavy Machinery Accident in Los Angeles
Heavy machinery poses one of the greatest risks to construction workers on the job. Common heavy machinery accidents in California include:
- Power tool accidents. Every day, workers use power tools like chainsaws and drills without incident, but power tools can cause injury if they are used incorrectly or there is a malfunction.
- Crane accidents. Crane accidents are more common than many believe. Workers and crane operators can become injured if the materials become loose and fall. Injuries from falling material or equipment are among the most common construction accidents.
- Bulldozer accidents. Bulldozers are found on nearly every construction site in California. Rollover accidents are one of the most common bulldozer accidents and they usually happen when the operator fails to notice someone near the equipment.
Construction site accidents can involve many types of heavy machinery, including excavators, backhoes, bulldozers, cranes, pavers, forklifts, pipe layers, trenchers, and graders.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)¹ estimates that there are more than 680,000 forklift injuries every year in the United States that injure about 9,000 people, many of which are pedestrian construction works. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a forklift accident, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and seek compensation for your injuries.
While many factors can contribute to forklift accidents in Los Angeles, human error is often responsible. Over 40% of forklift accident fatalities are the result of forklift operators attempting to jump from a forklift tipping over due to a heavy load. Common causes of these accidents include:
- Forklift tipping over due to overloading. This can hurt the operator and nearby workers.
- Off-the-dock accidents in which a truck is being loaded or unloaded and the truck pulls away from the dock without warning.
- Foot injuries with stand-up forklifts.
- Driver ejection.
Crane Accident Attorney Los Angeles
Cranes are a common piece of equipment on construction sites throughout California. Able to lift and move heavy objects, cranes are certainly invaluable, but they can also be very dangerous if they are not used correctly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics², there are more than 300 crane accidents in the United States each year that result in almost 200 fatalities. OSHA reports that up to 90% of all crane operators in California and the rest of the country do not have certification. If you have been injured on the job a Los Angeles crane accident lawyer may be what you are looking for. Contact the Law Office of Tawni Takagi for free consultation.
Most crane accidents in California are caused by negligence and human error. Cranes are typically the largest piece of equipment on a construction site with accidents that may be caused by:
- Improper crane selection
- Improper crane setup
- Weather conditions
- Operating the crane for purposes outside of manufacturer specifications
- Falling debris and hazardous conditions
Workers’ Compensation vs Third Party Lawsuits
A worker who is injured in a heavy machinery accident on the job is entitled to workers’ comp benefits through the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ compensation offers several types of benefits designed to replace lost wages, but employees are typically barred from suing their employer for accidents that occur on the job.
Depending on the cause of your accident, it is possible that you have a third-party personal injury claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. An experienced personal injury attorney will conduct an independent investigation into the cause of the accident and locate everyone who may be responsible. If someone other than your employer contributed to the accident, you might have a third party claim. This may be the case if the equipment manufacturer is liable due to defective or unreasonably dangerous equipment.
There is a limit to the workers’ compensation benefits an injured worker may receive, but there is no cap on third party damages. If you win a third-party lawsuit against an equipment manufacturer or another responsible party, you will need to pay back some costs to the workers’ compensation system. If your attorney determines you have a third party claim, it’s a good idea to pursue it because personal injury lawsuits allow you to claim damages not available through workers’ comp, including disfigurement and pain and suffering.
Contact a Heavy Machinery Accident Attorney in Los Angeles
Workers hurt on the job have the right to medical and disability benefits through California’s workers’ compensation program. This system also bars employees from suing an employer for negligence. If your accident was caused by a third party, such as a contractor or machine manufacturer, you may be able to seek additional compensation in a third party lawsuit.
Construction site accidents are often complex as many parties may be liable for your injuries. An experienced heavy machinery accident injury lawyer can help you navigate the claims process, investigate the accident, and seek the maximum compensation for your injuries to help you rebuild your life. Contact the personal injury law firm of the Law Office of Tawni Takagi today for a free consultation with a Los Angeles heavy machinery accident lawyer to discuss your case.