Employees who suffer heavy machinery injuries on the job may be eligible for workers’ compensation, which allows them to continue receiving income while they recover. However, since heavy machinery accidents can happen for various reasons, multiple parties could be liable for your losses. In that instance, you could have financial recovery options outside of workers’ compensation.
Let us look into who holds potential liability for injuries due to heavy machinery accidents here in Georgia.
Possible Liable Parties in Heavy Machinery Accidents
If you suffered an on-the-job injury, you have legal options. As noted, you could first file a workers’ compensation claim. This is a no-fault system, meaning that you don’t have to prove that another party caused your injuries––only that you suffered harm while working.
Matters change slightly if you want to pursue a personal injury claim. If you were harmed due to a defective product, you don’t have to prove negligence. Here, you only have to prove that the manufacturer released a defective product. If you were harmed in a fall, however, you would have to prove that the property owner’s negligence harmed you.
Liability for your losses could include:
Independent Contractors or Subcontractors
There may be instances where you have to work with independent contractors and subcontractors who deal with heavy machinery.
Fortunately, businesses working with heavy machinery typically must carry liability coverage due to the risks posed by their equipment. Therefore, if you suffered harm while working with an independent contractor or subcontractor, you could file a claim with their employer’s insurance. If a claim fails, you could proceed with a lawsuit.
The Machine’s Manufacturer
As mentioned earlier, you may have suffered harm from a defective product. For example, a newly-bought dump truck or excavator might have had a faulty brake system. This led to the driver being unable to stop on time, causing them to crash and injure other workers.
Here, you could hold the machine’s manufacturer liable for the accident through a product liability claim. A seller may also be at fault if they knew about the defect but sold the machine anyway.
Other Possible Third Parties
Besides manufacturers, sellers, and contractors, other parties can also be at fault for heavy machinery accidents. Examples include:
- A property owner. If you worked on a construction site rife with hidden hazards, you could sue the property owner for damages. For example, if a property owner knew that a hazard could harm others (but didn’t tell anyone about it or fix the problem), they could bear liability for any damages.
- Another motorist. Suppose you were driving a dump truck when another motorist struck you, causing grievous harm. In that case, you could hold the other motorist accountable for your losses.
- Your employer. You can only sue your employer in certain situations. However, if your employer acted with malice or egregious negligence, you could hold them responsible for your losses.
Determining liability after a heavy machinery accident can get complicated. For that reason, you may consider partnering with a personal injury lawyer.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
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Workers’ Compensation and Injury Claims: Can You File Both?
You can pursue a workers’ compensation case and a personal injury claim. Here’s what you need to know about both:
Workers’ Compensation Is Available to Many Georgia Employees
According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation:
- You’re covered by workers’ compensation from the first day on the job.
- Workers’ compensation covers all your approved medical expenses, which may include emergency transportation services and physical therapy.
- As noted, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. If you suffered harm on the job, you can pursue benefits regardless of who was at fault.
- If your employer suspects that you were intoxicated or engaging in “horseplay” at the time of your injury, they could contest your workers’ compensation claim.
You have every right to partner with a lawyer if you have problems getting workers’ compensation benefits. You can also partner with an attorney if you still cannot work and are in danger of losing your benefits.
You Could File an Injury Claim or Lawsuit
If you suffered injuries due to heavy machinery while on the job, you can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Through a successful claim or lawsuit, you can seek:
- Healthcare expenses
- Lost income and other job-related benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage costs
- Mental trauma
- Other out-of-pocket expenses, such as rehabilitative care
To file a personal injury lawsuit, you generally have two years from the date of your accident to file, per O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.
Our Injury Lawyers Are Here To Support You
Recovering damages after a workplace injury can get complicated because of issues regarding liability. Yet, you don’t have to navigate the claims process alone.
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers has helped injury and workers’ compensation claimants throughout Georgia since 2008. We’re ready to help you, too. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to heavy machinery, call us today to begin your free case review.