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Dangerous or Defective Equipment on a Jobsite – Your Remedies

Seeking Compensation for Injuries Caused by Dangerous or Defective Equipment on a Jobsite

Cement truck at construction siteIn today’s world, many workers face daily risk of injury because of exposure to inherently dangerous machines and equipment, or because of the potential for breakdown of heavy machinery. Here are important things you need to know about a workplace injury involving a defective or poorly designed workplace machine, tool or product.

  • You can seek workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries sustained—Workers’ compensation is designed, in Delaware and Pennsylvania, to be your exclusive remedy for injuries caused by the negligence or wrongful acts of an employer or co-employee. Your employer has a duty to ensure that the equipment or machinery used on a jobsite does not pose an unreasonable risk of injury to you. This may include assessing the design or manufacture of a tool, machine or piece of equipment. If you can make any argument that your employer failed to use reasonable care in using or bringing in a tool, machine or piece of equipment, you can seek benefits through the state’s workers’ compensation program.
  • In many instances, you can also file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, designer or distributor of the machine, tool, product or piece of equipment—In most instances, the machines or tools you use at work are obtained from a source other than your employer. Because workers’ compensation benefits only cover losses for which your employer has responsibility, you can circumvent the workers’ compensation system for any injuries caused by the negligence or wrongful act of someone other than your employer or a co-employee. This is known as a “third party” action, because you are allowed to file a lawsuit against a “third party”—someone other than you or your employer.
  • While you cannot typically recover twice for the same injury, you can simultaneously seek damages from your employer in a workers’ compensation claim, and from others in a “third party claim.” The amount recovered from workers’ compensation will relieve your employer of any additional liability, and the amount received in a lawsuit must be specifically for losses caused by the third party.

Contact the Law Office of Michael J. Hood

At the law office of Michael J. Hood, in Wilmington, we bring more than 30 years of experience to personal injury victims in Delaware. For a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000 for an appointment.

Construction Site Injuries—An Overview

The Types of Construction Site Injuries

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately one in every ten construction workers in America is hurt on the job every year. Almost one out of every five dollars paid in workers’ compensation claims annually goes to people hurt on a construction site. Here are the most frequent types of injuries suffered by construction workers:

  • Injuries from falls—The most common type of injury on a construction project is a fall, either from a ladder or scaffold, an unguarded upper level or a construction elevator. A lot of workers are also hurt in slips, trips and falls over site debris, materials, tools and equipment.
  • Injuries from falling objects—Particularly on high rise projects, a lot of workers are hurt when items stored on upper levels, from tools to construction materials to trash, fall on them.
  • Dangerous or defective machinery, tools or equipment—Far too often, general contractors or owners use poorly maintained equipment, or tools or machines that are inappropriate for the job, or that have simply been poorly designed or manufactured. In those instances, the manufacturers and sellers of those devices can be liable for any injury they cause.
  • Negligent hiring, training or supervision—In the drive to complete a project, owners and general contractors frequently hire people without appropriate skills, fail to properly train them to use heavy equipment, and allow them to work without adequate guidance and supervision. Many workplace injuries occur when unsupervised workers devise workarounds that violate safety requirements.
  • Motor vehicle accidents—With trucks and other vehicles in and out of job sites, and with workers traveling back and forth from a job site, workers are continually at risk of injury in motor vehicle accidents.

Contact Our Office

To arrange a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.

Workers’ Compensation Task Force Brings HB 373 To Pass

In late June, the Delaware state Senate passed workers’ compensation legislation in order to lessen the burden on DE businesses by halting the sizable workers’ compensation rate increases. The bipartisan Delaware Workers’ Compensation Task Force, which was created on January 30, 2013 by the Delaware General Assembly and Governor Jack Markell, developed HB 373 over the last year and a half. HB 373 also passed in the DE House in early June.

Delaware employers have been seriously concerned with increasing workers’ compensation rates for several years. House Bill 373 aims to make the system more streamlined and efficient, resulting in relief for DE businesses who have endured premium increases in recent years.

When assembled, the Workers’ Compensation Task Force was charged with:

  • Reviewing Delaware workers’ compensation law
  • The impact of the 2007 workers’ compensation premiums amendments
  • Reasons for recent increases in premiums
  • If the need for any additional changes to statutes, regulations, or practices is required in order to control premium growth (which has risen each calendar year since 2006, and is now the third most expensive in the US)

House Bill 373 recommendations focused almost exclusively on medical costs, as they make up 65-70% of every dollar spent on workers’ compensation premiums in DE, and are 100% responsible for the increase in premiums. Reimbursements paid to health care providers for workers’ compensation patient treatments were significantly reduced. Some DE treatment reimbursement amounts were found to sometimes be 3-5 times greater than the same procedure in other states.

The Task Force’s findings led to them suggesting:

  • Insurance carriers – heightening the oversight
  • Medical costs – stricter control
  • A new rating organization consideration

Workers’ Compensation Injuries

Due to DE workers’ compensation ‘belt-tightening’, it is even more imperative that you seek an experienced attorney when filing your workers’ comp claim. In the event of a workplace injury, you will need comprehensive counsel. We will assist you in gathering all relevant evidence to support your claim and will assist you in the preparation of all required documents.

Contact Our Office

At our office, every client is entitled to a free case evaluation. To set up a private meeting with an experienced Delaware workers’ compensation attorney, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Our office is open Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but we will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We will travel to your home or the hospital if necessary.

Michael J. Hood represents premises liability accident & personal injury victims in the cities of Wilmington, Newark, Middleton, Seaford, Laurel, Milford, Brookside, Claymont, Pike Creek, Wilmington Manor, Elsmere, Edgemoor, New Castle, Chester, Springfield, West Chester, Broomall, Woodlyn, Elkton and Pennsville. Also serving New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County in Delaware as well as Delaware county, Chester county and Philadelphia county in PA.