Equipment Failures in New Jersey
Every day, thousands of New Jersey residents clock in at jobs that involve heavy equipment and machinery. Those machines allow the employees to produce goods that could otherwise not be produced at all, or at the very least not on the scale the machine allows. Every day, those machines operate flawlessly and the worker goes home.
However, not all days end so happily. Sometimes, the machines and equipment being used break down, making it impossible for the employee to finish his or her job. Other times, the machines and equipment fail in a manner that causes injury to the operator or to those around it. The injured workers can face weeks or months out of work, and may be so injured that they can never return to work or face being disabled for the rest of their lives.
Determining the Cause of the Failure
Before it can be determined who was responsible for the equipment or machinery failure, the cause of the failure must be determined. Investigations must be done into the accident, and the equipment or machinery must be examined in detail in order to determine which part or parts actually caused the failure, as opposed to parts that were damaged because of the failure.
Failure Due to Normal Wear and Tear
If the machine or equipment failed because it was worn down or improperly maintained, the fault will very often lie with the employer that owned the machine. Employers have a responsibility to make sure that the equipment used by employees is safe and maintained. If evidence shows that the equipment was not regularly checked or serviced, it could create significant financial liability for the employer. However, if the employer merely leased the equipment, and had a contract for maintenance with another company, that responsibility may move to the leasing or maintenance company, as the employer could not be held responsible, generally speaking, for things they were not contractually or legally required to do.
Employees must also take care to adhere to the operational requirements provided to them during training. If the weakened or damaged state of the part should have been identified by the employee prior to operation as part of a routine walk-around, the employer may be able to avoid some liability through New Jersey’s comparative negligence standard. The comparative negligence standard allows a judge or jury to assign different amounts of liability to the parties, and if a plaintiff is found to be more than 50 percent responsible for their injuries, they can be completely barred from recovery.
Failure Due to Improper Design or Construction
This type of failure is more commonly known as “product liability” and requires the injured party to show that the machine was improperly designed or constructed and that such improper design or construction led to the injury in question. Product liability is a negligence claim, meaning that any Plaintiff claiming injury due to improper design or construction must prove the standard elements of duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Compensation for Injured Workers in New Jersey
Workers injured on the job in New Jersey, regardless of how and when the injury occurred, can generally seek compensation in one of ways.
First, they may seek to have their medical bills paid and lost wages from the injury reimbursed through the New Jersey workers’ compensation program. That program is designed to give injured workers, who prove that their injury occurred during their normal course of employment, a non-adversarial method for being reimbursed.
Second, if the worker believes that they should receive more compensation other than just lost wages and reimbursement of medical expenses, he or she must then look to the courts and the legal system for satisfaction. An injured employee that desires to be compensated for pain and suffering or payment for a decrease in expected wages in the future due to limitations must seek to be made whole by suing the negligent party of parties that caused the injury.
Contact a Manalapan Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Equipment Failure Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to defective machinery in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Blume, Forte, Fried, Zerres & Molinari represent clients injured because of defective products inNorth Bergen, Hoboken, West New York and throughout New Jersey. Call 973-635-5400 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at One Main Street Chatham, NJ 07928 as well as offices in Sea Girt, North Bergen and Jersey City, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.