Injuries from Machinery in the Workplace
Machinery in the workplace can be as simple as a pair of scissors or complex as an arc-welding robot, small enough for you to carry, or large enough to carry you and tons of other stuff. The benefits are countless. So are the dangers.
Look at any top 10 list of workplace injuries and the danger posed by machinery is evident. Examples of workplace injuries from machinery include:
- Falls on same level
- Falls to lower level
- Struck by object or equipment
- Other exertions or reactions
- Roadway incidents involving motorized vehicles
- Slip or trip without fall
- Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects
- Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks
- Struck against object or equipment
All 10 of those – and many others – could have involved machinery as a direct or contributing cause of the injury.
If you were hurt at work while using machinery or equipment, talk to the legal team at Kenton Koszdin Law Office. We focus on helping injured and disabled workers fight for the benefits they deserve. Let us guide you through the process, handle all your paperwork, and pursue the compensation you need. Call or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.
Common Types of Machinery Injuries
Overexertion tops most workplace injury lists. One overexertion problem is the repetitive motion injury. An example of these motion injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome, and one cause of CTS is typing. That’s a machine injury.
An array of sprain and strain injuries are linked to machinery. Treatment can range from an aspirin and recliner time to multiple surgeries. These are chronic injuries, which often are called overuse injuries.
Acute injuries are the other category of physical damage suffered in the workplace. The defining word here is “sudden.” The most common acute workplace injuries involving machinery are:
- Cuts, lacerations, punctures: Effects and treatments cover an incredible range, from nicks and abrasions to ragged wounds and avulsions. The latter is when flesh, even bone, is torn away. Machinery has no single signature wound. Cut yourself with a table saw and you could need stitches or lose a digit or limb. Get caught up in factory machinery and you could be mangled beyond repair. Muscle and other soft tissue are at risk – bone, too. Care could range from a bandage to reconstructive surgery. Crippling effects are possible. Blood loss, clotting, and infection each could prove fatal.
- Crushed limbs, hands, fingers: These injuries often include cuts, lacerations, and/or punctures. Initial treatments typically feature the use of hardware to reconstruct or reinforce bone. Surgical solutions could include a series of reconstructive surgeries. Amputation could be necessary at the onset of treatment or later in the process. Being fitted for and trained to use a prosthesis also could be parts of the process.
- Broken bones, fractures: You have 206 bones, and there are thousands of ways to break them. Even with simple breaks, recovery is a matter of weeks or months. Breaks can cause nerve or blood vessel damage, and arthritis is an eventual risk. In the worst cases, broken bones can lead to death through blood loss, blood clots, or infection. Open fractures can present many of the effects and risks of the cuts, lacerations, and puncture entries. Nerve damage from breaks is among effects that can last a lifetime and cause disability.
- Traumatic amputations: Crush, guillotine, and avulsion are common types of amputations. Avulsion is when a limb is ripped or torn off. Traumatic amputation categories include upper limb and lower limb. Upper-limb damage can mean the immediate loss of anything from a fingertip to collar bone. Lower-limb events target anything from a pinky toe to the pelvis or a hip. In all cases, treatment can mean additional losses through surgical amputation. The physical losses are tremendous, as are psychological risks. The loss of a limb or an ear, nose, or eye can present huge psychological and physical hurdles.
- Concussions, skull fractures, traumatic head and brain injuries: These can have short- and long-term cognitive effects. The symptoms of a concussion sometimes improve in about six weeks, but a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can yield a lifetime of suffering, with multiple surgeries, extensive and difficult recuperation and rehabilitation necessary. Full incapacitation is a possibility.
- Electrical burns: The electricity that drives some machinery and that machine operators can inadvertently contact (wires, transformers, etc.) can cause cardiac arrest, fractures, seizures, internal tissue-organ damage, and severe burns. First-degree and mild second-degree burns are akin to sunburn. Third-degree burns can be severe enough to scorch skin, fat, muscle, and bone. The healing process for third-degree burns is a long, painful fight to avoid infection and can include a series of surgeries. Skin grafts, treatment of damaged organs, and continual surgical removal of damaged tissue are among the realities of severe electrical burns, along with amputation and extensive rehabilitation.
Treatment for injuries such as these can overwhelm finances. The physical and psychological effects often alter lives beyond recognition – and too often end them.
What If the Machinery Was Defective?
Sometimes a machinery-related workplace injury can be blamed on a failure to wear or provide protective gear. Sometimes there are workplace circumstances that point directly at the employer or property owner. Sometimes it’s negligence on the part of the machine operator.
In some cases, though, the machinery itself is defective. When that’s the case, California’s stringent product liability laws can come into play. Here are the basics of those California defective products laws. A successful liability action is possible if:
- The product was used in an intended or reasonably foreseeable manner.
- The product was defective when it left the defendant’s possession.
- The defective product was the legal cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or damages.
A personal injury claim for compensation against a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer must be brought within two years for one or all of three types of defects: design defect, manufacturing defect, or inadequate warning.
In general, California’s workers’ compensation laws are the only road to compensation in a personal injury or death case involving an employee at work. It’s important to know that fault is not a factor in eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
If a workplace injury caused by a faulty product has physically and financially damaged you, begin by pursuing all remedies for the injury. On the legal track, skilled workers’ compensation attorneys like those found at Southern California’s Kenton Koszdin Law Office are the answer.
What to Do If You Were Hurt by Machinery at Work
No matter where you are, the first thing to do after a workplace injury is get the best possible medical care available. In California, paying for that medical care likely will come from a successful workers’ compensation claim. The claim process could look something like this:
- File a claim through your employer as soon as possible.
- An investigation will be initiated by the employer and insurer. Assessments of your medical needs will be part of this.
- A good lawyer is critical at this juncture to pursue maximum benefits.
- If your claim is denied or the amount is too low, the next step is an appeal.
- If your appeal is denied, the appeals process can be taken to a higher court(s).
There are some expectations you should have as a workplace accident victim filing a workers’ compensation claim in California:
- Your employer must give or mail you a workers’ comp benefits application form within a day of you reporting your injury. If that doesn’t happen, get one from a workers’ comp information and assistance officer.
- Fill out and sign the employee portion of the form and give it to your employer.
- Be aware that an employer must provide transitional work (light duty) when appropriate.
The fact that you were injured while trying to make a living proves that there are few guarantees in life. Here’s one you can count on: If you need an experienced workers’ compensation legal team, a call to the Kenton Koszdin Law Firm can put one on your side.
Contact us today for a free, no obligation case evaluation, including a free in-home consultation if necessary.