Workplace accidents can be devastating for injured employees, but determining liability can be somewhat difficult when faulty equipment causes injury. In industrial work environments, such as factories and warehouses, many workplace accidents take place due to faulty equipment. While it may be challenging when another worker or supervisor isn’t directly involved, there are ways to identify the liable parties responsible for accidents involving faulty equipment.
Determining Liability in Work-Related Faulty Equipment Accidents
If an employee is injured or killed as a result of faulty equipment, the employee or his or her loved ones will need to prove that another party was liable for the accident in a workers’ compensation lawsuit or claim.
To determine liability, one of the first steps will entail determining why the equipment failed and the specific faults that led to the accident. In many cases, employers will be at fault if they failed to properly maintain equipment, leading to worn parts that cause injury to employees. Employers are legally obligated to keep all equipment in their facilities consistently well-maintained and in working condition. If they fail to ensure equipment is working properly and an accident results, they may be found liable due to their negligence.
What may complicate matters is if the equipment features faulty designs that don’t fall under the employer’s responsibility. In these cases, even proper maintenance and replacement parts may not help prevent accidents if an inherent design flaw puts employees at risk. If the equipment is deemed faulty based on its design and construction, it may be possible to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Occasionally, accidents may not occur because of faulty designs or improper maintenance, but because of improper handling in the hands of operators. If operators practice negligence in any way, they may be held liable for accidents involving faulty equipment. For instance, an operator may be aware that a piece of equipment is faulty and use it regardless, leading to injury to another employee or even the operator. In these cases, operator negligence would likely be deemed the cause of the accident.
Multiple Parties May Be Liable
Depending on the circumstances of a case, more than one party may be held liable for damages resulting from an accident involving faulty equipment. For example, if the equipment features faulty designs, the manufacturer would share liability, but the employer may also share liability if he or she was aware of the faults and used the equipment regardless.
Determining Fault Followed By Negligence
If a case involves a faulty piece of equipment, the first thing to consider is the specific fault that caused the accident. The fault could lie within the equipment, or the way it was used to perform a certain work task. Based on the specific fault, the next step will be to figure out if negligence played a role in the accident. In some cases, negligence may not have resulted in an accident and the fault may have been entirely unforeseeable.
In any case, various parties may be to blame for workplace accidents involving faulty equipment.