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Falling Machinery Destroys Worker’s Leg

County Worker in Texas Suffers Devastating Injury

A worker employed by a public works agency in Falls County, Texas, sustained a life-changing injury to his leg when a piece of machinery weighing more than one ton fell on him, crushing his lower leg. The machinery was designed to attach to a large front loader tractor to spray water used during the removal and crushing of old asphalt road surfaces. The injury resulted in a personal injury lawsuit filed in federal court in Texas that went to trial before a jury earlier this year.

Equipment Defect was Obvious, Responsibility was Disputed

The water system that detached from the front loader equipment and crushed the unfortunate worker’s lower leg was contained within a metal framework that could be attached to and detached from the front loader with several metal pins. It was found that the frame was constructed from a relatively soft metal, while the attachment pins were made from very hard metal. The result was that, over time, the great weight of the equipment – some 2,800 pounds – caused the soft frame metal near the attachment pins to gradually deform, to the point where the system eventually broke away, injuring the worker who was standing near the equipment.

The worker’s attorney filed suit against the machinery’s manufacturer, alleging that the system had been improperly designed and manufactured, resulting in the defect that caused the worker’s injury. However, the manufacturer insisted that the county public works agency employing the worker had improperly used the equipment and was responsible for the injury.

On-the-job Injury Claims Can be Pursued through Different Legal Routes

Workplace injuries are unfortunately all too common in the United States, with more than 5,300 fatal injuries in the U.S. in 2019 and more than 888,000 non-fatal incidents serious enough to cause a worker to lose time from work in that same year.

In most states, including California, injured workers in on-the-job injuries resulting from defective equipment are likely to have more than one legal route to use for their injury claims. Generally, workers’ compensation claims will always be available for people who suffer personal injuries while working. However, they are also likely to have the ability to pursue standard products liability claims and lawsuits if someone other than their employer is responsible for the injury.

In this Texas case, the injured worker’s attorney decided to file suit against the defective machinery manufacturer, likely believing that this was the injury victim’s best legal course of action.

Jury Finds the Manufacturer Responsible

After all of the evidence was presented, it took the jury only two hours to reach a verdict. They concluded that the water system’s design was defective and that the instructions for installing and using the system were defective. The jury also concluded that these defects were the cause of the plaintiff’s injury and that the equipment manufacturer alone was responsible for the defects.

The plaintiff’s injuries had nearly required amputation of his foot. He had to undergo several surgeries and was never able to return to work. The total amount awarded by the jury was over $4 million, including $360,000 for past special damages and general damages and more than $3.5 million for future medical expenses, income loss, and general damages.

Watch YouTube Video: Front End Loader Training (Beginner) 2020 | Heavy Equipment Operator Training. The video below provides some basic training on how to safely operate a front end loader tractor.

Sacramento Personal Injury Attorneys

Hello – I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury attorney in Sacramento. Defective machinery and tools can cause serious injuries and even death, and if this has happened to you or a loved one, you will need experienced legal counsel. If you are seeking free and friendly advice for a personal injury case, please call one of our injury lawyers today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. Alternatively, you can use our online contact form.

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

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