Heavy equipment moves the world, both literally and figuratively. These machines are critical to progress and development, especially in New York, where construction is a constant way of life. But this equipment is not without its risks. When the workers who operate these machines are careless, or manufacturers are negligent in building them, people’s lives can be put in jeopardy. Construction workers may have the right to pursue a third-party claim outside the workers’ compensation system. Other victims can also seek damages. If you or someone you love has been injured in a heavy equipment accident, reach out to Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C.
Why Do Heavy Equipment Accidents Happen?
Injured construction workers and others who file personal injury lawsuits have the obligation to explain how and why the accident in question occurred. Heavy equipment – such as cranes, backhoes, pavers, milling machines and other large machines – can easily cause serious injury or death. When you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you, one of the first tasks will be conducting a thorough investigation to uncover the cause of the accident. Some examples include:
- Poor training. Lack of training, or incorrect training, with a piece of heavy equipment is a recipe for disaster. Workers who are not experienced with handling these machines should not be operating them.
- Oversights and misjudgments. Using a large piece of equipment requires considerable judgment and taking extensive steps to ensure that the work is safely being done. Even a seemingly minor misjudgment or oversight could prove deadly.
- Operating equipment under the influence. You are probably already familiar with the labels attached to many medications that read “do not operate heavy machinery.” Yet numerous individuals disregard this warning and use equipment under the influence of drugs (legal and illegal) and alcohol.
- Rollover accidents. Forklifts, dump trucks, and other machines that carry heavy loads can tip and cause rollover accidents. A piece of heavy equipment should never be loaded beyond its recommended capacity.
- Struck-by accidents. Large machines can strike individuals (for example, a swinging object being lifted by a crane) or cause other objects to strike people (for example, by dropping objects from high off the ground).
- Contact with utility equipment. Electrocution becomes a very real hazard when machines are operated near live wires. Another example is a piece of equipment accidentally splitting an underground gas line, causing an explosion. Operators must be aware of wires, pipes, and all other utilities in the vicinity.
- Removed or bypassed safety features. Large machines have a number of components designed to keep operators and others safe. When these safety features are removed, modified, or bypassed, people can needlessly get injured.
- Manufacturing or design defects. As with any machine, heavy equipment can be manufactured or designed in a way that makes it unsafe. A manufacturing defect involves the incorrect assembly of otherwise safe parts, while a design defect makes the equipment unsafe no matter how well it is built.
- Lack of adequate safety warnings. Some pieces of equipment either do not have safety warnings or have inadequate warnings that do not account for reasonably foreseeable accidents. Victims could be able to hold the manufacturer liable in such an event.
Seeking Compensation For Your Injuries
Although injured construction workers can file workers’ compensation claims, they may also be able to pursue a third-party personal injury claim against someone other than their employer. Motorists, pedestrians, and other individuals hurt by heavy equipment can also file a personal claim against any individual, company, or other entity that was negligent. Some examples of potential defendants include property owners and equipment manufacturers.
Compensation could be available for these and related damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills, including hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, adaptive medical equipment, prescription drugs, and more
- Lost wages due to time recovering from injuries or attending medical and related appointments
- Lost earning capacity in the event the victim is unable to return to the job or career he or she had prior to the accident
- If the victim dies from his or her injuries, eligible survivors can seek certain wrongful death damages
How We Serve Accident Victims
When you retain Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C. to represent you in your personal injury action, you have a trusted legal advocate from the beginning to the end of your case. We get to work immediately investigating the accident, determining why it happened, and identifying all parties who could be held liable. Our firm also handles all negotiations with the insurance companies so you can focus on recovering and getting the medical attention you need.
If a fair settlement can be reached with the insurance company (or companies), a trial may be avoided. But if the insurers refuse to negotiate in good faith, we are prepared to take your case to a jury. Our firm has a reliable network of expert witnesses who can assist with various aspects of your case like reconstructing the accident and providing a reasonable forecast of future damages you will incur.
The same attorney will represent you throughout litigation; your case will not be run by a paralegal. We take calls 24/7 and can meet you at home or in the hospital to get started on your case. Finally, if we do not recover for you, there is no fee.
Contact Our New York Heavy Equipment Accident Attorney
When someone has suffered a personal injury, they look for reassurance and hope that the responsible party will be held accountable. We know the apprehension you are facing as medical bills roll in and you miss work because of your injuries. Let Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C. take some of that burden off of you as we fight for your right to compensation. Call us today.