Filing Industrial Accident Cases
Many product liability and machine malfunction cases have had a positive impact on workplace health and safety, and we have witnessed improved lives and future injuries prevented as companies are forced to remove products and change designs and warnings as a result of litigation.
Questions About Machine Accident Cases
Mechanical accidents refer to injuries relate to machine malfunction or the collapse of heavy machinery. These accidents involve cranes, powered industrial trucks, robotics, power tools, factory equipment, forklifts, and other machines.
Some primary causes of a mechanical failure are defective bearings and gears, electrical failures in motors, misalignments, unbalances, unstable bases, bent shafts, pulley and belt failures, mechanical gaps, as well as aerodynamic or hydraulic issues.
A tool or piece of machinery may be defective if it is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. A legal cause of action can be based on several types of product defects. The following are product liability and strict liability claims available in most jurisdictions nationwide:
(1) Manufacturing/ Construction Defect:
These issues arise where the machine is released from the factory in a manner that deviates from the intended design or specifications. The defect can be a result of using the wrong materials, including the wrong or completely foreign materials.
As a result of the deviation, the product enters the market in an unreasonably dangerous condition and the worker is exposed to a product that is defective. Any personal injuries or economic loss that arise from the the defect are compensable under product liability law.
(2) Defective design and/or formulation:
Defective machine design product liability cases arise not because a mistake was made during the manufacturing process, but rather the original design of the machine is unreasonably dangerous. A “risk benefit analysis” is used to determine whether safer/less expensive alternative designs were available to the manufacturer.
Federal regulations set minimum standards for the design of many industrial products, and preemption defenses may preclude liability in some situations if the manufacturer follows and obtains federal approval for a product.
(3) Failure to warn or inadequate warning or instruction associated with the product:
All machines and industrial tools come with necessary and appropriate warnings and instructions for use. If the lack of a warning makes the product and use of the product unsafe, the manufacturer is liable for the failure to place the warning.
The machine fails to conform to a representation or warranty. Warranty claims are more common in commercial and economic loss cases than in personal injury cases. In many States, The Product Liability Act does not apply to cases with only economic loss, because the Commercial Code provides recourse for breach of warranty.
The warranty may be written or implied based upon the products intended purpose and merchantability. An example of a breach of warranty cases are cases involving industrial tool defects.
Fatigue failure involves the cracking of base materials and structural components due to defects or stress over time.
Risks: The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the risks associated with the design of a machine: (1) the magnitude of the risk of injury; (2) ordinary consumer awareness of the risk for injury; (3) the likelihood of causing injury; (4) the violation of a private or public standard; and (5) the consumer’s expectation of the performance of the product and level of danger. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (B) Product Defective in Design or Formulation.
Benefits: The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the benefits associated with machinery design: (1) the utility of the product; (2) availability of an alternative design; (3) the magnitude of risks associated with an alternative design. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (c)
Defenses for Defective Design: (1) a machine is not defective by design if it contains an adequate warning of an unavoidably unsafe aspect of the product; (2) the dangerous aspect is inherent to the product, recognizable, and cannot be eliminated without compromising the product’s usefulness; (3) a lack of a feasible alternative design. 2307.75 (d)(e)(f).
Discovering a Machinery Defect: Initial Steps
- Document the machinery/product;
- Obtain a complete history from the client and any witnesses on the purchase, use and incident with the product
- Obtain all incident or accident reports and photographs;
- Obtain medical records of admission, EMS and first four days of hospital admission;
- Obtain any government agency via FOIA requests;
- Research any other similar incidents including lawsuits;
- Research any active recalls;
- Research any nuanced areas of law that the facts reveal;
- Consult with industry experts;
- Determine whether case merits filing a lawsuit
- Perform any product inspection or testing with appropriate protocols in place.
Machine Defect Settlements
The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured workers and plaintiffs against companies due to a defective machine or malfunctioning machinery to obtain just compensation under the law.