When Your Work Equipment Causes An Injury
Whether you’re operating heavy machinery, moving supplies on a work site, or simply wearing your daily uniform, there are a thousand different ways your work equipment can cause you to suffer an injury. While some work-equipment injuries may come from a single event, like a fall, a drop, or even a heavy lift; other injuries can be slower to set in and more difficult to recognize.
Recently, Pinellas County firefighters have learned first-hand how repeated use of heavy, burdensome, or awkward work equipment can lead to those more subtle injuries. This year, a group of those firefighters filed product liability lawsuits in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court, claiming their city-issued helmets had design flaws that led to injury. In short, they have alleged that their negligently designed “1044 Cairns” helmets have caused them to suffer multiple permanent injuries in the neck and back. The firefighters claim that helmets are heavy and fit improperly; and that they feel like “bobbleheads” when trying to perform their work.
While the risk of injury from falling off a ladder or getting burned in a fire might have been apparent to this group of brave men, more often than not it is the less obvious risks that end up causing the most severe injuries. In the unfortunate event you start to feel the negative effects your work equipment has had on your body, you have a couple of different options.
One option, which several of these firefighters have chosen, is to file a products liability claim against the manufacturer of the equipment, saying that it could have and should have been designed in a safer fashion. A second option is to file a worker’s compensation claim against your employer’s insurance company, saying that your job required you to use the work equipment that caused your injury, and that they should pay for the medical treatment you need to fix the problem.
An important thing to understand is that this is not a “one-or-the-other” choice. If you have been injured by your work equipment, whether in a single accident or through constant exposure, you should always file a worker’s compensation claim to make sure your medical bills and treatment are paid for. At that point, your attorney can direct you on how to file a products liability claim to get additional protection and security for the future. In other words, one claim does not eliminate the other.
Perenich Caulfield Avril & Noyes has been filing products liability and workers compensation claims just like these for over half a century. With a team of board civil trial attorneys, AV rated attorneys, and millions of dollars in worker’s compensation and products liability settlements, we have the experience, the drive, and the know-how to get you compensation for your work equipment injury.