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Defective Equipment Claims: Workers’ Compensation or Personal Injury Case?

Work injuries caused by equipment are an everyday reality in many industries. For some employees, using equipment that is dangerous is just part of the job. In roles that do not require the use of hazardous tools, equipment injuries can still occur if there is a defect, an employee was not properly trained on the use of something that would otherwise be safe, or an employer did not supply protective safety gear.

When an on-the-job accident results from an equipment issue, employee claims fall into a gray area between the realms of workers’ compensation and typical personal injury cases. Although suing an employer is usually not possible if workers’ compensation benefits are collected, injured employees can recover workers’ compensation benefits and receive additional compensation through a third-party personal injury lawsuit.

Filing a Third-Party Work Accident Claim

To successfully recover compensation through a third-party claim related to equipment issues, it is essential to have proof that a manufacturer, retailer, or safety inspector was negligent. Employers are generally protected from lawsuits through the workers’ compensation system, so equipment accident claims that were caused by an employer — such as those related to inadequate training or safety protections — may not be eligible for additional compensation.

However, when a manufacturer, retailer, or safety inspector is at fault for a work accident, the victim can recover additional compensation. These types of suits are separate from the workers’ compensation system, and instead are treated more like a typical personal injury case.

At Smolich & Smolich, our team of attorneys is experienced in workers’ compensation claims, personal injury cases, and everything in between. Our lawyers can help evaluate the details of your case, and determine if you are eligible for additional benefits through a third-party suit. We are prepared to assist you with the legalities of an injury — contact us today.

To schedule a free consultation with our lawyers, send us a message or call (916) 571-0400.
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