Types of Heavy Equipment Accidents
Workers in many industries, including construction, transportation, utilities, oil and gas, logging, and agriculture, face the risk of accidents involving heavy machinery and equipment.
One of the most common types of heavy equipment accidents involve moving vehicles, like bulldozers, backhoes, loaders, cranes, forklifts, and excavators. When the operator isn’t paying close attention or can’t see in blind spots, they could end up colliding with a worker, a stationary object, or piece of equipment. Workers might be pinned by heavy machinery or dragged by a vehicle. Back-up accidents are all too common, as well.
Struck by Falling or Flying Objects
A piece of heavy equipment can malfunction, or operator negligence can cause an object to fall or fly in an unexpected direction. A careless operator or defective machine might drop a load. The result could be one or more workers struck by falling or flying objects and suffering serious injuries.
Falls from Equipment
Workers might have to climb onto tall pieces of equipment or work in machines at significant heights, like a crane or on scaffolding. Without proper safety equipment and procedures, or because of defective equipment, workers can fall and sustain catastrophic injuries.
In some industries, employees work closely with intricate machines. They have to be extremely careful not to get a finger, limb, or article of clothing caught in the equipment. When this happens, they can suffer from things like crush injuries and amputation.
Electric Shock and Electrocution
Heavy equipment typically relies on electricity to work. But when someone doesn’t follow procedure, like lockout/tagout rules, there is a risk of electric shock or fatal electrocution.
Heavy Equipment Accidents in the Oil and Gas Industry
The oil and gas industry, which is prevalent in the Permian Basin region of Texas and New Mexico, relies on a lot of heavy machinery to drill wells and produce, store, transport, and refine crude oil into petroleum products. Pieces of heavy equipment, like rigs, pumps, cranes, and forklifts, are needed at every stage of the process.
Unfortunately, oil and gas equipment and machinery expose workers to:
- Fracking accidents
- Vehicle Accidents
- Falling Objects
- Crush Injuries
Common Heavy Equipment Accident Injuries
If you were involved in a heavy equipment or machinery accident, you might suffer from:
- Bone fractures
- Dislocated joints
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Herniated discs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crush injuries
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ damage
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
What Laws Cover Workplace Equipment Accidents?
There are two ways to pursue compensation after an accident at work causes you harm. The first is workers’ compensation insurance—a private, no-fault insurance policy offered by your employer. The second is a personal injury claim against a third party who is not employed by the same business as you.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Whether you are covered by workers’ compensation depends on where you live and whether your employer offers it.
Texas law does not require employers to protect employees with workers’ comp insurance. Some employees choose to carry it. You’ll have to check with your employer. New Mexico law requires employers of three or more workers to provide workers’ comp insurance.
If your employer provides workers’ comp, the next step is to file a claim. You’ll have to show that your injury occurred while you were working or arose out of your duties. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system, but if your employer or the insurance provider contests your claim, you might have to show you did not intentionally or recklessly cause the accident.
Workers’ compensation benefits depend on state law.
New Mexico law entitles you to medical benefits and payments:
- Temporary Total Disability
- Temporary Partial Disability
- Permanent Partial Disability
- Permanent Total Disability
Workers’ comp in Texas includes medical benefits as well as:
- Temporary Income Benefits
- Impairment Income Benefits
- Supplemental Income Benefits
- Lifetime Income Benefits
Whether or not you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, it’s beneficial to talk with a lawyer. Determining the cause of the heavy equipment accident informs whether you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
If the same business does not employ the party responsible for the accident as you, then you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them. This is known as third-party liability.
Other parties that might be liable for your injuries include:
- A worker at another business
- The general contractor responsible for the site
- The property owner of the accident site
- Product manufacturer, assembler, wholesaler, retailer
- A pedestrian or private motorist who entered your worksite
Not Covered by Workers’ Comp?
If you aren’t covered by workers’ compensation insurance, and one of your coworkers is to blame for your injuries, you might have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
The reason many employers choose to provide workers’ comp is that this creates an exclusive option for recovery. You usually can’t sue your employer when you have workers’ comp insurance. But if you aren’t insured, then your employer might be liable for your injuries.
Compensation for Heavy Equipment Accident Injuries
If the law entitles you to file a personal injury or third-party liability lawsuit, we’ll fight for you to receive full and fair compensation for your:
- Medical Expenses
- Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses
- Lost Income
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Disfigurement and Scarring
- Disability/Physical Limitations
- Reduces Earning Capacity
- Reduced Quality of Life
- Loss of Consortium
Let Us Help Prepare Your Accident Claim or Lawsuit
If you’re covered by workers’ compensation insurance, a lawyer can help explain these benefits. But they aren’t always available, and may not be able to fully recover financially through workers’ comp alone. That’s why it’s important to work with a lawyer who can determine whether you have a valid personal injury claim and how to recover the maximum possible amount of compensation.
Your claim may never go before a jury, but at Kemmy Law Firm, we believe in being over-prepared and are always ready to stand up for our clients in court. As a family or trial-tested attorneys, we know what it takes to get what’s right and have the experience and record of success to prove it. If you’ve been seriously injured in a heavy machinery accident, call us today at (210) 750-1019 or contact us online.
Initial consultations are free, where we’ll review what happened and what you can expect. There’s also no risk because we are only paid when you recover compensation.