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Industrial Accidents

October 7, 2022

By Thomas McCutcheon

Industrial accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. The size, weight, and force used in industrial settings can cause great harm or death when an accident occurs.

As personal injury lawyers, Joel and I must thoroughly investigate industrial accidents to determine all possible sources of recovery for our clients.

Joel and I have handled industrial accidents for thirty years, including cases against Nucor Steel, Kohler, Buealiu of America, Siemens Manufacturing, and Dunlop Tire & Rubber Company — just to name a few.

The key is to find what is known as third party liability.In Alabama, the injured worker can only pursue the employer for worker’s compensation benefits in most cases. Third party liability refers to the legal liability for damages on the part of any party other than the employer. (Code of Alabama, 1975 §25-5-11). As an example, Joel and I have handled several product liability, failure to secure, and failure to barricade cases all arising from industrial accidents.

I had a case where a machine manufacturer dropped the machine on an employee during delivery. The employee was on the job and had worker’s compensation. The injury might have “capped out” in value at 300 weeks (500 if death results). (Code of Alabama, 1975 §25-5-50 et. seq.). If a machine falls or a safety device is disabled or removed, or if the accident is caused by a person who is not a co-employee, there is no cap under the Alabama Worker’s Compensation Act.

We always look for the cause of the accident in an industrial setting. If something falls on a person, what company secured it or failed to? If a person is injured by a forklift that didn’t beep while in reverse, what caused that? Another case involved a person who was killed by a forklift that would and did roll backwards while in forward gear without sounding the back-up alarm. Not only did his widow and children get the 500 weeks of worker’s compensation allowed by state law, but we recovered compensation from the forklift manufacturer. Worker’s compensation is a limited recovery that is capped to a certain amount. Third party recoveries are not subject to a cap and can provide the monies necessary to take care of the injured worker and their family.

Buckle up, drive safely, and as always, your referrals are appreciated!


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