What happens when unsafe machines wind up at your place of work?

Most employers do everything in their power to keep their staff members safe and healthy. They likely comply with OSHA standards and adhere to best practices for safety in their industry. Unfortunately, the best safety practices in the world can't protect a company from accidentally purchasing defective -- or a poorly made piece of -- equipment.

Whether it's an office chair whose wheels break off or a piece of industrial or manufacturing equipment that malfunctions and severely injures a worker, faulty equipment in the workplace is a serious concern for employers and employees alike. Those who get hurt at work typically have a lot of expenses to deal with.

If you believe that your injury directly relates to a poorly made piece of equipment or machinery, you may have the legal right to seek compensation. Although the injury may qualify you for workers' compensation because it happened on the job, a third party is at least partially responsible for the injury and losses you suffered.

Sometimes, your employer isn't the responsible party after a workplace injury

All too often, workplace injuries are the result of mistakes made by the employee or the employer. Cutting corners with safety equipment could be one way in which an employer contributes to a workplace injury. Engaging in distraction on the job, such as joking with co-workers, could be a way in which an employee contributes to an injury.

Sometimes, a third party is entirely responsible for the injury suffered by a worker. Defective workplace equipment and machinery is a prime example of this third party liability situation. Consider a recent lawsuit brought by veterans against a domestic company.

The company provided the military with specialized noise-reducing ear plugs. However, those ear plugs were defective, and many military members suffered partial or total permanent hearing loss while using these devices. The military itself is not responsible for those defective products, so the law allows those military members with a resulting injury to hold the company itself accountable.

How a third-party claim benefits you as the victim

Workers' compensation has strict limits to the benefits that you can receive. While you are unable to work, you can only receive a portion of your average wage. Additionally, although it will cover 100 percent of your medical costs, there will be some review about what procedures you can undergo while workers' compensation is paying.

Bringing a third-party claim against a manufacturer who developed a defective product can potentially generate significantly more compensation than you would otherwise receive for your injury. Every workplace injury situation is unique, especially when it involves a defective part made by a third party. Discussing your situation with an attorney is a good first step if you believe a defective product played a role in your injury.

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