Heavy Equipment Accidents
Representing San Bernardino Clients Injured by Heavy Equipment Accidents
Many people living in the San Bernardino, CA, area work in inherently dangerous industries. Among the highest-ranking industries for accidents and fatal injuries, construction consistently ranks highest. The construction industry is responsible for many crucial projects throughout California and is one of the most essential industries in the United States. However, everyone working in construction should understand and acknowledge the inherent safety risks this line of work presents and their legal options when they suffer injuries at work.
Heavy equipment continues to be a leading cause of injuries in the construction industry, both to employees working for construction companies and bystanders who are unfortunate enough to become injured by heavy equipment. Regardless of how your recent heavy equipment accident occurred, the personal injury attorneys at Kampf, Schiavone & Associates can provide the legal representation you need to secure recovery for your damages.
Why Do I Need Legal Representation for Heavy Machinery Construction Accidents?
If you receive injuries at work in San Bernardino, the California workers’ compensation system can provide you with medical expense coverage and pay weekly benefits to account for your lost income while you recover. However, filing for workers’ compensation is not always as easy as expected, and the benefits you receive may not be enough to fully cover your losses resulting from a heavy equipment accident. If you were not working when you sustained injuries from a heavy equipment accident, you could not rely on the workers’ compensation system for relief. Instead, you will need to identify the party or parties you believe to be responsible for the accident and file a personal injury claim against them.
Whether you face a complex workers’ compensation claim or need to file a personal injury lawsuit, it is always best to have reliable legal counsel on your side through these processes. A San Bernardino heavy equipment accident lawyer is your best resource for navigating these issues with confidence. The attorneys at Kampf, Schiavone & Associates will carefully review your claim and help you determine the best available path to recovery. Whether you need to file for workers’ compensation or construct a personal injury claim, you can rest assured we will extend the full range of our experience and resources in handling your case.
How Do Heavy Equipment Accidents at the Workplace Happen?
“Heavy equipment” can refer to a wide range of devices and vehicles, typically specialized for use in the construction industry. However, this term can also apply to specialized heavy machinery used in manufacturing operations. A few examples of heavy equipment capable of inflicting severe or fatal injuries to operators or bystanders include:
- Construction vehicles, such as front-end loaders, excavators, dump trucks, and backhoes.
- Warehouse equipment, such as boom lifts, forklifts, scissor lifts, conveyor systems, and electronic shelving systems.
- Manufacturing equipment, such as pneumatic presses, hydraulic equipment, and other devices used in processing raw materials.
- Specialized construction tools, such as jackhammers and other devices intended for human operation.
Heavy equipment is inherently dangerous to both operators and bystanders. Therefore, anyone who operates a piece of heavy equipment must have the requisite credentials and experience to do so safely. Unfortunately, heavy equipment accidents can happen when operators do not possess the required experience and skill to handle their equipment safely. These accidents can also occur due to simple negligence, operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or product defects. If a piece of heavy equipment injures you in any way, it is vital to determine how the accident occurred and whether it was preventable.
Potential Injuries From Heavy Equipment
Most types of heavy equipment used in manufacturing and the construction industry can inflict severe or even fatal injuries. Some of the most commonly cited injuries in heavy equipment personal injury claims and heavy equipment-related workers’ compensation claims include:
- Broken bones. An accident involving a heavy construction vehicle or impact from any piece of heavy equipment can easily cause severe bone fractures, many of which will require surgical correction.
- Facial injuries. Some heavy equipment may cause debris to fly into the face of the operator or a bystander. Facial injuries can be tremendously painful, entail dental injury, and often result in permanent scarring.
- Crushing injuries. Some of the most severe heavy equipment injuries involve crushing injuries to the victim’s limbs or their entire bodies in some cases. These injuries may require drastic medical treatment such as amputation to save the victim’s life, and severe crushing injuries can easily be fatal.
- Runover accidents. Many types of heavy equipment are large vehicles, and operators may not see the entire way around these vehicles as they maneuver them. Therefore, if they are not careful, they can easily run over someone else and cause severe injuries.
- Burns. Some heavy equipment can reach incredibly high temperatures with continuous operation. As a result, workers can suffer severe burns that cause scarring and permanent damage if they do not use appropriate safety equipment or experience unexpected mishaps.
- Amputations and severe lacerations. Some pieces of heavy equipment have very sharp components. When they are mishandled or malfunction, these sharp components can sever fingers, limbs, or cause severe cuts that require immediate medical attention.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the ways heavy equipment can inflict severe injuries. When these incidents occur, the victim may have more than one potential path toward recovery depending on where they were and what they were doing when the accident occurred, as well as who is responsible for the accident.
Filing for Workers’ Compensation in San Bernardino, CA
If you suffered any heavy equipment-related injury at work, you mustimmediately report the injury to your supervisor and seek prompt medical care. In addition, your employer has a legal obligation to provide you with the claim form and other materials you will need to file for workers’ compensation benefits. In California, every employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance, even if they have a single employee. If your San Bernardino employer claims they do not have workers’ compensation insurance when you report your heavy equipment injury, they are liable for your damages under California’s personal injury laws and will likely incur legal penalties for their failure to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
California offers a relatively generous window of time in which you may file a workers’ compensation claim after a heavy equipment injury at work, but it is always best to file as soon as the accident occurs. If you delay in filing, this will cause the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) to doubt the truth of your claim and could delay your receiving benefits.
It’s a good idea to consult a San Bernardino heavy equipment accident lawyer if you need to file a workers’ compensation claim. Your attorney can assist you in completing the necessary claim forms and gathering any other materials you must submit with your claim. It’s important to remember that when it comes to medical treatment for a workplace injury, you can seek treatment from any available doctor in an emergency, but if your injury is not life-threatening or your condition has stabilized after receiving emergency care, you must see a physician approved by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
The workers’ compensation doctor will examine you and assign a disability rating based on the severity of your injury and the likelihood of the injury causing any permanent damage. The California DWC will use this disability rating to determine the extent of your workers’ compensation benefits, including the amount you will receive and the length of time that your benefits will continue. In California, workers’ compensation benefits awarded temporarily can last up to 104 weeks. If an injured employee qualifies for permanent benefits, they will continue receiving payments for the rest of their life.
Potential Complications With Workers’ Compensation
Unfortunately, not every injured worker will have an easy time navigating the workers’ compensation system. Some encounter problems with the claim review process and experience significant delays in receiving benefits. Others have their claims unfairly denied. It is also possible for a claimant to encounter issues with their employer if they are not forthcoming with the materials they need to file for workers’ compensation.
If you need to file a workers’ compensation claim following a heavy equipment injury, hiring an experienced San Bernardino heavy equipment accident lawyer can help you prevent many of these issues from happening. Additionally, should you encounter any unexpected problems with your claim, such as a procedural error, a request for additional information, or if you disagree with the disability rating assigned to you by your workers’ compensation doctor, your attorney can help you address these problems as well.
Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim in San Bernardino, CA
If you suffered a heavy equipment injury while you were not working, or if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for causing your injury. An experienced San Bernardino heavy equipment accident lawyer is the best possible asset you can have on your side in this situation. Success with any personal injury claim requires meeting four criteria:
- The plaintiff must identify the party responsible for causing their injury (the defendant) and establish the duty of care they held in the situation in question.
- The plaintiff must then prove that the defendant failed to uphold this duty of care or acted with intent to harm the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff must provide a complete accounting of the damages resulting from the defendant’s breached duty of care.
- The plaintiff must prove their claimed damages resulted from the breached duty of care and not some other cause.
It can be tremendously challenging to handle the legal aspects of a heavy equipment injury while dealing with the recovery process. By working with an experienced and trustworthy San Bernardino heavy equipment accident lawyer, you will significantly increase your chances of securing a recovery for your damages. Additionally, hiring a good lawyer will ensure you can rest and focus on your recovery with peace of mind while your legal team handles your case.
Potential Compensation for a Heavy Equipment Injury Claim
California’s personal injury statutes allow injured plaintiffs to recover all damages resulting from negligence. Therefore, if you suffered any heavy equipment injury due to another party’s negligence, you could potentially secure:
- Compensation for all medical expenses resulting from the incident. This includes immediate medical expenses like hospital bills as well as the anticipated future medical costs your condition will likely incur.
- Compensation for lost income if your injury leaves you unable to work. If you are forced to stay home from work and recover, you can claim income lost during this time. However, if your injury caused a permanent disability that completely prevents you from working at all in the future, your attorney could help you claim compensation for your lost future earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering compensation. A heavy equipment injury can be excruciating and traumatizing. The victim may also experience ongoing pain during recovery. California allows personal injury plaintiffs to recover reasonable compensation for noneconomic damages like physical pain, emotional distress, and psychological trauma resulting from a defendant’s negligence.
- Property damage. If your heavy equipment accident involved any damage to your personal property, you could include repair or replacement costs in your personal injury claim.
Heavy equipment injuries can be incredibly damaging, resulting in long-term economic problems for the plaintiff and may even leave them permanently disabled. If you have experienced any heavy equipment injury, a San Bernardino heavy equipment accident lawyer can offer your best opportunity to recover your damages.
Find Your Legal Team Now
Heavy equipment injuries can potentially cause devastating damage and substantial economic harm to victims. When these incidents occur, it’s natural to feel uncertain or confused about your legal options for recovery. Whether you need to file a workers’ compensation claim or take alternative legal action with a personal injury lawsuit, Kampf, Schiavone & Associates can help. Our team has years of experience handling all types of injury claims for our clients in the San Bernardino, CA area, and we can assist with yours. If you are ready to discuss your legal options for recovery after a heavy equipment injury with a reliable San Bernardino heavy equipment accident lawyer, contact Kampf, Schiavone & Associates today to schedule a consultation with our team.