In this day and age, a lot of men and women are working with machines. When working with machines, there is a lot that can happen as far as injuries. Sometimes it is your own fault as the employee, sometimes it is your employer’s fault, and sometimes it is the machine itself, whether it be defective or working improperly/malfunctioning. In Massachusetts, the Workers’ Compensation system is a no-fault system. This means that even if you were to accidentally injure yourself, you are still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In the alternative, if you are injured as the result of someone else’s doing, or that of a piece of equipment, you are not only entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits, there may be an additional claim out there for you.
Typically, when an employee is injured as a result of a machine, their exclusive remedy is within the workers’ compensation world: for weekly disability benefits, medical care and loss of function. Unfortunately, in the state of Massachusetts, there is no allocation within the workers’ compensation statute for pain and suffering; and, unless your employer acted with serious and willful misconduct, which amounts to quasi-criminal conduct, you will not be able to file a claim against them. However, injuries can also happen because the machine you are working on, working with, or even working around, malfunctions or injures you because of some inherent defect. In that event, you may have what is called a possible third-party claim, a claim against another entity, someone other than your employer who may be responsible for your injuries. For example, possibly the supplier of a defective machine or the manufacturer of the machine. If they were to become a defendant in a third-party lawsuit, they would be responsible for your pain and suffering, as well as other benefits one cannot recover in a workers’ compensation claim.
What Steps To Take After an Injury
If you think you have been injured way of a defect or machine malfunction, it is important to document several things that can only help you in pursuing a possible third-party claim. It is crucial to give an accurate and consistent description of how the injury happened when reporting to both your employer and all doctors. If you can, take a picture of the machine and the surrounding areas. Lastly, try and identify the make and model of the piece of equipment.
What if you do not speak English? Remember, every worker has the right to be properly trained on every machine they work with, no matter what language they speak. If you are not English speaking, you have the right to be trained on the machine in your language. Every worker is entitled to a safe workplace! Dr. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA), tells us that “making a living should not have to cost you your life!” You have rights as a worker, especially when injured. If you have been injured because of improper training, faulty machines, defective machines, you may need experienced attorneys to help maximize the benefits you are entitled to.
If you have been hurt by a machine at work, contact Keches Law Group at 617-898-0808 or online for a free, no-obligation consultation today. We have staff that speaks Spanish and Portuguese and have translators for other languages available upon request.