Defective Tool Attorney
Every year, many workplace accidents are attributed to defective tools. Although workers may be trained to follow safety procedures; if ladders have broken rungs, hand tools come without safety devices, or nail guns lack safety features and lock mechanisms, there is little that can be done to prevent an accident and resulting injuries.
Arnold & Itkin LLP can offer you skilled legal guidance if you or someone you love has been injured by a defective tool. Whether you were working on a home improvement project or are a construction worker who was injured on the job, one of our skilled lawyers can offer you knowledgeable insight regarding your legal options and rights at this point. You can find out whether you have grounds for a claim against the manufacturer of a defective product and can begin taking the steps necessary to seek and recover maximum financial compensation for your injuries.
We rely on generators to keep the power running in the event of an outage. Unfortunately, if a generator is defective in any way, it may pose a serious risk to anyone in the vicinity. Defective generators can be a silent killer having caused dozens of deaths and serious health complications including the following:
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Electrocution / electrical shocks
- Other injuries
Generator Fire Hazards
Spillage from a generator can result in a combustible environment. Generator defects can case fuel / fuel oils to leak, leading to fires and explosions. Defective parts can include painted fuel tanks capable of igniting in certain conditions, plastic fuel tanks that could spark a fire, and damaged fuel valves that can open and leak or spill.
Generator Electrocution Hazards
Generators that bypass regular household safety circuitry when connected to an electrical power outlet can pose electrocution hazards to people who are also using electrical outlets.
Generator Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Portable household generators often used in homes can pose a serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas emitted through the burning of wood or kerosene or through combustion reactions of gas fueled generators and heaters. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, hypothermia, hallucinations, and even cardiac failure resulting in death. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that at least 222 people have been killed in generator-related carbon monoxide poisonings between 2000 and 2005. The number of fatalities has risen with the increase in demand for generators.
The CPSC has approved new rules that require manufacturers of portable generators to put strong warning labels on the devices. The labels must warn consumers that the generator's exhaust can contain carbon monoxide, a known toxic gas that can have serious and adverse health effects. The warnings must also caution consumers about the hazards associated with using generators in enclosed spaces like rooms and garages.
Ladders are a basic piece of equipment on construction sites. However, due to inherent defects or flaws, some ladders put workers at risk of severe injuries. Every year at least 180,000 people visit emergency rooms around the country for treatment of injuries sustained from ladder-related accidents. At least 150 deaths occur.
Some of the most common causes for injuries related to ladders include:
- Ladders can come with rungs that bend at a weight below the maximum weight stipulated for that model.
- Telescoping extension ladders used to reach extra heights can be difficult to maneuver.
- The intricate systems for locking and adjusting extension ladders can result in various hand and finger injuries.
- Some extendable ladders collapse too quickly and all at once, putting hands at a risk of injuries.
- Sometimes, ladders do not come with sufficient traction making the ladder prone to slipping and sliding.
Some of the most common accidents on a construction site are related to slip and fall accidents from ladders. Every day, workers risk injury as they climb elevated heights on extension ladders, rope ladders, and step ladders. An unstable ladder could tip over, hurtling a worker to the ground. Improperly spaced rungs can cause a worker to trip while ascending or descending the ladder and broken or cracked rungs and rails can cause a worker to lose his balance. A ladder may be considered defective if it has an unstable or weak frame that has worn with use.
Defective Nail Guns
In recent years nail guns have soared in popularity; especially since the construction boom of the nineties. They quickly became the favorite hand tool of do-it-yourself enthusiasts. This increase in popularity has come with greater frequency of nail gun related injuries. Approximately 42,000 people are injured using nail guns each year.
Injuries associated with nail guns include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Puncture Wounds - The major risks in regards to puncture wounds are tissue and nerve damage in the pierced area. There is also a risk of infection as the nail may transmit harmful bacteria and microbes into the body.
- Bone Injuries - If a nail hits a bone upon penetration the person may suffer bone injuries ranging from moderate to severe in intensity. Bone injuries caused by nails can also lead to severe inflammation of the affected bone. These infections result from bacteria introduced to the bone by the nail.
- Eye Injuries - One of the most serious injuries related to nail gun use is an eye injury. Even while using great caution a nail can ricochet, piercing sensitive regions of the face, including the eyes. Eye trauma resulting from such accidents can have a severe impact on a person's eyesight. In most cases surgical intervention is the only option.
- Brain Injuries - When nails are propelled at great velocity from a nail gun and penetrate the head, the impact and damage caused to the delicate nerve fibers of the brain can result in long term brain injuries.
A major cause of nail gun injuries is a design defect in the dual action firing system under which the nail gun operates. Here, both the nose contact and the hand trigger must be depressed simultaneously to allow the discharge and speedy delivery of the nails. Studies have shown that this design element is partly responsible for the great number of nail gun related injuries. Nail guns with sequential trip mechanisms work when the nose contact element is depressed first, followed by the manual trigger. Such guns have been found to have less risk of accidents and injuries. Most nail guns, however, come with the simultaneous trigger mechanism.
Defective & Dangerous Power Tools
Power tools are widely used in the construction, wood working and logging industries, and contribute to making workers' jobs much easier. They are popular not only for the speed with which they can perform a task, but also for their precision and accuracy. However, defects in these tools can have a major impact on worker safety.
Types of dangerous power tools include the following:
- Shaper - Shaper accidents are usually linked to the sharpness and speed of the cutter. It is very important to be aware of the radius around the cutter that poses the maximum risk of injuries. A shaper should come with a guard that must be used every time the machine is operated. Machine defects can manifest themselves in the form of clattering noises that signify looseness when the tool is operated. If the tongue washer is improperly installed, or the cutter is positioned improperly, the resulting accidents and injuries can be severe.
- Chain Saws - Chain saws are responsible for approximately 30% of all woodwork-related accidents. The absence of safety devices or anti-kickback devices on a chain saw can increase the possibility of these accidents. For instance, a chain brake can stop the chain in the event of a kickback. A hand guard can prevent a worker's hand from accidentally moving into the chain. Other safety devices like anti-kickback chains and throttle interlocks can prevent serious accidents. A chain saw that does not include these safety devices can cause serious injuries.
Welding Rod Injuries
A welding rod is used to join or fuse two metal objects together. Welding rods are commonly used in workplaces, but, unfortunately, can be potentially extremely dangerous. As the metal is heated, the fumes that are emitted can be toxic and have serious effects on users' health. Chemicals like manganese, nickel, iron, aluminum, chromium, and cadmium have been shown to cause serious health-problems for those who have been exposed. However, out of these dangerous chemicals, manganese poisoning is most common.
Although a small amount of manganese is essential, the welding process can lead to too much exposure. It can lead to kidney, liver, and nervous system damage and can also lead to Parkinson's disease, which effects the motor system. Signs of manganese poisoning include: slurred speech, lack of balance, trouble with moving, and dementia. Although they can be treated, there is no cure for these diseases and they become progressively worse over time.
Table Saw Defects
Table saws are already a dangerous type of power tool. Equipped with sharp blades moving at an incredibly fast speed, these tools need to be fully equipped for safety before use. The circular blade is propelled by a motor, and the blade is typically situated with part of it sticking above the table and part of it below the table. This blade can be moved up or down to make precision cuts. One type of table saw is the benchtop table saw. These are lightweight because they are made to be transported between jobsites. There are contractor table saws which are heavier and used for industrial purposes. The last two major types of table saws are cabinet and hybrid circular saws. Although these saws are all outfitted to perform different functions, what they all have in common is that they are highly dangerous. Even the slightest defect in design, marketing or manufacturing can result in serious injury.
What Is Kickback & When Is It My Fault?
"Kickback" is a term used to describe what happens when the blade of a circular saw catches on the material being cut and spits it out in the direction of the operator. Kickbacks are notorious for being severe and even fatal. There are three major causes of kickback, some of which can be avoided. The first cause is when the wood that is being cut actually pinches the blade. Although difficult to predict, it can be avoided. Most table saws have what is called an anti-kickback. Anyone attempting to raise the blade while a cut is in process must use this, or else they risk having the wood thrown back at them. The next type of kickback can be avoided with feeder wheels. If the wood shifts positions while a cut is being made and tried to put back in place while the blade is still moving, kickback can happen.
The third major cause of kickback is when the wood gets pinched between the back of the blade and the fence. This can be prevented by spacing the rear and the fence further apart, which improves overall safety. Users of these machines should take care to understand the dangers as well as proper safety techniques for using them. If a user could have prevented kickback, then the manufacturer of the table saw probably cannot be held liable. However, if there was a defect with the wheels or the anti-kickback, for example, the manufacturer may be at fault. There are additional safety features for table saws that can be purchased, such as automatic braking and a dust extractor.
Saw Bench Recalls
DeWalt had to recall some of their table saws because of a laceration hazard. Consumers had been complaining that the pivot can separate, causing the wood to misalign and result in kickback. Although no injuries were reported, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, one malfunction is all it takes because this type of defect is so serious in nature. The models that were recalled were the DeWalt DW744 Jobsite Table Saw. Robert Bosch Tool Corporation back in 2004 also issued a recall of table saws, about 120,000 of them because of kickback problems. Ryobi and Milwaukee are other product manufacturers who have had some of their circular saw units recalled. If you were injured in this way, our firm would be happy to discuss your case with you. Often, a thorough examination of your unit is necessary. To get the process started and to discover the compensation that you may be entitled to, call Arnold & Itkin LLP today!
Contact Our Product Liability Attorneys for the Help You Need
Through our years in practice, we have recovered significant settlements and verdicts on behalf of our injured clients and the families of those who have lost their lives due to the negligence of another. We have recovered billions. Find out how we can help you by calling a product liability lawyer for a free consultation.
Take this opportunity to learn more about your legal rights after an accident involving a defective tool. Contact a product liability lawyer today to request a free review of your case.