We’ve discussed in another guide the concept of products liability, where an unreasonably dangerous or defective product injures an individual, that person may retain a personal injury and accident lawyer to sue the manufacturer of that product, or possibly the distributor. The concept applies in connection with work-related injuries as well.
If that defective product happens to be a machine or tool that injures the worker using it, the injured worker has a separate claim against the maker of that product.
That worker is clearly entitled to worker’s compensation benefits, and, also to maintain an action against the maker of the machine or tool causing the injury. The significance of this additional claim is found in the type of recovery available. Under the worker's compensation scheme, an employee can recover their lost wages, or a percentage thereof, and to have their medical expenses paid. They may also be entitled to compensation if they sustained a permanent injury. In the exceptional workers' compensation case, the injured worker may be entitled to retraining, or, in a tragedy, permanent disability. In a products liability personal injury case, non-economic damages are also recoverable. In this latter type of claim, the injured person is able to recover compensation for more intangible injuries like suffering, distress and physical or mental pain. There is no recovery for these injuries in a workers' compensation claim.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 12/16/19.