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My husband was adjusting the blade on an electric meat grinder at work in Philly when it unexpectedly started. My husband's hand was crushed and had to be amputated. What are his legal rights?

 

A:

Because your husband's accident happened at work, he is eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits.  Therefore, he will have to file a workers' compensation claim if he has not done so already.  His medical expenses and a portion of his lost wages will be covered by workers' compensation pursuant to PA workers' compensation laws.

In addition, your husband may have a claim against the company that made the meat grinder.  I would need more information about your husband's accident. We also would need to have an expert inspect the meat grinder to see if there were any defects that caused your husband's crush and amputation injury.

Machinery accident settlement obtained by Daniel J. O'Brien, Esq. - $950,000 settlement to an operator injured on printing machine

The meat grinder may have inadvertently started because your husband accidentally turned on the power when he brushed up against the power switch.  According to OSHA regulations, lock-out/tag-out (LOTO) systems and procedures must be in place to protect workers when they work on machines.

LOTO systems and procedures prevent machinery from unexpectedly starting up.  The energy source must be shut off before a worker services or performs maintenance on a machine.  Therefore, the meat grinder should have been shut off before your husband started to adjust the blade on it.  The energy source was probably not shut off.  Therefore, if your husband accidentally brushed up against the power switch, the machine would have turned on.

Related: Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Procedures Are Critical in Avoiding Amputations and Crush Injuries - By A New Jersey Industrial Machinery Accident Lawyer

If the meat grinder did not have a LOTO interlock safety system according to OSHA regulations, then the manufacturer of the machine may be responsible for your husband's injury and damages.  We would file a products liability injury lawsuit against the manufacturer.  Damages your husband may be able to recover are:

  • medical expenses,
  • out of pocket expenses,
  • lost wages, and
  • pain and suffering.

As his wife you would also have a claim called a loss of consortium claim.  Essentially, you lost your husband's companionship and services as a result of his injury.  Your relationship is affected because you may not be able to have an intimate relationship, and the responsibilities you once shared with your husband may all fall on you.  Therefore, you may be compensated for your loss.

However, a lawsuit against a machinery manufacturer is very complex.  We need to inspect the machine to see if there were defects, i.e., failure to comply with OSHA standards, which led to your husband's accident.  Therefore, we need to hire an expert who can inspect the machine.

Feel free to call me to discuss your husband's crush and amputation accident.  We can go over all of your husband's legal options, as well as your legal options.  Call 877.944.8396 to schedule a free consultation.


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