Heavy Equipment Accidents in Houston
As a part of their job, many workers in Houston use or work near heavy equipment and different types of industrial machinery. These devices can be hazardous if they are operated unsafely, not maintained properly, or malfunction.
Heavy equipment accidents can leave workers with painful, debilitating injuries that may last weeks, months, or years. Some never fully heal. The financial and psychological toll of a heavy equipment accident can be significant, as the injured worker may need expensive medical treatment and be traumatized by the experience.
The Callahan Law Firm is committed to upholding the rights of injured workers. Our Houston heavy equipment accident lawyers have spent more than 25 years helping injured workers pursue full financial recovery for their injuries. With our assistance, our clients have won millions of dollars in compensation for workplace accidents.
Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation.
Top Industries in Houston, Texas
According to information from the Greater Houston Partnership, many of the area’s top industries involve workers using and working around heavy equipment. These equipment-intensive industries include:
- Oil and gas production
Workers in these industries have a high rate of employee injuries. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 608 people statewide died from workplace injuries or illnesses in a recent year, including 123 construction workers and 49 workers in the oil and gas production and related industries.
Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Insurance reports roughly 149,700 private industry workers suffered a nonfatal workplace injury or illness in the same year. This number includes approximately 18,300 manufacturing workers, 11,400 construction workers, and 1,600 workers in the oil and gas production-related industries.
Types of Heavy Equipment and Machinery Accidents
A few of the most common types of workplace accidents in Houston that involve heavy equipment or machinery include:
- Motor-vehicle collisions — Operators do not always pay adequate attention when operating trucks or other heavy equipment through a busy worksite. This lack of awareness can lead to collisions with workers, resulting in significant injuries.
- Backing up and blind-spot accidents — If vehicle operators are not careful when backing a vehicle or other heavy equipment, or when navigating a crowded environment, they can miss someone behind or to their side. Anyone hit is likely to suffer significant injuries.
- Collisions with machinery or equipment — Workers who are struck can suffer multiple injuries including to the extremities, back, spine, head, or worse..
- Workers being pinned between objects or equipment — If a worker is pinned between an object and a piece of heavy machinery, the result can be catastrophic including crush injuries and fatalities.
- Workers becoming entangled in machinery — Getting caught by or in a piece of heavy equipment can lead to horrific injuries, including crushed or severed limbs.
- Workers being hit by flying or falling objects — Industrial equipment varies in shape, size, and functionality. If operated unsafely or when equipment is not properly maintained, the result can be catastrophic to innocent workers.
What Can Cause a Heavy Equipment Accident in Houston?
It is rare for heavy equipment accidents in Houston to be truly accidental. The word “accident” suggests an incident happened without a cause – that an event causing an injury simply happened – which is unlikely at best. The truth is that workplace accident are caused by some form of negligence or carelessness by a company or person, such as:
- Poor employee training — If workers do not know how to safely and properly operate heavy equipment, the result is an unsafe work environment that can harm themselves or others.
- Failure to follow safety rules – Policies and procedures are put in place to provide rules that equipment operators must follow to ensure the safety of fellow workers. And when the rules are not followed, others are needlessly at risk of injury or worse.
- Poor supervision — It is the responsibility of managers and supervisors to make sure heavy equipment operators are properly trained, that they follow the safety rules in place, and that equipment is properly maintained to minimize the chance of an accident.
- Lack of proper maintenance — Heavy equipment must be adequately maintained so that it functions properly. Poorly maintained and defective equipment is a preventable cause of workplace accidents.
- Hazardous working conditions — Employers and those who control a work site have a responsibility to ensure the workplace is safe. Unsafe work sites result in dangerous working conditions that put workers at risk of harm.
- Lack of proper safety equipment — If employees are not provided the tools and equipment they need to safely operate heavy equipment and other machinery, the likelihood of injury is increased.
- Mechanical defects — There are times when a defect in the design or manufacture of heavy equipment – whether inadequate rollover protection, lack of restraints such as seat belts, or lack of safety guards – is the cause or a contributing factor in workplace injuries.
- Lack of proper signage — Precautionary measures such as sectioning off work areas and using spotters where heavy equipment is in use are the basic steps that should be taken to protect workers on a job site.
Heavy Machinery Injuries Caused by Human Error
Injuries that happen on an industrial job site are all too often significant and life-altering. Heavy equipment and machinery accidents can cause injuries such as:
- Crush injuries
- Degloving injuries where the upper layers of skin on a limb are ripped away, exposing muscles and bones underneath
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Injuries to internal organs
- Internal bleeding
- Injuries to muscles and connective tissues
Types of Heavy Machinery/Equipment Involved in Accidents
There are many different kinds of heavy industrial equipment required on a worksite. Some of the most common that are used and involved in Houston workplace accidents include:
- Tractor trucks
- Dump trucks
- Concrete trucks
- Other work trucks
- Scissor lifts
- Man lifts
- Cement mixers
- Rock crushers
Legal Options If Injured in a Heavy Equipment Accident in Houston
If you were injured on the job and your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, you can make a claim under that system and receive certain limited benefits including medical care and a portion of your wages while you are unable to work. Unfortunately, all too many workers come to realize this system unfairly favors the insurance company and employer and does not adequately care for the injured worker. Nonetheless, that is the system in place in the state of Texas.
However, if you’re on job injury was caused by the negligence of a third party (a person or company other than your employer), you may be able to pursue a claim outside the workers’ compensation system. Examples of a third party that may be responsible for the workplace accident and your injury includes the following:
● The company that owned or controlled the premises where the injury happened
● A contractor or sub-contractor (not your employer)
● The company that designed, manufactured, marketed, distributed, or leased the equipment or machinery that caused your injury
A third-party claim against one of these entities will be based on negligence, or if a product defect is involved, then the claim can be based on what is known as product liability or strict liability.
Another option for an injured worker is when an employer does not participate in the workers’ compensation system and is, therefore, a “non-subscriber”. If your employer was a non-subscriber at the time of your injury, you may be able to make a claim for negligence against your employer and recover compensation if your injury resulted from the negligence of your employer or a co-worker.
Importantly, in third-party claims and non-subscriber claims, an injured worker can recover compensation for medical care expenses, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, physical impairment, as well as psychological injuries known as mental anguish. This is different than a workers’ compensation claim where financial recovery is very limited.
A Houston heavy equipment accident attorney can help you determine what kind of claim or claims you have and who may be responsible for your injuries, leading to full and fair compensation for you and your family.
Contact Our Houston Personal Injury Attorneys at The Callahan Law Firm Today
If you’ve suffered a heavy equipment injury on the job, it is essential that you consult with an experienced workplace accident attorney. At The Callahan Law Firm, we have successfully represented injured workers for over 25 years, and have the knowledge, skill, and resources to get the compensation and justice you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation with a Houston personal injury lawyer who will listen and talk with you about your legal options.
To protect your health and your rights, you should take the following steps after a workplace accident:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Verbally notify your employer of the accident as soon as possible.
- Report the accident to your employer in writing when you are able, and keep a copy for yourself.
- Contact an experienced workplace accident attorney to discuss your legal options, which may include a personal injury claim, a workers’ compensation, or both, depending on your situation.
- Keep track of your time off from work and medical providers.
- Follow your physician’s treatment plan.
The legal team at The Callahan Law Firm handles personal injury claims in a wide range of workplace injury cases, including those that involve:
While you can file a workplace injury claim without the assistance of a lawyer, it can be a confusing and challenging process, especially if you are still recovering from injuries. An experienced attorney can provide the guidance you need and handle the details of your claim to help you get the most compensation available under the law.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage or if a third party was responsible for your accident, having an experienced workplace accident lawyer becomes even more crucial as the attorney can help determine who is responsible, ensure a proper investigation is done and critical evidence is preserved, and file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party on your behalf.
If a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed because of a workplace accident, under Texas law, the general rule is that the lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. If you miss the deadline, you will likely lose your right to make your claim. That is why it is important to consult with a workplace accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine your rights when your claim must be filed, and take the necessary steps to maximize your financial recovery.
It depends. If you were hurt on the job because of the negligence of a third party (a person or company – not your employer – who caused your injury), your claim can include compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, physical impairment, and more. If the negligence of your employer caused your injury and your employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to make a claim for negligence against the employer for compensation for these same elements of damages. If your employer did have workers’ compensation at the time of your injury, a workers’ comp claim can be made for benefits such as medical care and lost wages. And if a loved one tragically passed away due to work-related injuries, your family could be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim or death benefits from workers’ compensation. In many instances, more than one of these claims can be made. A knowledgeable workplace accident attorney can determine the type of claim or claims that can be made to ensure you and your family are fully compensated under the law.