Heavy Equipment Accidents in Houston

worker with foot caught in heavy equipment at work

    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 even years. Some never fully heal. The financial and psychological toll of a heavy equipment accident can be significant, as the injured worker may be traumatized by the experience and need expensive medical treatment.

    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.

    If you were injured in a construction accident in Houston, TX, or another incident involving heavy machinery, contact us today to learn more in a free consultation with one of our experienced Houston heavy equipment accident lawyers.

    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:

    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 non-fatal workplace injury or illness in the same year. This number includes approximately 18,300 manufacturing workers, 11,400 construction workers, and 1,600 in 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, distraction or intattentiveness can lead to collisions with workers, resulting in serious 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 accidents are usually 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 construction site or other type of work area 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 some of 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
    • Amputations
    • 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
    • Burns
    • 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
    • Flatbed trucks
    • Dump trucks
    • Concrete trucks
    • Other work trucks
    • Forklifts
    • Scissor lifts
    • Man lifts
    • Cranes
    • Bulldozers
    • Backhoes
    • Excavators
    • Trenchers
    • Cement mixers
    • Rock crushers
    • Conveyors
    • Pumps
    • Compressors

    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 your on-the-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 include the following:

    • The company that owned or controlled the worksite 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 accident 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, disfigurement, as well as psychological injuries known as mental anguish. This is different than a workers’ compensation claim where financial recovery is very limited.

    Our Houston heavy equipment accident lawyers 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 experienced workplace accident attorneys in Houston. 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 and your family deserve.

    Contact us today for a free consultation with a Houston personal injury lawyer who will listen to you and discuss your legal options.

    Heavy Equipment Accidents

    What Should I Do After a Workplace Accident?

    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, 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.

    Avoid Discussing Your Case Publicly

    Following a heavy equipment accident or another type of construction site accident, it is vital to avoid discussing your situation publicly, whether that be in person or on social media. The opposing legal team may use your words against you or take statements out of context, which can hurt your chance of a favorable outcome. Instead, focus on getting the medical care you need, and speak only to your lawyer about the specifics of your case.

    What Types of Workplace Injury Cases Does Your Law Firm Handle?

    The legal team at The Callahan Law Firm handles personal injury claims in a wide range of workplace and other personal injury cases, including those that involve:

    Do I Need a Houston Heavy Equipment Accident Lawyer?

    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. In addition, the at-fault company will have lawyers, investigators and others who will work tirelessly to minimize your claim.  That’s why it is so important to have an experienced workplace accident attorney on your side who 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.

    When heavy equipment is involved in workplace accidents, the stakes are often much higher than other types of workplace injury cases. The size, power, and complexity of the machinery involved can result in permanent disability, serious injury, and wrongful death. Hiring a qualified and experienced workplace injury lawyer is essential in ensuring that you maximize your chance of getting full compensation under the law for what happened and the harm it caused.

    A lawyer who focuses on representing workers injured in heavy equipment accidents will have extensive knowledge of safety regulations, workplace safety, product defects, and other causes of on-the-job injuries. They will help you navigate the complexities of your case, gather the necessary evidence, and handle your case from beginning to end – whether by settlement or jury trial.

    Additionally, the right lawyer will be able to advise you on the potential damages you may be entitled to, including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages,n loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and potentially more. Ensuring that these damages are supported by the evidence is crucial for being adequately compensated after being involved in a heavy equipment workplace accident.

    How Long Do You Have to File a Workplace Injury Lawsuit?

    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 accident. If you miss the deadline applicable to the facts of your case, you will very likely lose your right to ever make your claim. That is why it is so 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.

    The Importance of Acting Quickly

    For anyone injured in a heavy equipment accident – whether it’s a construction accident claim, refinery or chemical plant accident, oil field case, or other – time is of the essence. Promptly taking the steps to support your claim can make all the difference in securing the compensation you and your family deserve because of what happened and the harm it caused. Here are two critical reasons to act quickly:

    Preventing Evidence Loss

    In many cases, employers and worksite owners may attempt to clean up the accident scene and not preserve critical evidence which will help them to avoid liability. When this happens, it will be more difficult to impossible for you to gather essential evidence to support your claim. By acting quickly and hiring an experienced heavy machinery accident attorney, the proper steps can then be taken to ensure that vital evidence is gathered and preserved.

    Effectively Building a Claim

    The process of building a strong personal injury claim involves thorough investigation, preserving critical evidence, identifying essential witnesses, document collection, and much more.  The sooner you begin this process, the greater the likelihood of being compensated under the law. By taking quick action, you can ensure that these steps are taken so that you can focus on your health and recovery.

    I Experienced a Heavy Equipment Injury. What Benefits Can I Obtain in an Accident Claim?

    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. An experienced Houston workplace accident lawyer can determine the type of claim or claims that can be made to ensure you and your family are fully compensated under the law.