Accidents and their resultant injuries can occur in a broad array of circumstances and through many mechanisms of injury. In fact, the Social Security Administration estimates that 1 in 4, or 25-percent, of today’s 20-year-old-workers, will become disabled at some point during their career. If you become injured at work, you are likely going to wonder about your recovery, your medical bills, and how your family will cope with your injury.
For more than three and a half decades, the personal injury and work amputation lawyers of Reiff & Bily have stood up for those injured in the workplace. Let us handle your legal concerns so that you can focus on your recovery from your catastrophic injuries.
What Parts of Workplace Machinery Are Dangerous?
While injury can occur due to any part of a large mechanical apparatus, certain aspects are more likely than others to cause injury. These danger areas include:
- The point of operation – This is the area where the machine performs work on the raw material. For example, the saw blade of a table saw would be considered the point of operation.
- Any moving component – Any part of a machine that moves can potentially grab clothing or other accessories and pull an individual, or their body parts, into dangerous machinery.
- Energy transmission vectors – Any aspect of the machine that transforms or transmits energy can be dangerous to workers. This can include cams, gears, pulleys, levers, and more.
These types of hazards or risks can lead to an array of injuries. For instance, any moving component of a machine can theoretically grab onto clothing, jewelry, or one’s hair. Being pulled into the machine can inflict serious, life-altering crushing injuries. Similarly, while most workplaces utilize shut-off switches and tagging devices, some still do not. In other cases, workers may fail to use such devices because of time pressures. This makes the risk of an injury due to machinery significantly more likely.
What Types of Motions Can Cause Amputations In The Workplace?
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is part of the United States Department of Labor. OSHA’s mission is to promote and assure safe and healthy working conditions for Americans nationwide. OSHA has identified the types of mechanical motions that present an amputation risk to workers. These hazardous motions are:
- Rotating motion – Found in machinery like flywheels, spindles and shaft ends, rotating motion can grip or grab clothing or other loose articles, pulling body parts into a machine.
- Transversing motion – Straight continuous motions can trap or pin a worker between the moving part and a stationary object.
- Reciprocating motion – Found in mechanical apparatus, like a reciprocating saw, this up and down motion can strike or trap a worker.
- Punching motion – Machines that stamp or press metal or other materials can cause serious injury. Workers can have body parts crushed by the stamping motion or they may become ensnared on other moving parts such as a conveyer belt.
- Shearing motion – Powered slides or knives can shear off metal or other materials. Unfortunately, these machines can also cause severe injury to limbs and other body parts.
- Cutting motion – Sawing, boring, drilling, slicing, and milling all involve some form of a cutting motion. Cutting can lead to amputation and many other injuries.
- Bending motion – Forming metal into shapes by bending is an integral part of many operations.
Many employers take measures to protect workers from injuries of this type. These measures may include installation of guards and guides to physically prevent injury. Furthermore, safety devices can autonomously, or with human intervention, shut-off workplace machinery. Depending on the circumstances, your employer may have been required to install safety equipment. We can investigate the circumstances surrounding your workplace amputation and work to achieve a favorable settlement or jury verdict.
What Damages Do Workers Have After an Amputation?
Following an amputation, many workers believe that they will be unable to do the things that the once loved. In some instances, this is certainly the case. The injured worker may need to stop their work activities or seek less lucrative employment. However, the injured person likely has damages extending far beyond economic losses. The difficulties and challenges an amputation victim must navigate are numerous and impact all aspects of the individual’s life.
Aside from the impacts on the worker’s professional life and job duties, an amputation injury often causes many more negative consequences. For one, the worker may not be able to enjoy the aspects of life that he or she once enjoyed. If the worker was an avid hiker or played sports, he or she may be unable to do these things. Furthermore, the injured individual may struggle to simply complete his or her daily activities. He or she may need assistance with things that were once taken for granted like dressing oneself, tying one’s shoes, attending to one’s daily hygiene, and many other basic activities.
The worker may also continue to experience pain and suffering from the loss of one or more limb. This pain can be expressed as a “phantom limb” for days, weeks, months or even years after the injury. Furthermore, damage to nerves and connective tissue can result in pain and discomfort that last for years or is a lifelong condition.
Why do You need a Lawyer Following an Amputation Injury?
To a layperson and in the abstract, the consequences of an amputation injury may seem obvious and straightforward. However, insurance companies and defendants frequently work to minimize the impact of your serious injuries. They may claim that your injuries are not as limiting as you claim. They may also try to blame you for the accident and resulting injuries.
Aside from efforts by the insurer or defense counsel to muddy the waters, you will also need to prove your injury. This is typically done through the medical testimony of a doctor or other qualified expert. Working with a lawyer can increase the likelihood that the defense will attempt to impeach – attack the credibility – of your expert witness. If defense counsel attempts this tactic, you will be prepared.
Work with a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyer After an Amputation Injury
If you have suffered an amputation injury, you face a lifelong injury. You will undoubtedly need significant medical attention and rehabilitative treatment to regain even a portion of your self-sufficiency and independence. However, with the right medical support many people do make significant recoveries.
For more than three decades, the attorneys of Reiff & Bily have stood up for injured people including those who have had a limb amputated at work. To schedule your free and confidential legal consultation, call (215) 274-0072 or contact us online.