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Heavy Equipment Accidents: Considering Your Legal Options

Matt Murphy Dec 12, 2017

An excavator at a construction siteHeavy equipment is essential for many construction jobs and work in a number of different industries. While essential, one must always keep their danger in mind at all times. When accidents happen because of or around heavy equipment, the results can be catastrophic and even fatal.

The legal team at Murphy Law Firm has helped countless clients in Montana with their work-related injury cases. Let's take a moment to consider accidents caused by these heavy-duty vehicles and what your legal options might be.

Examples of Heavy Equipment

Heavy equipment may be a vague term to the spouses and families of anyone who works in construction. With that in mind, here is a list of vehicles that are commonly classified as heavy equipment:

  • Bulldozers
  • Excavators
  • Loaders
  • Backhoes
  • Tractors
  • Harvesters
  • Graders
  • Dump trucks
  • Pavers

There are obviously many more vehicles classified as heavy equipment, but this offers a good sample of the types of equipment involved.

The Dangers of Heavy Equipment Accidents

The sheer size and heavy equipment makes these vehicles dangerous to operate or to work around. They can be cumbersome to maneuver even for experienced drivers, which means everyone must exercise additional caution when any heavy equipment is used. Being struck or crushed by one of these heavy-duty vehicles could lead to the loss of a limb, paralysis, or even death.

Statistics Regarding Heavy Equipment Accidents

The United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that there were 4,836 fatal work injuries in 2015. Of that number, 722 fatalities were the result of contact with heavy equipment and other harmful or dangerous objects at a work site.

Numbers from the CPWR - Center for Construction Research and Training noted that heavy equipment fatalities run high among road construction crews when compared to other kinds of construction work. Fatalities involving heavy equipment made up 11.6 percent of all construction fatalities between 2008 and 2010, yet accounted for 23.6 percent of all road construction fatalities during the same period of time.

Challenges in Determining Who Is Legally Liable

Determining liability can be difficult in these cases. Sometimes matters are cut and dry. An employer with lax safety standard at their work sites could be responsible for injuries that occur involving their workers. A contractor hired to operate a vehicle or do other tasks at the work site may act negligently. They may not be attentive of co-workers, or they simply may not be experienced using the heavy equipment they're operating.

Sometimes a heavy equipment accidents occurs not because of a driver, an inattentive or negligent worker, or poor safety standards at a work site. In these cases, there may be a design, manufacturing, or maintenance flaw that contributes to the hazards associated with the heavy equipment. In these cases, the make of the vehicle or parties responsible for maintaining the equipment may be responsible for the injury or fatality that occurred.

How an Attorney Can Help You

Construction accidents can be challenging given all of the concerns involved and the parties who may be at fault. An experienced construction accident attorney can assess the evidence in your case and help your make the right decisions given your legal options. This guidance through the legal process can offer invaluable peace of mind during a difficult time.

Learn More About Your Legal Options

For more information about accidents involving heavy equipment and your legal rights and options, be sure to contact an experienced injury and accident attorney today. The team here at the Murphy Law Firm will work with you and your loved ones in your time of legal need.

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