In late May, 2014, a woman was injured in a “freak” construction site accident. Workers were operating a large saw used to cut through concrete near 9th Avenue and 48th Street in Manhattan when the saw blade came loose from the machine and flew through the air. The blade (which is approximately three feet wide) was captured on nearby surveillance cameras as it came loose from the saw machine, flew through the air and struck a tree before hitting a nearby pedestrian. The woman pedestrian suffered a deep gash in her leg. The saw machine was removed from service as city officials investigate the cause of the accident.
Liability for Freak Accidents
Some witnesses to this incident described it as a “freak accident.” But the term “freak accident” implies that the event was unavoidable and difficult – if not impossible – to predict. A victim of a freak accident, like the woman in this incident, may believe that no compensation is available for his or her injuries and losses. After all, how can anyone be held responsible for an event that, by definition, could not be predicted or avoided?
Every workplace accident (including this one) has a cause. It is up to judges and juries to determine whether the cause was foreseeable or not; whether the individuals and entities involved acted “reasonably” and with due care. Using this incident involving the loose saw blade as an example, there could be any number of individuals liable for the woman’s injuries:
- The worker operating the saw. Did the worker operating the saw inspect it before use? Was he or she properly trained on how to use the saw? Did he or she continue to operate the saw even though the machine gave indications it was not working properly? If any of the above is true, the worker may be liable for the woman’s damages.
- The employer of the worker. If the worker’s employer did not properly train or supervise the worker, the employer’s failure may rise to the level of negligence. So too would a failure to properly maintain the saw. Any of these failures would expose the employer to liability.
- The mechanic that serviced the saw. If there was a mechanic responsible for servicing the saw, an investigation into him or her might reveal that the saw was not serviced as scheduled, or that an obvious problem with the saw was overlooked before the saw was placed into service. This could result in the mechanic being liable for the woman’s injuries.
- The manufacturer of the saw and/or saw blade. If there was a design or manufacturing defect with either the saw or the saw blade that caused the blade to come loose, then the manufacturer of the defective part could also be held responsible for the accident.
Compensation May Be Available for Even Freak Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a “freak accident,” contact us today at (508) 755-7535 for a free consultation. We will investigate the accident thoroughly and advise you if anyone can be held responsible. Do not give up on obtaining compensation after an accident until you have had your case evaluated by an experienced personal injury attorney.
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