Failed gas hose reel causes injury...
I am a Propane Delivery Driver. I received a shoulder injury when the Electronic winding function, which returns the hose to the reel, malfunctioned. This same malfunction happened twice previously and was repaired. In each incident, I was forced to return the hose manually.
However, the third time it malfunctioned, as I was returning the hose manually, I received an injury which has resulted in one surgery and may need another. I do receive workers' compensation currently for my injuries. I have been told by my physician that I cannot resume the same type of work.
Do I have any additional options for compensation from any other parties? Thank you for any information you can give regarding this scenario.
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ANSWER for "Failed gas hose reel causes injury...":
Alvin (Salisbury, Maryland):
You may have a claim against both the manufacturer of the electronic winding function device and possibly your employer.
The first claim would be a defective product claim against the manufacturer of the winding device. Manufacturers of products have a legal duty to make sure those products are safe for those who use them properly. If the device is inherently dangerous, and the manufacturer knew or should have known it was defective, than the manufacturer may have some liability.
Moreover, if your employer knew or should have known the device was defective, and still failed to repair or replace the device, you might have a separate negligence claim against your employer.
To determine whether or not these issues existed at or about the time of your injuries will require in-depth documentation of the issues. This can only be accomplished by a seasoned attorney with experience in defective product claims.
Seek out several personal injury attorneys in your area. Sit down with each of them and explain the circumstances of your injuries.
If one or more attorneys believe you have a defective product claim against the manufacturer and/or a negligence claim against your employer, the attorneys will accept your claim on a contingency fee basis. This means you will not have to pay any fees in advance of the claim.
Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. Make several appointments and bring your medical records. If possible, also secure and bring with you a copy of the incident report, which may have been made by your employer at the time of your injuries.
While you don't have a legal right to those documents at this time, an attorney can file a lawsuit and subpoena those documents from your employer, as well as subpoenaing documentation from the manufacturer proving that it knew or should have known the device was defective.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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