Leg was severed while working on assembly line...

by Faye
(Jackson, Mississippi)

I was working on an assembly line in a manufacturing plant and my leg was almost cut off. The line had a huge gap in it and my whole leg fell in it while the line was moving. I was in and out of consciousness with my leg still in the line, and the E STOP (emergency stop ) button did not work, so the line kept on moving which caused the severe laceration.

I want to know if I can still sue my employer for a product liability claim? Or is workers' comp all I can get? What about the manufacturer of the emergency stop? This happened on Jan 12, 2013. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Leg was severed while working on assembly line...":

Faye (Jackson, Mississippi):

In most cases, a worker injured during the scope of his or her employment must turn to workers' comp insurance for compensation for injuries. This is true even if a worker is injured on a piece of machinery owned or controlled by the employer.

However, there are exceptions. A worker may circumvent the workers' compensation requirement when there is evidence the employer acted with gross negligence, malice, or a reckless disregard for the safety and well-being of a worker.

If you pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit against your employer, it would be based on the above actions, and not on product liability. To pursue an injury claim against the manufacturer for product liability will require proof of the following:

- The assembly line emergency stop button was defective because it deviated in a material way from the manufacturer's specifications or from otherwise identical units manufactured to the same manufacturing specifications, or

- The product was defective because it failed to contain adequate warnings or instructions, or

- The product was designed in a defective manner, or

- The product breached an express warranty or failed to conform to other express factual representations upon which the claimant justifiably relied in electing to use the product; AND

(ii) The defective condition rendered the product unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer; AND

(iii) The defective and unreasonably dangerous condition of the product proximately caused the damages for which recovery is sought.

To read more, search here for Miss. Code Ann. ยง 11-1-63 (Product Liability)

Because of the seriousness of your injuries and the possible existence of employer gross negligence (or a reckless disregard for your safety), and/or the possibility of manufacturer liability, your best interest would be served by seeking the advice and counsel of a personal injury attorney with experience handling product liability cases.

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,

Judge Calisi

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