What to Do if You’re Injured By a Defective Product at Work

Justin SheldonJune 15, 2022

2.7 million. That’s how many U.S. workers suffer non-fatal workplace injuries and accidents in 2020. 

Tragically, another 4,764 workers were killed on the job that year.

While some personal injuries may result from the employee or employer’s actions (or inaction), other injuries can be directly attributed to defective products and equipment

When this happens, it’s important for workers to understand their legal recourse. This article outlines the basics of product liability and what to do if you’ve been injured by a defective product at work. 

Jump Ahead

The Three Types of Product Liability Claims

Most product liability claims fall into one or more of three categories.

Design Defects

These types of defects are inherent in the design of the product. 

In other words, even if the product is manufactured perfectly and used exactly as intended, it can still cause injury.

Manufacturing Defects

As the name implies, manufacturing defects occur during the manufacturing process.  

Some manufacturing defects are specific to one particular product, while others may involve an entire defective batch. 

Failure to Warn Defects

All product and equipment manufacturers are required to warn consumers about any dangers these products pose. Failure to warn defects can include:

  • No warnings
  • Inadequate warnings
  • Incorrect or inadequate instructions on product use

In these claims, the injured person alleges that they wouldn’t have been injured but for the product’s inadequate warning or instruction.

Defective Product Injuries and Workers’ Compensation

Those who are injured on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can cover lost wages, medical expenses, and other costs directly flowing from the injury.

However, workers’ compensation isn’t your only path to recovery for a workplace injury—especially if you’re injured by a defective product.

You may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the product designer, manufacturer, or retailer.

In some cases, receiving product liability damages may require that you repay workers’ comp benefits so as not to “double-dip.” 

Bottom line: don’t assume that you don’t have additional recovery options if you’re pursuing a workers’ comp claim.

Common Defective Product Workplace Injuries

A defective product can strike at any time—including when you least expect it.

According to the National Safety Council, the causes of the most common workplace injuries include:

  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments
  • Overexertion
  • Falls, slips, and trips
  • Contact with objects or equipment
  • Transportation incidents
  • Violence and other injuries by persons
  • Fire and explosions

Meanwhile, some of the most common types of equipment that might be defective include:

  • Safety equipment, including protective clothing
  • Vehicles
  • Power tools
  • Manufacturing equipment
  • Construction equipment
  • Ladders and scaffolding
  • Office furniture

Nearly every workplace includes items that, if defective, could injure workers.

What to Do After a Workplace Accident 

If you’re injured in a workplace accident, one of the first things your employer might try to do is move or discard the item that caused your injury.

And there are good reasons for this—including avoiding further injury to others.

But tampering with the equipment that caused your injury can have consequences. Your employer may be trying to limit their own liability. Or they might assume that if you’re filing a workers’ compensation claim, the specific cause of the accident doesn’t matter.

If you’re injured on the job, tell your employer that you want whatever you were using to be set aside so your attorney can examine it and see if it’s defective. Just because you have workers’ compensation coverage doesn’t mean you don’t also have a product liability claim. Preserving the product can strengthen this claim.

Contact a Lawyer About Your Case

At Breit Biniazan, our personal injury attorneys have helped hundreds of injured workers recover damages from product manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective workplace product, contact our office today to discuss your options. To set up a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 855-212-8200.


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