缺陷机械:产品责任诉讼 & 工业事故

缺陷机械:产品责任诉讼 & 工业事故

从叉车和反铲锄到压力机和装配线设备, 许多工人使用巨大且高度危险的机器谋生. 不可避免地,他们中的一些人遭受严重或致命的伤害.

So what legal options do victims have following machine-related accidents in the workplace?

除了工人的补偿, which provides workers 和 their families with benefits in lieu of claims against their employer, 一些工作场所的事故可能会引起疏忽和/或严格 产品质量责任 针对第三方的索赔——通常是制造商, 经销商, 或者零售商对有缺陷的产品负责.

工业机械的例子 & 设备产品责任案件

重型设备, 机械, 专门的工具在工业工作环境中发挥着重要的作用. 然而,它们的使用是每年许多工作场所伤亡的一个因素. 根据劳工统计局的数据, 一些最常见的机器相关伤害包括:

机械事故也会涉及许多类型的缺陷,包括:

  • 缺少机器保护装置
  • 有缺陷的操作保护点
  • 紧急停车机制不足
  • 没有多余的安全装置
  • 不安全的站在表面
  • 锋利的边缘/锋利的部件
  • 接触有害物质机器容易过热/着火

The types of 机械 involved in these incidents can vary across industries 和 applications, 包括设备和工具,如:

  • 土方设备,平地机和打滑机
  • 机按
  • 磨料/研磨装置
  • 起重机、叉车和装载机
  • 材料成型/压铸机
  • 织物及纺织机械
  • 油井和石油钻探机械
  • 食品加工设备
  • 木材生产和切割机械
  • 金属加工机械、冲床和激光切割设备
  • 包装印刷机

潜在责任方:谁对有缺陷的机器负责?

确定潜在的被告是第一个也是最重要的步骤之一 产品责任调查. While the specific facts of an accident 和 industry will have great bearing on a case, 原告可以对以下产品提出索赔:

  • 制造商、分销商和/或零售商 who played a role in introducing a piece of equipment or 机械 into the stream of commerce. 有缺陷的工业机器, 这可能是产品的制造商, 或分销商或批发商.
  • 继任者公司: If a machine that injured a worker was produced by a now-defunct business or is now being produced by another entity, Plaintiffs’ may be able to bring claims against the successor company under the Product Line Exception theory of liability.
  • 租赁及维修服务: 在某些情况下, 二手设备零售商, 租赁机器的公司, 第三方维修服务, 其他有类似情形的当事人可以对受害人的损害赔偿承担责任.
  • 零部件制造商/分销商:车辆缺陷情况下, industrial products claims may also potentially be brought against component part manufacturers 和 分销商, 前提是零件是造成伤害的重要因素.
  • 雇主: 一般, a worker’s direct employer is not a viable defendant in workplace accident cases due to the Workers’ Compensation Act’s exclusive remedy provision, 禁止针对雇主的民事诉讼. 然而,这一规定也有一些例外. Examples include, among others, employers who remove a point of operation guard on a power press (i.e. 用模具制造产品的材料成型机 (实验室. 代码,§4558). This statutory exception applies specifically to power presses for which machine guards are removed or knowingly not installed, 通常是为了增加产量. California Courts have ruled on what does 和 does not constitute a “power press” under the exception, 和 generally define them as machines which shape metal or manufacture other products using a die.

关于工业机器的严格产品责任索赔

与机器有关的工作场所事故可能引起第三方责任, 由于第三方在操作设备时的疏忽而导致的, 或者是机器有缺陷的结果.

对于后者, California law provides options to Plaintiffs who pursue products claims against manufacturers, 分销商, 以及其他对缺陷产品负责的人. 这些索赔可以断言:

  • 制造缺陷, 如使用低质量的不正确的材料, or errors during assembly 和 installation that increase the risk of injury to operators 和 / or others.
  • 市场缺陷, which may involve a lack of proper warnings or instructions about a specific danger associated with the equipment.
  • 设计缺陷,包括缺乏足够的安全装置(i.e. 机器保护装置、截止阀等.) or other potential hazards in a product’s design that a manufacturer could 和 should have known would increase the risk of foreseeable harm.
  • 违背诺言, including breach of an expressed warranty, or an implied warranty of merchantability (CACI国际公司1230, CACI国际公司1231).

经常, 机械 accidents will give rise to claims that a machine was in some way defectively designed. 可以通过两种方式证明设计缺陷:

  1. 消费者期望测试(CACI国际公司1203) or
  2. 风险-收益测试(CACI国际公司1204).

原告可以选择使用其中一种测试来证明他们的主张,或者两者都使用. 不同之处在于陪审团将听取的证据. 例如:

  • The risk-benefit test involves the testimony of competing experts who provide their opinions about the risks 和 benefits of a design, 和 whether alternative safer designs were reasonable 和 feasible at the time the machine was made.
  • 居民消费预期的测试, 另一方面, 不需要专家的证词, 而是关注那些能说明产品客观状况的证据. Juries are asked to make determinations as to whether the product meets ordinary expectations as to its safety under the circumstances

Although the risk-benefit test is often used in cases involving complex products 和 applications, California case law has established that the consumer-expectation test can be a viable means for proving a design defect.

正如第四区域上诉法院的裁决 Demara v. 雷蒙德公司, the consumer expectation test can apply even to complex products or pieces of 机械 when dangers 和 defects are “apparent to the common reason, 经验, 和 underst和ing of its ordinary consumers.” The ruling further held that the test is not based on minimum safety assumptions held by all consumers, 而是产品实际用户的期望.

法院的裁决 Demara means the consumer expectation test may effectively be used to demonstrate the inappropriateness of a design for a broad range of products – even those which perform highly complex tasks in industrial settings – 和 hold manufacturers to higher st和ards.

工业机器产品索赔的辩护

Products claims over defective industrial machines are subject to many of the common defenses in products cases, 包括使用者或第三者的比较过失(CACI国际公司没有. 1207A1207B)、误用或修改(CACI国际公司没有. 1245),更.

这些声明也可能成为复杂用户防御的目标, in which a Defendant accused of failing to warn argues they are not liable because the Plaintiff is a sophisticated user who, 因为他们的地位, 培训, 经验, 知识, 和/或技能, 知道或应该知道产品的危害风险(CACI国际公司没有. 1244).

Overcoming such a defense requires assessment of what a user knew or should have known at the time of an accident. 更重要的是, Plaintiffs’ attorneys should anticipate such a defense when bringing a 产品质量责任 claim over a Defendant’s failure to warn, 和 explore other alternatives for proving defects based on defective design or manufacturing, 如果有事实支持的话, 尤其是如果原告有资格成为一个经验丰富的使用者.

虽然工业机械的案例肯定会使高技术性, 利基市场, 和微妙的诉讼, 通过准备和正确的方法,可以成功地处理这些问题. 而不是依靠高技术的专家证词, 例如, some Plaintiffs’ attorneys may carve a more viable 和 arguably more cost- 和 time-efficient venture by evaluating the consumer-expectations test 和:

  • 审查产品手册、安全视频和销售资料
  • 评估标准的使用, 包括美国国家标准协会(ANSI)的标准, 以及他们是否妨碍或帮助案件
  • Conducting patent searches to find safer products which incorporate feasible technology that could have prevented the accident in question
  • 通过发现找到之前事故的证据, 针对该实体的索赔或诉讼, 及其他相关报告
  • 取得他人的调查,包括规管调查(i.e. OSHA), 和 subrogation investigations conducted by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
  • Dem和ing any 和 all documentation related to the design / manufacturing of a product, 以及任何提议的或实际的修订.

Biren法律团体 has extensive 经验 fighting on behalf of clients across Southern California who have suffered serious injuries or wrongful death in accidents involving industrial machines 和 products. To learn how we may be of assistance with your potential claim, call or contact us online.

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