When Industrial Machine Defects Lead To Serious Injuries
Workplaces have many dangers. Despite safety standards established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), lack of funding and political gamesmanship have prevented OSHA from achieving its goal of preventing job site accidents. OSHA has not had the wherewithal to prevent most workplace accidents, many of which are caused by unsafe machines and industrial machine defects.
The trial attorneys at Pfaff, Gill & Ports, Ltd., have proven many substantial cases of product liability arising out of defects in industrial machinery. We have sued the makers of drill presses, cranes, laminating machines, construction equipment such as skid-steer loaders and backhoes, and other heavy equipment.
Defective RoofGlider Machine
The most recent significant success came from a trial in Pekin, Illinois: A 19-year-old worker had his leg crushed by a MiTek RoofGlider machine.
Despite very strong proof of fault, the insurance company for MiTek Industries Inc., insisted the case be tried to verdict. Pfaff & Gill, Ltd. Trial Lawyers and Matthew Ports tried the case and the jury awarded every penny asked — $13,554,172. (See the verdict report). The verdict was affirmed after review by the appellate and supreme courts.
The defect in the machine was simply a failure to provide a reliable point of operation guarding. Machines that have a nip or pinch points can catch body parts, causing crush injuries or even death. The point of operation guarding on the RoofGlider was composed of a bar that was held onto its supports by C-clamps and screws, which were prone to loosening and failure when the machine vibrated during normal operation. Testimony from the manufacturer established that it developed safeguards that were alternatives to the C-clamp and screw design before they sold the machine with the C-clamps. A video clip of the machine operating indicates the inherent vibrations in the machine and the amount of force with which the machine travels over tables. Our client’s leg was trapped between metal parts in an aisle between the benches for more than 60 minutes.
The jury verdict received significant attention because the county in which the case was tried, Tazewell County, Illinois, had never had a personal injury verdict of more than $960,000 before this case. Mr. Pfaff was interviewed by Super Lawyers about the case:
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Backed by more than 90 years of combined experience, our attorneys provide skilled legal assistance for injured workers in a wide range of professions. No matter what type of injury you have suffered, we will work relentlessly to ensure that you receive the full compensation you deserve.