Accidental amputations are never minor accidents. Losing a digit or part of a limb is almost always life changing, and the healing and recuperation can require many painful months. Even in cases where the amputee is able to return to work, there is no guarantee that he or she will be as productive in future endeavors as they were before the workplace accident.
No amount of money can replace the finger, limb, or flesh that you lose in a workplace accident. However, even though amputation accidents are universally acknowledged as severe, painful, and financially costly, a vast number are caused by preventable lapses in equipment maintenance. In Georgia, a statistically significant number of amputations and severe injuries are caused by faulty or missing machine guarding on work equipment.
In Atlanta, personal injury attorneys typically begin a workplace injury case by examining the equipment for appropriate guarding. Typically, the proper guarding was originally installed on the machine by the employer, but because it was causing slower run times, or the guard itself became faulty (hinge issues, wear and tear), it was removed and not replaced.
In the State of Georgia, there are many legal standards covering the area of proper machine guarding. OSHA regulations and industry guidelines contain very specific and detailed requirements with regard to machine guarding. Moreover, the manufacturers of the machines will often provide for specific guarding procedures to meet federal regulations and to bolster safety. When Georgia personal injury attorneys are constructing an amputation or severe injury case, they will examine the machines, the guards, whether the machine’s use was consistent with its intended purpose, the work area surrounding the machine, and even the design of the equipment, to determine liability. Naturally, actions by the employer, like removing machine guarding, or instructing employees to do so, establish a clear line of responsibility to the employer.
If you are a machine worker in the State of Georgia, you should advise your employer of the issues of an improperly guarded machine in your workplace. Preventing an amputation is far better than filing suit for one after the fact. However, if it’s too late and you’ve already lost part of a finger, arm, or skin in a machine accident, you should employ the services of an experienced Atlanta or Georgia personal injury lawyer to examine your case.