Hurt by a Machine at Work – Can I Pursue Both Workers’ Compensation Benefits and a Product Liability Case?

Workers' Compensation

Many people in Wisconsin use machinery on the job. Unfortunately, serious accidents sometimes happen. If a workplace accident occurs because of defective equipment or machines, manufacturers must be held responsible.

If you or your loved one was hurt in a machinery accident, it is essential you call an experienced Milwaukee workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. You have the right to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a product liability lawsuit. Your lawyer will make sure you take the proper steps to recover full financial benefits.

You Have the Right to Bring Both Claims

Workers’ compensation claims and product liability lawsuits are two separate legal cases. They are filed in different ways, they are brought against different parties and they are subject to different legal standards. Filing one type of claim will not prevent you from filing the other. When appropriate, an injured employee can obtain workers’ compensation benefits and file a product liability case against a negligent manufacturer.

Workers’ Compensation Is a No-Fault Claim

Wisconsin has a no-fault workers’ compensation insurance system. This means injured workers can recover medical benefits and wage loss compensation without proving their employer, or any other party, was responsible for causing their injury.

If you were injured in a machinery accident while on the job, you should receive workers’ compensation benefits. While workers’ compensation is generally your exclusive remedy against your employer, you still have the right to bring a concurrent legal claim against any negligent third party, including a machine manufacture.

Negligent Manufacturers Must Be Held Accountable Through a Product Liability Claim

Under Wisconsin law Wis. Stat. § 895.047), negligent manufacturers can be held financially responsible for an injured worker’s damages through a product liability lawsuit. Unlike workers’ compensation claims, product liability lawsuits are fault-based legal cases. While you can typically obtain workers’ compensation benefits after a machinery accident regardless of how it occurred, you will only be able to recover additional compensation through a product liability lawsuit if you can prove the machinery was, in some manner, dangerous and defective.

While product liability lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims are distinct legal cases, they will have an impact on each other. Specifically, assuming your product liability lawsuit is successful, there will likely be some offset in your workers’ compensation benefits. As this is a complicated issue, it is crucial workers injured by defective machines seek support from a workers’ compensation lawyer who has experience handling product liability claims.

Speak to Our Milwaukee Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Right Away

At Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf, we are proud to be The Injured Worker’s Law Firm. Our Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorneys are committed to providing effective and attentive legal representation to our clients. If you were hurt by a machine at work, please contact our legal team at (415) 257-2667 for a free consultation. With a law office in Milwaukee, we serve communities throughout the region.