Each year, thousands of employees are injured in Maryland workplace accidents. While a Maryland workers’ compensation claim may be an injured worker’s sole remedy in some cases, that is not the case when a non-employer third party is responsible for the worker’s injuries. Thus, being able to identify a third party who was responsible for a worker’s injuries may allow an injured worker to pursue a Maryland personal injury case in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.
Product liability claims are common in Maryland third-party workplace accident cases because the dangerous or defective nature of a product rarely implicates an employer’s negligence. A recent case illustrates the type of situation in which an employee may be able to pursue a product liability claim after being injured on the job.
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was performing electrical work on a construction site while standing atop a 12-foot ladder. As the plaintiff was working, an air conditioning unit that was anchored into the concrete ceiling came loose, striking the plaintiff. The plaintiff fell off the ladder, landing on the ground. As a result of the fall, the plaintiff sustained serious injuries.
The plaintiff filed a product liability lawsuit against the company that manufactured and sold the concrete anchors that were used to secure the air conditioning unit. As it turns out, when the subcontractor that was responsible for installing the air conditioning units went to the defendant’s store, the subcontractor was provided with the wrong tool and was not provided with an instruction manual on the correct way to install the anchors. The subcontractor looked online for instructions, and followed them; however, crucial information was missing from the online instructions.
The plaintiff claimed that by providing the subcontractor with the wrong tool and no instructions for the correct installation of the anchors, the defendant was liable for his injuries. The defendant argued that there was no evidence that it owed the plaintiff a duty of care and, even if a duty was owed, the plaintiff’s evidence of causation was insufficient.
The court disagreed with both of the defendant’s arguments, finding that the plaintiff’s case should proceed to trial where a jury would make the final determination as to the defendant’s liability. The court explained that, by providing the subcontractor with the wrong tool and no instruction manual, a jury would be permitted to find that the defendant acted negligently. Furthermore, the court explained that, even though the plaintiff did not know precisely how the accident occurred, the fact that the wrong tool was used to secure the anchors was circumstantial evidence that the air conditioning unit became dislodged due to the defendant’s negligence.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Workplace Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland workplace accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. At the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we represent injured workers in claims against negligent third parties. We are knowledgeable in Maryland product liability and workers’ compensation laws, and work to identify negligent acts of third parties in an effort to increase our clients’ total recovery amount. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.