$1,450,000 Settlement for Amputation of Hand From Defective Product
Our client, a machine operator, was permanently disfigured when his hand was amputated at the wrist after being crushed and burned while operating a rubber injection-molding machine that produced rubber fasteners. The product manufacturer, a German corporation, manufactured the product without an interlocked safety guard on the rear of the machine. After purchasing the product, the employer modified the machine to remove the safety guard from the rear of the machine. While using the product, the machine jammed. Our client tried to clear the jam by switching the machine to manual mode and putting his hand in. He thought that as long as the machine was on manual, it would not move unless he pushed another button. As he cleared the jam, the unloading device activated, and pulled his master hand into the machine, crushing and subjecting it to heat so long it was literally baked and had to be amputated at the wrist. We sued the German manufacturer of the product on the theory that the product should have been manufactured with an interlocked safety guard that could not be removed after the sale. There also should have been warnings on the product to warn of the removal of the guard. Working with a team of experts in product engineering which involved guarding and hydraulic and pneumatic pressures, we were able to establish the product defect. Following mediation the case resolved for $1,450,000.00.