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Liability for Defective Tools and Equipment

Many construction accident injuries in Birmingham and throughout Alabama are caused by defective tools and equipment. Our construction accident attorneys at Cross & Smith have vast experience in pursuing Birmingham, Alabama construction accident cases caused by defective tools and equipment.

One who furnishes tools and equipment for use on a construction site must inform those who will be using the tools and equipment of any dangerous propensities that are not readily observable. Also, if the dangerous condition is readily observable, the tool and equipment supplier must still warn the end user if the dangerous condition can only be realized by someone with special experience.

Generally, the premises owner does not furnish tools and equipment to his contractors. However, on occasion, the contract between the premises owner and the contractor requires the premises owner to furnish the tools and equipment, but this is rare. More often, liability issues arise when tools and equipment are loaned by a premises owner to the contractor or loaned from contractor to contractor. The issue that arises in these cases is probably best stated as follows: Does the lender have a duty to inspect the tools and equipment and make them reasonably safe? If the tools and equipment are loaned as a gratuity, the court will likely hold that the lender does not have a duty to inspect the equipment. However, if the lender knows of a defect with the equipment, the lender must warn the user even if the equipment is loaned only as gratuity. The duty is likely higher though if the owner encourages the contractor to use his equipment.

The manufacturer of defective tools and equipment may also be liable for construction site injuries. The manufacturer can be held liable under the Alabama Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine (AEMLD). Under the AEMLD, any entity who made, designed, sold, distributed and marketed the defective equipment or product may be held liable. These cases are known as product liability cases. Product liability cases are very complex cases that almost always involve expert witness testimony. The expert witness usually provides testimony regarding an alternative or safer product design, and also provides evidence that if the alternative or safer design would have been used, the injury would not have happened. Product defects usually include either a design defect or a manufacturing defect. A design defect deals with the overall design of the series while a manufacturing defect usually applies to the particular piece of equipment involved in the construction accident. Product liability cases also often include claims for failure of the product manufacturer to properly warn of dangers associated with use of the product. The attorneys at Cross & Smith have years of experience in handling construction accident cases that involve defective products.

If you, or someone close to you, have been injured in a construction accident, please call the Birmingham, Alabama construction accident attorneys at Cross & Smith. The lawyers at Cross & Smith have represented individuals in construction accident cases in Birmingham and throughout Alabama. You may contact us online or call our office at (877) 791-0618 for a free confidential consultation.

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