New York Nail Gun Accident Attorney
Nail guns are versatile pieces of equipment that are used not only by construction workers, but also by carpenters, roofers, and do-it-yourself handymen. There are many different types of nail guns that vary based on how they are powered (pneumatic, battery-powered or fuel-driven), what projects they are best used for, and the gauge of the nail they fire. Any type of nail gun, however, can be dangerous when used incorrectly or if there is a manufacturer defect present. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a nail gun accident, you should seek medical attention and legal assistance at once.
Block O’Toole & Murphy won more results exceeding $1,000,000 than any other New York law firm every year since 2012. Call 212-736-5300 to receive a free legal consultation.
Nail Gun Injuries
Nail guns are responsible for roughly 37,000 emergency room visits each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This number has more than doubled since 1991, partly due to the rising popularity of commercially-available pneumatic (air-powered) nail guns. While a vast majority of nail gun injuries are puncture wounds to the fingers, hand or wrist, many nail gun injuries are serious and can result in nerve damage, bone fractures, brain damage, and in some cases, paralysis or even death.
Lower extremities such as the leg, knee or foot were the second most-common part of the body injured in nail gun accidents. One study of serious injuries and fatalities caused by nail guns found that injuries to the lower extremities are the most likely type of nail gun injury to require lengthy in-patient hospitalization, followed by injuries to the torso and head or face. This study also found that the nail gun operator was the injury victim 77.7% of the time, while co-workers or bystanders were injured in 22.2% of nail gun accidents.
Causes of Nail Gun Accidents
A primary danger of nail guns is that the firing mechanism can vary significantly based on the type of gun being used. For example, a contact trigger mechanism allows you to keep the trigger squeezed and fire a nail every time the safety contact on the nose of the gun is pressed in. This could cause an injury to a nail gun user who keeps the trigger squeezed, unaware that one accidental bump of the nail gun could cause it to fire unexpectedly.
The CDC says that a full sequential trigger is the safest trigger mechanism because both the safety and trigger need to be activated in a certain order every time the user wants to fire a nail. The reality is, however, that some workers or handymen are supplied with nail guns which don’t use this trigger mechanism, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
Here are the primary causes of nail gun accidents, as identified by the CDC:
- Accidental double fire can be caused by an improperly trained operator or by a manufacturer defect.
- Bumping the safety could cause a nail to unexpectedly fire if the operator is holding the trigger and has not been trained to understand how that particular nail gun fires.
- Nail gun blowout occurs when the nail goes through a piece of lumber and can be caused by wood knots, which can change the direction of the nail.
- Nail ricochet off a hard surface can occur when working with materials other than wood. It is critical to follow manufacturer instructions regarding air pressure, particularly when working with dense or hard materials.
- Working in awkward positions like above shoulder height or below knee level can make other nailing mistakes more likely. Working from a ladder or other elevated platform can also put the nail gun operator at risk of falling.
- Unauthorized nail gun changes are never acceptable, because even a slight change to a nail gun’s built-in safety features could seriously endanger workers who are working with or near the nail gun. OSHA standard 29 CFR 1926.300(a) requires that all power tools be maintained in proper working condition.
Nail guns are extremely common pieces of power tools on modern construction sites, as well as many other work places. When manufacturer recommendations are followed, equipment is well-maintained and free of defective parts, and the nail gun operator is trained to follow best practices, nail gun accidents should be avoidable. However, when employers fail to properly train their employees, or a manufacturer defect is present, or a coworker acts incompetently, serious accidents could result.
Nail Gun Accident Liability and New York Injury Lawyers
It is the responsibility of those who own or oversee a construction site to ensure that OSHA safety regulations and New York labor laws are followed. Victims who contact an experienced New York construction accident law firm can expect their claim to be evaluated and investigated, which may include interviewing witnesses, investigating the construction site for adherence to safety protocol, inspecting the device that caused the injury, and reviewing medical records to determine the extent of the victim’s injuries.
A New York construction injury lawsuit may recover compensation for a victim’s medical bills, time away from work, and pain and suffering due to their injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured in a nail gun accident, please call 212-736-5300 or fill out our case evaluation form to receive a free legal consultation from Block O’Toole & Murphy today.
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