A 26-year-old worker at Ceradyne’s Irvine facility was critically injured in an industrial accident after being hit with flying shrapnel on November 22, 2008, The Orange County Register reports. The worker, who remains unidentified, suffered traumatic injuries to his head and body and remains in the hospital in “gravely critical condition”. This 11/22/08 Irvine construction accident happened on the 17000 block of Daimler Street.
According to initial reports from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), a machine at Ceradyne’s facility failed causing the flying shrapnel to hit the worker in the abdomen, thigh and the head. Costa Mesa based Ceradyne develops and manufactures “advanced technical ceramic products and components for defense, industrial, automotive, nuclear, electronic and medical markets,” according to the company’s Web site.
This is a tragic accident and my heart goes out to this worker and his family. I pray for his speedy and complete recovery.
According to Cal/OSHA’s Web site, there were 453 fatal industrial accidents in California during the year 2005. About 110 of these accidents occurred in an industrial facility. Most of the accidents also had to do with malfunctioning or badly-maintained equipment. Ceradyne officials call this incident an “unfortunate accident” but I would question how the machinery could have malfunctioned and caused the shrapnel to strike the victim.
Clearly, in this case, the worker is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits through the employer, Ceradyne. However, these benefits in California are inadequate to compensate a critically injured victim for all medical expenses and lost wages. This injured Irvine worker would be well-advised to contact a skilled Orange County personal injury attorney, who may be able to file a “third party claim” on his behalf.
There could be a case here against whoever designed, manufactured of sold the equipment that malfunctioned and caused this worker’s injuries. If there was a product defect in the equipment that manufactured then that manufacturer could be held liable. If the malfunctioned equipment was maintained by a third party (someone other than the employer) then they could also be held responsible for the accident and resulting injuries.
I’ll bet Ceradyne’s high-priced attorneys and insurance company is already in their Irvine facility looking into ways to protect the company’s interests. Who is out there protecting the interests of this injured worker’s family? If I were representing the worker’s family, I would want the malfunctioned machine to be immediately secured in its present condition to be used as evidence. I would not want anyone to alter the equipment to try and shield someone from bearing the responsibility for this man’s critical injuries.