Nail gun accidents are on the rise. The Center for Disease Control holds nail guns responsible for over 37,000 emergency room visits each year in the United States. Sixty-eight percent of these emergency room visits were from construction workers while the other 32 percent were consumers. Six percent of these visits resulted in an admittance to the hospital. Nail gun injuries should not be assumed to be due to carelessness, they can also occur due to negligence and faulty designs.
Negligence Found In Nail Gun Injury Lawsuits
Juries frequently find contractors negligent in training their employees on how to safely use work equipment in nail gun injury cases. This is particularly true if the contractor could have prevented the injury through proper safety checks and follow through. The lack of concern for the workers’ safety and the consumer’s awareness of the potential dangers regarding the usage of nail guns lead to common injuries such as puncture wounds to the fingers, hands, and forearms, while accidents injuring the feet, legs, and wrists are much less common.
Successful Negligence And Faulty Design Related Lawsuits
In Drabik versus Stanley-Bostitch, Inc., Leonard Drabik was constructing a storage shed with another man when the pneumatic nail gun misfired causing serious brain damage to Drabik. The courts found Stanely-Bostitch, Inc. liable for a negligently designed nail gun and awarded Drabik $9 million in damages.
In Larkin versus Senco Products Inc., the nail gun misfired twice and recoiled forcing another nail into Mr. Larkins’ face. Larkin had to have a portion of his brain removed to save his life. The courts found in his favor and awarded him $2.8 million in damages.
In Redding versus the Hilti Corporation, the Hilti Corporations’ nail gun fired on its’ own volition and punctured his heel. The law found the Hilti Corporation responsible and required them to pay almost $300,000 in damages to Redding.
Nail gun injuries are more common that you would expect. These tools are prone to misfire and contribute to the 100,00 recalled nail guns within the past 12 years. Courts often find in favor of the injured individual because they realize that these tools need proper training which is not often conducted for workers.
Studies On Nail Gun Safety
A study conducted by Duke University in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly publication found inexperienced nail gun operators at a greater danger of incurring an accidental injury or even death. Hester Lipscomb, Ph.D. and associate professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has researched how nail guns affect construction employees. Lipscomb states that nail gun injuries could be reduced by only operating nail gun tools that only fire a nail when the nose of the device is depressed before the nail gun’s trigger is pulled. The ordered trigger component was created to avoid unintentional and rapid firing of the gun.
Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has discovered in partnership with the Center for Disease Control and Duke University that nail gun injuries have doubled between 2001 and 2007. This can be traced back to the over 100,000 nail guns being recalled since 2005. In 1991, 4200 non-professional nail gun users were seen in hospitals in the United States. In 2005, the number of injuries affecting amateur nail gun users rose to 14,800 individuals.
Nail Guns Fire Unexpectedly
In June of 2005 and 2006, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provided two public safety notices for consumer nail gun products citing the possibility for these nail guns to fire unexpectedly. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has increased the cap on civil fines by 78 percent across the industry.
These safeguards aren’t enough to protect construction workers and do it yourself home improvers from faulty nail guns. Nail guns are responsible for a slew of injuries:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Neck injuries
- Skull injuries
- Eye Injury and Vision loss
- Spinal cord injuries
- Chest injuries
In recent years, officials have been taking a harder line in punishing contractors for negligence if their employees are injured on the job due to recalled or defective tools.
Don’t Assume You’re at Fault for a Nail Gun Injury
If you’ve been injured by a nail gun, don’t assume it is your fault. It’s possible by the sheer number of pneumatic nail guns recalled every year in the United States that your injury has less to do with personal carelessness and more to do with faulty designs.