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What Are Victims’ Legal Rights When Machines Attack?

Mar 14, 2017 | Injuries

As computers, robots and other forms of advanced technology take over daily life, the general presumption is that our lives and work will be safer as a result.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. Workplaces have always been dangerous, but with industrial robots and related computerized instruments, the danger can become much more severe.

In a recent tragedy, a Michigan woman was killed at her workplace when an industrial production robot pinned and crushed her, according to a news report from Courthouse News Service.

Our hearts certainly go out to her family. This is a terrible tragedy that no family should have to experience.

The Legal Implications

In terms of the legality of the situation, the aftermath of this type of injury can be complicated. When a human being acts negligently and someone else gets hurt, it’s much simpler to find a culpable party to build a claim. In the tech-based incidents, however, it is not so easy.

There are a number of approaches a victim’s family can consider for building a claim:

  • Product liability: If the incident was directly related to the robot itself (as a result of unsafe design, manufacturing defects or failure to provide adequate warning) a product liability claim is possible.
  • Negligent operation: Another possibility is that the robot was functioning fine, but someone responsible for programming or controlling the machine acted negligently to cause the accident. At that point a claim could be brought against that party or a workers’ compensation claim might be appropriate.
  • Negligence in workplace safety: Whenever dangerous tools are involved in a workplace environment, appropriate safety measures must be taken. When they’re not, and serious injuries result, it opens the door for negligence claims from the victims and their families.

These are just a few of the possibilities for legal claims after a tragic incident caused by industrial robots and other technologies.

If you or someone you love has suffered catastrophic injuries in the workplace or other location, call Yonke Law at (816) 221-6400 to discuss the possibilities for a legal claim. It matters to us what happens to you.

Helpful Links

RECALLS.gov – Your Online Recall Resource

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Michael Yonke proudly carries on the legacy of his father, the late Albert J. Yonke, known as one of the top practitioners of labor law in Missouri and Kansas, in advocating for the working class and the underdogs of Kansas City.


Yonke Law LLC Is Proud To Serve The Greater
Kansas City Metropolitan Area And Beyond

4310 Madison Avenue
Suite 100
Kansas City, Missouri 64111

MAIN: (816) 221-6400
FAX: (816) 888-5188
Kansas City Law Office Map