Manuel Murillo died after a nail gun he was using shot a nail 2-1/2 inches into his chest. His wife is now suing the Hitachi-Koki USA for wrongful death claiming that the pneumatic nail gun he was using was “negligently designed, defective and of dangerous character and condition.” The Sacramento Bee published a lengthy report written by Andrew McIntosh which investigated nail gun safety and tens of thousands of accidents annually.
In the past decade, injuries due to pneumatic nail guns have increased over 200% according to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission study. In the study’s five year period, an average of 37,000 patients were treated in hospital emergency rooms every year, an average of 100 every single day. Serious injuries and deaths were reported including nails fired into the brain, loss of an eye and severe damage to a hand.
The Sacramento-Bee story highlighted several other cases besides Murillo’s:
- A Truckee man who was treated at Tahoe Forest Hospital for 3-1/4 inch nail embedded in his lung.
- Highway Patrol Officer Ronald Harris Junior was hit in the eye by a nail fired 75 feet away at a construction site as he drove by.
- Eugene Doran won a $15.35 million lawsuit after his spine was severed, causing him to be a quadriplegic after a carpenter in an adjacent store fired a 3-inch nail through the wall.
- Arcadio Rendon won a $60,000 settlement after a nail ricocheted and hit him in the eye. He was a day laborer and said that his employer did not provide safety goggles.
- Miguel Ramierz was shot in the face and suffered a severe head injury.
- Jack Spreduto won a $960,000 lawsuit after a nail went into his hand causing permanent nerve damage.
- Isidiro Lopez had six large nails shot into his head after he and another worker got entangled.
There are two types of nail guns manufactured, sequential and coil. Many people are calling for the band of the coil type which can fire multiple nails sequentially. In an article published in the Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers, H.Boulter Kelsey Jr. claims that if the tools were designed differently, with a different center of gravity, many accidents could be prevented. It is believed that the “pressure to produce” and to work faster leads many companies to use the gun that is less safe.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed by a nail gun due to someone else’s negligence, you should contact The Farber Law Group. With our experience in construction accidents and injuries, we can investigate to ascertain whether the workplace had safety precautions in place, that operators had proper training, were not using alcohol and drugs at the time of the accident and that the tools were maintained in proper condition without safety features being overridden. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.