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Tragic Accident: Industrial Robot Crushes Worker in South Korea: Injured Workers in the News, #99

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Isaac Asimov

A South Korean Worker was reportedly killed by a robot.  The employee, who worked for the robotics company, died while he was at a plant for which he was servicing a robotic system which had been installed.   Mistaken for a box of bell peppers, the Worker was lifted up and slammed onto a conveyor belt by the robot.

This article will address this fact pattern within the framework of California Law.

What recourse does the Worker’s family have in this circumstance? 

In death caes, the Workers’ Compensation system provides for death claims for dependents of the deceased worker. Burial expenses are also to be provided.  Generally, no civil suit could be filed against his employer civilly for this accident under the “exclusive remedy” doctrine.   In this circumstance, his employer is the robotic company which had installed the system most likely would only be subject to a workers’ compensation claim.

Are There Any Other Claims That Can Be Filed?

In this circumstance, an investigation should be done with respect to the  nature and extent that the worker’s manufactured the robot.  If another company was involved in the manufacturing or installation process, it is possible action that an action could be brought against them in the form of a civil suit.  Likewise, if the Plant where the system had been installed were somehow responsible for the robot error, they too could be subject to a civil suit.

What If I Need Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 30 years. Contact us today for more information.

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