Forklifts perform essential lifting and moving tasks at many New York construction jobsites and workplaces. Unfortunately, many forklift drivers do not have adequate safety training to avoid dropped loads and collisions with workers on foot. Accidents involving forklifts are among the most common causes of serious injuries at workplaces where they are present.
Every year in the United States, approximately 34,900 people are seriously injured by forklifts and 61,000 people sustain other injuries from operating forklifts. Of the accidents causing injury, OSHA estimates that 85 of these accidents will result in a death. When you work in construction, you understand that there are very real risks on a job site and you also understand how hazardous a forklift can be. Workers in the vicinity of forklifts may be struck by the vehicle or crushed by a falling load at any time on the job.
Forklifts, also referred to as lift trucks or powered industrial trucks, are used in many industrial workplaces, warehouses and construction sites to move materials, boxes, crates, pallets and containers. Forklift accidents number among the most frequent accidents in warehouses and on construction jobsites. OSHA estimates there are approximately 680,400 forklift accidents each year, according to the Center for Construction Research and Training.
If you have been seriously injured in a forklift accident in New York, you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to pay your medical bills and other expenses. At many construction jobsites and freight terminals, multiple companies are working on site simultaneously. An injured worker may be entitled to obtain workers’ compensation benefits and also file a third party lawsuit if another contractor that was at-fault in the accident. Talk to a knowledgeable New York personal injury lawyer about your legal rights to obtain compensation.
There are numerous types of forklifts and each presents its own injury hazards. For example, counterbalanced high lift rider trucks are likely to be involved in falling load accidents because they can elevate a load much higher. Among the commonly used types of forklifts are:
Among OSHA’s 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations in 2014, were violations involving power industrial trucks. The most common types of forklift accidents causing fatal injuries are:
Drivers often suffer crushing injuries or traumatic head injuries when they try to jump clear of a forklift that is tipping over. They land in its path and then are struck by the safety guard. As the stats above note, 42 percent of fatal forklift injuries are caused by crushing injuries when a forklift falls.
In retail settings, pedestrian accidents involving forklifts are a serious safety issue and more likely to occur if an operator is driving too fast or failing to follow property safety precautions.
The state of New York requires that every person who operates a forklift have an operator’s license and receive adequate training before taking the controls of the forklift. Employers must ensure that operators have proper training. Yet, poor operator training and disregard for safety guidelines contribute to the majority of accidents caused by forklifts.
Forklifts often operate in fast-paced workplaces, in tight spaces and they lift extremely heavy loads that can sometimes obscure the vision of the driver. OSHA requires forklift operators to slow down and sound a horn at cross aisles and other locations where their vision in obstructed.
Forklift operators who have not received proper training in the operation of motorized industrial trucks pose a hazard to other workers. For example, a forklift operator who hasn’t received training in loading cargo on a forklift may try to move an unbalanced load, causing it to topple. Too often, however, employers allow workers to operate forklifts without proper training.
If proper and better training techniques were kept in place, it would help reduce the risk of forklift-related accidents and deaths.
If you have been injured in a forklift accident, you have legal rights. You can expect that the employers and their insurance companies will have lawyers working on their behalf, trying to protect their bottom line. You should have an aggressive New York personal injury lawyer working to investigate the cause of your injury and advocating for your rights.
Your attorney’s job is to evaluate the amount of harm you have suffered and which parties are liable, determine your current and future losses as a result of the injury and the insurance policies available to help you recover. An attorney can help you collect all relevant records and information and help identify all the at-fault parties that contributed to the accident.
It’s important to keep in mind that you are protected by New York Labor Law and you have a right to receive benefits following a work-related injury or accident. Many injured workers do not realize that they also may be eligible to file a third-party claim against an at-fault party other than their employer. Even if someone you love was killed in a wrongful death accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation for their death.
Under New York Labor Law, a personal injury or wrongful death claim must be filed within a certain period of time, so it’s important to have an attorney working for you as soon as possible after a serious construction accident or jobsite accident.
Turn to a law firm that has obtained more than $200 million in accident and injury cases.
Do not hesitate to contact Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. to schedule a free case evaluation.