Forklifts perform essential lifting and moving tasks at many New York construction job sites 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, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 85 of these accidents will result in 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 are among the most frequent accidents in warehouses and on construction job sites.
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 job sites 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 construction accident 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:
The most common types of forklift accidents causing fatal injuries are:
Drivers often suffer crushing injuries or traumatic brain 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, many 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 proper safety precautions.
New York requires that every person who operates a forklift has 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, 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 is 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.
Many different parties, or even multiple parties, may be liable for your forklift accident, including:
An experienced attorney can investigate your situation and help you determine all of the people or companies who should be held accountable for your injuries.
If your employer rents a forklift from a rental company and you are injured, it may be the fault of the rental company. They are supposed to provide regular maintenance for forklifts, and ensure those who use them are properly trained.
Some of the largest forklift rental companies in New York include:
It’s impossible to tell exactly how much money you can get for the injuries you received in your forklift accident. However, if you were at work, you can get your medical bills paid and some of your lost wages through workers’ compensation. A third party claim can allow you to get noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. Call us for a free consultation to discuss how much your claim is worth.
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.
At Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., we will 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 job site accident.
Turn to a law firm that has obtained more than $500 million in accident and injury cases. Do not hesitate to contact Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. to schedule a free case evaluation. Call 212-490-5700 today.
“I retained Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek for a serious personal injury case. They were very professional and managed to obtain a settlement for me that far exceeded my expectations. I would strongly recommend this firm for anyone’s legal needs.”