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Construction Accidents

What Are My Legal Options After a Forklift Accident at a Construction Site?

What Are My Legal Options After a Forklift Accident at a Construction Site?

Forklifts are critical to construction work. They are also potentially dangerous pieces of machinery. In New York, where construction work is ongoing 24/7/365, a certain number of construction accidents are inevitable.

When people are hurt or killed in such accidents, New York personal injury law provides a remedy. It’s important that you vigorously pursue this remedy, however, because personal injury claims don’t enforce themselves.

The Prevalence of Forklift Accidents

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), tens of thousands of forklift accidents occur each year in the United States. These accidents result in 75 to 100 fatalities.

Common Forklift Accidents

Following is a list of how most forklift accidents occur:

  • Rollover accidents. Turning on an incline is one of the most common causes of forklift rollover accidents.
  • Pedestrian accidents. The victim is usually another construction worker. Lack of appropriate markings and warning signs is a major cause.
  • Falling loads: Improper loading is the major (but not the only) cause of falling load accidents.
  • Falling off of a dock or trailer.
  • Falling from a forklift. Never stand on the fork of a forklift because it is deceptively dangerous.
  • Blocked sight accidents. Never drive a forklift with a load so high that you can’t see where you’re going.
  • Mechanical problems, such as worn brakes. This could be a problem of inadequate maintenance, or it could be a problem caused by the product manufacturer.
  • Emissions poisoning (IC fork trucks only). Newer models generate fewer carbon monoxide emissions and are therefore safer in that regard.
  • Crushing accidents. It is easy to become pinned between a forklift and a stationary object.

Almost all of these accidents are preventable with proper operator training and safety protocols.

Legal Options After a Forklift Accident

Should you fall victim to a forklift accident, you can consider the following legal options:

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you are an employee injured at your workplace, consider filing a workers’ compensation claim against your employer. Workers’ compensation will cover your medical expenses and some of your lost income. You cannot, however, claim non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. This is a serious limitation. On the bright side, you can win your claim even if the accident was your fault.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you are an employee and you are injured in a forklift accident, you can potentially file an ordinary personal injury lawsuit and claim full personal injury compensation. This includes non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. New York law allows construction workers to file lawsuits against their employers under certain circumstances, or you may be able to file a claim against a liable third party.

You can take the same approach of filing a personal injury lawsuit if you were not an employee. Perhaps you were a bystander, for example.

What a Lawyer Can Do For You

Following is an extremely abbreviated list of some of the ways that a workplace accident lawyer can help you:

  • File a workers’ compensation claim on your behalf;
  • Investigate the possibility of filing an ordinary personal injury lawsuit against a third party. You could win far higher compensation this way than with a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Collect evidence and interview witnesses to support your claim.
  • Advise you against committing mistakes that could hurt your claim (such as talking about your case on social media)
  • Hire expert witnesses to support your claim for damages.
  • Conduct settlement negotiations with the opposing party on your behalf.
  • Represent you in all administrative and court proceedings

These are just a few examples of how an experienced attorney can help.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With a New York Construction Accident Lawyer

Whether you need a personal injury lawyer to resolve a forklift injury claim depends on the specific facts of your case. Generally speaking, claimants who hire lawyers receive much more compensation than claimants who choose to represent themselves. Schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your options.

Contact Our Construction Accident Law Firm in Bronx, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the Bronx construction accident lawyers at Oresky & Associates, PLLC at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Oresky & Associates, PLLC – Bronx Office
149 E 149th St
Bronx, NY 10451
(718) 993-9999

Oresky & Associates, PLLC – Queens Office
104-09 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11368
(347) 507-3884

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Our convenient office locations in the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan are staffed with bilingual staff members who are prepared to help you recover money for your losses. We will handle everything involved with your personal injury case.
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