Construction sights are inherently dangerous. It is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous industries each year.
Due to the hazards present, accidents are not uncommon. While all types of accidents may occur, a forklift accident is especially common.
Do you know your rights after being injured on the job? Do you need help recovering compensation? If so, The Law Offices of Joseph J. Perrini, III is here to help. We can review your case and help you recover the benefits and compensation you are entitled to.
Here, you can learn more about your legal rights in this situation. Knowing what to do will help you protect yourself.
Understanding Forklift Accidents
Forklifts, though incredibly useful on construction sites, can also cause severe accidents if not used correctly. Accidents can occur for many reasons, including:
Forklift accidents often result from operator error, which encompasses a range of mistakes made by the individual controlling the machine. This can include misjudging distances, failing to adhere to speed limits, or not correctly using the forklift’s safety features. Inadequate training or operator fatigue can exacerbate these errors, making it essential for operators to be well-trained and alert at all times.
Mechanical malfunctions in a forklift can lead to catastrophic accidents. These malfunctions may stem from manufacturing defects, wear and tear, or inadequate maintenance. Issues like brake failures, steering problems, or hydraulic system malfunctions can cause unexpected movements or collapses, endangering the operator and nearby workers.
Unsafe Working Conditions
Unsafe working conditions significantly contribute to forklift accidents. This includes cluttered workspaces, insufficient lighting, lack of proper signage, or unstable surfaces. In environments where safety protocols aren’t strictly enforced or the workspace isn’t regularly inspected for potential hazards, the risk of forklift-related incidents increases considerably. Ensuring a safe operational environment is paramount to preventing accidents.
Your Right to Workers’ Compensation in New York
If you’ve been injured in a forklift accident while on the job in New York, your primary legal recourse is through the state’s workers’ compensation system. Here’s what you need to know:
- Immediate Reporting is Crucial: New York law mandates that you report any workplace accident to your employer within 30 days. Delays can jeopardize your claim.
- Medical Treatment: After an accident, ensure you seek medical treatment promptly. Not only is this crucial for your health, but it also establishes a record of your injuries, which can be invaluable during a claim.
- Filing a Claim: A workers’ compensation claim must be filed within two years of the accident in New York. Working with a forklift accident attorney can help ensure your claim is robust and filed correctly.
- Compensation You Can Expect: Workers’ compensation can cover your medical bills, a portion of your lost wages, and rehabilitation costs. In the unfortunate event of a fatality, it can compensate the deceased’s dependents.
Third-Party Liability in Forklift Accidents
While workers’ compensation can provide essential benefits, it doesn’t allow you to directly sue your employer for negligence. However, if a third party, such as a forklift manufacturer or a subcontractor, was responsible for the accident, you might have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
- Product Liability: The manufacturer could be held liable if the forklift was defective, causing the accident. A forklift accident attorney can help determine if there’s a potential product liability claim.
- Negligence of Other Parties: Other parties, like subcontractors or property owners, might have contributed to unsafe conditions leading to the accident. They can be pursued for compensation outside the workers’ compensation system.
Steps to Take After a Forklift Accident
- Seek Medical Attention: Your health should be your top priority. Even if injuries seem minor, they could worsen over time or lead to long-term complications.
- Document Everything: From photographs of the accident scene to witness statements and your own account of what happened – ensure everything is documented.
- Contact a Forklift Accident Attorney: The complexities of New York law and the intricacies of construction site accidents make it imperative to have a skilled attorney by your side.
- Stay Updated on Your Claim: Stay informed about your claim’s status, potential settlements, and other developments.
Recovering the Benefits You Deserve After a Forklift Accident
A forklift accident on a construction site can be traumatic and life-altering. While the legal landscape can seem daunting, understanding your rights and potential avenues for compensation is crucial.
It is wise to consult a forklift accident attorney at The Law Offices of Joseph J. Perrini, III, to help you navigate the complex waters of workers’ compensation and personal injury claims in New York. Your recovery and justice are paramount, and you can achieve both with the right legal guidance.