Forklifts are essential components of many worksites, providing a means of moving large quantities of materials quickly and efficiently. But forklifts are heavy, dangerous pieces of machinery and often must be operated on uneven, unsteady, or rough surfaces. These conditions place forklift operators at risk of injury and death from construction accidents, which can keep them off the job for days or weeks while they recover and result in thousands of dollars in medical expenses. If you have been injured in a forklift accident, a forklift accident lawyer can help.
Forklift Accidents Are Common and Tend to Be Severe
Between 2011 and 2017, there were over 7,000 forklift accidents every year, with a combined total of 614 worker deaths. In 2019, there were a total of 8,140 nonfatal forklift accidents nationwide, with 79 deaths, resulting in a death rate of about 1%. While fatalities from forklift accidents are relatively rare, nonfatal accidents tend to be more serious than the average workplace accident. The median number of days away from work for injured forklift operators was 16 days in 2019, compared to eight days for all workplace accidents. Thus, injured forklift operators tend to spend about twice as much time out of work as other injured workers.
The Risks of Operating a Forklift
The risk of operating forklifts derives primarily from their weight. Forklifts weigh about 9,000 pounds on average — three times the weight of the average automobile. Accidents involving such heavy machinery can result in severe injuries. There are many causes of forklift accidents, some of which cause injury to the operator, and others that cause injury to bystanders. Some of the most common causes of forklift accidents include:
- Rollovers: Rollovers can occur when a forklift is improperly loaded, the load is distributed unevenly, the operator is driving too fast, or the driver is operating over uneven terrain.
- Striking other workers: A distracted forklift operator or a bystander who is unaware of his surroundings can result in nearby workers being struck or run over by forklifts.
- Striking other vehicles: Operating a forklift in the vicinity of other vehicles, such as at a roadway construction site, increases the risk of striking or being struck by other vehicles.
- Crashes: Forklift crashes can occur when a forklift operator is distracted, improperly trained, going too fast, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Falls: Operating a forklift in an elevated location, such as construction work on a multi-story building or roadway work on a bridge — can result in falls.
A Forklift Accident Lawyer Can Determine All Legal Remedies Available for Injuries Caused by Forklift Accidents
The most common avenue of recovery for injured forklift operators is through a workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ compensation program provides medical and cash benefits to individuals who suffer work-related injuries. Injured forklift operators may also pursue third-party claims if their injuries resulted from negligence by any party other than their employers.
Speak to a Long Island Forklift Accident Attorney for Help Today
If you have been injured in a forklift accident, you should consider speaking to an experienced attorney who can help you get back on your feet. To get started, please contact a Long Island forklift accident lawyer at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco by using our online form or calling 877-693-2529 with office locations in Garden City, Shirley, and Ronkonkoma.