As an experienced construction worker, you might not give forklifts a second thought. Whether you drive one or work around them on a daily basis, you might not consider them as a dangerous hazard until you are knocked over by one.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, each year, there are roughly 110,000 forklift accidents resulting in 20,000 injuries and nearly 100 deaths across all industries. Many of these accidents take place on construction sites.
If you're seriously injured by a forklift at work, you might need to take legal action to get the compensation you deserve.
How Forklift Accidents Happen
According to OSHA, the most common causes of forklift accidents are:
- Driver inattention. The most common cause of forklift mishaps, a distracted or unfocused operator probably contributed to the accident that left you injured.
- Forklift overturn. These machines are unstable vehicles and can easily tip over if they're driven too fast, turned or stopped too quickly, or operated on uneven surfaces. Drivers should be aware of the potential for tipping over.
- Unstable loads. When a forklift is overloaded, or a load isn't properly centered, the vehicle can tip over or drop its cargo.
- Driver struck by load. If cargo isn't properly loaded and secured, it can fall off and hit the operator of the forklift.
- Lack of training. Forklifts might seem like simple machines to operate, but untrained drivers and cargo loaders cause a large number of accidents on construction sites every year.
Depending on who caused the accident, determining how it happened could become important.
Who Is at Fault Will Determine Your Next Steps
If you or someone else who works for your employer was operating the forklift when you were injured, you'll most likely file a workers’ comp claim to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. However, if an employee of a third-party contractor caused the forklift accident that left you injured, you might be able to sue that contractor for damages. In this situation, you'll need to prove negligence in order to pursue a personal injury claim.
An experienced construction accident legal team can examine your case and determine the best course of action for getting the compensation you need and deserve. Call the Framingham office of Mahaney & Pappas, LLP, for a free case evaluation if you were injured by a forklift on a Massachusetts construction site.