Forklifts are common pieces of machinery that are used on construction sites. These machines are versatile and allow workers to do a number of different things, such as lifting, pushing, pulling, stacking, and carrying heavy materials. A forklift helps enable workers to accomplish tasks that would be difficult or nearly impossible to complete manually, allowing for a smoother completion of the construction project.
Although forklifts are very useful machines that are essential for many construction projects, they come with a set of hazards that workers need to watch out for. And if contractors are not following OSHA safety guidelines and best practices, it creates a more dangerous work environment in which the risk of forklift accidents increases.
If you or someone close to you was injured in a forklift accident, you need strong legal counsel by your side working hard to get you the compensation you deserve. These types of accidents happen for a number of reasons, and there are several different parties that could be responsible. With cases like these, you will want to work with experienced attorneys who have an in-depth understanding of the complexities and nuances involved.
If your accident occurred in West Virginia, contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for assistance. We have been standing up for injured workers for 50 years, and we have been at the forefront of some of the most consequential litigation involving workplace injuries. Although you may qualify for workers’ compensation to cover some of the losses sustained with your injury, we look beyond workers’ comp at other legal options that might allow you to recover damages for additional losses.
Forklift Safety Hazards on Construction Sites
Each year, dozens of workers are killed and tens of thousands are seriously injured in forklift-related accidents. Some common forklift dangers that construction workers encounter include:
Forklift attachments are a frequent source of problems on a jobsite. Different attachments can add weight to a lift and/or reduce the capacity of a load. For this reason, forklift operators need to be familiar with the operating and capacity limits that come with each attachment, as well as the safety protocols that must be followed.
Another major issue with regards to attachments is negligent maintenance and product defects. Using attachments that are worn and run down can put workers at greater risk of a forklift accident, and the same holds true for attachments that are not designed or manufactured in a way that safely fits the machine.
Overturns are among the leading causes of forklift accidents. A forklift can get overturned for a number of reasons, such as overloaded machines, poor balancing, improper turning, driving at an excessive speed, driving at too much of an incline, and driving on wet and/or uneven surfaces.
When a forklift operator is not aware of a blind spot and/or is not properly watching where they are going, collisions can occur. When a forklift collides with a pedestrian worker, the pedestrian can end up with very severe injuries. A forklift might also crash into another vehicle or object, which can also be a very hazardous event.
Forklift Crush Accidents
Whenever a forklift is in operation, workers nearby are at risk of getting crushed by the machine. The average forklift weighs several thousand pounds, and as a result, crush accidents can cause some of the most serious and catastrophic injuries.
The process of refueling or recharging a forklift poses the risk of flammability, which can lead to fires or explosions. Safety steps should be taken to prevent these types of accidents from occurring.
Forklift accidents with injuries can happen because of loads that are too heavy and/or loads that are poorly secured. We talked earlier about these types of hazards causing a rollover, but they can also cause the load to spill over and injure nearby workers. This type of accident could be especially bad if the forklift is carrying hazardous materials.
Compensation for Forklift Accident Injuries in West Virginia
You are probably aware that you can file a claim for workers’ compensation if you are injured in a forklift accident. But as we touched on earlier, there may be other legal options available that allow you to obtain a wider range of damages.
Workers’ comp only provides benefits for some monetary losses such as medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. However, if a party other than your employer is responsible for the injury, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that party. This would allow you to recover damages for noneconomic losses such as pain-and-suffering and emotional distress.
For example, if you are a forklift operator who was injured in an accident that was caused by a faulty attachment, you may be able to bring a claim against the manufacturer of the defective product. Or if you are a subcontractor who was injured after being struck by an insecure load that fell off of the forklift, you may be able to bring a claim against the forklift company. Every circumstance is different, and a thorough investigation is necessary to determine what legal options you might have available in your case.
Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Help with Your Forklift Accident Claim
For strong legal guidance with forklift accidents and all other types of workplace injuries in West Virginia, call Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 to arrange a free consultation and case assessment. You can also send a secure message through our online contact form.