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New York City Forklift Accident Attorney

Securing Favorable Settlements for Forklift Accident Injuries

Forklifts are very common in many industries, including construction, warehousing, and retail. These powered trucks lift pallets or containers and move them about the property. Without forklifts, work would go much slower as humans would need to move heavy objects.

As powerful pieces of machinery, however, forklifts can cause serious injuries. Many constructions or warehouse workers are injured when forklifts tip over or strike them. Members of the public can also be injured, as forklifts occasionally leave a construction site or strike someone visiting. If you were hurt, The O’Connor Law Firm wants to speak to you. Our legal team can seek compensation for your injuries, but you need to contact us first.

Why Forklifts Are Dangerous

Forklifts are so dangerous that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has passed detailed safety rules for their safe operation. For example, it is illegal for someone under 18 to operate a forklift. Any operator also must have the necessary training. Like other pieces of heavy equipment, forklifts can cause serious injuries when they collide due to their size, so these regulations are warranted.

Many accidents involve:

  • Tip-overs. The forklift could tip because it is lifting a load that is unbalanced or too heavy.
  • Collisions. Workers can be struck by a forklift when an operator is not paying adequate attention while driving.
  • Falls. Workers can fall off a forklift, especially one that “jolts,” or a forklift could fall off a loading dock.

OSHA regulations attempt to minimize the risk of accidents. For example, all operators must wear a seatbelt and set the parking brake before lifting a load. Regulations also set the maximum load rating so that the lift does not tip over and possibly crush a worker at the site.

Type of Forklift Injuries

Forklift accidents can result in many injuries which are difficult to treat. Given their size and the weight of the materials they lift, forklifts can fracture bones and cause permanent disabilities. Many injured victims suffer from:

Though rest and rehabilitation can improve some minor or moderate injuries, many of our clients need surgery. They might struggle with lifelong difficulties due to accidents that were preventable.

Workers’ Compensation & Forklift Accidents

If you are injured on the job, you should receive workers’ compensation for your injuries. This system is “no-fault,” so it does not matter if the workers’ own negligence contributed to their injuries. The system provides an array of benefits, including:

  • Medical benefits for reasonable and necessary care to treat injuries
  • Lost wage benefits, if you temporarily or permanently cannot return to work due to your injuries
  • Survivor benefits, if a worker dies due to the forklift accident

One downside of workers’ compensation is that benefits are capped. For example, workers typically receive only two-thirds of their average weekly wage for lost wage benefits, which leaves many workers with unmet expenses. They also receive no compensation for pain and suffering.

New York Labor Laws

In many states, the workers’ compensation system prevents employers from being sued. New York has passed several labor laws which provide exceptions. Under these laws, injured workers can sue an employer for compensation when they are injured by safety lapses:

  • Section 200 of New York Labor Law. This law imposes a general duty on business owners and construction contractors to prevent employees from injury and implement safety measures.
  • Section 240 of New York Labor Law. This law protects workers if they were injured in a fall or were struck by a falling object. This law comes into play regularly in forklift accidents, especially when loads slide off the lift and land on top of workers. 
  • Section 241 of New York Labor Law. This law requires that owners and contractors provide certain safety equipment and follow safety regulations.

Workers injured under these laws can bring a lawsuit for violations of state labor laws. These laws provide extra protection and can maximize the amount of compensation a worker brings home. With this lawsuit, they should receive full lost wages and additional compensation for the pain and suffering, disfigurement, and mental distress.

At The O’Connor Law Firm, we are eager to meet with anyone injured in a forklift accident to review their legal rights. Contact us today to find out whether you can sustain a claim under the Labor Law.

Defective Forklifts

Some accidents stem from a defect in the design of a lift or the manner of its manufacture. As an example, a forklift might contain a design flaw that causes it to tip over where a properly designed one would not.

When manufacturers are responsible for selling defective products, anyone injured can bring a lawsuit. This includes workers injured, who might bring a third-party claim seeking damages for their injuries. Reaching out to an attorney is vital, because we need proof of the defect, and your employer might take the defective lift in for repairs before anyone can inspect it.

Hurdles to Receiving Compensation

Our New York forklift accident lawyer can streamline the process for obtaining compensation:

Workers’ Compensation Claims

Although workers’ comp is no-fault, some snags along the way can slow down a claim. For example, the insurer might claim your injury is pre-existing or that you were not injured at work. We can gather the necessary evidence to assist in establishing the benefits you are entitled to.

Labor Law Claims

Many job sites regularly skirt New York’s labor laws and might even tell workers they can only seek workers’ comp benefits. We know better. We can collect evidence that shows a job site was in violation of a state or federal safety regulation, thus allowing a claim to go forward.

Third-party Claims

We can negotiate a settlement with the manufacturer of a defective forklift or a defective component part. Injured workers rarely have the time to handle the sheer volume of communication and paperwork necessary to extract a settlement. Let us get to work right away securing your right to compensation.

Non-employee Claims

Some members of the public are injured in forklift accidents. For example, a pedestrian might pass a job site when a forklift dumps materials onto the sidewalk, crushing them. Members of the public do not have workers’ compensation claims, but they need to gather evidence to support a personal injury lawsuit. We can fully identify all relevant parties to sue and might inspect the job site for you.

Medical Evidence

Many injury claims turn on finding sufficient evidence of your injuries. Our legal team is experienced in helping clients fully document both their physical pain but also their emotional distress. We can even coordinate your visiting another doctor to obtain a second opinion about the severity of an injury, which might be necessary to bolster a claim.

Settlement Negotiations

Because forklift accidents tend to be severe, many defendants resist paying fair compensation. We have the experience necessary to drive a hard bargain and protect our clients’ futures by holding out for a meaningful settlement.

Speak with Our New York Forklift Accident Attorney Today

The O’Connor Law Firm understands how difficult forklift accidents are for workers and their families. With income drying up, medical bills arrive daily and can put incredible stress on anyone’s finances. Please contact us. We can swing into action and help you get the compensation you deserve. We have secured many six- and seven-figure settlements and are available to meet for a free, confidential consultation.


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