Forklifts are used in a number of different settings including warehouses, manufacturing facilities and construction sites. While each of these worksites present their own complexities when it comes to safety issues, forklift accidents still result in devastating injuries and fatalities for workers. Forklift accidents lead to workers getting struck by, crushed by or pinned by a forklift. Some accidents also involve workers falling from a forklift. One of the most common types of forklift accidents is when they tip over. Thousands of workers are injured as a result of forklift tip-overs each year.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a forklift accident on the job, it is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced Los Angeles forklift injury lawyer who can help you secure maximum compensation for all your losses. One of the most important steps in any personal injury lawsuit, including those that involve forklift accidents, is determining who was at fault and who should be held liable. This is where the experience and resourcefulness of a knowledgeable work injury lawyer can really help injured workers.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Forklift Accidents?
While workplace injuries including those caused by forklift accidents are covered under workers' compensation, often times, the injuries suffered by workers are so severe that workers' comp benefits alone will not suffice. If the negligence of a third party (someone other than your employer) caused the accident, then, that person or entity can be held liable for your accident and injuries as well. Examples of third parties include general contractors, sub-contractors, property owners and manufacturers of defective products or equipment.
The liability in a forklift accident depends on who caused the accident or who was at fault for the accident. Here are some of the potential liable parties in a forklift accident:
Forklift operators: If the forklift accident occurred as the result of the negligence of the forklift operator, he or she as well as his or her employer can be held liable for any damages caused to the injured party as a result. Failing to follow proper safety protocols or operating the forklift while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, or while distracted or even drowsy, are examples of forklift operator negligence.
Forklift vendors: If a forklift accident occurred because of negligence on the part of a forklift vendor, which is the company that owns the forklifts, the vendor could be held liable for the injured workers' damages and losses. The vendor has a responsibility to properly train forklift operators and maintain/service the forklifts that are being used. When a failure to train workers or maintain forklifts properly results in an accident, the vendor could be held liable.
Forklift manufacturer: If the accident occurred because the forklifts had a manufacturing or design defect, then the manufacturer of the equipment can be held financially liable for the victim's injuries. Such defects could lead to malfunctions, which could in turn result in major injury or even fatal forklift accidents. In some cases, the manufacturer of a defective part that caused the forklift to malfunction can also be held liable.
Forklift maintenance companies: Sometimes, the maintenance and repair of forklifts could be contracted out to another company. If the maintenance company fails to repair and maintain a forklift as they are supposed to do, and an accident occurs as a result, they could be held liable for any damages and losses sustained by workers.
Dangerous work environment: Sometimes, the design of a warehouse store or workplace can also cause forklift accidents. For example, lack of proper lighting could make it difficult for the forklift operator or other workers working around the forklift to see properly. Also, blind spots and intersecting aisles can make it difficult to see what lies ahead. In some of these cases, the warehouse or storeowner can be held liable as well, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.
The Value of Third Party Lawsuits
It is important to note that third-party lawsuits are worth much more than workers' compensation benefits. While workers' comp typically pays for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, when you file a forklift injury lawsuit, you can also seek compensation for other damages including lost future wages, permanent injuries, cost of reconstructive surgery, and pain and suffering.
If you have been injured in a forklift accident, it is important that you understand all your legal rights and options. In many cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party in addition to securing workers' compensation benefits. Each case is unique and comes with its own set of complexities.
The experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyers at Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys can help you maximize the compensation you receive in your forklift accident case. Call us at (323) 782-0535 to find out how we can help you.