Forklifts are designed to lift and move heavy loads in tight spaces. It is a safe and effective tool when it is regularly maintained, and workspace safety rules are followed. However, when training, maintenance, and safety are secondary considerations, employees and contractors face the risks of forklift accidents that can cause debilitating injuries.

The New York construction accident lawyers at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb, Green & Bagley, P.C., represent individuals who have suffered serious injuries and losses in accidents involving forklifts. Workers should call our Manhattan offices to speak with a forklift accident lawyer about their right and opportunity to recover compensation for their injuries and losses.

Forklift Accident Lawyer: Proving Negligence 

Not every forklift accident will result in a viable personal injury case. For an injured party to have a chance at compensation, an attorney will need to make the case that negligence played a part in the injuries and losses sustained.  

Negligence generally refers to a careless, reckless, or intentional act that resulted in a forklift accident. It may involve co-workers, business owners, or even the manufacturer. Four elements must be established to prove negligence caused the accident:  

  • Duty of care. The duty of care is the basic building block of any negligence case. To be entitled to compensation, the at-fault party must have owed you a duty of care. This is rarely an issue in forklift accidents, as anyone that operates, services, or manufactures these vehicles has a duty to do so safely.  
  • Breach of that duty. Once the duty of care is established, the next step for a plaintiff in a forklift accident case is to show that this duty was breached by a person who carelessly or recklessly caused an accident to occur. For example, a breach of duty could happen when an operator is impaired when using the forklift.  
  • Causation. The third element of negligence in every forklift accident case is causation. Causation means proving the connection between the breach of a duty of care and the injuries suffered in that accident.  
  • Damages. The final element in any negligence case is proof of compensable damages. These could include any physical, emotional, or financial harm you sustained in a forklift accident. We could review your medical records and discuss the circumstances of your accident before advising you on the damages you could recover, which can include lost wages, medical bills, or pain and suffering.  

A proactive and dedicated lawyer from Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green will work hard to prove that all four elements of negligence are established with their investigative and analytical skills. For example, we may subpoena video footage from your workplace and speak to accident reconstructionists as well as medical professionals who can attest to the seriousness of your injuries.  

What are some typical forklift accidents?

The Manhattan forklift accidents lawyers in our firm have seen accidents and injuries that result from:

  • Forklifts that fall off of elevated loading docks
  • Collisions between forklifts and other workers who are performing tasks around the forklift
  • Overloaded forklifts that tip over
  • Operators who lose control of the forklift and ram into walls, stationary objects, or other workplace vehicles
  • Failures of forklift brakes or hydraulic list systems
  • Improper or poor training in the operation of a forklift
  • Removal of safety cages and other safety systems from a forklift

If you were hurt in this type of accident, contact a forklift injury lawyeras soon as possible. You can begin recovering the full measure of damages you are entitled to receive from the responsible parties.

What regulations and safety rules apply to the operation of a forklift?

In addition to the safety rules mandated by OSHA, the New York State Department of Labor and Department of Transportation has safety rules and standards for the operation and maintenance of a forklift. Among other matters, those rules require that:

  • Load weight limits must be followed
  • No persons are allowed to ride on the forks of a moving vehicle
  • Operator safety cages or overhead canopies must be provided
  • Locking brake systems are mandatory
  • Each forklift must have an audible backup warning alarm
  • Daily maintenance checks must be performed
  • Forklift operators must be at least 18 years old.

Accidents caused by an OSHA Violation will almost always impose liability for a forklift injury and related losses. The liability will fall on the party who has the primary responsibility for OSHA compliance. Your New York forklift accident lawyer will have a much better opportunity to assess whether an OSHA violation caused your accident when you promptly start an investigation after your accident.

What parties may be liable for an injured party’s damages following a forklift accident?

Forklift accidents can cause multiple serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, broken bones or loss of limbs or digits, injuries to internal organs, back and neck injuries, and muscle or tissue damage. Depending on the specific facts, an injured party might have an opportunity to recover a settlement. It could comprise their actual and anticipated future medical expenses, compensation for lost wages, costs of rehabilitation and occupational therapy, and damages for pain and suffering from one or more of:

  • The forklift’s operator or that operator’s employer
  • Other contractors who are responsible for forklift operations and safety at a job site
  • The manufacturer of the forklift or the persons or entities responsible for its maintenance and repairs
  • Various third parties whose negligence contributed to the forklift accident.

Contact us for a free consultation

Our forklift accident attorneys at the Manhattan-based law firm of Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb, Green & Bagley, P.C. have extensive knowledge of federal and state forklift rules and regulations. We also have substantial experience representing individuals in accident lawsuits to recover damages for their injuries.

Call our offices as soon as you can after suffering injuries in a forklift accident in Manhattan, Long Island, or elsewhere in and around NYC. We will fight tirelessly to recover the full measure of damages that will compensate you for your losses and injuries.