Injuries Due to Forklift Strike Accidents
Forklifts are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment on work sites and job sites across the U.S., including the Northeast area (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, etc.). Forklifts are used across industries, including the construction industry, manufacturing industry and warehousing industry. As a result, forklift accident injuries are one of the most common types of work-related injuries.
A common forklift accident scenario involves a bystander who is hit or struck by the forklift. Just this month (February 2015), there were two forklift strike accidents involving bystanders. One occurred last week at a freight company in Connecticut. A worker’s foot was struck by a forklift during operations at a local branch of a Michigan based freight and logistics company. The extent of the worker’s injuries are unknown. The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration was notified.
Related forklift accident case result: $2.75 Million for Worker Injured in a Forklift Strike Accident in NJ
Another bystander forklift accident occurred in New Jersey this month. The incident occurred at Ramapo College which is currently undergoing construction work. The college is located in Mahwah, New Jersey, located a short distance from the New Jersey-New York border. The bystander injured in this particular accident was not another worker. Rather, the individual is the parent of a college student. She was struck as she crossed a street on campus.
Financial Compensation for Work-Related Forklift Accidents
Workers injured in job-related forklift accidents are often entitled to financial compensation above and beyond any workers’ compensation benefits. This means that an injured worker may pursue a civil lawsuit against a non-employer party. The basis of any such case would be negligence which caused or contributed to the accident. Forklift accidents often occur due to negligence of non-employer parties.
For example, a forklift operation company begins work at a large job site in New Jersey. The forklift operator is not trained properly and strikes a worker, an employee of another company. The injured employee has a viable claim against the forklift operation company for negligent forklift operation. This is actually a common scenario at docks and marine terminals, such as the Port of NY-NJ.
Claims for financial compensation include pain and suffering as well as economic damages like medical bills and lost wages.
Financial Compensation for Bystander Forklift Accidents
Bystander forklift accidents involving non-employees are actually quite common. Individuals who are walking near construction activities may be struck by forklifts, like the most recent case at the college in New Jersey.
In these instances, the bystander is obviously not entitled to any workers’ compensation benefits, unless they were actually working at the time. For example, using the recent case in NJ, if the woman had been making a delivery for her employer when she was struck by the forklift, she would be able to make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if she was simply visiting her daughter, then there is no claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Instead, the injured individual could have a claim against not only the forklift operating company, but also the general contractor of the site. The claims for financial compensation would be similar to those made by the injured worker (i.e., pain and suffering and economic damages).
It is important to note that regardless of the status of the injured individual (worker versus non-worker), other parties may be held liable such as the owner of the site (if there is sufficient evidence that the owner took sufficient control of the site and work activities). In addition, there could be a claim against the forklift manufacturing company for a defective product injury claim.
More: OSHA Forklift Operator Training Topics
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