FORKLIFT ACCIDENT ATTORNEY SERVING CLIENTS IN FORT WAYNE, INDIANA
Whenever a worker enters a construction site, that worker places himself at serious risk of injury. To be sure, there are many dangers on construction sites, including the hazard of a severe forklift accident. Like many vehicles and machines on construction sites, forklifts are extremely heavy, and a forklift accident can result in debilitating and sometimes fatal injuries.
If you or someone you love got hurt in a forklift accident in Indiana, you should discuss your options with a Fort Wayne forklift accident attorney as soon as possible.
WHAT QUALIFIES AS A FORKLIFT ACCIDENT?
What is a forklift, and how do forklift accidents happen? According to a fact sheet from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), forklifts are vehicles that are frequently used on construction sites, docks, and other places for “picking up, transporting, stacking, and unstacking loads.” There are very specific rules in place for handling forklift loads safely, and for ensuring that forklift accidents do not happen.
There are many ways, however, in which forklift accidents can occur, including but not limited to the following:
- Forklift tip-over caused by off-center loads, overloading the forklift, or transporting damaged or loose loads;
- Forklift running into or backing over a worker behind or in front of the forklift;
- Forklift accidentally lowering a load improperly; and/or
- Forklift colliding with another vehicle or machine, which can result in injuries similar to those a person might sustain in a motor vehicle crash
GETTING THE FACTS ABOUT FORKLIFT ACCIDENTS
What should you know about forklift accidents? The following are some statistics from OSHA:
- More than 96,000 forklift injuries happen each year, with some more serious than others;
- Nearly 35,000 forklift accidents every year result in serious injury to at least one worker;
- Around 85 forklift accident fatalities occur annually in the U.S.;
- Every year, more than 10 percent of all operating forklifts are involved in an accident;
- More than 40 percent of forklift accident injuries happen when a worker is crushed by a forklift that tips over; and
- Forklift accidents are most common in manufacturing and construction industries, which account for more than 42 percent of all forklift accidents each year.
PREVENTING FORKLIFT ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES
- Ensure that the load is properly secured and is stable;
- Avoid loading any damaged merchandise unless it has been secured by additional wrapping or banding;
- Center the load on the forklift as much as possible;
- When loading the forklift, distribute the heaviest part of your load closest to the front wheels of the forklift;
- If you need to, use the load extension backrest;
- Never overload the forklift;
- Do not approach too quickly or turn too quickly when operating a forklift;
- Approach every load slowly, and come to a complete stop at least 8 inches in front of the load;
- Never raise or lower the forks on the forklift without ensuring that the forklift has come to a complete stop and that the brake is engaged;
- Check that there is adequate overhead clearance before raising the forklift load;
- Use particular care whenever you are tilting a load; and
- Obtaining proper training.
When a forklift operator fails to take precautions, a serious forklift accident can happen. In some cases, forklift accidents can happen for reasons beyond an operator’s negligence, such as a defective forklift part that results in a serious accident. In these cases you should contact a Fort Wayne forklift accident attorney today.
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HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO FILE MY FORKLIFT ACCIDENT CLAIM?
Some forklift accident claims will result in workers’ compensation claims. In some cases, individuals who suffer forklift accident injuries also may be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation.
For workers’ compensation claims, Indiana workers’ compensation law requires that an injured worker report the injury to his or her employer within 30 days to remain eligible for benefits. In cases where an employee is eligible for workers’ compensation, that employee cannot file a lawsuit against his or her employer for negligence.
However, there are numerous other parties against whom an injured worker may be able to file a claim. Third-party claims are governed by the statute of limitations in personal injury cases. While statutes vary depending upon the type of personal injury lawsuit—from a negligence claim to a products liability lawsuit—the statute of limitations in most cases is two years. In other words, the party who suffered forklift accident injuries must file a claim within two years from the date of the injury.
LEARN MORE FROM A FORT WAYNE FORKLIFT ACCIDENT LAWYER
AREAS WE PRACTICE
At the Delventhal Law office, our Fort Wayne personal injury attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights and interests of accident victims. If you or a family member was injured because of the carelessness or recklessness of another party, we can help. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers handle a wide array of legal cases, including:
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