Forklifts can be very handy in the workplace. These powerful pieces of equipment can perform the work of a great number of employees when large, heavy objects need to be moved. On the one hand, forklifts can help reduce work-related back injuries caused by heavy lifting. However, forklifts, themselves, can be the source of other types of injuries and even deaths on the job. Because of this, occupational safety laws govern the operation of forklifts and other heavy equipment used on construction sites, in warehouses, and in other places of work. Workers, injured in forklift accidents, should speak with experienced Rockland County workers’ compensation attorney Valerie J. Crown. She can help you understand the steps needed to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Sometimes, an injured worker may also have a third-party claim following a forklift accident. If the person, who was operating the forklift at the time of the accident, was not a coworker of the injured worker, the usual restrictions, concerning the exclusivity of the workers’ compensation remedies, may not apply. For instance, if a negligent forklift operator collides with a person making a delivery to a job site, the accident victim may be able to file both a workers’ compensation claim against his or her own employer and a third-party negligence claim against the forklift driver and/or his or her employer. However, a portion of benefits, paid out in workers’ compensation payments, may need to be repaid if the negligence suit is successful. Another possible third-party action might result if a defective forklift caused the accident. In such a case, the injured person would have a potential product liability claim against the manufacturer of the forklift.Benefits Available in a Work-Related Injury Case
When workers are injured in forklift accidents, they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits without needing to prove fault by the employer or one of its employees. These benefits include paid medical care, temporary partial and/or temporary total disability benefits, and, if the worker suffers any degree of permanent physical impairment, permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits. The exact amount that is due can be a matter of great contention; potential factors to be considered include the employee’s rate of pay, the nature and extent of the injury, the worker’s age and employment history, and whether or not he or she is able to return to any work following the accident.
If an employee files a third-party negligence claim, in addition to the workers’ compensation claim, he or she may receive monetary compensation for pain and suffering and other damages. Generally speaking, the potential payout in negligence cases can be higher than in a workers’ compensation case, but the burden of proof is substantially greater. Additionally, the third-party settlement or verdict can be reduced because of the worker’s own negligence in causing the accident, whereas the worker’s own fault will not reduce a regular workers’ compensation award in most cases. In any event, a portion of the money, the worker receives through workers’ compensation, will have to be repaid under New York State Workers’ Compensation Law.Seek Legal Advice from an Experienced Rockland County Lawyer
Each forklift accident case should be evaluated on its own merits, as the particular facts of each case determine the appropriate path going forward. An attorney, who is seasoned in these types of cases, can help the worker understand the available options for pursuing the legal remedies that may be available and can help the worker get started on filing the appropriate paperwork. To schedule an appointment with the Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., you can call our offices at 845.708.5900 or you can reach Valerie’s cellphone 24/7 by calling 845.598.8253. In addition to work-related injury cases, such as those arising from forklift accidents, our office also handles car accident cases throughout Rockland County and the Greater New York area, as well as other personal injury cases, nursing home cases, and medical/dental malpractice lawsuits.