California Construction & Forklift Accident Attorneys
Construction and Forklift Accidents
Construction accidents happen, and they are often deadly. In fact, construction is one of the most dangerous occupations. Construction sites and environments feature heavy machinery and equipment (including forklifts), power tools, building supplies, electricity, and working from heights. Without extensive precautions, these conditions add up to a recipe for dangerous accidents—for both construction workers and bystanders. To further complicate matters, construction accident claims are as complex as construction accidents are dangerous. If you are a construction worker who has been injured on the job, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced Los Angeles construction accident lawyer by your side.
Obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled for the injuries you have sustained on the job as a construction worker is complicated, but doing so is critical to your full recovery. While workers’ compensation is one important mechanism for recovering losses, it is not the only means of compensation in every situation. Workers’ compensation pays injured employees, including construction workers, for their medical expenses and lost wages. It is important to recognize, however, that there are definite limits to workers’ compensation claims, including the following:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim precludes you from suing your employer, regardless of whether your employer was at fault or not.
- Workers’ compensation, in other words, balances your employer’s vulnerability to being found liable for your accident with your right to financial compensation as an employee who has been injured on the construction site (even if you were at fault or partially at fault). Workers’ compensation is limited to your medical expenses and your lost wages, and the amount recovered in a workers’ compensation claim is unlikely to cover all of your losses in their entirety.
Sometimes, however, an injured construction worker can file for workers’ compensation and file a negligence claim against a negligent party other than his or her employer. This is known as a third-party case, as is explained in greater detail below. Whatever the nature of your construction accident claim, you need to speak with an experienced construction site accident lawyer in Los Angeles today.
If someone other than your employer is responsible for the damages you have incurred in a construction accident, you can seek the compensation to which you are entitled and that is needed to recover fully. Such third-party liability can apply to any number of negligent parties, including all of the following:
- Another contractor on the site
- A subcontractor
- The developer
- The manufacturer of the equipment that injured you
- The property owner of the site
Establishing third-party liability is a complicated legal process, and—to do so—you will need to work closely with a dedicated and experienced California construction accident attorney. Time is of the essence in these matters, so do not hesitate to call our office for a free case consultation.
Common causes of forklift accidents
Construction sites are riddled with dangers, and forklifts are no exception. Forklift accidents are exceedingly dangerous, and while every forklift accident is unique, there are several common causes that are most closely associated with these very serious accidents, including:
- Operators who lack the necessary training and experience to operate a forklift safely—including operators who lack the necessary certification.
- Forklifts that are not properly loaded or that have imbalanced or poorly secured loads
- Operators who speed or engage in horseplay on the machines
- Forklifts that are not properly maintained and kept in safe working order
- Forklifts that have manufacturing or design flaws
Forklift accidents are dangerous, terrifying, and costly, and if you have been injured in one, you need the professional legal services of a knowledgeable forklift accident lawyer in Los Angeles.
If the forklift itself was defective in some capacity and if that defect caused you to be injured, you may have a third-party claim against the forklift’s manufacturer. Here are some examples:
- The manufacturer is responsible for designing safe forklifts and for producing safe forklifts in accordance with this design. If anything goes awry in the manufacturing process that renders the forklift less safe—or unsafe—the manufacturer of the forklift may be deemed liable for any resulting injuries.
- If there is a design flaw in the forklift that renders the forklift dangerous, despite it being appropriately manufactured, the manufacturer would, again, bear liability in the matter.
- If the manufacturer failed to adequately alert the purchaser to any risks inherent to the forklift, such as leaving warnings off of the machine itself, the manufacturer may face liability issues.
- The manufacturer also has a responsibility to make sure that its forklifts are not sold to parties who are not intended to handle such equipment. Although the manufacturer obviously cannot control who purchases each and every one of its forklifts, it can make sure that any distributors are well aware of the product’s parameters. Forklifts are obviously intended for purchasers who have the experience and capacity to use them safely within safe circumstances. For example, a forklift without side safety-guards is not appropriate for making high lifts and should not be sold or purchased for that use.
Things become more complicated from here. Companies that transport massive forklifts and the dealerships that sell them also have responsibilities that, if neglected, can lead to claims of negligence in forklift accidents. If you have been injured in a forklift accident on the job, our dedicated California forklift accident attorneys are standing by to help.
In highly specific situations, the employer can be held responsible for serious negligence in a construction accident. Such cases are highly complicated, however, and require the deft legal handling of a construction injury lawyer in California. Let us consider an example of such negligent hiring. If you were hired to operate a forklift on a construction site (or anywhere else), and all of the following apply, you may have a valid personal injury claim directly against your employer:
- You were not equipped to safely perform your job of operating the forklift because of a lack of experience, a lack of training, a lack of certification, or any other reason.
- Your employer either knew or should have known about your lack of fitness for the job.
- Your lack of fitness for the job caused you to be injured in a forklift accident.
- The fact that your employer hired you, retained you as an employee, and supervised you played a direct role in the accident that left you injured.
These are exacting standards, and while every forklift accident—or construction accident in general—follows its own path, it is important to ensure that you get to the bottom of your claim and hold the negligent party fully responsible for the damages you have endured.
Construction site accidents
Accidents on construction sites come in many forms, but the most common of them include:
- Slip and fall accidents: falls are the number one cause of construction accidents, and they are especially dangerous when height is involved, including falls from ladders or scaffolding.
- Fires, explosions, and accidents involving electricity
- Accidents caused by falling objects
- Accidents caused by faultily designed, faultily manufactured, or poorly maintained equipment
- Structural collapses: the structure under construction can have structural weaknesses that lead to dangerous collapses.
- Respiratory illnesses caused by toxins and/or airborne particulates on the job
- Overexertion by construction workers: workers often work in extreme conditions and do exceptionally strenuous work that can lead to accidents and injuries related to overexertion without proper precautions.