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Are Forklifts One of the Most Dangerous Pieces of Equipment?

Written by Ankin Law Office

Forklifts are one of the most common pieces of industrial equipment, frequently used in construction worksites, factories, and warehouses. There are various types of powered industrial trucks, or forklifts, each of which presents different operating hazards. Some of the most common forklift accidents include:

  • Forklift overturns
  • Falling loads
  • Forklifts inadvertently driven off loading docks
  • Lifts falling between the loading dock and an unsecured trailer
  • Collisions with pedestrians or other forklifts
  • Forklift operators falling while on elevated pallets and tines

Each year, nearly 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 are seriously injured in forklift-related incidents in the U.S., with forklift overturns accounting for about 25% of all forklift-related deaths. A New York worker was tragically killed last week after being struck by a forklift outside the National Pipe & Plastics facility in Vestal.

Workers’ Compensation following Forklift Accident

If you have been injured in a forklift accident while on the job, you are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you must notify your employer of the accident or injury within 45 days of the accident. If your employer fails to provide workers’ compensation benefits following a forklift accident, you may file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC).  Although there are no fees to file a claim, you must prove that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Third-Party Claims as a Result of Forklift Accident

Depending on the circumstances of the forklift accident, however, you may also be able to recover compensation in a third-party action against someone other than your employer, such as a general contractor or forklift manufacturer. Many forklift accidents are caused by improper training or inadequate maintenance, and if the vehicle manufacturer produces a defective product, you may be entitled to pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer.

Social Security Disability Benefits

If a forklift accident caused you to you suffer injuries that are expected to last longer than one year and you are unable to engage in substantial gainful employment, you may also be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. If you are eligible for both Social Security disability benefits and workers’ compensation benefits, the amount of your Social Security disability claim may be reduced by the amount of your workers’ compensation benefits, however.

If you have been injured in a forklift accident, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney like the Chicago workplace accident lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC. We have considerable experience representing injured employees with workers’ compensation claims, Social Security disability claims, and any third-party claims that apply. Our Chicago disability lawyers will advise you of your rights, discuss eligibility requirements, assist you with your claims applications, and represent you in connection with any lawsuits that you pursue.

Contact the Chicago workplace accident attorneys at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security disability benefits, and third-party claims following a forklift accident.