Boston Forklift Accident Lawyer
Forklifts are common pieces of heavy machinery used in a variety of work fields. They are frequently used in places like warehouses, factories, and construction sites. However, forklifts are more than just tools to get the job done. These are complex machines that can be very dangerous if operators are not adequately trained. Forklift accidents can occur in the workplace and cause serious injuries to employees.
If you were injured on the job as a result of a forklift accident, you should be compensated by the responsible parties. This could mean suing your employer, a third party, or even an insurance company. The party or parties that you choose to sue and the nature of your lawsuit will impact the legal approach that is best for your case. You need a qualified attorney to help you along the way.
If you were injured at work in a forklift-related accident, our Boston forklift accident attorneys can help you get monetary compensation to cover your expenses. For a free case evaluation with a member of our legal team, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 295-7731.
Who Can You Sue After a Forklift Accident in Boston?
If you want to file a personal injury lawsuit after a forklift accident, the first thing you should think about is whom to sue. This may seem like a silly question, but in some cases, the defendant’s identity is not always clear. In other cases, there may be more than one defendant. Our Boston forklift accident lawyers can help you through this legal process.
If workers’ compensation laws do not forbid it, you may be able to sue your employer. Employers are responsible for providing safe work environments for their employees. If an employer fails to meet certain safety standards, or perhaps causes the accident through their own negligence, you may be able to sue for damages.
You can also sue third parties who may have been working alongside, such as independent contractors. These kinds of third parties are common at places like construction sites where general contractors might hire multiple subcontractors to do work or provide maintenance and inspection services for heavy machinery such as forklifts. Because independent third parties are not employers, you are not barred from suing them by workers’ compensation laws.
In some cases, a lawsuit may not be possible. Massachusetts law often requires employees to file for workers’ compensation when they are injured on the job. A workers’ compensation claim is not a lawsuit, but more like an insurance claim. All employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees in the event of an accident, though a worker may waive their right to workers’ compensation coverage when they are hired. To claim workers’ compensation, you must report your accident to your employer and your employer must report the incident to their insurance carrier.
Workers’ compensation is usually legally required and prevents employees from filing personal lawsuits against their employers. However, workers’ compensation would not prohibit you from suing other independent third parties, as mentioned above.
Our Boston forklift accident attorneys can help you get the compensation you need to cover all your accident-related expenses.
Lawsuits Against Forklift Manufacturers in Boston
There are instances of forklift accidents where neither the victim nor their employer is responsible. Forklifts, like any other product, are manufactured by people and may potentially contain defects. Even if a forklift functions correctly, there should be proper signage that notifies users of how the machine works and foreseeable dangers from improper use.
Forklifts are made up of parts that may be built by many separate manufacturers. The forklift manufacturer will piece these parts together with parts that they manufacture themselves. You will have to identify the flaw that caused the accident to determine who you should name in your lawsuit. Depending on the malfunction, you may be able to name multiple defendants in the same lawsuit. Our Boston forklift accident lawyers can help you through this complicated process to give you the best chance of getting justice for your injuries.
Dangers of Forklift Accidents in Boston
Forklift accidents can happen in a number of different ways, depending on how the forklift is being used. For example, forklifts may topple over and crush the operator or a bystander. It is also possible to lose control of a forklift and pin someone between the forklift and a wall. Forklifts are typically used to lift heavy objects high in the air. Sometimes the heavy material being lifted falls and can injure people on the ground or the forklift operator.
Forklifts are heavy pieces of equipment, and any injuries from an accident could be extremely serious or even life-threatening. This is why it is crucial that anyone using a forklift be trained appropriately. Forklifts can not only injure the operator but also anyone standing nearby. Depending on what field you work in, there may be legally imposed safety requirements for forklifts. If these safety standards are not adhered to, accidents may happen that can lead to lawsuits or claims.
If you were unfortunately injured in a forklift accident at work, you may have several legal options. For many, you will have to file for workers’ compensation as it is required by law in most circumstances. If you are the exception to this rule, our Boston forklift accident attorneys can file a personal injury lawsuit to claim damages and receive compensation that is often higher than what is available in a workers’ compensation claim.
Proving Negligence in a Lawsuit for a Boston Forklift Accident
Work sites where forklifts are used are heavily regulated. Therefore, when an accident occurs, it is typically attributable to negligence. Negligence is a valid theory that you can use to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries and their consequences.
Negligence contains four traditional elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. The plaintiff must prove all four elements to succeed in their lawsuit using physical evidence, medical records, and expert witness testimony.
Duty of Care
Duty of care exists when the plaintiff and defendant have some relationship that creates a legal responsibility. For instance, on a work site, the employer or management company owe their employees, contractors, and others in the work area a duty of care. Forklift manufacturers also owe a duty to their buyers and anyone who might foreseeably use their product.
Breach of Duty
Breach of that duty means that the defendant failed in some way to meet their duties. These duties are defined by using industry standards, which are typically established with expert testimony or using officially recognized guidelines such as those from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). An employer that falls short in implementing and enforcing safety regulations and proper inspection practices may have breached their duty of care.
The breach in question must have also caused the accident that injured the plaintiff. Proving the causation element can get complicated. The defendant may try to argue that the accident was not a foreseeable consequence of the breach, or that meeting the duty of care would not have prevented the accident in this case. These defensive arguments are common. Our Boston forklift accident lawyers can help you evaluate your chances of recovery during your initial case review.
If you prove all the other elements of negligence, you can then introduce evidence of how the accident and the injuries that you have sustained have impacted you. This will be used to calculate your damages. To hear more about what damages you might pursue in your personal injury, be sure to reach out to one of our accomplished Boston forklift accident attorneys.
Claiming Damages After a Forklift Accident in Boston
When filing a personal injury lawsuit after a forklift accident at work, you may claim a variety of different damages depending on how you were injured and what kind of expenses you incurred as a result. Damages may apply to physical losses like injuries and non-tangible losses like mental anguish.
When calculating damages for both personal injury suits and workers’ compensation, you must consider all your medical bills. Forklift injuries are often quite severe, and injured employees may rack up costly bills. If your injuries are particularly serious or long-lasting, you might be faced with future or ongoing medical expenses like physical therapy or prescribed medications.
You can also claim lost wages as damages. People who are injured in forklift accidents tend to take time off work to recuperate. Losing this income on top of paying for medical bills can put people in a very tight spot. For personal injury cases, you can include the total amount of your lost wages as part of your damages. You may even claim lost future earnings if your injuries will prevent you from working for a long time or indefinitely. However, workers’ compensation will cover only a portion of your lost wages, usually about two-thirds.
Non-tangible or non-physical damages typically include pain and suffering. Forklift accident injuries are often very painful. Medical treatments, like surgery, can also place added stress and pain on the body. Additionally, you may suffer emotional or mental pain after your accident that should be included with your damages. However, damages for pain and suffering may only be claimed in a personal injury lawsuit, not under workers’ compensation. Contact our Boston forklift accident lawyers for help determining your damages.
Comparative Negligence in Massachusetts
If you are considering filing a lawsuit, you might be concerned about the defendant arguing that the accident was your fault. Employers will often claim that human error was the cause of accidents that might otherwise make them liable. You should know two things: partial plaintiff fault is not a complete bar to recovery in a lawsuit, and another party could still be responsible for an accident resulting from human error.
Massachusetts uses a comparative fault rule, which accounts for personal injury accidents with multiple at-fault parties by reducing the damages proportionally based on the plaintiff’s role in causing the harm. In other words, if a court finds that you were partially responsible, you can still recover damages, with a reduction based on how responsible you were. For example, if you claim $50,000 in damages, and a court finds that you were 20% responsible for the accident, you can still recover $40,000. However, once your own fault rises above 50%, recovery is barred entirely.
Even if you made the mistake that caused the forklift accident and left you injured, you should always consult with a Massachusetts forklift accident lawyer. You might still be able to claim in a lawsuit that your employer or management failed in their duty to provide adequate training. Forklifts are heavy machinery and can pose serious dangers to those in the vicinity. Do not give up on your legal path to recovery until you have gotten all of the information about your possible lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations for Forklift Accident Lawsuits in Boston
Before you even start to think about winning or losing your personal injury lawsuit, you should have the Massachusetts statute of limitations in mind. The statute of limitations is a law that sets the time limit on how long a potential plaintiff can wait before officially filing their complaint. For forklift accident injury civil suits, the state sets the time limit at three years.
The clock starts to run on the date of the accident. During this period, you and your attorney will work together to name defendants, identify potential witnesses, and estimate damages. If you miss your window, the other side will move to dismiss your claim and you will lose out on your chance to recover. Give your Boston forklift accident attorney plenty of time to prepare your case by placing a call to the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today.
Contact Our Experienced Boston Forklift Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you know has been injured in a forklift accident at work, please reach out to our Boston forklift accident lawyers for help. Our team is here to guide you through the legal process and get you compensation for your injuries. For a free and confidential legal evaluation of your potential case, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 295-7731.