A New Jersey man suffered serious injuries at work in late October when he was run over with an industrial forklift. The construction accident victim, age 24, was working at a residential construction site when the incident occurred. The driver of the forklift was backing the vehicle up at the time of the accident, and he apparently did not see the victim before driving over him. The operator's vision was obstructed, but news reports have not said whether this was because of improper use of the forklift.
The victim was conscious at the time that first responders arrived, but little other information was provided to news outlets at the time of the incident. It is not clear whether the victim suffered life-threatening injuries in the accident. He was most recently listed in critical but stable condition at a local hospital.
Construction workers and other industrial employees may look at a forklift and not see much danger inherent in the operation of the vehicle. However, these small industrial trucks have the potential to cause serious injury, even when they are used properly. For example, the forklift's weight is unevenly distributed, particularly when it is carrying a heavy load. A small misstep from the driver -- such as choosing to drive up a ramp with a load that has not been properly balanced -- can cause injuries and even fatalities for the operator and those in the immediate vicinity.
Victims of construction accidents, including forklift incidents, deserve to receive financial compensation for their medical expenses. In this case, the young man was air-evacuated to a hospital for treatment; the cost of that kind of intervention can be sky-high. That is why employers should be bound to provide adequate compensation for treatment associated with workplace injuries. Still, many companies fight workers' compensation claims simply because they are afraid of an increase in their premiums. Workers should not be bullied into accepting meager settlements because of their company's unscrupulous behavior. A workers' compensation attorney can help.
Source: The Daily Journal, "UPDATE: Police ID man injured in forklift accident," Deborah M. Marko and Adam Monacelli, Oct. 20, 2015