Forklifts are used across all industries, especially on construction sites or worksites when heavy materials need transporting from point A to point B. For instance, in the construction of a large shopping center or plaza, building materials will often be delivered to one location, only to be moved to another by a forklift.
However, forklift accidents are very common and almost always result in serious injuries. Forklift drivers and bystanders may become crushed or dragged by a forklift. In some cases, a worker may be struck by a forklift. Crush injuries to the arms and legs are common in forklift accident situations.
Construction Site Operator Liability in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania construction/work accident law, companies which oversee construction site operations, i.e., a general or prime contractor, may be held liable to an employee of a subcontractor. Typically, an owner/developer wants to build a mall, school, grocery store, etc., and hires a general contractor. The general contractor then seeks bids for various aspects of the job, such as:
- foundation work,
- steel work,
- plumbing, and
Therefore, many construction projects involve literally dozens of subcontractors and hundreds of workers, carpenters, etc.
General Contractor Liability for a Forklift Accident in PA
If the general contractor shirks OSHA safety regulations, a subcontractor’s employee may be injured. For example, a forklift operating company sends an untrained forklift driver to a large construction site. That driver is operating the forklift carrying a load that impedes his ability to see in front of him. The forklift strikes and injures a steel worker. The general contractor failed to designate clear lanes for the heavy equipment travel. As a result, the forklift driver was driving in a walkway designated for pedestrians.
In this scenario, the general contractor, as well as the forklift operating company, may be held accountable for negligence which led to the forklift accident. However, it is important to note that construction accident cases are very complex, and often involve multiple parties. In addition, a construction accident lawyer must be experienced in handling some of the legal nuances of construction accident cases, such as Pennsylvania’s “statutory employer” doctrine, a defense commonly raised by general contractors in subcontractor employee/worker accident cases.
Related forklift accident law articles
- What You Need to Know About Forklift Accident Lawsuits in Pennsylvania or New Jersey
- Forklift Accident Lawsuit Claims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
- 2012 Forklift Accident Fatalities
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