Gustavo Tapia, 22, was killed in a forklift accident in the Midwood area of Brooklyn, New York, reported CBS News (6.10.14). Tapia was using a walk behind forklift to push a Yale forklift up a ramp leading to a parking area on the roof of a building at 315 Avenue M. The electric forklift was manned by another employee, but it rolled backward and pinned Tapia against a wall.
How it rolled back was unreported by CBS News and the incident was under investigation.
One question to be answered is why Tapia was trying to push the forklift up the ramp.
“Forklifts are extremely useful, but there is great risk of injury or death if a forklift is operated in an unsafe manner,” said Attorney at Law David Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. “Improperly trained workers put their lives in danger. Experienced employees can be affected by inadequate training, as well. Responsible employers know the rules and take the time to educate their workforce.”
Approximately 100 fatalities and 36,340 serious injuries involving powered industrial trucks occur in the United States every year. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimated that 20 percent to 25 percent of the accidents are, in part, caused by inadequate training. Forklift operators must use extreme caution on ramps. It is still unknown whether or not Tapia had the right training or not.
“Unfortunately, many forklift accidents could have been prevented,” said Perecman.
Workplace accidents are typically covered by workers’ compensation. In New York, workers compensation is a “no fault” system of insurance. The amount that a worker or his or her family may receive is not affected by carelessness on the part of the worker, nor by the fault of an employer. As a general rule, this means that even if the worker was negligent in causing his death by trying to push the forklift, compensation will still be received. There are exceptions to the “no fault” rule if the injury results solely from the worker’s intoxication from drugs or alcohol, or from the intent to injure him-herself or someone else. Then a worker will lose his-her right to workers’ compensation.
The CBS News story cited is “Man Crushed, Killed In Brooklyn Forklift Accident.”
If you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident, contact The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., at 212-977-7033.
About David Perecman and The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C.:
For the past 30 years, the New York construction accident, medical malpractice, auto accident, personal injury, and civil rights violation lawyers at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., have handled all types of New York personal injury cases, including forklift and scaffolding accidents. David Perecman, founder of the Firm, has been recognized for his achievements as an Honoree in the National Law Journal’s Hall of Fame, in New York Magazine’s “The Best Lawyers in America” and The New York Times Magazine “New York Super Lawyers, Metro Edition” for the years 2007-2010. The prestigious U.S. News & World Report ranks The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., among the top 20 personal injury firms in New York City for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.
The Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its clients. Among the more recent victories, Mr. Perecman won a $15 million verdict** for a construction accident (Index 112370/03) Supreme Court, New York County, a $5.35 million dollar verdict*** for an automobile accident (Index 2749/04) Supreme Court, Kings County, and a $40 million dollar structured settlement for medical malpractice (Index 2146/03)****Supreme Court, Kings County.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., serves Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester, Upstate NY, Morris County, and Rockland County.
**later settled while on appeal for $7.940 million
*** later settled for $3.5 million
**** total potential payout
“Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.”