Loading Dock Accidents
There is a high risk of injury inherent in working on a loading dock or at a warehouse. Generally, workers are moving around at elevation with trucks and large pieces of equipment moving around them. Although employers are supposed to ensure high safety standards and follow OSHA regulations, they do not always do so. A loading dock accident can cause catastrophic injuries or death. Depending on the circumstances, if you are injured in a loading dock accident, you may be able to recover damages. At Sharifi Firm, our Los Angeles truck accident attorneys can evaluate your situation and represent you as appropriate.Situations Involving Loading Dock Accidents
Loading dock accidents can involve a wide variety of situations, including truck backup accidents, pallet loan tip overs, hazardous materials exposure, and accidents involving forklifts, pallet jacks, or dock levelers. You may be limited to workers' compensation benefits if the party at fault for the accident is your employer or a coworker.
However, assuming that you were injured by someone other than your employer or a coworker, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages. For example, if a truck driver employed by another company accidentally backed into you, pushing you against a warehouse wall and causing crushing injuries, you may have a basis to sue the truck driver and the truck driver's employer.
To hold the truck driver liable in that situation, your attorney would need to show their negligence. This means proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the truck driver owed you a duty, breached this duty, and in the breach, caused your injuries. Generally, all truck drivers owe a duty to others around the vehicle to use reasonable care to avoid causing injuries. A truck driver who is drunk on the job, distracted, driving too fast, or failing to follow safety protocols is likely to be found negligent. In some cases, there may be a presumption of negligence per se due to a violation of a safety law.
In the same circumstances, the truck driver's employer may be held vicariously liable if the driver was in the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident. Often, truck drivers are hired as independent contractors so that the company can avoid indirect liability in case of an accident. However, when the company has simply labeled an employee as being an independent contractor in order to avoid liability for an employee's negligence, there may be a way to establish vicarious liability.
Sometimes an employer can be held directly liable under a theory of negligent hiring, negligent supervision, or negligent training. Those who employ commercial truck drivers are supposed to follow certain rules to make sure that their employees are competent and safe drivers. They are supposed to conduct background checks and conduct alcohol and drug testing.
In some cases, a loading dock accident is caused by a defective piece of equipment. It may be possible to hold a manufacturer liable for injuries if you can establish that there was an actionable defect that caused them. Actionable defects include design, manufacturing, and marketing defects.
Damages that you may be able to recover from a third party after a loading dock accident include both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses can include medical bills, lost wages, household services, out-of-pocket expenses, rehabilitation, alterations to one's home (such as a wheelchair ramp) to accommodate a disability, and other tangible costs. Noneconomic losses are intangible losses that can include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. Noneconomic damages can vary dramatically depending on the way that your attorney presents your testimony and injuries.Consult an Experienced Trucking Injury Lawyer in the Los Angeles Area
If you are injured in a serious truck accident, it is important to determine what contributed to the accident. At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our experienced attorneys can investigate your case and provide knowledgeable legal representation. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or via our online form. We represent victims in Los Angeles, Irvine, Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and San Bernardino, among other cities.