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September 4th, 2014

Statute of Limitations in Forklift Work Accident Cases

Forklift accidents are one of the leading causes of work related disability and time lost from work. This is due to the often catastrophic injuries which result from forklift accidents. While fatalities are quite common, so too are crushed limbs which lead to amputations or permanent loss of use.

Despite the gravity of the injuries suffered in forklift work accidents, injured workers are often unsure about their legal rights to compensation over and above workers’ compensation benefits. What many injured workers simply don’t know is that they may be able to receive financial compensation in a lawsuit against a non-employer party. This is in addition to any workers’ compensation claims. However, in many cases, workers may wait too long to seek legal advice as to whether they have a valid lawsuit.

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Statute of limitations laws exist in order to promote prompt resolution of legal disputes. Such laws put time limits on certain lawsuits, and the time limits vary depending on the type of case. There are different statute of limitations time periods for different types of cases. As a general rule, the statute of limitations in most tort or injury cases is 2 years. Therefore, in work accident cases like a forklift accident case, the general statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of the injury or accident.

However, it is crucial to note that statute of limitations issues are very complex and depend on state laws. Moreover, the laws of each state vary. Therefore, if you have a work accident case, you must speak to an experienced lawyer immediately in order to timely assess any statute of limitations issue.

In addition, there are other important considerations to examine in any workplace accident case which triggers a statute of limitations analysis: 1. whether other types of claims with longer statute of limitations periods apply, and 2. whether exceptions to the statute of limitations apply.

Other Statute of Limitations Time Periods

There are different statute of limitations periods for different types of cases. While most injury/tort claims must be brought within 2 years, there are longer statute of limitations periods for breach of contract claims. Statute of limitations for breach of contract claims vary from state to state and may be 4 years, up to 6 years from the date of the wrongful act/breach. In some work accident situations, a breach of contract claim may be brought, and in which case, a longer statute of limitations period (4 or 6 years) applies.

Related: OSHA Forklift Operator Training Topics

In addition, some states apply different statutes of limitations for specific types of injury/tort claims, and those statutory periods are based on the type of case or claim involved. For instance, some states apply a 3 year statute of limitations for products liability cases, and forklift accident lawsuits often involve products liability claims. Therefore, a worker injured in a forklift accident which occurred over 2 years ago could still file a product liability claim in a state with a 3 year statute of limitations period for product liability claims.

More: Forklift Accidents at Work – Types of Forklifts & Injuries

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

Most states recognize limited exceptions to statute of limitations periods in injury/tort cases. Two of the most common exceptions are the fraudulent concealment exception and the mental incapacity exception. It is important to note that these are fact-specific exceptions and can only be applied in limited cases.

About Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan, Work Accident Law Firm

The firm focuses on work accident injury cases, including forklift accident cases. Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan is based in Philadelphia and has offices throughout the northeast area, including NJ, NY and DE.

Our forklift accident lawyers are licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Illinois and West Virginia, and also accept matters in other states on a case by case basis. If you would like a free case assessment, please call Click To Call. Our lawyers may handle your case by obtaining special admission in your state or may work with local counsel in your area.

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