Chicago Loading Dock Accident Lawyers Representing Injured Workers
Illinois has long been a transportation hub, especially among large commercial trucks. With the third highest amount of miles of interstate roads in the nation, many large truck drivers travel through the state.
Most commercial vehicles at some point are loading or unloading at a dock somewhere in Chicago or one of the many other Illinois cities.
The employees and truck drivers that work on these docks are at high risk for serious injury when loading and unloading these large trucks, often resulting in medical expenses, time lost from work and even permanent disability or death.
If you or a family member is involved in a loading dock or other fall accident, contact us to learn about your legal rights and to see if you may be able to file a work injury claim.
Truck Loading Dock Accident Injury FAQs
What is the Safety Precaution Used on Docks?
Loading docks are dangerous. Never push anyone or fool around in the warehouse or loading area and remain away from the dock edges. Never jump off or onto the loading dock and always watch what you are doing when around the forklift driver.
Wear steel-toed boots or shoes manufactured with non-skid soles to provide adequate support for your ankles and feet. Never run on the loading dock, even when in a hurry.
Why do We Need to Know Things of Loading Docks?
Dockworkers and truckers must understand the settings of the loading dock and receive training on operating the equipment and dock leveler safely. Moving forklifts and cargo-carrying devices in and out of the trailer onto the dock could expose workers and the trucker to accidents and damage.
What is Dock Safety?
Truckers should take precautions and look for floors marked with tape that identify the off-limits areas. Many dock accident cases list getting hit and injured with heavy machinery and forklifts as the basis of filing a compensation claim.
Walking in areas with clear floor markings can provide a safe path to prevent unwanted injuries.
What is a Loading Dock Leveler Accident?
Truckers open the trailer's doors and back up to the loading dock to load or unload transported cargo. However, the height of the trailer might be higher or lower than the dock and require a dock leveler to allow forklifts and other cargo-carrying devices to gain access into the back of the trailer.
The trucker, cargo handlers, and others on the dock can trip and fall over a dock leveler that is not resting securely on the floor of the trailer. These accidents can cause the victim to slip off the dock and suffer injuries.
Dangers Facing Truck Loading Dock Workers in Chicago
It is estimated that 25% of injuries that occur in warehouses happen on the loading docks. Loading docks are full of possible occupational safety and other serious injury hazards, usually elevated off the warehouse floor with various mechanical equipment and large trucks coming in and out of the area.
These areas can be hectic and chaotic, adding to the dangers that are already present in fall accidents.
Some of the most common hazards include:
- Slips and falls. One of the most common injuries that warehouse workers face, especially on the loading dock, are slips and falls. Not only can workers fall from the dock but slip on oil and water spills from equipment and forklifts or container leaks that can make the surface dangerously slippery.
- Pallet or load tip-overs. Truckloads and pallet stacks in a queue to be loaded can be dangerous to workers. Stacked loads can become unstable during transport and fall on an unsuspecting worker when they open the trailer door. Also, improperly stacked pallets can topple and injure workers on the dock as well.
- Truck backing injuries. Warehouse employees have been severely injured, even fatally, when caught between a backing truck and the dock. With nowhere to go, the worker can be crushed either between the truck and dock or under the commercial vehicle.
- Forklift accidents. A loading dock is one of the most common places to be injured by a forklift. Employees working around forklifts and those driving them must remain alert to common hazards. Forklifts can back over other workers, fall off the edge of the dock, tip over or crush workers working in a trailer.
- Lifting injuries. Although back injuries can happen anywhere in a warehouse, they are even more prevalent on the loading dock. Many times workers feel rushed due to the fast pace of the loading dock atmosphere and do not use the proper safety precautions and restraints when lifting, causing back and other soft tissue injuries.
- Exposure. Employees are exposed to the many hazards on loading docks that can cause injury. Hazardous materials, carbon dioxide from truck/equipment exhaust and even noise pollution can all be harmful to workers.
Employers Responsibility in Protecting Loading Dock Workers from Accidents
Employers must provide a safe work environment, especially in every hazardous area like the truck loading dock. The company must provide the necessary safety gear, training, and equipment to prevent injury.
For example, OSHA requires that truck drivers and trailers at loading docks use chocks or restraints to prevent them from moving while being loaded and unloaded. If the company does not provide the necessary restraints and an employee is injured, the employer can be blamed for the worker's injury and this can trigger a workers' compensation claim.
Establishing Guilt in Loading Dock Accidents
When injuries occur on the job, employers are automatically held responsible under the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act, which does not require fault be proven to receive benefits in a workers' compensation claim. Illinois employers must have worker’s compensation insurance to provide medical treatment as well as cover lost wages and other expenses.
Although benefits guaranteed by law, additional compensations and possibly other financial avenues might be available if the injured truck loading dock employee files a lawsuit with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Chicago Loading Dock Accident Statistics
- One quarter of work accidents in the industrial sector happen on a loading dock.
- Annually, almost 100,000 people are injured on or near loading docks due to forklifts.
- Loading dock accidents cause dozens of deaths each year around Chicago.
- OHSA cautions that fatigue and distraction lead to the most loading dock incidents.
- About three quarters of all loading dock accidents could be prevented with additional caution.
Getting Help after a Chicago Loading Dock Accidents
Dock accident victims have a number of options for relief and financial compensation after an incident in the Chicagoland area. Many legal claims can achieve recovery for their suffering, costs, and other harms and damages. To understand all options and benefits available, consult a qualified personal injury attorney.
Experienced Illinois Loading Dock Accident Advocacy
Perpetrators of dock accidents have lots or resources and friends in high places. It takes skill, dedication, and funds to overtake them. However, qualified personal injury attorneys and dock incident law firms can meet that task.
Our team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has many years of experience in handling injured worker claims including those from dock accidents. We can help you or a family member with all aspects of investigation, communication, litigation, and negotiation to ensure you get what you deserve in Chicago court.
Truck Loading Dock Injury Accident Lawyers in Chicago
Loading dock injuries can range from minor to fatal, creating unexpected medical bills, loss of work and ongoing expenses for the injured worker and their families. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are knowledgeable in OSHA laws and standards as well as other state and federal regulations that pertain to these types of injuries.
Our attorneys will investigate your truck loading dock accident and use our experts to compile your case, whether we just pursue the maximum worker’s compensation benefits or recovery from a responsible third-party (non-employer), regardless if the case goes to trial or ends in a financial settlement.
Contact our Chicago truck accident attorneys now for an initial consultation that is always free to discuss your injury accident. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid when you do.