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Construction worker dies in freak accident with runaway forklift

New York City records a large toll of construction accidents each year. That toll is increasing with the advent of a new real estate boom in new construction. One recent accident illustrates the plight of one construction worker in a freakish accident that occurred apparently on property owned or occupied by the New York Fire Department.

A worker, employed by Napa Auto Parts, was driving a forklift on Review Ave. near 35th St. in Long Island City. He stopped the machine in front of a van that was loading items at a warehouse. The warehouse had a sign in front that said, "F.D.N.Y. Parts Delivery." He put the forklift into neutral and got off it to assist in loading the van, witnesses say.

Before he got to do anything, however, the forklift moved forward suddenly and pinned him between it and the van. This was apparently a massive crushing injury. Although medics rushed him to a nearby hospital, he was declared dead at that facility. It appears that the equipment is owned by the Fire Department of New York City. The involvement of that agency or the nature of the use of the warehouse is currently unknown. 

The 28-year-old construction worker would have been entitled to workers' compensation benefits had he lived. In death, those benefits will be paid to his next of kin for medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and future partial lost wages. In addition, because the man was employed by Napa but was working with equipment of the New York Fire Department, apparently on Fire Department property, there may be a wrongful death lawsuit against one or more entities. To determine whether a death claim for civil damages exists in such a matter, it is necessary to consult with an experienced attorney who is familiar with claims and litigation pertaining to construction accidents.

Source:, "Worker, 28, killed in Queens by forklift he was operating", Thomas Tracy, Ross Keith and John Annese, Feb. 11, 2017