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Why Construction Vehicle Accidents Happen – And What to Do If You’re a Victim

Updated February 26, 2024 | By Chris Stevenson

Construction sites are bustling with large, noisy, powerful machines like forklifts, bulldozers, and excavators, essential for building and renovation projects. However, if not handled properly, these vehicles can pose significant dangers. Unfortunately, construction vehicle accidents can result in severe injuries and even fatalities for workers and bystanders.

How Do Construction Vehicles Injure Non-Construction Workers?

Construction site accidents aren’t limited to those directly involved in the project. These accidents can happen for many reasons, such as:

  • Living or working in a building where construction is taking place.
  • Parking vehicles near a building that is under construction.
  • Collisions between construction vehicles and cars on streets or highways.
  • Construction activities near a busy street.

What Types of Construction Vehicles Cause Accidents?

A construction site has many different types of vehicles, machinery, and equipment. Most, if not all of them, have the potential to cause injury. However, how they cause harm can differ based on how the vehicle functions. The following vehicles are some of the most common construction vehicles that cause damage:


A forklift is a vehicle with a large “forked” platform in the front designed to lift objects off a pallet and transport them to different locations at a job site. They are commonly found at construction sites, warehouses, dockyards, and more.

In 2020 alone, forklifts injured 7,290 people and killed 78. These injuries typically occur when a forklift strikes or rolls over someone or crushes an individual against an object. Finally, because forklifts lift heavy objects, someone can suffer a forklift injury if the object falls and strikes them.


Used for lifting heavy materials to significant heights, cranes can lead to accidents if not properly secured, balanced, or maintained. Collapses, falling payloads, and direct impacts from cranes can result in severe injuries or even death.


With their immense size and power, construction workers frequently use excavators for digging, moving soil, and other construction tasks. Malfunctioning excavators can cause injuries through crushing, striking, or pinning individuals. Falling debris from the bucket can cause severe injury.

Concrete Mixer Truck

Aside from their on-site operations, concrete mixer trucks can pose risks on highways due to their size and blind spots. Collisions involving these trucks can have devastating consequences, and the force of impact can cause severe injuries or fatalities.

Dump Truck

Dump truck accidents can occur both on and off construction sites. Uncovered and unsecured payloads can scatter debris, striking other cars or pedestrians. Because of their size, a collision between a dump truck and a typical car can be deadly.

Backhoe, Grader, Frontloader, Bulldozer

Similar to other construction vehicles, these machines have their specific hazards. Backhoes, graders, frontloaders, and bulldozers can cause collisions, crushing incidents, or rollovers.

What are the Most Common Injuries in Construction Vehicle Accidents?

Due to their size and power, construction vehicles can cause severe injury. “These injuries can have both short-term and long-term effects on victims. The most common construction vehicle injuries include:

  • Broken bones, bruising, and bleeding from blunt impacts
  • Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Chemical burns, primarily from fuel
  • Limb amputation, either from being crushed or caught in machinery

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What Causes Construction Vehicle Accidents?

After you’ve been in an accident, you may wonder what caused it and whose fault it was. Identifying the cause can help establish responsibility for the accident. Every construction injury is different, but an accident may occur for the following reasons:

Worker Oversight

One or more workers acted negligently or inappropriately. Sometimes this is because they needed proper training in operating the construction vehicle. Other times, a supervisor failed to spot safety hazards.

Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance

It is important to always follow routine maintenance when working with construction vehicles. Construction vehicles are heavy and perform hard work that puts a lot of stress on their parts. Suppose the vehicles’ parts are not calibrated, cleaned, and replaced according to manufacturer recommendations. In that case, the vehicle is more likely to fail or work inconsistently. The vehicle may behave unpredictably, start or stop suddenly, or unexpectedly drop what it’s carrying.

Problems at the Construction Site

The construction site itself may be to blame for some construction vehicle accidents. Suppose the ground of a construction site is not sturdy. When a vehicle weighing several tons drives across it, the ground may shift or collapse. The vehicle may tip or roll over, causing injury to the driver and anyone in the vehicle’s path.

A Defective Vehicle

Sometimes, everyone at the construction site can do everything by the book. However, an accident may still occur if a construction vehicle is faulty. If only one small part is defective, the entire vehicle can malfunction, causing a devastating accident.

Who is at Fault in a Construction Accident?

Once you can determine why a construction accident happened, you can deduce who may be at fault. Generally, one or more parties may be liable when an accident occurs.

These parties include:

  • The driver of the vehicle—If the driver did not follow safety guidelines or acted negligently, they may be held responsible for the accident.
  • The construction company–If the company fails to train or supervise its employees appropriately, it may be at fault. The company may also be liable if it did not prepare the construction site properly or maintain its equipment.
  • The vehicle manufacturer—If the construction vehicle is faulty or defective, the manufacturer may be liable for damages.

If you’ve been injured in a construction vehicle accident and believe the driver, company, or vehicle manufacturer was at fault, contact an attorney immediately to review your case.

What Should I Do If A Construction Vehicle Injures Me?

If a construction vehicle causes you physical harm, the most important thing is to take care of your health. Once you’re stable and on the road to recovery, you should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case.

After an injury, take the following steps:

  • Seek medical help immediately. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may have broken bones, a concussion, or lacerations. It’s not uncommon for a construction accident to result in amputation or spinal injuries. Many construction injuries require a long recovery, including rehabilitation and physical therapy. You may need ongoing or even lifelong support.
  • Document as much information as possible. Once you can, collect as much information as possible about your accident. Document details such as when and where the accident occurred, who was present, what type of vehicle or equipment caused the injury, and other essential details. Additionally, keep medical records and document how your quality of life has changed since your accident.
  • Take photos of the construction site. Take photos of the construction site. Experts can review pictures of the site and machinery to determine whether someone failed to take necessary safety precautions.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney. You may have a long road to recovery ahead of you. However, you don’t need to wait until you’re well into your treatment to contact a lawyer. When your condition is stable and you feel well enough, you can contact an attorney to discuss your case. An experienced construction accident attorney can help you gather additional evidence and start the process to recover damages.

Finding someone knowledgeable about construction accidents is crucial. The injury lawyers at WKW have extensive experience and can review your case to determine your best next steps.

Contact a Construction Accident Attorney at WKW

A construction vehicle accident can have devastating and lifelong consequences. If you have suffered injuries from a forklift, excavator, bulldozer, or other construction vehicle, you may be able to recover damages. At WKW, our construction accident attorneys have tried many similar cases. Contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today for a free case evaluation.

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