What Is the Most Common Type of Lift Truck Accident?

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A driver manuevers a lift truck unsafely which can lead to a common type of accident.

Lift trucks, otherwise known as forklifts, are indispensable machines used in warehouses, construction sites, and various other workplaces. However, forklift accidents can leave accident injury victims with severe injuries or may sometimes even result in a fatal accident. Tatum & Atkinson,’ the Heavy Hitters’, has over 65 years of collective experience representing accident injury victims, such as those injured in a lift truck accident. In addition, our attorneys have a wealth of legal experience in personal injury and workers’ compensation law from representing hundreds of lift truck accident cases.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a lift truck accident? Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ to receive your free, no-obligation consultation by calling us at (800) 529-0804 or contacting us online.

Common Causes of Lift Truck Accidents

Below find the most common causes of forklift accidents:

  • Brake failure
  • Dangerous operating conditions
  • High speeds
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Lack of safety equipment
  • Lack of training
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Misloaded cargo
  • Reckless driving

As lift trucks can be hazardous, all operators must undergo training and receive a forklift certification before operating a forklift. In addition, when a forklift falls or is overturned, the operator is at risk of being injured, as well as the surrounding workers.

Common Types of Lift Truck Accidents

According to data compiled from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), around 85 forklift fatalities and 96,400 forklift injuries occur annually, with 34,900 accidents resulting in serious injury. In fact, one out of every six workplace-related deaths is due to a forklift. Below find the most common forklift accidents:

1. Forklift Rollovers

Around 25% of forklift accident fatalities are due to forklift rollovers. Forklift overturns occur when loads are not correctly secured or balanced on the forklift or when an operator is speeding or driving on an uneven surface. With proper training and operation, 25% of forklift fatalities could have been avoided.

2. Forklift Tip-Overs

Similar to a forklift rollover, forklift tip-overs may occur when a load is too heavy or when the forklift is being driven too fast. Tip-overs may also happen if the load is improperly balanced or the forklift is operated on uneven ground.

3. Forklift Accidents Involving Pedestrians

In a forklift accident, the operator can be injured, and a forklift may injure surrounding workers or pedestrians. Unfortunately, any surrounding pedestrians may be struck when a forklift is backing up or turning. As forklifts can weigh nearly 10,000lbs, it can lead to severe injuries or death if a forklift hits a pedestrian.

4. Unsecured Load

Loads that are improperly secured and that fall may injure the driver or any surrounding pedestrians. Additionally, if the tail load falls off or the operator is operating the forklift negligently, an insecure load may injure a surrounding party.

5. Mechanical Issues

Forklift mechanical failure can occur due to poor maintenance, design, or manufacturing and quality control. In addition, brake failure is a common cause of forklift injury. When an accident occurs due to mechanical issues, multiple parties could be liable.

6. Operator’s Negligence

Lastly, a lift truck accident can occur strictly due to the operator’s negligence. If an operator is inadequately trained, they will not be able to operate the forklift successfully. Therefore, an operator should exercise extreme caution when using a forklift to avoid a forklift accident. In addition, negligent behaviors such as speeding, being attentive to their surroundings, or improperly loading cargo can lead to devastating accidents.

What Is the Most Common Type of Lift Truck Accident?

Although lift truck accidents can have several causes, the most common cause of forklift accidents is forklift rollovers.

What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Lift Truck Accident?

If you have been injured in an accident with a lift truck, you should seek medical evaluation immediately. You must receive a medical evaluation even if you feel okay, as some severe injuries may not present with symptoms immediately. Additionally, medical records will help when filing any legal claims. If you have been injured while on the job, you should also notify your employer immediately following the accident. Finally, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.

An attorney may help you gather evidence, talk to witnesses, obtain video footage or photographs of the accident, and help you determine the potential value of your claim. As many employers or insurance companies may try to deny the origin or severity of your injuries, it is crucial to speak with an experienced attorney immediately to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Unfortunately, many large companies have legal teams who will work to diminish your right to just compensation for your injuries.

Preventing a Lift Truck Accident

According to the Center for Disease Control, the best way to avoid workplace hazards is to follow the following tips:

  •   Ensure all operators are adequately trained
  •   Never exceed the lift trucks weight and speed limits
  •   Ensure that the operator always has a clear view of the travel lane
  •   Before exiting the forklift, ensure the controls are neutralized, the parking brake is set, and the forks are lowered
  •   Wear a seatbelt when operating the forklift
  •   Don’t move the forks while the forklift is in motion
  •   If you notice damage on the forklift, notify a supervisor right away

What Kind of Compensation May I Recover?

Typically, in a lift truck accident, forklift accident injury victims may be entitled to two types of compensation for their damages, economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

Economic damages include specific monetary amounts associated with your injuries, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages account for intangible, non-financial losses experienced due to the accident, such as:

How Much Compensation Could I Receive for My Lift Truck Accident Claim?

Lift truck accidents often result in severe injuries that may necessitate significant recovery time; other injuries may be permanent. Forklift accident injury victims and their families can be left with enormous medical expenses, lost wages, emotional trauma, and potentially funeral expenses. The experienced lift truck accident attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ will assess all of the economic and non-economic damages sustained by you and/or your family and will fight for the just compensation you deserve.

North Carolina Lift Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been injured by a forklift, you should first seek medical treatment and notify your employer of the accident. Next, you should contact an experienced lift truck accident lawyer. Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters’ can help you to ensure that you get the just compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our attorneys are experienced in negotiating with employees and insurance companies. You will receive a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our experienced lift truck accident attorneys to discuss what your legal options are and what steps to take next.

Here at Tatum & Atkinson, the ‘Heavy Hitters’, we accept forklift accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you will never have to pay attorneys fees out of pocket, and we will not get paid unless you win. Contact us today by calling us at (800) 529-0804 or contact us online to receive your free case evaluation to see what we can do to help you.