Forklifts are industrial vehicles used to lift heavy weights and transport them. Sadly their agility and quickness is also a major cause for many forklift accident deaths. A forklift has many components including the lifting mechanism which includes the fork, crosshead, mast, lifting chain and carriage. The operator sits in the forklift cab using a system of control levers to operate the forklift via hydraulics. Some of these lift trucks or forklifts are the boom or telescoping variety that can raise loads to heights exceeding 40 feet. Employers and manufacturers are well aware of the serious dangers associated with forklifts. Unfortunately many employers do not take the appropriate measures to prevent forklift accidents. Design defects also are responsible for many of the forklift deaths.

According to OSHA, forklift accidents are responsible for over 20,000 serious injuries or deaths among American workers each year. In a typical week, two forklift related fatalities and 700 serious injuries can occur involving forklift accidents. An additional 34,000 injuries are treated in Emergency rooms each year due to forklift accidents. The biggest risk of death with these powerful machines is tip-overs. Forklift tip-overs and overturns are often caused by driver error but there also many design defects that manufacturers should address.

The second leading cause of forklift deaths is being crushed by a forklift. In many the typical forklift accident lawsuit, the forklift operator training or lack of training is a central issue in establishing negligence and operator error. In other lawsuits the forklift’s design causing it to easily tipover may be considered in a product liability lawsuit against the product manufacturer or the maintenance company responsible in maintaining the lift.

In forklift accident death lawsuits in which a person has been run over or crushed, once again the operator’s past training and evidence of the operators past conduct in other accidents or close calls may be paramount in establishing employer or contractor negligence or even gross negligence. In one lawsuit, the employer was aware of the aggressive almost road rage attitude of the forklift attitude and was found negligent in entrusting the forklift to this hot tempered driver and not terminating him earlier for dangerous operation of a forklift.

Common Causes of Forklift Accidents

  • Tipping Over/Tip-Overs
    • Amongst the most common cause of forklift accidents resulting in death. Tipping over often occurs when the forklift has been overloaded increasing the height of its center of gravity. These heavy loads can cause the lift and forks to sway as they are moved. If combined with an uneven surface or something is hit, the load may keep moving and the forklift is forced to follow the load resulting in a tipover. Sometimes the operators are ejected during a tipover and crushed when the heavy machinery lands on of them.
  • Design Defects
    • Many forklift accidents are the result of defective design. Some manufacturers fail to include safety devices such as a third vertical safety post or no compartment or self-latching door. Doors keep the operators in the vehicle in the event of a tipover, preventing the operator from being crushed by the weight of the forklift. Still, some manufacturers design forklifts without doors endangering lives. Other forklift designs are so poor that they are twice as likely to tip over versus comparable models.
  • Improper or Inadequate Training
    • OSHA and other regulatory bodies require forklift operators to be trained and certified before operating a forklift. Employers often fail to provide the required training placing their employees and nearby workers into a higher risk of forklift accidents.
  • Driver error
    • Forklifts are typically steered using their rear wheels while most vehicles use the front. Operators who do not have sufficient training or are simply bad operators should not be allowed by their employers to operate such vehicles as when the time comes to take in account a pedestrian or nearby worker, the operator might fail to account for them as they swing around the forklifts engine which is in the rear.

Contact a Forklift Accident Lawyer Today

If you or your loved ones have suffered a severe and debilitating injury or death caused by an accident with a forklift, the Willis Law Firm is here to help you get the compensation you may be entitled to. Often a forklift accident lawsuit must be immediately filed to protect the evidence at the scene and other critical evidence needed to win the lawsuit and damages for the clients. Call for a free case evaluation. Talk to a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer with over 30+ years of accident and injury lawsuit experience.

Call Today 1-800-883-9858 & Get Help You Deserve

If you’ve been seriously injured, Talk to a Lawyer about your legal options!
Get Help Right Now