Forklift truck accidents frequently cause catastrophic, life-altering injuries. But the risk is not just to forklift truck drivers. As many as two-thirds of forklift accidents – at least in some areas – involve pedestrians or otherwise innocent bystanders. Many forklift claims involve: caught limbs, running over pedestrians’ feet, and entering or exiting the vehicle improperly. Here are some disconcerting forklift accident statistics:
- OSHA’s statistics indicate that forklifts are involved in about 68,000 accidents each year, resulting in 95,000 injuries
- 10% of forklifts are involved in an accident
- Two-thirds of all forklifts in use will be involved in some sort of accident during the life of the forklift
- Operator training can improve forklift truck performance by approximately 70 percent.
I could go on but you get the idea: forklifts = dangerous. But it goes without saying that many forklift accidents are caused by or result in serious injuries as the result of a defective forklift design. Since it is known that this product is extremely dangerous, it is imperative that forklift truck makers anticipate potential accidents and plan accordingly.
Fork Lift Accident Lawsuits
Forklifts are an essential tool in many industrial settings, used to transport heavy materials and equipment from one location to another. While forklifts are designed to be safe and reliable, they can also pose a significant risk to workers if they are not operated correctly. Every year, thousands of workers are injured in forklift accidents, leading to serious physical injuries and financial losses for both employees and employers.
The most common types of forklift injuries include:
Crush injuries: Crush injuries can occur when a worker is trapped between a forklift and a solid object, such as a wall or another vehicle. These injuries can result in severe damage to the body, including broken bones, internal organ damage, and amputations.
Falls: Falls from a forklift can occur if the worker slips or falls from the vehicle while it is in motion. These injuries can result in serious injuries to the head, neck, and back, as well as fractures and other broken bones.
Struck-by injuries: Struck-by injuries can occur when a worker is hit by a forklift while they are working in close proximity to the vehicle. These injuries can result in severe physical trauma, including broken bones, head injuries, and internal organ damage.
Electrocution: Electrocution can occur if a forklift comes into contact with an electrical source while it is in operation. This can result in serious injuries or even death.
In addition to these physical injuries, forklift accidents can also lead to significant financial losses for workers and employers. Workers may require medical treatment and rehabilitation, which can result in lost wages and increased medical expenses. Employers may also face increased insurance costs, worker’s compensation claims, and decreased productivity due to lost work hours.
To reduce the risk of forklift injuries, it is important for employers to implement effective safety measures and train workers on proper forklift operation. Some recommended safety measures include:
Regular maintenance and inspection of forklifts to ensure they are in good working condition.
Providing workers with proper training on the safe operation of forklifts, including the use of seat belts, headlights, and backup alarms.
Implementing clear traffic patterns and guidelines for forklift operation to minimize the risk of collisions and other accidents.
Requiring workers to wear protective equipment, such as hard hats, safety glasses, and high-visibility clothing, when working with or around forklifts.
Providing workers with adequate rest breaks and limiting the amount of time they are required to operate a forklift.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a forklift accident, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and guide you through the legal process to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
In conclusion, forklift accidents are a serious risk to workers in industrial settings, leading to serious physical injuries and financial losses. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment and train workers on the safe operation of forklifts. If you have been injured in a forklift accident, it is important to seek legal representation to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. With the right representation, you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery, while your lawyer handles the legal aspects of your case.
Forklift Accident Verdicts and Settlements
Below are some recent examples of forklift accident stories and how the cases were resolved in litigation by settlement or verdict.
YEAR / STATE
CASE / INJURY SUMMARY
2020 – New York
A 73-year-old woman suffered bilateral ankle fractures after a forklift struck her on a one-way street. She underwent surgical repairs for treatment. At the time of the incident, she was jaywalking to a senior citizen center. The forklift’s owner, an electrical company, alleged that her jaywalking made her comparatively negligent. The woman refuted this claim, arguing she jaywalked because the sidewalk leading to the facility’s entrance was obstructed. She claimed that the electrical equipment obstructed the forklift operator’s view, causing him to go the wrong way on the street and strike her. Because of her injuries, the woman babysat her grandchildren less frequently and was less energetic than before. She now used a cane for assistance with walking. Her orthopedic surgeon also testified that she was now at risk for developing arthritis. This case settled for $2,000,000.
$2,000,000 – Settlement
2020 – Indiana
A man suffered soft-tissue ankle damage that developed into a ganglion cyst after a heavy battery charging station struck him after a forklift struck it. He claimed that his injuries necessitated future ankle replacement. The forklift operator and his employer admitted liability but argued that the man’s injuries were related to a previous foot fracture. Following a bench trial, the judge awarded a $282,634 verdict.
$282,634 – Verdict
2020 – Texas
A forklift ran over a man’s foot at a construction site, causing a crush injury that left the man permanently disabled. He alleged that the forklift operator failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to avoid a collision, and failed to follow safety procedures. The forklift operator and his employer, a concrete company, denied liability. A jury found the concrete company 60 percent liable and the forklift operator 40 percent liable. They awarded a $67,441,000 verdict.
$67,441,000 – Verdict
2019 – New Jersey
$1,230,000 – Verdict
2019 – Wisconsin
$2,800,000 – Settlement
2019 – Nevada
$5,870,283 – Verdict
2019 – Pennsylvania
$9,000,000 – Settlement
2018 – Pennsylvania
A forklift ran over and crushed a 20-something construction worker’s right foot at a water park job site. The man suffered a crush injury, for which he underwent surgery. However, the surgery was unsuccessful, and the man developed foot and toe necrosis. The man ultimately underwent a below-the-knee amputation of his right leg. He then underwent revision surgery to help his prosthetic leg fit better. The man also suffered from phantom limb, post-traumatic stress disorder, and residual pain. He did not return to work because of his permanent injuries. This case settled for $2,750,000.
$2,750,000 – Settlement
2018 – Alabama
A 54-year-old man was struck by a forklift while at work. He initially suffered a right wrist injury. About a year and a half later, the man experienced shoulder and neck pain he claimed was related to the incident. The man sought medical treatment and achieved maximum medical improvement with a 0 percent impairment about six months later. This case settled for $20,000.
$20,000 – Settlement