According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), forklift tip-overs are among the most common lift truck accidents. This occurs when the forklift becomes unbalanced or unstable and topples over, often due to factors like uneven ground, improper loading, or operating on slopes. Forklift tip-overs can lead to serious injuries or fatalities for the operator and bystanders. 

Other common types of lift truck accidents include: 

  • Collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians
  • Objects falling from the forks
  • Accidents that are caused by improper use or lack of training

Implementing proper safety measures, providing thorough training, and adhering to operational guidelines can help prevent these accidents.

Forklifts are generally used at large warehouse stores or on construction sites. A skilled truck accident attorney will work to determine the actual cause of the forklift accident and provide insights into the liable parties that caused your injuries.

Common Injuries Associated With Lift Truck Accidents

Forklifts are one of the dangerous vehicles that will severely harm individuals and workers. Some injuries caused by forklift accidents are:

  • Traumatic brain injuries, 
  • Spinal cord injuries, 
  • Back and neck injuries,
  • Nerve damage,  
  • Lacerations, 
  • Bruising,
  • Internal organ damage, 
  • Internal bleeding, 
  • Broken or fractured bones.

A victim must seek medical attention after a forklift accident. Whether an accident victim has sustained minor or major injuries, they must seek prompt medical attention. Your lawyer will use medical evaluation to determine your current and future medical expenses.

What Are The Main Causes Of  Forklift Rollovers?

The main causes of forklift rollovers include:

  • Operating on uneven or unstable surfaces: Forklifts are more prone to tip over when operated on uneven, sloped, or unstable surfaces. This can cause the center of gravity to shift, leading to a rollover.
  • Overloading or improper load handling: When a forklift is overloaded, or the load is not properly secured or distributed, it can increase the risk of a rollover. Weight distribution plays a crucial role in maintaining stability.
  • Excessive speed or sudden maneuvers: Operating a forklift at high speeds or making sudden turns, especially with an elevated load, can cause the forklift to become unstable and tip over.
  • Lack of training or experience: Inadequate training or lack of experience in operating a forklift can increase the likelihood of accidents, including rollovers. Proper training on safe operating procedures and load-handling techniques is essential to prevent rollovers.
  • Poor maintenance or mechanical issues: Neglecting regular maintenance, such as checking tires, brakes, and steering components, can contribute to rollovers. Mechanical issues or malfunctioning parts can also affect the forklift’s stability and control.

Addressing these causes is crucial to preventing forklift rollovers. This includes providing comprehensive training, maintaining equipment properly, implementing safe operating practices, and conducting regular inspections.

How Do We Determine Liability In Forklift Accidents?

Determining liability in forklift accidents involves examining various factors and gathering relevant evidence. Some steps to help determine liability include:

  • Conduct an investigation: Gather all available information about the accident, including witness statements, photographs, video footage, and any relevant documentation. Identify potential causes and contributing factors.
  • Review safety protocols and procedures: Evaluate whether the forklift operator and other involved parties followed established safety protocols and procedures. Determine if any violations or negligence occurred, causing a truck accident.
  • Examine training and qualifications: Assess the forklift operator’s and other individuals’ training and qualifications. Verify whether they had the necessary certifications, proper training, and experience to operate the forklift safely.
  • Assess maintenance records: Review maintenance records to ensure that the forklift involved in the accident was properly maintained. Check for any past issues or mechanical failures that could have contributed to the accident.
  • Consider workplace conditions: Evaluate the workplace environment and conditions in which the accident occurred. Look for any hazards or safety deficiencies that may have played a role in the accident.

Liability in forklift accidents can vary depending on the specific circumstances. It may involve the forklift operator, employer, maintenance personnel, equipment manufacturers, or other parties.

Liable Parties In Forklift Accidents

The victims who have sustained injuries in a forklift accident are eligible for workers’ compensation for their damages. However, third-party entities may be responsible for the damages in some situations. Contractors and companies working together at construction sites may be liable for the damages. Some liable parties can be:

  • Forklift Operator 

Workers who operate forklifts must follow safety measures. They have the right to compensation if they get injured due to someone else’s negligence. In some cases, the truck operator may have been under the influence of drugs or behaved recklessly, for which a lawsuit can be filed against them.

  • Third-Party Liability 

Different scenarios may exist where another company or employer may be liable for your injuries. Some of these situations can be:

  • When an inexperienced or inadequately trained person operates a lift truck, 
  • Failing to ensure proper maintenance of the forklift,
  • Failing to abide by the OSHA guidelines.

The injury attorney will investigate the accident’s cause, ensuring you are on the right path to recover compensation.

  • Products Liability 

In many situations, a forklift manufacturer may be liable for the injuries. If a company manufacturer installs defective or faulty parts, your lawyer will advise you to file a case against the manufacturer under the product liability law.

What Damages Can You Recover After a Forklift Collision?

After a forklift collision, you may be eligible to recover various types of damages, including:

  • Medical expenses: You can seek compensation for all current and future medical costs associated with your injuries
  • Lost wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you can pursue damages for the income you have lost and any future earning capacity owing to your injuries.
  • Pain and suffering: It includes physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by the injuries.
  • Property damage: If your personal property, such as clothing or personal items, was damaged in the forklift collision, you may be able to recover the cost of repairing or replacing those items.
  • Loss of consortium: If the accident has affected your relationship with your spouse. It may result in loss of companionship or unable to maintain normal relationships.

Need Legal Help? Contact a Lawyer

A forklift accident can result in serious injuries and financial losses. An experienced truck accident lawyer can guide you through the legal process to protect your rights and pursue compensation. They can guide you through the legal process, assess your case, and help determine liability.