Forklifts are a common sight for anyone who works in a warehouse, manufacturing, construction, logistics, shipping, and many other industries. Unfortunately, they are also likely to see how dangerous a forklift can be. Many people have near misses with forklifts that never even get reported. When someone is injured in a forklift accident, they may require medical treatment, lose days of work, and in some cases, suffer permanent injury.
Workplace Forklift Accidents
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), there are an estimated 100,000 forklift accidents every year. Of these, about two-thirds are classified as non-serious, and one-third result in serious injury. Dozens of people die every year from forklift related accidents, leaving their families and friends grieving over what is often a preventable accident.
There are many causes of forklift accidents in the workplace. Some of the primary causes include lack of training and lack of proper supervision. Many companies want to get people working as soon as possible, and may skip over important training, provide improper training, or give no training at all. Without the proper training and education, the inexperienced forklift operator may be an accident waiting to happen.
Other causes of forklift accidents include poor forklift maintenance, operators under the influence of drugs or alcohol, dangerous workplaces without proper clearance for safe forklift operations, and employers who are focused more on profit than safety.
Lift truck accidents may injure the operator, another employee, or even an innocent bystander. Most fatal accidents occur when the forklift tips over, crushing the operator or another individual underneath. This can happen when the forklift is carrying an unbalanced load, turning a sharp corner, hitting a bump or other obstruction, or quickly accelerating or braking. These types of accidents account for almost 40% of all fatal forklift accidents.
Other fatal accidents occur when someone is crushed between the vehicle and another surface, or being crushed between two vehicles. Getting hit or run over by a forklift accounts for almost 10% of fatal accidents. Others are killed when the load falls off the forklift striking them below. Many of these accidents could be prevented by proper training of all employees, not only lift truck operators.
Not surprisingly, manufacturing is the industry with the greatest percentage of fatal forklift accidents. About 40% of deadly forklift accidents occur in manufacturing, with construction accounting for another 30%. Wholesale trading, retail trading, and transportation are also responsible for a number of fatal forklift accidents.
Forklift injuries can range from moderate to severe, and in some cases can be fatal. Common forklift injuries include broken bones, neck or spinal injury, head trauma, internal injuries, crushing injuries, lacerations, electrocution, and burn injuries. These injuries require immediate medical attention, which may result in expensive medical bills and continuing medical treatment. If the company was negligent in their training, or the workplace was not safe, the injured individual should not be responsible for the medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering. Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about making sure you get the compensation you deserve after a forklift accident.
Most forklift accidents occur on the job involving workplace employees. Because these are workplace injuries, workers' compensation covers most forklift accidents. After such an injury, the employee may receive medical treatment paid for by the workers' compensation program. They should also receive wage compensation for the time they are not able to work, or to supplement their pay if they are not able to return to the same job.
Unfortunately, many employers or their workers' compensation programs do not want to pay for the proper care of their employees. Some employers may claim the worker is not really injured and should be able to return to work. They may even deny the employee's compensation claim. If your employer or workers' compensation insurance company denies your claim, you should contact an attorney. Your lawyer will fight for you to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Forklift Accident Attorneys in Washington D.C.
If you or a loved one was injured in a forklift accident, you should talk to an experienced DC personal injury attorney about getting compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. If a loved one died in a forklift accident, a wrongful death claim may provide compensation for the trauma your family has endured. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. You should not have to suffer due to someone else's negligence. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.