Many people share forklift accident videos on the internet, without realizing how dangerous these accidents can be for the people involved. Every year, there are more than 100,000 forklift accidents in the U.S., often resulting in serious injury or death. One out of every six workplace fatalities are forklift related. Whether a forklift accident is caused by operator error, lack of training, forklift defects, poor forklift maintenance, or other reasons, it may lead to serious injuries for forklift operators and bystanders. This can lead to expensive medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Causes of Forklift Accidents
There are a number of causes of forklift accidents. Forklift accidents are frequently caused by lack of proper training, poor forklift maintenance, forklift operators under the influence of drugs or alcohol, improperly equipped or modified forklifts, and operator error. Companies and jobs that use forklifts regularly may rush through training, provide inadequate training, or give no real training at all on how to operate a forklift. If the operator is not properly trained on how to safely operate the forklift, it is no surprise that there are so many forklift accidents every year.
The workplace can also contribute to increased risk of forklift accidents. This includes crowded aisles, narrow or obstructed aisles, poor lines of sight at intersections and doors, excessive traffic, poor lighting, and unrepaired loading dock surfaces. In many cases, the company is aware of the dangerous conditions, but does not properly warn employees and takes no measures to remedy the problems.
Forklift operators can also be the cause of an accident. Many forklift accidents involve traveling at excessive speed, improper parking, riding on a forklift, riding with an elevated load, lifting too heavy a load, and improper turning or backing up. When a forklift driver uses the machine regularly, they may become lax in safely operating the forklift. Negligent operation of a forklift can lead to injuries for the driver. Almost 75% of all forklift accidents involve a pedestrian. If a pedestrian is injured in a forklift accident, the forklift rider and the company may be liable for the injuries caused.
Companies that are looking to save money may take shortcuts on forklift maintenance, repair, and keep a forklift in operation long after it should have been retired. Unfortunately for the forklift operator, a poorly maintained forklift can cause an accident through no fault of the driver. Accidents may involve brake malfunctions, steering malfunctions, malfunctioning safety devices, or transmission slippage. These types of accidents can lead to serious injury or even death.
Forklift Accident Injuries
Forklift accidents can involve all types of injuries. Some of the most common injuries occur when a forklift falls over on a pedestrian or the forklift driver. This can lead to crushing injuries, broken bones, neck or back injury, facial trauma, and even death. Other common causes of forklift accidents occur when an individual is struck by a forklift, crushed between the forklift and another object, or struck by falling material.
Even a minor forklift accident can lead to serious injuries. A pedestrian or forklift operator may fall from the forklift on their back, and think they only suffered a couple of bruises. However, neck, back, and head injuries can be deceptive. A day or two later, the injured individual may notice the pain is getting work. They may have suffered a much more serious injury than they first realized, requiring medical attention.
Serious forklift accidents can require emergency medical treatment, multiple surgeries, lengthy hospital stays, and long-term care. Some injuries may require medical treatment for the rest of the injured individual's life. This can lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages from missing work, decreased earning capacity, permanent disfigurement or scarring, emotional damage, and pain and suffering. A serious injury can also take its toll on the family of the injured individual. You should not have to suffer the high financial, physical, and emotional costs of a forklift injury if someone else was responsible for the accident.
Baltimore Forklift Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in a forklift accident, you should talk to an experienced Maryland 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.