Forklift Accident FAQs
In some workplaces, heavy machinery poses an added hazard to workers. The legal team at Flaxman Law Group has worked with many workers in the industrial, manufacturing, construction, and other sectors, for example, who have been seriously injured by forklifts. The injuries can be life-changing or even fatal, and not every hard-working Florida resident knows a forklift accident claims attorney. For that reason, we’ve put together this FAQ of the questions our forklift accident attorneys and legal team get asked most often.
If you have been injured in a forklift accident and don’t see your question answered here, or if you would like to speak with an attorney about your specific situation, we invite you to contact us at Flaxman Law Group for a free, no obligation case consultation. Just call us at 866-352-9626 or contact us online to set up your FREE appointment.
- What Are Forklift Accidents?
- Why Do Forklift Accidents Usually Happen?
- What Are Common Forklift Accident Injuries?
- What Should I Do if I Have Been Injured by a Forklift?
- What Are My Options If I’ve Been Injured in a Forklift Accident?
Forklifts are pieces of equipment commonly founds in warehouses, on construction sites, in stores, and in other businesses. They have four wheels, a place for the operator to sit, and a power operated platform that can be slid under pallets or other objects. The platform can be raised or lowered, allowing the forklift to shift and transport cargo over short distances.
These machines can weigh 9000 pounds, and when something goes wrong, a forklift accident can happen. In this type of accident, cargo can get crushed or the forklift can fall over or crash into someone else, causing serious injury. In most cases, forklift accidents are a type of workplace accident, though in some cases they can injure customers or other visitors to a site.
Why Do Forklift Accidents Usually Happen?
There are several reasons for forklift accidents in the workplace.
- Operator error. Operators may not be properly trained in the use of a forklift or may be distracted or negligent when operating the machinery, and this can lead to mistakes that cause accidents.
- Poor workplace policies. Sometimes, companies create policies that put extra pressure on operators or require an unreasonably fast pace of work. This can create unsafe work conditions.
- Lack of adequate safety measures. Some companies may not have safety training or safety processes in place. For example, they may allow customers in areas where forklifts are being operated or may not encourage reflective vests for forklift operators.
- Mechanical failure. Some forklifts may have faulty design or may not be properly maintained, which can make them dangerous to operate.
- Overturning. Forklifts can become top heavy when they are lifting heavy cargo. If an operator tries to lift too much or is not careful, the forklift can topple over.
- Speeding. Forklifts can travel 18mh, and this can be a dangerous speed if there are pedestrians in a warehouse, if the floor is slippery, or if an operator is transporting heavy cargo.
- Floor design. Poor signage, uneven floors, low lighting conditions, narrow aisles, and other design features can make a forklift operator’s job more dangerous.
In addition to these factors, forklifts themselves simply have dangerous features. They sometimes require operators to lift heavy items to tall heights, which is hazardous. These machines also have brakes only in the front, which can make it harder to come to a complete stop, especially with heavy cargo or on an uneven floor. These vehicles are often drive on docks and ramps and since they turn on rear wheels, there is a chance of tip overs because the forklift’s rear swings out. In addition, since cargo is carried in front, it can be hard for operators to clearly see in front of them. Forklifts tend to have a lot of blind spots in the front when they are carrying a load. All these factors together can increase the risk of workplace accidents.
What Are Common Forklift Accident Injuries?
Due to the size and weight of forklifts, injuries can be quite serious, especially when they involve workers walking around a factory or warehouse floor. Injuries can include any of the following.
- Internal injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic head injuries
- Crushing Injuries
- Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash
What Should I Do if I Have Been Injured by a Forklift?
If you have been injured in a forklift accident, these are the steps you may want to take.
- Seek medical attention. If your injury is serious, call 911. Even if the injury is not an emergency, get a full medical evaluation. Sometimes, it takes time to develop symptoms and you want to make sure any injuries get proper treatment.
- Document everything. If you can, take photos of the accident scene, the surrounding area, and your injuries. As soon as you can, write down everything you remember and who may have been a witness. If you need to take a taxi home, need to take time off work, or incur any other costs because of the accident, write this information down and keep any receipts related to your injuries. Documentation helps you prove your injury and your losses.
- Report your injury. If you were injured on the job, you need to report your injury to your supervisor, employer, or manager, and need to follow the process for injury reporting so you can get workers’ compensation benefits. If you are a customer or visitor injured by a forklift, report the injury to the store owner or manager as soon as you can. Get a copy of the incident report.
- Contact a Hollywood forklift injury attorney. If you have been injured, insurance companies will typically work to pay you as little as possible. You may even be told your injury “does not qualify” for compensation. Insurance companies don’t work for you, but a personal injury attorney does. In fact, a personal injury attorney is required to work in your best interest. An experienced attorney can gather evidence about the cause of your accident, can help you review your options, and can seek the best compensation outcome possible in your case.
What Are My Options If I’ve Been Injured in a Forklift Accident?
Depending on the situation, you may have one of three options.
- Workers’ compensation. If your forklift-related injury happened while you were performing your job duties, you may have a workers’ comp claim. In Florida, employers are required by law to pay for workers’ comp insurance for their workers. If you are injured on the job, this insurance pays benefits, such as a portion of your wages and coverage for all medically necessary treatment.
- A personal injury claim. In most cases, if you’re injured on the job workers’ compensation coverage prevents you from filing a personal injury claim against your employer, even if your employer’s negligence led to your injury. However, you may have a legal claim if a third party—such as the manufacturer of a faulty forklift—was responsible for your injury. You may also have a legal claim if your employer did not pay for workers’ compensation for you, as required by law.
- A premises liability claim. If you are a customer or visitor to a property and are injured by a forklift, you may have a premises liability claim if your injuries are caused by negligence.
To determine whether you have any claim in your case and to get representation for your claim, contact a Hollywood forklift injury claims attorney. An experienced attorney can review all your options and can help you choose the right solution for you. He or she can also help you understand how much compensation you might be eligible for and can take care of the details of filing a claim.
Where Can I Go If I Have More Questions?
If you have suffered a forklift injury and would like to know more about your options for compensation, contact Flaxman Law Group. You can reach a live person 24/7 by calling 866-352-9626 to set up a a free, no obligation consultation with Hollywood forklift injury claims attorney. Or contact us online. Flaxman Law Group has offices in Miami, Homestead, and Miami to serve the entire Southern Florida area and our dedicated team has already recovered over $100 million for injured people like you. Get an attorney’s perspective on your situation at no cost by calling us at Flaxman Law Group today so you can make a decision about your next steps.