What Causes the Most Lift Truck Accidents?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that overturns are the most common type of lift truck accidents. These incidents happen when the lift truck (or forklift) falls over on its side. Operators may struggle to exit the vehicle safely or suffer crushing injuries.
There are other types of lift truck accidents that put operators’ lives in jeopardy. While many incidents result from operator inexperience, other times, third-party negligence plays a role. If you or a loved one was hurt in a lift truck accident, our team could seek appropriate financial recovery. To learn about partnering with our legal team, call the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato at (954) 633-8270.
Overturns Are the Most Common Type of Lift Truck Accident
In a historic study, the CDC researched the number of lift truck accidents nationwide. It found that over 14 years, more than 1,000 people lost their lives in these incidents. It noted that 22 percent of victims suffered overturn accidents.
The National Safety Council (NSC) conducted its own study recently, finding similar results. It also listed the other common types of lift truck accidents. They included:
Being Struck by Objects
Many forklift operators transport bulk items from one location to the next. Even if an operator takes extreme caution, they could get wedged between objects. For instance, imagine a situation where an operator bumps the forklift into a tall storage shelf. The shelf falls, crushing the forklift and injuring the operator.
Being struck by objects is a leading cause of all workplace injuries, not just those involving forklifts.
Falls, Trips, and Falls
Many operators have to climb a few steps when entering a forklift. If they don’t exercise caution when entering or exiting (or if the steps collapse), they could suffer fall injuries. These could range from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries.
Lift trucks don’t offer great visibility. There are many blind spots that may impair the operator’s vision. That’s why many rely on other employees to keep aisles clear and prevent others from walking into the forklift’s path. When they don’t have this guidance, they could ram into objects and suffer injuries from the impact.
Being Caught Inside the Forklift
Let’s return to the scenario where an operator hit a store shelf, and it fell on the forklift. Forklift cabins are tight spaces that are hard to move around in. If an operator cannot get themselves to safety following an accident, they risk suffering serious injuries. This requires forklift manufacturers to keep users’ safety in mind when designing these products.
Some forklift injuries don’t involve outside factors, like debris in a walkway or an inherently poor design. Sometimes, they have to do with the lift truck operator’s physical abilities. If an operator works too many hours (or pushes their body to its limit), they could suffer strains, sprains, and other injuries.
How Often Do Lift Truck Accidents Happen?
The NSC researched the number of lift truck accidents in 2021. The organization found that forklift accidents caused 7,290 non-fatal injuries and 70 fatalities. Those are not small numbers.
The organization noted that lift truck accidents frequently happen in these sectors:
- Service-providing industries
- Transportation and warehousing
- Wholesale enterprises
- Retail stores
- Professional and business services
- Goods-producing industries
What Injuries Happen in Lift Truck Accidents?
In descending order, here are some of the most common types of lift truck injuries:
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Soft-tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains
- Miscellaneous traumatic injuries
Who Is Liable for Forklift Accidents?
Liability in lift truck accidents depends on many circumstances, including how the accident happened. Liability generally rests with the negligent party. For instance, imagine a mechanic was charged with keeping the vehicle in working order, but they didn’t. Then, an operator suffered serious injuries due to this lack of maintenance.
In that situation, the mechanic, their employer, or both could be liable. Some situations involve multiple liable parties. If you have questions regarding fault and liability after your lift truck accident, you have legal options. One of those options involves reaching out to our personal injury firm. We can answer your questions and set your case on a path to success.
The Liable Party Could Owe These Damages
Through a claim or lawsuit against the liable party, you could recover a host of expenses as they relate to your lift truck accident. These compensable damages could include medical bills, lost income, pain, and suffering, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Depending on your situation, you could also qualify for workers’ compensation benefits from your employer’s insurer.
Begin a Free Case Review With the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato Today
Lift truck accidents are more common than most people think––and you’re not alone if you suffered injuries in this type of incident. You have legal options if negligence caused your losses. The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato want to pursue and secure your financial recovery. Contact or call (954) 633-8270 to begin a free case review.