Also known as powered industrial trucks, forklifts are widely used in the construction industry to help workers move materials. Although forklifts help save time and increase efficiency, they can also cause serious injuries to the operator and nearby workers. Each year, forklift accidents result in 20,000 serious injuries and 100 fatalities.
If you or a loved one has suffered a forklift injury at work, a construction accident lawyer can help determine whether you are owed monetary damages beyond the benefits offered by workers’ compensation. To find out if you are eligible for financial compensation, fill out our free case review form to speak with a construction attorney.
Forklift Overturns & Construction Site Fatalities
Forklift overturns are the leading cause of deaths involving powered industrial trucks and represent approximately 25% of all forklift-related fatalities. Statistics show that forklift-related deaths most commonly result from forklift overturns, nearby workers being hit by the equipment or workers falling off the forklift. The construction of the forklift, the construction site environment, and the actions of the equipment’s operator are all contributing factors in forklift-related deaths. The number of deaths resulting from forklift accidents may indicate that many employers and their workers are unaware of the proper safety procedures that can help prevent forklift injuries and death.
Causes of Forklift Accidents
Failure to supervise and properly train employees is the most common cause of forklift accidents. Employers are required to ensure every forklift operator has the skill to run such machinery and finishes a training program and evaluation successfully. Employers who fail to meet the federal training standards are in clear violation of the safety guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Forklift accidents can also be caused by overloading. In many instances, these construction site accidents occur because employers are trying to increase efficiency by encouraging employees to move excessive loads. However, overloading a forklift can be dangerous, as this can cause a forklift to tip over. Also, workers can be struck by falling materials from an overloaded forklift.
Other common causes of forklift accidents include:
- Improper maintenance
- Mechanical malfunctions
- Defective machinery
When a forklift injury results from faulty equipment, the injured construction worker may be able to recover compensation from the forklift manufacturer. Many construction accident lawsuits stemming from defective forklift designs allege that the equipment manufacturer failed to install a compartment door, rear door, self-latching door or operator restraints. Forklift accident lawsuits may also hold the manufacturer responsible for failing to provide adequate warnings about the risks associated with the equipment or defectively designing forklifts with a susceptibility to tip over. Manufacturers who release defective forklifts into the marketplace may be held liable for any injuries resulting from the equipment’s design, manufacturing or marketing defects.
Forklift Accident Lawsuits
When a construction worker suffers a forklift injury, they may be able to recover financial compensation for their economic and non-economic losses with the help of a construction accident lawyer. When a forklift accident lawsuit stems from a product defect, the construction attorney must prove that the forklift is defective and unreasonably dangerous and directly caused the worker’s injuries. However, not all forklift accidents are caused by product defects. Only a skilled construction lawyer can determine the cause of your forklift accident and identify the liable parties in your case. For a free case review with one of our construction injury lawyers, fill out the form on the right.