What is the Most Common Type of Lift Truck Accident?

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What is a Lift Truck?

Lift Trucks, more commonly known as forklifts, are essential tools in the commercial space of transporting objects. They’re built to make the job of moving heavy objects a lot easier, especially when they are sitting on pallets or in crates. These machines are incredibly versatile and useful in many different industries and settings, ensuring the movement of goods and materials runs smoothly. 

However, despite the value they bring to workers and companies, workplace accidents caused by forklifts can cause devastating injuries or potential death. It is important to learn the types of accidents caused by lift trucks, how they are caused, how to prevent them, and what to do if you are involved in one.

Causes of Lift Truck Accidents 

  • Lifting Loads Too High: If you raise loads too high or don’t balance them properly, it increases the risk of a forklift tipping over.
  • Uneven Ground: Using forklifts on surfaces that aren’t level or stable can make them wobbly and cause tipping accidents.
  • Speeding: Going too fast when turning or in tight spaces can make it hard to control the forklift and lead to rollovers or crashes with obstacles.

Preventive measures:

  • Proper Speed: Forklift operators should ensure they are transporting objects at safe speeds, especially when they’re in tricky places or tight spots.
  • Load Limits: It’s crucial to make sure that the loads being lifted don’t go over the forklift’s weight limit to keep things stable.
  • Safety Steps: Knowing what to do if the forklift starts tipping, like staying in your seat and leaning the other way, can prevent rollovers from becoming accidents.

Common Types Of Forklift Accidents

Forklift accidents are a serious concern, as they can result in injuries and even fatalities. Rollovers are a major worry, but there are also other common accidents to watch out for. These include accidents involving pedestrians, forklifts tipping over because of improperly loaded cargo, and incidents caused by forklifts being operated incorrectly.

Let’s take a closer look at these common forklift accidents and how to prevent them.

  • Rollovers: Forklift rollovers can be caused by several factors, including unbalanced loads and uneven surfaces. Safety measures to prevent rollovers include respecting speed limits, load capacity limits, and always using seat belts.
  • Pedestrian Accidents: Accidents involving pedestrians are usually caused by a lack of safety measures and poor operator awareness. To prevent this, make sure operators are attentive, use appropriate warning signs, mark forklift zones with floor tape, and address operator fatigue.
  • Operator Error: Truck lift accidents can be the result of inadequate training or lack of care by the operator. These issues can be addressed by emphasizing continuous and thorough training, retraining, and performance evaluations.
  • Falling Loads: Forklifts that are improperly operated or inspected can lead to falling loads. To prevent these issues, operators should ensure proper load creation, manage mast speed, and maintain equipment. Measures include load centering, securing, and conducting thorough pre-shift inspections.
  • Truck Falls: Forklifts often operate near ledges and other elevated surfaces, which can lead to truck falls. To avoid trucks falling off docks or trailers, regularly check for proper maintenance and be mindful of surrounding areas and objects.
  • Personnel Falling from Forks: Workers are susceptible to injury by getting ejected from the forklift. Prevent severe injuries by using guardrails, avoiding improper use of forklifts as man-lifts, and ensuring load balance.
  • Blocked Sight: Sometimes, cargo loads can impede an operator’s vision and lead to unintended accidents. To avoid potential incidents caused by blocked sight, work with a spotter, reduce speed & cargo loads, and regularly check blind spots.
  • Mechanical Failure: Mechanical failures can cause issues that put operators and surrounding workers at risk of suffering an injury, such as rollovers and falling loads. Prevent mechanical failures by performing routine inspections and maintenance, with a focus on components like brakes, tires, and fluid leaks.
  • Emissions Poisoning: Emissions poisoning can result in persistent headaches, dizziness, and nausea, while severe poisoning can result in brain or heart damage, or potentially death. Avoid emissions poisoning by ensuring proper ventilation and monitoring carbon monoxide levels when operating in enclosed spaces. Address issues like excessive idling and incorrect fuel mixture.
  • Crushed by Forklift: Workers & pedestrians can be crushed by a forklift caused by poor oversight and operator error. Crush accidents can be prevented by promoting safe working distances, avoiding standing in the path of moving forklifts, and implementing safety protocols to address potential risks.

Common Injuries Associated With Lift Truck Accidents

Injuries from lift truck accidents can be severe and have lasting effects on those involved. These accidents can result in injuries like head injuries, harm to organs, spinal cord damage, fractures, and cuts. These injuries not only harm people right away but can also lead to long-term health problems. That’s why it’s vital to focus on safety measures to avoid these serious consequences.

Here’s a breakdown of common injuries resulting from lift truck accidents:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries: These injuries can seriously affect thinking and neurological function, impacting a person’s overall quality of life.
  • Internal Organ Damage: Harm to internal organs can result in significant health issues and the need for long-term medical care.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Such injuries often cause paralysis, affecting a person’s ability to move and be independent.
  • Broken or Fractured Bones: These injuries can lead to chronic pain and may require extensive rehabilitation.
  • Lacerations: Deep cuts and lacerations can result in scarring and potential nerve damage, affecting both physical and emotional well-being.

How is Liability Determined?

Finding out who’s to blame after a forklift accident is complex. It means looking into many factors, often concentrating on other parties and groups, especially in busy places like construction sites.

The idea of product liability is also important. It means forklift manufacturers can be held responsible if there were issues or defective parts that caused the accident. This detailed approach is crucial for identifying who’s at fault, especially when dealing with worker compensation and legal action.

What Damages Can I Recover After a Forklift Accident?

Following a lift truck accident, the compensation process usually involves two main types of damages: economic and non-economic. These financial recoveries are meant to ease the difficulties faced by accident victims.

Economic Damages

These include covering significant medical costs resulting from accident injuries, making up for lost wages due to time off work, and addressing property damage. 

Some of the most common economic damages include: 

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation for medical costs like hospital bills, surgeries, meds, and rehab.
  • Lost Wages: Recovering the income lost while unable to work during recovery, including potential future earnings if the injury affects long-term employment.
  • Property Damage: Payment for damage to personal property, such as the victim’s vehicle or belongings, caused by the accident.

Non-Economic Damages

These encompass less tangible losses, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and compensation for permanent injuries. They recognize the deep impact these accidents can have on individuals’ lives. 

A few of the most common non-economic damages include: 

  • Emotional Distress: Compensation for the emotional pain and psychological trauma caused by the accident and injuries.
  • Pain and Suffering: Acknowledgment of the physical pain and emotional distress experienced due to the accident, recognizing its significant impact on the victim’s quality of life.
  • Permanent Injury: Financial recovery for injuries that lead to lasting impairments or disabilities, necessitating ongoing care and changes in daily life.

Consult With Our Louisiana Lift Truck Accident Lawyers and Get Gordon McKernan

Following your lift truck accident, our team of Louisiana personal injury lawyers is here to offer you the complete support you require during this difficult time. We know Louisiana’s laws well, and our commitment to getting you fair compensation makes us a trustworthy ally. 

Here are three ways our Louisiana workplace accident lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys can help you:

  1. Extensive Knowledge: With our 679+ years of combined legal experience and our understanding of Louisiana’s trucking laws, you can be confident that your case is in capable hands. We’ll guide you through the legal details and increase your chances of a positive result.
  2. Protection from Insurance Tactics: Insurance adjusters may ask tricky questions that could hurt your claims. When you consult with us for a free session, you’re shielded from these tactics, and your rights and interests are safeguarded during the claims process.
  3. Full Legal Support: With 200+ Personal Injury Million+ verdicts and settlements, we’ve shown our commitment to getting our clients the compensation they deserve, and we’ll do the same for you! Our pledge is supported by our guarantee to be there for you and offer the legal help you need.