Forklifts are used in industry, construction, shipping, and retail stores to transport heavy loads. Forklifts are powerful pieces of equipment and require extensive training to operate safely. Forklifts, also known as lift trucks, are involved in many serious workplace accidents each year.
If you’ve been hurt in a forklift or lift truck accident in Brownsville, you need experienced legal representation to seek maximum compensation for your injuries. Turn to Herrman & Herrman for help. Our attorneys have more than a century of combined experience from having handled thousands of cases. We help clients pursue just compensation for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Let our firm help you understand your rights and options for obtaining compensation after you’ve been involved in a forklift accident.
Our law firm has an office in Brownsville and a Spanish-speaking and English-speaking staff to serve you. Contact Herrman & Herrman today for a free case evaluation. Let’s discuss your legal rights and options after you’ve been injured in a forklift or lift truck accident in Texas.
Magnitude of a Forklift Accident
Forklift accidents cause tens of thousands of injuries and multiple fatalities in workplaces in Texas and across the country every year. In 2019, forklifts were involved in accidents linked to 79 work-related deaths and more than 8,100 injuries.
Forklifts have the capability to cause serious injuries or death in an accident for several reasons:
- Forklifts can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour or more, which can be dangerously fast when operated near people on foot and in an enclosed space like a warehouse.
- Forklifts don’t handle the same as a passenger vehicle because of their different brake systems, the fact that their rear wheels turn instead of their front wheels, and their weight distribution is in the back.
- Most forklifts carry their loads in front, which can obstruct an operator’s view.
- Lifting a load can destabilize a forklift and cause it to turn over.
The weight, speed, and difficult operation of a forklift can greatly increase the risk of an accident. Those factors can also increase the severity of injuries inflicted by an accident.
Common Causes of Forklift Accidents
Federal work safety regulations require anyone operating a forklift to complete an approved training program to learn how to operate a forklift safely. Even so, these machines are frequently used by untrained, inexperienced, or careless operators.
Some of the most common causes of forklift accidents include:
- Lack of training and experience
- Careless or reckless operation, including speeding, failing to pay attention to the position of forks, failing to yield to people on foot, or engaging in horseplay
- Not immobilizing the forklift when the operator steps away from the controls
- Traveling up or down unsafe inclines or accidentally driving off the side of a ramp
- Lack of maintenance
- Design or manufacturing defects
- Lack of safety equipment, including helmets, seatbelts, grab handles, roll cages, warning lights, and sirens
Examples of Forklift Fatalities Investigated by OSHA
Unfortunately, numerous forklift accident fatalities occur every year. Fatal forklift accidents are typically investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Examples of fatal forklift accidents that were investigated by OSHA include:
- A clerk at a marine terminal was killed after being struck and run over by a forklift. The operator’s view was blocked by a load being carried near the operator’s eye level.
- A forklift operator was crushed and killed by the vehicle when it tipped over because the operator attempted to make a sharp turn at high speed.
- An employee fell and was pinned by a forklift when he was standing on a pallet that was being lifted up by the forklift but was not secured.
- A forklift operator suffered a fatal head injury because the forklift tipped over when he drove into a tractor-trailer as the truck began to pull away from the loading dock.
- A worker driving a forklift was killed in a tip-over accident when the forklift hit a pothole in a parking lot.
- A longshoreman was killed when a forklift operator attempting to lift a pallet stuck the forklift’s forks through to an adjacent pallet, tipping the adjacent pallet’s cargo onto the longshoreman.
- A forklift operator was crushed and killed when his forklift tipped over on a 13-degree incline while the operator was not wearing a seatbelt.
What to Do If You Were Injured by a Forklift in Brownsville
If you’ve been injured in a forklift accident, you can take the following steps to help protect your legal rights and options. These actions will give you a head start in pursuing a claim for compensation for your injuries and losses:
- First, you should make sure that you seek medical treatment for any injuries you may have suffered in the accident. Call for emergency medical attention if you’ve suffered any serious or life-threatening injuries. If you do not require emergency treatment, make sure to schedule an appointment within 48 hours to have your injuries diagnosed and get a treatment plan.
- Report the forklift accident to your employer. If your supervisor or your employer fills out an accident or incident report, obtain a copy of the report for your records.
- Take photographs or video of the accident scene and of the forklift if you are able to do so. If you suffered any visible injuries, try to photograph them as well.
- You should make time to consult with a Brownsville forklift accident attorney at Herrman & Herrman. You can go over your rights to compensation and your options for pursuing financial recovery and learn more about how a forklift accident lawyer can help you with your case.
Contact a Forklift Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured in a forklift-related accident, you may have options for seeking financial compensation for the harm and losses that you’ve suffered. Don’t wait another day to begin the process of pursuing recovery. We have an offices in Brownsville for your convenience. Contact Herrman & Herrman or give us a call at (361) 882-4357 today for a free consultation.