Lift trucks are an invaluable piece of equipment for construction, industrial, warehousing, and other operations where workers need to move heavy objects from one place to another. However, operating these machines comes with serious risks.
Annually in the United States, accidents occur with about 10% of forklifts, resulting in 96,000 injuries. About 38% of these injuries are serious.
Lift truck operators need to be aware of the potential risks and what to do when an accident happens. Knowing what is the most common type of lift truck accident could help you avoid serious injuries.
What Is the Most Common Type of Lift Truck Accident?
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, forklift rollovers are the most common type of lift truck accident. Rollovers commonly happen when:
- Operators turn too quickly.
- Loads are overweight or imbalanced.
- Lift trucks operate on inclines.
- Operators are transporting elevated loads.
- Lift trucks are traveling on uneven surfaces.
Many rollover accidents happen because of inadequate training by employers.
What Body Part Is Most Likely To Be Injured in a Lift Truck Accident?
Forklift rollovers often cause crush injuries due to the weight of the machine or its load landing on the operator or a pedestrian. Body parts commonly affected include the:
- Spinal cord
- Internal organs
- Neck and back
Other common injuries include fractures, traumatic brain injuries, lacerations, nerve damage, and bruising. Forklift rollovers are also the leading cause of deaths due to lift truck accidents.
What Should You Do If You Have a Lift Truck Accident?
The first thing you should do after any type of lift truck accident is to get medical treatment for your injuries. Timely medical care will give you the best chance of fully recovering and provides important documentation for any personal injury or workers’ compensation claim you may have.
If the accident happened while you were working, notify your employer. Notify the Workers’ Compensation Board if you plan to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Employees in Washington, D.C., have 30 days to contact the Board. Maryland employees must notify the Board within 10 days and Virginia employees have 60 days to file a claim.
If you are an independent contractor and someone’s negligence or a manufacturer’s defect caused your accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. Because sorting out who may be responsible for your injuries and obtaining compensation can be a complex process, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney before you talk to any insurance companies or discuss any settlements.
If you witnessed any safety violations, talk to your attorney about filing a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Where Can You Get Help With a Lift Truck Accident?
No matter what type of lift truck accident caused your injuries, if the accident happened while you were working for an employer or because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
The attorneys at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, are prepared to fight for your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.