Forklift Accident Lawyers for People Injured in Chicago, Illinois
Forklifts (lift trucks) are commonly used in factories, warehouses, and construction sites to load and transport heavy materials. Forklift operators must receive proper training regarding safe operation and loading techniques and ways to alert co-workers to protect people working in the area.
Our Chicago forklift accident attorneys can protect your legal rights and take necessary steps to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has successfully prosecuted Illinois forklift cases for injured workers, and we look forward to doing the same for you.
Contact our office for a free review of your work injury case and legal options for financial recovery under Illinois law. Our attorneys currently represent clients throughout the United States, Illinois, and the Chicago area, including the following localities: Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Bolingbrook, Chicago, Elgin, Joliet, Naperville, and Schaumburg.
Forklift Accident Fatality FAQs
What is the Most Common Type of Forklift Accident?
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), employers could have prevented nearly seven of ten workplace accidents had they established and enforced safety procedures improper training.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) claims that most forklift accidents involve vehicle-overturning, workers being struck by a forklift, and falling from a forklift. Many forklift-accident victims suffered crushing injuries after being hit or pinned by a moving forklift.
What is the Number one Cause of Forklift Accidents?
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), overturned forklifts remains the leading cause of workplace-related deaths involving lift trucks and forklifts.
Many of these accidents occurred due to improper turning when the operator lifted an elevated load higher than the vehicle.
How can Forklifts Reduce Accidents?
OSHA offers specific guidelines to reduce the accident rate in any warehouse or business facility using forklifts and lift trucks. The guidelines state that all forklift operators should be certified and provided with an annual refresher course.
The company should restrict the speed limit of forklifts moving inside the warehouse and install each vehicle with the backup alarm and a noisy horn.
How Dangerous are Forklifts?
Forklift operators must often lift heavy loads from the ground to high places. Any error in judgment when lifting the load could cause falling objects that severely injure the operator, another worker, or bystander.
The heaviest weight on the loaded forklift is carried on the forks at the front of the vehicle. Large cargo loads can completely block the operator's line of sight.
Any movement in the wrong direction could pin a worker or bystander, leading to life-threatening injuries or wrongful death by a crushing accident.
How Many People Die in Forklift Accidents?
According to the National Safety Council, approximately eighty-five people lose their lives every year in forklift-related accidents. The number of forklift accidents resulting in severe injuries totals more than 34,000 every year.
Overturned and rollover forklifts are the most common accidents involving the vehicle and account for one out of four forklift accidental events.
What is Forklift Safety?
There are practical measures any driver can take while operating a company forklift, including ensuring that the forks are positioned deep under the cargo load before lifting. The operator should move the load in the lowest position and as close to the floor as safely possible.
Warehouse management should install warning signs and post speed limits to prevent dangerous scenarios. The operator should look in all directions when moving and turning around and move in reverse safely when the cargo load would block the operator's view when moving forward.
How Fast Should You Drive a Forklift?
Workplace safety regulations typically mandate that the operator does not drive the forklift any faster than eight mph in open areas when the driver has a clear line of sight. Any area with the pedestrian should restrict the movement of the forklift to three miles per hour or less.
Safety Issues Commonly Related to Chicago Forklift Accident Cases
There is an increased risk of the following types of forklift injuries when forklift drivers fail to follow necessary safety protocols or keep a lookout for other people in the area that include:
- Hitting other people in the area with the cargo load or forklift
- Crushing workplace injuries and wrongful death from setting a load down before checking the area
- Dropping loads when the loads are imbalanced, or pallets are not entirely on the forks
- Failing to warn others that they are working in the area with a forklift
Unprotected Workers Particularly at Risk for Collision With Forklifts
The injuries caused by forklift accidents are usually severe, given the size and weight of the forklifts and their loads. Crushing and pinning injuries are some of the more complex injuries that tend to result from forklift accidents and frequently result in severe injuries, permanent disability, and wrongful death.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated one hundred workers lose their lives due to forklifts every year. Another 20,000 sustain serious injuries annually in the overturn accidents that remain the leading cause of forklift fatalities and account for 25% of all forklift deaths.
Role of OSHA in Forklift Accidents Cases
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has recognized the dangers associated with forklifts. Many statutory requirements relating to the training of operators and the general operation of the machines.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC regularly refers to applicable OSHA regulations regarding operation and driver training to assist in the prosecution of our forklift injury cases.
OSHA has specific regulations and rules that workplaces are expected to follow to ensure worker safety. Some of the hazards that forklifts present are covered in OSHA safety standards.
- Mounting and dismounting - just entering and leaving the forklift could result in serious injury, especially in slips and falls accidents.
- Starting and stopping - be aware of what is around the forklift and watch for blind spots, especially when starting, setting the brake, and stopping.
- Operating at speed - going too fast in a forklift can cause a tip-over and increases the risk of hitting other worksite and construction workers, vehicles, or bystanders.
- Turning, reversing, and inclines. There are hazards when driving a forklift and heavy equipment that can cause the vehicle to tip over or lose its load. Drivers need to adhere to safety standards when maneuvering forklifts around turns, on inclines and when in reverse.
- Visibility. Large loads, low lighting, and lack of mirrors can lead to poor visibility for forklift drivers. Ensure that all procedures are adhered to by ensuring the driver can see and be seen is essential to safety.
Obtaining Workers' Compensation Benefits
Any employee injured in a workplace environment or truck or car accident while working for an employer might be entitled to receive benefits through a workers' compensation claim. The personal injury claim benefits are paid by the employer's insurance company coverage for hospitalization costs, medical bills, time away from work, and healing.
If you or a family member suffered an injury related to a forklift accident, the law affords your rights to recover damages for your work-related injuries. Our attorneys have litigated severe forklift injury cases involving crushed workers and other types of life-changing injuries and understand your concerns when a forklift driver's negligence causes an injury.
Further, we also know that many forklifts are merely poorly designed and maintained machines. When appropriate, our accident attorney can move forward with a defective product lawsuit against the manufacturer or maintenance service company that inadequately designed or serviced the machine.
Sample Illinois Forklift Accident Settlements & Lawsuits
In this Cook County forklift accident, a forklift operator in his middle fifties was loading goods onto a semi-truck. At some point during that process, the large truck driver began to exit the dock. The forklift operator got caught in between the two and eventually fell down all the way to the ground. He suffered spinal damage and reaggravated a disease in his disc. Doctors prescribe steroid injections as well as physical therapy and then a laminectomy at the L4-L5 juncture. The man needed multiple surgeries after this initial operation to attend to the injuries he sustained in the forklift fall. He incurred more than three quarters of a million dollars in medical expenses. To recoup for that as well as the pain, suffering, disability, and reduced life quality, he brought an action against the trucking company. They denied the incident caused the injuries that the man claimed but eventually they agreed to settle for $4.5 million. Note, portion of that financial compensation was to compensation the man’s wife for lost consortium.
$700,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2019:
This Chicago workplace accident involved a forklift and truck driver. The latter arrived at a warehouse to pick up a load of cargo. One of the factory’s workers used a forklift to put the materials on the large truck. Apparently, the truck driver assisted the worker in that task. Yet, without warning, the forklift operator changed course and crashed right into the trucker. The worker broke a number of safety protocols in doing so. The truck driver sustained a number of critical injuries. He tore his labrum. He injured his biceps. He also herniated a disc. All of these harms required substantial and expensive medical care, nearly $150,000 worth. The man incurred almost the same amount of lost wages from missed work due to these injuries. Unsurprisingly, the man brought a personal injury cause of action against the company. Yet, it did not get all the way to a jury, the two sides settled for a reported $700,000.
$375,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2019:
The forklift operator in this personal injury lawsuit was sixty-two at the time of the incident. He file the case in a Cook County. The dispute arose when he was unloading a large semi-truck. The driver thought he was finished so he began to leave the facility. However, he was still removing items from the large truck. The jolt injured the forklift driver. He tore his rotator cuff and those required over $100,000 for medical expenses. Also, he missed a lot of work and that cost him about $10,000. He brought a claim against the parties responsible but they preferred to handle the matter privately rather than in a public courtroom. He secured $375,000 in financial compensation for his serious injuries.
$1,500,000 Settlement; Peoria, Illinois; 2018:
In this controversy, a man was crushed between a forklift and a shelf at a large logistics warehouse. He was just thirty-five years old at the time of the events. The seemingly mundane accident triggered tremendous damage: loss of several organs, skin lacerations, herniated discs, and other critical personal injuries. The medical expenses alone were close to $1 million. He sued the warehouse company and the staffing company. They sought to end the matter privately and offered $750,000 each. The man accepted their offer.
$970,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2018:
Here, a forklift operator in his middle fifties was involved in a very serious accident. He was unloading a tractor-trailer when the motor vehicle suddenly moved. It was not fastened to the ground as it should have been. Due to the oversight, the man was thrown off the forklift and onto the ground. His leg was crushed. He broke several bones. He also suffered other personal injuries. Eventually, his leg needed to be amputated below the knee. The medical expenses were over $100,000. The lost wages totaled close to $300,000. The man brought a claim against the company and the truck driver. Both opted to settle. The man received $970,000.
Chicago Forklift Accident Attorneys Committed to Securing the Best Recovery for You
The Chicago injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are here to help you and your loved ones. We understand that no one can anticipate when an accident may occur.
Our staff can be dispatched to the scene of an incident or to a client's home at any time. Put our team of personal injury attorneys to work for you today and allow us to take the steps necessary to secure the future of your family.
Contact our personal injury lawyers today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
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Resources for those injured in forklift and construction accidents in Chicago, IL: