Forklift Accident Lawyer
Forklifts (lift trucks) are commonly used in factories, warehouses, and construction sites to load and transport heavy materials. Any person operating a forklift must be adequately trained regarding safe operation and loading techniques and ways to alert co-workers to protect people in every workplace environment.
Were you injured in a forklift accident or lost a loved one through another's negligence? Our Chicago forklift accident attorneys can protect your legal rights. In addition, our legal team will take the necessary steps to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your forklift accident injuries.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury lawyers have successfully prosecuted Illinois forklift cases for injured workers and look forward to doing the same for you.
Call our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. Let's discuss your work injury case and legal options for financial recovery under Illinois law.
Our personal injury lawyers 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.
Safety Issues Commonly Related to Chicago Forklift Accident Cases
There is an increased risk of the following types of 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 goods 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 forklifts' size, weight, and loads. Crushing and pinning accidents cause more complex injuries that 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. In addition, 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 Accident Cases
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has recognized the dangers associated with forklifts. In addition, many statutory requirements regulate the proper training of operators and the general procedure when using the machines.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC regularly refers to applicable OSHA regulations regarding operation and driver training to prosecute 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, including:
- Mounting and dismounting - Just entering and leaving the forklift could result in a severe injury, especially slips and falls.
- Starting and stopping - Be aware of what is around the forklift and watch for blind spots, especially when starting the equipment, 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 worksites 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. Therefore, drivers need to adhere to safety standards when maneuvering forklifts around turns, inclines, and reverse.
- Visibility. Large loads, low lighting, and a 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, which is essential to safety.
Employers must ensure that every worker receives proper training following labor laws on operating forklifts and power lift trucks to ensure a safe workplace. In addition, the employees must use safety devices in the warehouse when working on loading docks and around an unsecured trailer.
Obtaining Workers' Compensation Benefits
Any injured employee harmed in a car accident or industrial accident involving loading docks and tractor-trailers while on the job could receive financial benefits through a workers' compensation claim.
The personal injury claim benefits are paid by the employer's insurance company 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. Therefore, 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
$4,500,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2020: The Cook County forklift accident involved a forklift operator in his middle fifties loading goods onto a semi-truck. At some point during that process, the semi-truck driver began to exit the loading docks.
The forklift operator got caught in between the truck and dock and eventually fell 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.
After this initial operation, the man needed multiple surgeries to attend to his injuries in the forklift fall. As a result, he incurred more than three-quarters of a million dollars in medical expenses.
To recoup his damages, including pain, suffering, disability, and reduced life quality, he brought an action against the trucking company. They denied the incident caused severe injuries that the man claimed but eventually, they agreed to settle for $4.5 million.
Note that a portion of that financial compensation was to compensate the man's wife for the loss of consortium.
$700,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2019: This Chicago workplace accident involved a forklift operator 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.
The truck driver assisted the forklift operator in that task. Yet, without warning, the forklift operator changed course and crashed into the trucker. The worker broke several safety protocols in doing so.
As a result, the truck driver sustained many critical injuries, including tearing his labrum, injuring his biceps, and herniating a disc. All injuries 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 caused by the event. Unsurprisingly, the man's forklift accident lawyers brought a personal injury cause of action against the company. Yet, the case was never presented before a jury because both sides settled the lawsuit for a reported $700,000.
$375,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2019: A 62-year-old forklift operator filed a civil lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois, after a dispute arose when he was unloading a large semi-truck.
The semi-truck driver thought that the forklift operator was finished, so he began pulling away from the facility. However, the forklift driver was still removing items from the truck's trailer.
The jolt injured the forklift operator, tearing his rotator cuff, requiring over $100,000 for medical expenses. Also, the accident caused him to miss many days at work, costing him about $10,000.
The forklift accident lawyer representing the injured forklift operator brought a claim against the parties responsible, but they preferred to handle the matter privately rather than in a public courtroom. As a result, the injured forklift operator secured $375,000 in financial compensation for his severe workplace injuries.
$1,500,000 Settlement; Peoria, Illinois; 2018: The case involved a 35-year-old man crushed between a forklift and a shelf at a large logistics warehouse.
The seemingly mundane accident triggered tremendous damage: loss of several organs, skin lacerations, herniated discs, and other critical personal injuries. The medical expenses for the forklift injury alone were close to $1 million.
The plaintiff's personal injury lawyers sued the warehouse company and the staffing company, seeking to end the matter privately and offered $750,000 each. The man accepted their offer.
$970,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2018: Here, a worker in his 50s was injured in a forklift accident while unloading a tractor-trailer when the truck suddenly moved. The equipment was not fastened to the ground as it should have been.
Due to the safety oversight, the man was thrown off the forklift and onto the ground. The impact crushed his leg and 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.
Forklift Accident Fatality FAQs
Our personal lawyers understand that many families have unanswered questions on dealing directly with insurance companies in filing a compensation claim. A forklift accident lawyer has answered some of those questions below.
For additional information, contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 for the answers you need through a free consultation.
What is the Most Common Type of Forklift Accident?
According to OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety Administration), employers could have prevented nearly seven of ten workplace injuries had they established and enforced safety procedures and adequate 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. In addition, many forklift-accident victims suffer crushing workplace injuries after being hit or pinned by a moving forklift.
What is the Number One Cause of Forklift Injuries?
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), overturned forklifts remain the leading cause of job-related deaths involving lifting devices 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 powered forklift truck 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 a 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. In addition, the number of accidents resulting in forklift-related severe injuries totals more than 34,000 every year.
Overturned and rollover forklifts are the most common accidents involving vehicles and account for one out of four forklift accidental events. In addition, forklift overturns account for most fatalities in warehouse accidents.
Other serious problems include falling from forklifts and being struck by moving lifting equipment. Statistically, forklift accidents account for approximately 20% of fatalities in warehouses and construction sites involving an employee striking a co-worker with the power lift truck.
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. In addition, the operator should move the load in the lowest position and as close to the floor as safely as possible while following safety regulations.
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.
Workers who follow safe forklift operation guidelines save lives in work settings that require powered industrial trucks to lift heavy goods, products, and materials.
How Fast Should You Drive a Forklift?
On-the-job safety regulations typically mandate that the operator not drive the forklift faster than eight mph in open areas when the person operating the device has a clear line of sight. In addition, any area with the pedestrian should restrict the forklift forward speed to three miles per hour or less.
Forklift operators should receive adequate training from their employer, general contractor, or a business owner. The business might be legally liable if the employer failed to ensure that the worker followed the established safety guidelines mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
A Chicago Forklift Accident Lawyer Committed to Securing the Best Recovery for You
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our Chicago personal injury attorneys are ready to help you and your loved ones. Our law firm understands 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. So 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 a forklift accident lawyer 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.
Our law firm accepts all cases on a contingency fee basis. This guarantee ensures that you pay for legal services only after successfully resolving your case through a jury trial verdict or negotiated settlement.
Please do not send confidential or sensitive information to our law office through voicemail, email, or text message. Our forklift accident lawyers currently follow CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Covid-19 (coronavirus pandemic) social distancing guidelines to ensure our clients' safety.