Florida Forklift Injuries and Worker’s Compensation

August 4, 2019 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Florida Forklift Injuries and Worker’s Compensation

Forklift Loading Dock Injuries and More

We often pass by them without giving much of a second thought. After all, they are a fairly benign device meant to load and unload cargo and goods. The device we are speaking of is the forklift. Many of us have seen them at large retail locations that sell everything from hardware to bulk food products. Others may have noticed them loading and unloading goods at major transport hubs such as docks or truck stations. Forklifts are an essential part of many businesses that need to load and unload especially heavy cargo that employees can not handle on their own. What many do not realize is that forklifts are actually responsible for a staggering amount of injuries and even fatalities every year. There are roughly 35,000 forklift accidents that result in a severe injury every year and about 85 forklift-related fatalities every year.

Worker's Compensation For Forklift Injuries

Those that have been injured in a forklift accident deserve compensation for their injuries and can receive such through worker's compensation. Instead of having businesses handle an overwhelming number of civil lawsuits from workers that were injured on the job that drain companies of all their money, worker's compensation allows businesses to compensate their employees for injuries they suffered with no questions asked. Employees that have been injured in forklift accidents are typically eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits that will cover the costs of their injury's treatments as well as the wages lost as a result of the injury. 

Additional Claims to Forklift Accident Worker's Compensation

However, this is the limit of damages that this kind of compensation will cover. Other damages such as pain and suffering require a separate personal injury claim to seek compensation for. This personal injury claim cannot be filed against a worker's employer unless the employer knowingly caused the accident to inflict harm. A person injured in a forklift would have to file a claim against a third party if they wanted compensation for damages other than medical expenses and lost wages. Common third parties can include forklift manufacturers or maintenance providers. Filing a claim against third parties for compensation of forklift accident injuries can be more complex than many realize. There is a great deal of investigation of the accident as well as negotiation with insurance companies that takes place. On top of that, a plaintiff has to determine exactly who is potentially liable for their injuries which in itself is no simple task. Hiring the right attorney can make this process all the more simple and significantly increase your chances at successfully getting the compensation that you deserve. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA specializes in helping those that have been injured on the job make sure they get the worker's compensation they need and seek additional compensation through third-party claims. To schedule a free consultation with Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for your case you can either contact us online or call our office at 727-451-6900.

How do Forklift Accidents Occur?

Forklift accidents often occur because of simple acts of negligence that result in catastrophe. Forklifts are powerful and heavy machines capable of inflicting severe harm upon pedestrians and forklift operators alike. Forklift safety is paramount yet there are common mistakes that result in accidents. Some of the most common reasons why a forklift accident occurs include the following.
  • A forklift's horn was not used as required.
  • There was no audible or visual warning device on the industrial vehicle, or it was defective.
  • The daily inspection of a forklift was not performed. The nameplate was not legible (or missing) on a powered industrial truck.
  • The equipment load was not checked so that it fell within accepted limits
  • The forklift operator was not properly trained
  • The stability of the load is off because it is not centered properly
  • The load on a forklift was not kept uphill even when going down a slope
  • A driver attempts to jump clear of a tipping forklift
  • Floors that are not level
  • Forklifts moving at higher than recommended speeds
  • Mirror arrangement that allows for blindspots
  • A forklift falling from a loading dock

Common Forklift Accidents

Forklift Tipping and Overturn: Forklifts have to handle heavy loads that have the potential to tip the vehicle over when improperly handled. The forklift can fall over and injure the driver inside or it can possibly fall on another employee/pedestrian. Pedestrians Hit by Forklift: Forklifts may seemingly move at slow speeds but they have a great deal of power and weight behind them. Being struck by a forklift can inflict severe injuries. People can be struck by the chassis or the fork that holds the load. A forklift can possibly hit another object that can end up injuring a pedestrian as well.  Falls From a Forklift: There are occasions where an employee may ride on the forks of a forklift which can be very dangerous. When not operated correctly, a forklift can have those riding on its forks fall off and even get run over by the forklift itself.  Fallen Forklift Loads: A forklift can potentially drop the load it was carrying and injure pedestrians that are in the way. Forklifts can carry a variety of heavy loads that at times can be hazardous when dropped. The forklift can also knock over objects that can injure others or the operator as well. 

Common Forklift Accident Injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that forklifts cause around 100 fatalities and roughly 95,000 injuries every year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that one in six workplace deaths in the United States involves a forklift. Forklift accident injuries are often exceptionally severe due to how heavy and strong a forklift is. These injuries often leave those affected with lifelong disability and disfigurations because of crushed limbs and shattered bones.

Forklift Fall Injuries

Forklifts sometimes transport employees on the forks used for loading which comes with a risk for those transported on the lifts to fall and injure themselves. They can fall in any number of ways that can result in severe injuries to the head, spine, etc. 

Injuries Caused by Falling Debris

Falling debris from a forklift's load can injure those that are working around the forklift and can possibly injure the operator themselves. The debris can cause blunt force trauma due to its weight, the debris can cause lacerations because of sharp edges, and in some cases, the falling debris could consist of chemicals that are toxic

Forklift Crushing Injuries

Forklifts weigh quite a bit and those that find themselves under them can end up being crushed. Forklifts can either tip over and fall on top of employees or pedestrians resulting in the crushing of bones that will shatter under the immense weight and organs may be crushed as well. Sometimes a forklift may run over a pedestrian and they will be crushed beneath its wheels resulting in ripping and tearing of flesh and crushing of bones. In other cases a forklift 

Forklift Impact Injuries

The power needed by a forklift to handle the heavy loads that many businesses require of them can also be behind some of the grievous injuries a forklift can inflict. Forklifts can turn and catch pedestrian unaware by hitting them with the loading forks or the chassis itself. Forklifts may not move very quickly but they have a great deal of power. This means broken bones and severe blunt force trauma. 

Who is at Risk for Suffering Forklift Injuries?

Forklift operators are naturally at risk to suffer injuries as a result of forklift accidents however around 80% of all forklift accidents involve a pedestrian. Some of the fields where forklift accidents are the most common include:
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Wholesale
  • Transportation
  • Retail
  • Mining

Contact a Clearwater Workers' Compensation Attorney

Forklift accidents severely injure hundreds of people every year and result in damages that cripple people financially and literally. An experienced lawyer can assist you in seeking the compensation you need to stabilize your life. The process of a worker's compensation claim can sometimes be difficult and long so do not hesitate to contact an attorney. Lawyers like those at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can provide you with the resources and expertise needed to secure a settlement you can be satisfied with. Because of the complexity of the laws applicable to workmen's compensation, if you, or someone that you know, sustain an injury while working, it is important to speak with a workers' compensation attorney to discuss your rights and legal remedies.  At the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in Clearwater, Florida, our team of highly skilled workers' compensation attorneys can assist you to receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled. Contact our workers' compensation attorneys to discuss your legal options and to receive your rightful compensation. Please contact us online or call our office at 727-451-6900 today. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 3375 (727) 451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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