Get Forklift Injury Lawsuit Help
For over a year, the team at McEldrew Purtell has been retained on over a dozen forklift cases with serious or catastrophic injuries. The Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) class of vehicles is prone to causing injuries on forklifts, reach trucks, pallet jacks, and similar vehicles. The resulting injuries can be immediate and profound, including amputations, crush injuries, TBIs, paralysis, and death. McEldrew Purtell is preparing a class action lawsuit where we allege a defect directly caused dozens of lower leg amputations.
Are you or your client one of the nearly 20,000 workers in the United States suffering from a debilitating injury from a power industrial truck (PIT), such as a forklift? Contact McEldrew Purtell’s Rapid Response Team now to see how we can help.
PIT and Forklift Safety Hazards
Forklifts and lift trucks are notoriously unstable and can easily fall over and cause injury to everyone around them. If an unstable load falls, the truck can go over it. Due to these known instabilities, OSHA has set safety regulations, including never making a turn with a raised load. It’s also a violation of the law for anyone under the age of 18 to operate a forklift for any reason. When employees ignore these regulations and best practices, operators or bystanders are often injured and face devastating financial losses due to medical bills and an inability to work.
Beyond workplace safety issues, PIT product defects and failures are also a cause of multiple injuries. For example, defects in the steering system can result in a loss of control and lead to accidents, collisions, and injuries. Poor steering responsiveness is also dangerous in smaller spaces.
Forklift Accident Injuries
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 10% of all forklifts will eventually experience an accident. However, proper training and safety standards can also help prevent an accident from ever occurring. In other cases, a product defect can lead to a forklift accident, requiring legal help to secure a positive outcome.
If you are screening or evaluating a PIT product case for a client, it is necessary to understand the common class defects.
Brake Failures: Forklifts rely heavily on their braking systems to stop safely. Brake failures can lead to catastrophic accidents, including collisions, tip-overs, and injuries to both operators and bystanders.
Steering Mechanism Issues: Defects in the steering system can result in loss of control, leading to accidents, collisions, and potential injuries. Poor steering responsiveness can be especially dangerous in confined spaces.
Faulty Hydraulics: Forklifts depend on hydraulic systems for lifting and lowering loads. Hydraulic failures can cause loads to drop unexpectedly, posing a significant risk to operators and those nearby.
Tire and Wheel Defects: Damaged or underinflated tires, as well as defects in wheels, can destabilize a forklift and increase the risk of tipping over, especially when carrying heavy loads.
Operator Visibility Issues: Limited visibility due to defects in mirrors, cabs, or other components can result in accidents involving pedestrians or other equipment.
Electrical System Problems: Forklifts often use electrical systems for various functions, including lights and horn signaling. Electrical defects can hinder communication and visibility, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
Load Capacity and Stability Deficiencies: Forklifts are designed with specific load capacities. Defects in this area can lead to overloading, tipping, and accidents.
Lack of Safety Features: Missing or malfunctioning safety features such as seat belts, backup alarms, and overhead guards can significantly increase the risk of accidents and injuries.
Inadequate Maintenance: Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to various defects and issues with forklifts. It's essential to investigate whether maintenance procedures were followed correctly.
Design Flaws: Some forklift models may have inherent design flaws involving doors, safety restraints, weight distribution, onboard operator systems, brake placement, etc. that make them more prone to accidents or defects. These flaws may require a thorough engineering analysis.
These are just some of the causes of PIT and forklift accidents that could lead to everything from a minor to a debilitating injury or death. The fallout from related injuries could lead to long-term medical care, PTSD, and other emotional damage.
Know Your Rights as a Forklift Operator
Industrial workers have rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Employers are required to fix common hazards and adopt preventive measures and regulations to avoid accidents, including ongoing maintenance and safety checks. For example, employers are not legally permitted to hire a forklift operator who has not completed the appropriate certification.
Fork Truck and Forklift Lawsuits
You should exercise urgency and diligence after experiencing a forklift accident and seek legal help right away. Once you identify a potentially causative defect, it is crucial to conduct an emergent investigation to preserve evidence, including:
Vehicle data recorders
When possible, our rapid response team also conducts pre-litigation inspections with our team of mechanical, operations, and/or engineering experts to ensure a complete understanding of the case.
How a Forklift Accident Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or your client have experienced a workplace injury due to negligence, a product defect, or workplace safety issues, McEldrew Purtell can help. Our forklift accident injury lawyers have the knowledge and experience to investigate forklift injury claims and offer co-counsel, advice, or take on referral cases.
The McEldrew Purtell team will review the full extent of the damages, including medical expenses and physical therapy. We also investigate potential negligence or product defects and determine how to help recover financial losses due to the inability to earn a steady paycheck. Contact our Rapid Response Team Today.